Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel is a Drugstore Staple, So We Tried It

This drugstore staple harnesses the power of hyaluronic acid

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel

Lightweight Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

What We Like
  • Absorbs fast

  • Lightweight

  • Hydrates with hyaluronic acid

What We Don't Like
  • Not for ultra-dry skin

  • Strong scent

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is aptly named for its lightweight, water-like texture. The hyaluronic acid-filled formula is a favorite among dermatologists because of how well it hydrates skin without weighing it down. It's also accessible and very affordable.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel

Lightweight Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

We purchased Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

Finding a moisturizer for any skin type can be an uphill battle, but we believe it's even trickier for those with oily or combination skin. While heavier creams can really lock in that much-needed hydration, many formulas can leave skin feeling like a greasy mess. Enter the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel—this popular moisturizer manages to have two highly coveted qualities in one as it’s both lightweight and hydrating.

The aptly named product feels just like a cooling gel but absorbs into the skin with ease, similar to plain old water. And, thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which holds 10000 times its weight in water (in other words, it keeps your skin to keep it nice and hydrated), it moisturizes like a dream. to find out if this drugstore staple is enough to keep skin supple and healthy, we tapped a board-certified dermatologist and tried the formula out for ourselves.

Best for: Normal to oily skin

Uses: Hydration

Potential allergens: None

Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

Price: Starting at $17

About the brand: Neutrogena is the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand, offering affordable products for skin, makeup, hair, and more.

About the Ingredients: Scientifically proven to hydrate skin

The star ingredient in Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid works by attracting moisture—up to 1,000 times its weight in water, as we mentioned before—which plumps and hydrates skin. In this case, it’s in the form of sodium hyaluronate (a derivative of hyaluronic acid), which can penetrate even deeper than pure hyaluronic acid. It's also a favorite of board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dendy Engelman, MD. "This formulation is so effective because of the hyaluronic acid concentration," she explains. "When applied topically, hyaluronic acid creates a barrier for the skin, locking in moisture and improving skin texture."

Lightweight Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

About the Formula: Great for all skin types

Water gel is an apt description. Hydro Boost is nearly weightless and sinks into the skin quickly, making it an exceptional choice for those with oily or combination skin hoping to avoid looking shiny. The formula also contains dimethicones—ingredients known to make skin look smoother—so it can diffuse the look of skin texture either on bare skin or underneath makeup. "Hydro Boost Water Gel can be used by all skin types since hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin," Engelman explains.

It's worth noting that the formula contains a fragrance that lingers long after it's applied. If you're not a fan of fragrance in your skincare or have super sensitive skin, check out the Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Extra Dry Skin—it's formulated without the added fragrance.

The Results: Lightweight hydration

Thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid and dimethicone, our skin feels noticeably softer after use. If you have skin on the drier side, you might not feel super hydrated, but with that said, Hydro Boost has kept our skin from becoming too dry. Despite its lightness, it seems to soak into the skin and hydrate it from the inside out. 

We wouldn’t recommend this moisturizer for those with severely dry skin or anyone looking for major hydration in colder or drier climates, but for summer weather or oily skin, we think this moisturizer is a solid choice to hydrate without being heavy. It also works well for those with normal skin looking for a morning hydrator that wears well under makeup.

The Value: Right on the money

If you’re browsing the drugstore shelves for a new moisturizer, this one makes a fine choice. It sells at around $17 for 1.7 ounces, which is far less expensive than many other cult-favorite high-end formulations. Engelman agrees that it's absolutely worth the hype. "The formula is effective and contains ingredients that I often tell my patients to look our for in a moisturizer," she explains. "In addition, the brand has done over 30 clinical and research studies—plus clinical trials—for this product and have proven that it strengthens the skin's moisture barrier."

Lightweight Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi
Meet the Expert
  • Dendy Engelman, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at the Shafer Clinic in New York City. She serves as a member of Byrdie's Beauty & Wellness Board. She has published several scientific papers detailing her ongoing advancements and has previously presented at national conventions such as the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery. She also regularly contributes to a number of media outlets and appears on various talk shows.
Final Verdict

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is a lightweight, hyaluronic acid-laden formula that does a great job of keeping skin hydrated. It's often recommended by dermatologists for its efficacy, consistency, and the fact that it works well for all skin types.


  • Product Name Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel
  • Product Brand Neutrogena
  • SKU 07050111047
  • Price $17.00
  • Weight 1.7 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone/vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Dimethiconol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Carbomer, Laureth-7, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, C12-14 Pareth -12, Sodium Hydroxide, Blue 1
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1;4(3):253-8. doi: 10.4161/derm.21923. PMID: 23467280; PMCID: PMC3583886.

Related Stories