I Tested Neutrogena's Oil-Free Moisturizer and It Got Rid of My Pesky Whiteheads

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4.6

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer

 Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

What We Like
  • Non-comedogenic

  • Oil-free

  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Has fragrance

  • No sunscreen

  • Could be drying

If you're dealing with hormonal breakouts, I recommend giving Neutrogena's Non-Comedogenic Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Face Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid a try—especially on the neck and chest area. 

4.6

Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer

 Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

We put Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

Neutrogena is nostalgic for me. I remember seeing the commercials of Gabrielle Union splashing her brown skin in my teens. I purchased every product she promoted and had great experiences with them. As an adult, I have leaned into more indie skincare brands that are more in line with my ethos and transparent about what they do and don't use in their formulations. These days, fragrance, parabens, and silicones are a big no-no for me, mainly because my skin is sensitive and breakout-prone. 

Like many people, I'm always on the lookout for the next best product to help combat the unwanted residents that pop up on my jawline once a month. Looking back at brands I've used before is often the first place I start when I have a skincare issue to solve. Since I grew up using Neutrogena, their Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer intrigued me because I often use salicylic acid spot treatments with good results. 

Keep scrolling to read more about my experience with this legacy skincare brand. 

Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer

Best for: Acne-prone skin

Uses: Treating acne and moisturizing the skin

Potential Allergens: Fragrance

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid

Byrdie Clean?: No, it has dimethicone

Price: $9

About the Brand: Neutrogena is a drugstore brand founded in 1930 that comes highly recommended by dermatologists. 

About My Skin: Hormonal acne-prone skin with sensitivity to fragrance

I have breakout-prone skin, typically due to hormones or using an aggressive product. Depending on my stress level, diet, and the skincare products I've folded into my routine, a few monthly jawline pimples are a guarantee. My skin is also sensitive to fragrance, so I try to stay away from any products with artificial fragrance. My typical skincare routine is relatively simple: a cream cleanser, vitamin C serum (morning), retinol (at night), and an under-eye cream twice a day. I have been on the hunt for a good moisturizer, but I always end up with clogged pores. 

Surprisingly, the moisturizer left no white residue on my brown skin (with no flashback in photos) and layered on top of my vitamin C serum with ease—no pilling involved.

The Packaging: Hygienic and recyclable

When it comes to moisturizer packaging, hygienic options always, especially when you have acne-prone skin, in my opinion, are a must. I loved that the moisturizer came in a bottle with a pump that you can seal easily after each use. Nearly 75% of Neutrogena bottles are recyclable. However, pumps can be a bit troublesome when it comes to recycling. With that in mind, I recommend removing the pump, rinsing out your bottle, and dropping it into your recycling bin. 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer
 Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

The Feel and Scent: Lightweight and refreshing

The water-based moisturizer is lightweight and glides on the skin smoothly without leaving any residue or tackiness behind. 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer
Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

I've never used grapefruit scented anything, but I loved the scent. I felt an instant mood boost, which makes sense given the studies that prove grapefruit essential oils can help balance moods. For those that aren't into scented products, this could be a turn-off for you as the scent is pretty strong. 

The Ingredients: A breakout busting staple

The powerhouse ingredient in this Neutrogena moisturizer is salicylic acid. In a previous story for Byrdie, Ellen Marmur, MD, of Marmur Medical and MMSkincare explains that the beta-hydroxy acid is a go-to ingredient in skincare because "It works by increasing the amount of moisture in the skin and dissolving the substance that causes the skin cells to stick together. This makes it easier to shed skin cells." Salicylic acid is most commonly extracted from willow bark, but Neutrogena's formula uses 0.5% salicylic acid naturally derived grapefruit extract. 

The Results: Solid, especially in one key area

Surprisingly, the moisturizer left no white residue on my brown skin (with no flashback in photos) and layered on top of my vitamin C serum with ease: no pilling involved. The moisturizer also helped control the oil on my skin. Well, at least I think it did. I applied makeup for a Zoom call and skipped my primer to see how this alone would fare. I noticed that the areas where I get the oiliest (cheeks and t-zone) didn't turn into complete oil slicks. There was an unexpected pleasant perk of using this moisturizer on my décolletage. It zapped a couple of small whiteheads on my chest that had been there for a while after three applications day and night. 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Facial Moisturizer
 Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

The Value: A budget-friendly pick

Neutrogena's strength is its commitment to formulating skincare products that work at budget-friendly price points. For around $9, you get 4 ounces of product. A little goes such a long way, so you won't need to purchase this product very often.

Similar Products: You have options

Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer ($21): This drugstore moisturizer not only has 0.5% of salicylic acid, but the non-comedogenic formula also has a total soy complex to help even skin tone and smooth texture. Depending on where you buy it from you can get it on sale for around $14.

Clean & Clear Essentials Dual Action Moisturizer ($10): This beloved brand is another tried-and-true in the world of drugstore acne treatment. The oil-free, salicylic acid-based moisturizer is an acne-fighting, budget-friendly buy. You can find it on sale for around $6 depending on where you buy it from.

Final Verdict

I highly recommend Neutrogena's Non-Comedogenic Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Face Moisturizer with Salicylic Acid for those who want to try a product that will help clear acne, control oil production, and keep makeup in place. It also works great on the neck and chest areas.

Specs

  • Product Name Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Moisturizer
  • Product Brand Neutrogena
  • Price $9
  • Size 4 fl oz.
  • Ingredients Water, Dicaprylyl Ether, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Neopentyl Glycol Dietheylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Steareth-20, Steareth-2, Neopentyl Glycol Diisostearate, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, BHT, Citrus Grandis (grapefruit) Fruit Extract

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