Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Review

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Have you ever felt like your skin was dryer than the Sahara Desert? It might not even look it, but you can just feel it being tight and dull? That’s probably because of dehydration. Yes, your skin can also show signs of not getting enough water. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that most internal conditions manifest themselves externally. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been saying it for centuries. So, when your body is lacking hydration, you can see it in your skin. Your complexion starts looking flaky and lifeless. There are many factors that contribute to our skin losing its natural moisture, but that’s where serums and creams targeting hydration can help.

Neutrogena has long been touted as the number-one dermatologist-recommended skin care brand. This makes them my first stop when it comes to products that are going to quickly and effectively target problem areas. Their Hydro Boost range is made up primarily of an ingredient called hyaluronic acid, which is literally a skin-drenching substance. Your skin is sure to have its bounce back. Whether you need a serum, a moisturizer or a hydrating sunscreen, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost range has something for you.  

The Importance Of Hydrating Skin Explained

Woman with clear skin holding hands to face and smiling.

Keep your skin hydrated to have it look and feel better.

Our skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. When the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer, does not have enough hydration, your skin loses its elasticity and moisture. Staying hydrated means that your skin is able to renew properly as the epidermis retains the moisture it needs to flush away toxins.

When it comes to super hydrating ingredients, hyaluronic acid is at the top of the list. This little molecule can hold up to a thousand times its weight in water. Like collagen, it’s found naturally in the human body, but levels vary depending on various factors. Sometimes your skin just needs that added external boost. When skin has sufficient hydration, it’s brighter and more resilient.

The importance of hydrated skin is not only about internal factors. Harmful elements like toxic substances, UV radiation and microorganisms are absorbed into our skin when our protective barrier isn’t sufficiently hydrated. Therefore, poorly hydrated skin doesn’t only look sluggish, but it acts that way too.

Ever used one of those moisturizers that only covered your dry spots but didn’t actually heal them? That’s what happens when you try to replenish a lack of hydration with oils. Putting oil-heavy formulas onto dehydrated skin may smooth it out, but your skin still clearly lacks the moisture it needs. That’s why Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost formula is revolutionary – it targets hydration rather than moisture.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Ingredients Breakdown

Small wooden bowl full of kalamata olives with a sprig of rosemary on top.

Olive extract is just one of the ingredients in the Neutrogena hydro boost water gel range.

There are three main ingredients to look out for in the Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel range. Let’s start with the obvious one: purified hyaluronic acid. Like we said, this is naturally found in the skin – but a little boost always helps. It delivers pure hydration to the skin, kind of like a sponge for dry cells. It gradually releases water back into the skin, meaning that your skin stays hydrated continuously throughout the day. There’s nothing worse than those moisturizers that are thick and heavily moisturizing – until an hour later when you’re flaky all over again. You won’t get that with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel thanks to the hyaluronic acid.

The next ingredient I was pleasantly surprised to see on the list was olive extract. This antiseptic herb has the unique ability to stimulate cells. It protects the skin from external factors with its protective and antioxidant qualities. The combination of fatty acids means it creates a moisture shield on the skin’s barrier. Also, because it sinks directly into the skin, it leaves your face soft and smooth without the tackiness.

Dimethicone also contributes to that silky smoothness your skin gets. It’s a type of silicone which improves the texture of not just the product itself, but also your complexion. It fills in pores and fine lines, acting as a barrier over the skin. Yet if you’re looking for a silicone-free product, you won’t find it in this range. But nevertheless, the textural benefits are undeniable. It’s an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula, ideal for all skin types that need some rehydration.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Review

Jar of Neutrogena's hydro boost water gel.

Neutrogena’s hydro boost water gel.

Contrary to popular belief, moisturizers do not make your skin oily – if you’re getting the right one for you. By choosing the right moisturizer, your skin and makeup should look even better.

The way to tell if a moisturizer is the right fit for your skin usually relates to how long it takes to sink into the skin. That’s where the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel comes in. The most significant way I noticed that this was different than regular moisturizing creams was that it sunk in super fast. You can really tell it’s a gel – it’s lightweight and leaves your skin refreshed instead of heavy. There’s nothing worse than having to wait between moisturizing and applying your makeup. Seriously, who has time for that? On that note, I’d be cautious to use it in the winter months, as it may be a little too lightweight (I know, I didn’t know that was possible either). But that’s mostly down to your skin type and personal preference.

