Aquacurrents: What's The Deal With The Moving Of The Water?

You may have seen ads for Procter & Gamble's new moisturizer technology, Aquacurrents. I've seen mentions of it in magazines, on TV and even on-line. Many brands are featuring Aquacurrents, including Olay, Pantene, Secret and Cover Girl.

It sounds like a huge break through in moisturizing, but what exactly is it?

Actually, Aquacurrents is basically just increased use of a humectants. Rather than relying on the use of emollients and occlusives, P&G has decided to capitalize on Aquaporins.

Aquaporins? Huh?

Let me explain. In the epidermis and dermis cells are very tightly bound together, forming a great barrier for your body. It was thought that the only way water could move throughout the layers of the skin was in conjunction with ions and nutrients, but recently Aquaporins were discovered. These channels allow just water through the cell membrane as needed.

Meanwhile, a humectant is a moisturizing ingredient that will draw water towards it. To the point of even pulling moisture from the air if needed. In the past it was thought that humectants would not draw enough moisture to help skin. Actually, it turns out that you can over do it with humectants, drawing too much water into one area leaving another area dry.

So, you can definitely moisturize and hydrate skin with humectants. You just need balance. This allows less reliance on ingredients like occlusives and emollients, which can sometimes make skin feel greasy or clog pores.

In order to create the right balance P&G did a lot of high tech moisture mapping, similar to what you see here. Niacinamide is the main humectant used in the Aquacurrents skin products. You can see that the moisture level in the outer levels of the skin (towards the bottom here) gain moisture without sacrificing moisture in the deeper layers of the skin.

Niacinimide has also been found to help fight oxidants (it isn't an anti-oxidant on it's own as far as I can tell, but it helps anti-oxidants to work better), fights hyperpigmentation and sallowness of the skin and has even been shown to help increase collagen in the skin. So, while it is used primarily for it's humectant properties in these products, it is also a great anti-aging ingredient!

I've tried out a few products that use Aquacurrents technology from Secret and Olay already (watch for reviews), and I'm starting trials of products from Pantene and Cover Girl as well. So far I have liked the products, though I admit I miss the greasy feeling of all the usual emollients and occlusives on my skin.


  1. Ooh interesting article. Can't wait to try the lotions and potions. Do you still need to apply an occlusive after to seal in the humectants? I'd always thought moisturisers worked because of that dual function.

    Beauty blogger @ So Loverly

  2. Actually, the formulations already have occlusives and emollients in them. You could definitely apply another one over if you want, but I've found that they work great on their own!

  3. Sound interesting post. I’ll try to use the lotion. One of my friends already tries out this and she started getting good result.

  4. If you look closely at the claims P&G is making, they don't really need the Aquaporins to make the products work.

    P&G does great work and they create excellent formulas. But this Aquacurrent technology is more marketing hype than solid science. At least that's the way we cosmetic chemists see it.

    We reviewed the claims in this Aquacurrent post.

    Great work with the blog. If you ever want to do a guest post on the Beauty Brains, let us know.


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