Drugstore Find: The Gel-Based Face Cream That Saved My Skin

This surprisingly affordable option packs a luxuriously hydrating ingredient.

Oily skin is a temperamental beast, but it's even worse when you're also dealing with dehydration. The solution? Neutrogena Hydro Boost.

New to the U.S., Hydro Boost has been available in New Zealand for a while, so I've had time to get acquainted--and attached.

I have both the Water Gel and the Night Concentrate, but it's the Water Gel that has really changed my skin. The dry, flaky patches between my eyebrows and on my chin have really diminished.

The magic of the ultra-hydrating yet not-at-all-greasy formula is, you guessed it, hyaluronic acid, which has incredible properties as a humectant, binding to more than one thousand times its weight in water molecules.

When paired with ingredients like glycerin and dimethicone, as it is in this product, hyaluronic acid is pretty much unparalleled when it comes to hydration.

The Hydro Boost Water Gel has a very light feel. Though slightly tinted blue, the gel goes on clear and doesn't irritate.


If I have any complaints, they're minor. The product smells a little bit like shampoo, which was a surprise when I first used it, although I've now grown to quite like it.

The jar packaging is also less than ideal, seeming somehow not quite hygienic. (Not to mention that exposure to air can also make a product less stable.) On the other hand, since I use the product daily I'll probably get through it before it turns into a festering tub of bacteria.

I know everyone swears by oils for oily skin, but I haven't found any that don't break me out. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like an oil-free formula. The Hydro Boost gel has made my skin happier and my makeup wear better than usual.

If you've got really dry skin, this may not be the product for you, but I suspect I'm not the only person battling both oiliness and dehydration while looking to keep my skin care budget down.

  • Do you want to know more about dehydrated skin? It often seems confused with dryness.
  • Is hyaluronic acid part of your skin care routine?
  • What are your favorite gel-based skin care products?