Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: NEW Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

I normally give the skincare products I review here on the blog a full 4-6 weeks of testing before I share my thoughts with you, but I'm coming in a little shy of four weeks for this one. I first posted pics of the display for the new Hydro Boost collection back on January 1st, and I found this product in my area on January 2nd. I immediately started testing the day I found it, so I'll be at four weeks on the dot this Friday. But since I know a lot of us were quite excited about this new line, and this product in particular, I figured you wouldn't mind me skimping on those last few days of testing!

I know that some of you were curious about how this product might compare to the wildly-popular Laniege Sleeping Water Mask ($23 for 2.7 oz at Target), and since I have actually tried the Laniege Sleeping Water Mask, I will definitely let you know how the two compare at the end of this review. So let's get started...

NEW Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
(retail: $18.99, 1.7 oz)

Please note that the price may vary depending on the retailer; I bought mine at Walmart for $17.97 but I listed the Drugstore.com price of $18.99 above since that's closer to what I've seen at various drugstore chains in my area.

Keep reading for my full review...

Here's a little more info from the Drugstore.com website:
  • Helps Instantly Quench Skin
  • Contains Hyaluronic Acid, Naturally Found in Skin
  • Clinically Proven to Keep Skin Hydrated for 48 Hours
  • Oil-Free
  • Fast-Absorbing
  • Non-Comedogenic
  • Ideal for All Skin Types
Introducing Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Water Gel, a refreshing, lightweight water gel that instantly quenches and continuously hydrates skin.  Formulated with hyaluronic acid, it boosts hydration and locks it in so skin stays hydrated, smooth and supple day after day. Applies effortlessly, absorbing quickly into skin without leaving behind an oily or greasy feel.

Hydro Boost hydrates skin through an approach of replenishing water and rebuilding skin's barrier, leveraging two key ingredients:

Purified Hyaluronic Acid
Naturally found in skin, it delivers pure boost of hydration.  It acts like a sponge for dry skin cells, absorbing up to 1000 times its weight in water and progressively releases water back into skin, keeping skin hydrated and supple throughout the day.

Olive Extract
Known for its protective, moisturizing and anti-oxidant qualities, it is a complex combination for fatty acids, which is similar to skin's natural moisture shield.  It integrates into skin barrier, forming a structure that protects skin from excessive moisture loss.  It also helps leave skin feeling soft and smooth without tackiness.

One of the first things that drew me to this product was the absence of denatured alcohol. Some drugstore-level gel moisturizers seem to contain a high amount of denatured alcohol (example: it's the third ingredient in Garnier Moisture Rescue Refresher Gel-Cream) which is why some gel moisturizers don't seem to add any real moisture to my skin. Everyone's different, and I know that many of you like the Garnier Gel-Cream but for me, moisturizers that contain denatured alcohol feel great at first, but my skin actually ends up feeling drier after a few hours. 

Since Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel does not contain denatured alcohol, and it DOES contain hyaluronic acid as well as olive extract, I felt like I was already off to a good start. Yes, there are dimethicones in this product (which will make your skin incredibly smooth to the touch), but my skin doesn't normally act up with dimethicone, so that wasn't a deterrent for me. 

This product has a gel-like consistency. It is not thick--in fact, it's a bit "soupy" when you dip your finger into the pot. If you don't like jars when it comes to skincare, you could easily transfer this into a bottle using a small spoon and you'd probably have no issues at all dispensing it from a squeeze or pump bottle.

This product doesn't really make any claims other than that it will boost moisture and hydrate the skin. So if you're looking for something that is going to help minimize the look of fine lines, even skintone, etc., then this is probably not for you. This moisturizer can be used during the evening or morning--that's up to you. I personally prefer to use it at night, but I'll get into that in a moment.

You only need a tiny bit to cover your entire face and neck, which means that this 1.7 oz jar should last you a good, long while. I've been using this every night before bed for almost four weeks, and I've also used it a few times in the morning, and I'm nowhere near the halfway mark. There is a fragrance to this product, and it smells very clean and fresh to me. I actually really like the scent of this product but I would consider it medium-strong, which means that if you're sensitive to fragrance in your skincare, this might be too much for you. 