The texture is smooth and cool without leaving that undesirable filmy residue you get with thicker creams. It leaves your skin matte. So yes, you do miss out on that dewy glow, but it also doubles as a primer due to its oil-free status. This Hydro Boost Water Gel not only enhances your facial moisture levels, but it directly hydrates the specific areas of your skin that are particularly dry.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum Review

Bottle of Neutrogena's hydro boost hydrating serum.

Serums differ from regular moisturizers in that they target specific skin concerns. The concentrations of serums are formulated to permeate the skin faster and more effectively, as they’re not diluted. I would use this in my nightly routine to help my skin recover from the day. You’ll wake up with balanced skin that’s not weighed down or greasy. I love how you can use multiple serums to deal with different skin issues. Pores looking a little large? Pop on some serum. Skin looking a little dry and patchy? Dab on a little serum.

Apply the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum onto damp skin, leave to absorb and then just continue with your regular skin care routine. Speaking of applying, my favorite aspect of this serum is that it comes in a pump applicator – the most hygienic way to apply any facial product, if you ask me. The smell of this particular serum is on the strong side. However, unlike other heavily scented products, the fragrance doesn’t linger. Similar to the Hydro Boost Water Gel, this serum absorbs quickly into the skin to provide instant hydration. It leaves your skin supple and without that tacky feeling that you get from heavy formulas. Glowing skin should never be too much to ask for, and Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost range seems to agree.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 50 Review

Neutrogena's hydro boost water gel lotion SPF 50.

Neutrogena’s hydro boost water gel lotion SPF 50.

A well-formulated hashtag goes a long way in the 21st century, and Neutrogena definitely got the memo. #EverydayisaSUNday is the slogan for their Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion SPF 50.

Because it’s not oil-based, this water-resistant facial lotion leaves skin without that greasy feeling you get from most sunscreens. Also, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a drugstore facial sunscreen with an SPF higher than 30, so they’ve definitely got my attention!

This lotion feels more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen on the skin. It doesn’t have that heavy consistency, and your skin is free of that white film you sometimes get. The only hamartia is that Neutrogena recommends reapplying this gel lotion every two hours. For people like me who like a no-faff makeup routine, that’s not ideal. I like the products I put on in the morning to last me all day – is that too much to ask?

Despite this, because of the fact that it’s not heavy or sticky like your regular sunscreens, it can be used under your makeup without sliding off! I wouldn’t use it as my primer, but it definitely boosts your skin’s moisture without leaving it greasy like I’d expect. Bottom line is, it’s a superior broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects your skin whilst giving it that hydration boost it needs.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask Review

Neutrogena's hydro boost hydrating 100% hydrogel mask.

Neutrogena’s hydro boost hydrating 100% hydrogel mask.

If your skin looks like it needs a little more than that daily moisture to keep it going, then Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask is the place to start. It promises a hydration boost in four easy steps.

Start by cleansing the skin (as you should prior to any facial treatment). Then peel the backing from the mask, smooth it onto your face and leave it on for 15 minutes. Because it’s a gel mask it essentially looks like a sheet mask but consists of a jelly film. After the 15 minutes are up and the mask has lost most of its slip (aka your skin has absorbed all that hydration), just peel it off. Rub what’s left over your face and neck to make the most of the product. Normally, when I take off face masks my face feels a little tacky, but with this mask it felt like everything had really sunk into the skin. It didn’t feel tight and there was no residue.

The only bone I’d like to pick with Neutrogena was the wasteful nature of this mask. You’re going to get waste with any one-time-use face mask, but this one had a little more than I could handle. There was an excessive amount of plastic that came with the packet. Big companies have a vital role to play in reducing environmental waste, and it’s a missed opportunity when they don’t. Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for this one flaw, I would have to admit that this hypoallergenic face mask really does wonders to the skin. So, if you’re willing to overlook any environmental issues, then this one might be for you.


Your skin is your biggest organ. With this in mind, what we ingest plays a huge role in its health – as with any other organ in the body. Whether that means drinking more water or increasing your antioxidant intake, it’s always best to start with natural remedies and go from there. If you’ve done everything you can internally to boost hydration and your skin is still looking like it needs some TLC, then Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost range might be your next call of action. The extensive range contains numerous products to fulfill your hydration needs.

Although they’re definitely up there on my list of go-to brands, I think it’s important to note Neutrogena’s cruelty-free status – or lack thereof. While the brand itself is indeed cruelty-free, Neutrogena sells their products to countries like China, which require animal testing by law. This isn’t a make-or-break for me, but it’s important to be aware of the cruelty-free status of brands in order to make educated purchases. Regardless, Neutrogena will have your Sahara Desert complexion hydrated in no time. With nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and olive extracts, how could it not? Try it for yourself and see!



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