True to its claims, this product absorbs quickly into the skin, which I love. At first you might feel a slight tackiness but, after a minute or two, the skin becomes very soft and smooth-feeling with no stickiness whatsoever. I've seen some comments online about how this product dries to a powdery finish, but that is not the case for me--my skin just feels very soft to the touch (thanks to the dimethicone, I'm sure), in the same way that some foundation primers make skin feel soft to the touch. 

Feeling soft to the touch is all well and good, but does this product actually deliver any lasting hydration? For me, the answer is yes. I can feel a noticeable difference in the morning after I've applied this the night before, and I've also noticed that my skin feels more hydrated throughout the day when I use this the night before. Keep in mind that I do have very oily skin, so if your skin is dry or very dry, you may have different results. But I think that if your skin is normal-to-very-oily, you'll probably notice a difference in hydration. 

I've also used this product in the morning, before applying my makeup, and I do like it that way as well. I find that this product does not increase my mid-morning breakthrough shine, and I don't find that my skin is a giant greaseball by the afternoon. This product also helps make my makeup look smoother (much like a face primer) but it doesn't really help my makeup last any longer (not that it claims to). The only reason I haven't been reaching for it more in the mornings is because I like for my daytime moisturizers to contain SPF, and this one does not. I never leave my house without at least SPF15 on my face, and I don't like adding an extra sunscreen to my face (in addition to moisturizer and foundation) due to my oily skin. So that's the only reason why I haven't been reaching for this product in the morning.

After almost four weeks of use, I have not experienced any breakouts that I can attribute to this product, and I haven't experienced any irritation to my skin or stinging when this comes close to my eye area. All in all, I think that this is a solid moisturizer that does just that: it moisturizes. I think it's probably best for those with normal-to-very-oily skin, but that's solely based on my experience having very oily skin. Since it works so well for me--without making my skin any oily than it already is--I'm guessing that it MIGHT not deliver enough hydration to very dry skin (I'm guessing that's why there is also a Gel-Cream for Extra Dry Skin in the Hydro Boost line). The Hydro Boost Water Gel really gives my oily skin the perfect boost of moisture though, so if you're a fellow member of the oily skin club, I think this one's worth a shot.

FINAL VERDICT: I'm really loving this product and I find myself actually looking forward to washing my face at night, just so that I can apply it again. I love the fragrance, texture, how quickly it absorbs into my skin, and how soft my skin feels when I wake up in the morning. But more importantly, I love that I can feel some lasting hydration the next day, without any added oiliness (such a blessing during this time of year). Is this moisturizer perfect for all skin types? I'm not so sure about that. I have very oily skin and it works very well for me, but I think that if your skin is dry or very dry, this might not deliver enough hydration, so I would probably consider the Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra Dry Skin if that's the case. But if you have normal-to-oily skin and you're looking for a solid moisturizer that does just that (moisturizes), I think this is an option worth considering.

NOTE: Because I know that some of you were curious, below is a quick comparison of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel to Laniege Sleeping Water Mask.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel ingredients

See image at top of post.

Laniege Sleeping Water Mask ingredients:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Trehalose, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Beta-Glucan, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide MEA, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycogen, Glutamic Acid, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Lysine HCl, Magnesium Sulfate, Mannitol, Manganese Sulfate, Serine, Sucrose, Stearyl Behenate, Citrulline, Alanine, Arginine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Zinc Sulfate, Caprylyl Glycol, Threonine, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Polysorbate 20, Propanediol, PCA, Histidine HCl, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Blue 1 (CI 42090).

Both products absorb very quickly into the skin with no sticky residue. Both products are blue and gel-like in consistency, but the Laniege product has a slighter thinker consistency while the Neutrogena product is a bit more "soupy" (the difference is marginal though). Both products have a similar, very pleasant, clean fragrance, but the Neutrogena fragrance is stronger. 

I find that when I wake up in the morning, my skin feels a bit softer with the Neutrogena product than it does with the Laniege product. I also find that my skin tends to feel a bit more hydrated throughout the day after I use the Neutrogena product than it does with the Laniege product. Also, I find that my t-zone is quite oily when I wake up in the morning after using the Laniege, while I don't experience any extra oiliness with the Neutrogena product.

Overall, I find that for my oily skin, the Neutrogena product performs better for me, but perhaps this could be different if you have dry skin. I also want to note that, price-wise, the Laniege product is a better value since you get 2.7 oz for $23 at Target, whereas you get 1.7 oz for about $18 with the Neutrogena product. That said, Neutrogena often goes on sale and you can use manufacturer's coupons and drugstore rewards to bring the cost down even further, if you are thinking about trying it.

I hope this review and comparison were helpful to you, and if you've already tried anything from the new Neutrogena Hydro Boost line, I would absolutely love to hear from you!

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. sounds a lot like The Face Shop Seaweed Sleep Mask which I LOVE.

    1. I have TBS Seaweed mattifying day cream, and I LOVE it too! Interested in checking out the rest of the line. Funny the call it a cream when it is totally more like a slightly milky gel.

  2. This review is perfect timing. I just got a coupon for $3 off for this that I might just have to use!

  3. Great review! Very curious about this one. I use the Garnier Moisture Rescue daily (I use Cotz sunscreen under or blended with foundation). Gel moisturizes are so great when you're on Team Oily. Looking forward to trying this when my Moisture Rescue runs out!

  4. It's $19.99 at Walgreens.com, but right now there is a 20% off coupon BEMINE20 and usual free shipping over $25. I don't know how long the code is good for though.

  5. I am so glad you reviewed this product! I have always thought we have similar skin and if you like it, I am sure I will as well. Thanks for the thorough review. It can be hard to find products for oily skin that work in humid and oily environments. Or hard for me anyway. But it seems like companies are giving us more options these days.

  6. I'll pass based on the ingredient list and the jar packaging for the Neutrogena, although the formula does make for a potentially good makeup primer. The Laneige product has an interesting mix of antioxidants and a few other beneficial ingredients, which in theory gives it an edge from an anti-aging perspective, but sadly all that good stuff will be lost due to jar packaging. Kudos to you for your commitment to daily sunscreen 365 days a year. If more women did that, there'd be less need for all the anti-aging products on the market!

  7. Hello long time lurker from New Zealand. We have had the hydro range since last year. In our range there is a day and moisturiser. A roll on eye cream. There is also additional day lotion with an spf15. I purchased the eye cream and the spf 15 lotion. I found the lotion to dry tacky on my skin. It wasn't very moisturising at all. By the way, I have combination skin. It's more oiler in summer.

  8. Oh no, super disappointed that this is full of dimethicone. Bet the whole range is :(

  9. I wonder how it compares to Dr. Lin's hydrolonic acid gel. Any thoughts?

    1. Completely different. The Dr. Lyn has no silicone, way more hyaluronic acid, and is a much better formula based on aloe and fruit extracts. Also way cheaper. Better all around.

    2. That was exactly my though when I saw the ingredients list for the neutrogena product. If you truly want a gel moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, I think the Dr. Lyn is better. The first three ingredients in the Neutrogena are just water, and cheap filler. I can get demithicone and gylcerine in almost any moisturizer, not worth spending 20 bucks on this in my opinion.

  10. This does sound interesting. Right now I'm using a lot of oils because it's cold and dry but this seems like it potentially could be a good one for summer. That you say it has a medium-strong scent, though, makes me leery. If it smells like herbs or lavender it'd be fine, but these products rarely do.

  11. I hope we get this soon in Canada!! I definitely want it!

  12. This sounds like a really great moisturizer. I just wish I came across it sooner because I just recently bought a new one lol. I think I'm going to try this next though. I have dry skin but the formula sounds like it could work well for me

  13. I wonder how this compares to Clinique's Moisture Surge Intense.

  14. Have you tried the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum Fortifying & Soothing 24Hr Hydrating Concentrate? It also contains Hyaluronic Acid (which is higher up in the ingredients list) as well as castor oil.

  15. I really had high hopes for this but it really does nothing for my dry skin..I actually put my Jason vit E cream on after.

  16. I just got this product Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel , been using it for a week, the only thing I don't like about it is it doesn't contain a sunscreen, other wise its great, feels nice and smooth and cooling on your face.

  17. i got the gel cream instead, and it has no fragrance or dyes, which is why i chose it over this water gel formula. it feels great to me and doesn't go greasy when i sweat. high humidity here!!! my foundation has SPF 30 in it, so i don't mind that this does not contain SPF. it's a good everyday moisturizer.


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