Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel vs Gel Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel vs Gel Cream
March 11, 2019 Ellis James
Neutrogena has two moisturizers which look almost identical to each other in their Hydro Boost line. Despite the visual similarities, the water gel and the gel cream are distinctly different products. Both moisturizers are amazing but each suits a particular skin type.

We’ll be looking at the comparative differences between Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream.

The Hydro Boost line is trusted by countless beauty professionals. Once you’ve taken a closer look, you’ll soon understand why.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin, 1.7 fl. oz

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Each Moisturizer Smells Different

The primary difference between the products is the smell.

Neutrogena Water Gel contains fragrance while the Gel Cream is scent-free.

Fragrances are known to trigger a range of allergies and adverse reactions in people with sensitive skin.

If you’re likely to have an allergic reaction, its best you try the Neutrogena Gel Cream.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream to Hydrate and Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, 1.7 oz

Water Gel vs Gel Cream Ingredients

Both products are made up of very similar ingredients, containing a formulation which is designed to deeply hydrate and firm skin. Nonetheless, there are slight differences between the two. Both products use a distinctly different approach to hydration.

There are compounds unique to each type of treatment.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water GelNeutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin, 1.7 fl. oz

Learn more on Amazon


Here are the only compounds you’ll find in the Water Gel that aren’t present in the Gel Cream:

C13-14 Hyaluronate – Hyaluronic acid, a compound similar to the fluids surrounding the joints of the body. It gives our skin a cushioning effect while hydrating deeply and promoting the production of collagen which firms and smooths the skin

Fragrance – Known to trigger allergens

Blue 1 Dye – Slight chance to trigger allergens

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel on Amazon


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream to Hydrate and Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, 1.7 oz

Learn more on Amazon


Components in Neutrogena’s Gel Cream that aren’t present in the Water Gel:

Synthetic Beeswax – Synthetically produced beeswax thickens the oils within the cream and prevents separation

C13-14 Isoparaffin – Isoparaffin acts as an emollient and thickening agent adding to the gel-like attributes of this cream

Dimethicone Crosspolymer – Dimethicone Crosspolymer is a thickening agent and is derived from silicone, silicone derivatives are known to cause problems for people who have acne-prone and oily skin

Chlorphenesin – Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative which is used to protect against bacterial contamination

Laureth-7 – A natural fatty acid acting as a surfactant and emulsifier

Carbomer – A stability agent, no irritants or allergens

Sodium Hyaluronate – Hyaluronic salts work in a similar way to hyaluronic acid but instead they help your body retain water so that your skin keeps its firmness and elasticity


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream on Amazon


What Does This Mean?

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and the Gel Cream have been designed to cater to different skin types.

The hydration and support of the gel cream is far superior to that of the water gel. The water gel’s composition contains no other fortifying agents other than hyaluronic acid itself. The gel cream is full of compounds which nourish the skin while helping it heal back to optimal health.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream to Hydrate and Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, 1.7 oz

Sodium Hyaluronate is extremely water soluble and can reach up to 1000 times its density as soon as it encounters moisture. This also means that it penetrates the deepest levels of your skin much easier than the acid included in Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream on Amazon


The Benefits of Both Products

Both products will plump up your skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.

However, if you want the best long term treatment which has no chance of causing any skin irritation or developing allergic reactions, then the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream is your best bet. Regular use will also increase collagen production.

Hyaluronic treatments also have profound antioxidant properties which help slow the process of aging. The extra chemical compounds in the gel cream help the hyaluronic salts absorb. The process of absorbing hyaluronic acid is not easy, and while exact studies on the efficacy of this product are not available, it should be clear that any help towards absorption is a good thing.

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Should I Switch Treatments?

If you are currently using Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and are not noticing any dryness or irritation then you can safely continue to use this product. However, symptoms such as cracks and poor sebum production will only manifest after extended use.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin, 1.7 fl. oz

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel on Amazon


Neutrogena has a fantastic reputation for high quality products which are as safe as they are effective. But if you want to guarantee that you’ll never see any adverse effects, then invest in their fantastic gel cream. If any dryness manifests, you are having an adverse reaction to the hyaluronic component.

If you prefer the feel of the water gel, then see if a cosmetic professional will let you do a patch test before buying to ensure no redness or irritation occurs.


The Winner

Both products from Neutrogena are great for dry, aging skin and will help support the good health of all skin types but there is an option which we have clearly established to be safer.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream is the winner and one of the best solutions for hydrating and firming skin. Use it before you put on your primer and foundation, for a youthful complexion free from fine lines and wrinkles.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream to Hydrate and Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, 1.7 oz

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream on Amazon


RELATED: What Moisturizer Should I Use with Retin A?

What’s your verdict?

Does this product work well for you? What other Neutrogena products do you love?

We’d love to know in the comments below!

Comments (42)

  1. Jamie Yarbrough 2 years ago

    This is a great article! Thank you for all the details! I have wondered about these products and now I know all I need to know! Loved this!

    • Ola-Ellis-James 2 years ago

      Thanks Jamie! We are thrilled it was useful. We will be doing lots more skincare and beauty articles in the coming weeks 🙂

  2. Shar 2 years ago

    When switching moisturizers i was first looking at the water gel contemplating if this is the one” but i kept my eyes open and saw there was an option for very dry skin so i ended up choosing the gel-cream. I have not tried the water gel at all and love the gel-cream.

  3. Cristy McPherson 1 year ago

    Wonderful article! I’ve been using the water gel formula for a couple of years now and I love it! It goes on light, not heavy like so many other facial moisturizers. I have wondered what the difference was in the gel cream, as that one seems to be more available in my local stores. Great info, thank you! I think I’ll give the gel cream a try next time and see how I like it in comparison.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience of the water gel, Cristy! And you’re very welcome, we’re glad to help!

  4. Siya 1 year ago

    I was planning on trying this hydroboost range this weekend and have beeeen wondering about the difference between these two products and initially was leaning towards the water gel simply cause I have oily skin and was worried that the gel-cream was more “cream” than “gel” which isn’t what I’m looking for. This article explained the difference reallllly well and I’ll definitely go for the gel-creme. Thank you!

  5. Kirsten Y Williams 1 year ago

    The gel cream burned my face immediately. I was very discouraged because I was really hoping it would work however there must be some ingredients in the gel cream that my skin is not happy with. I will try the other water-based gel and see if that works.

    • We’re very sorry to hear that the gel didn’t work for you, oh no! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, it’s good to have various perspectives of using this product!

  6. Nescou 8 months ago

    I’ve been using the water-gel as a nighttime moisturizer during warmer months and like it very much. It’s super lightweight so doesn’t make me feel greasy by morning but still provides enough moisture so my skin feels soft. Also, the scent strongly triggers memories of something a friend used in the late nineties/early aughts. I really want to figure out what product it’s reminding me of. Any thoughts?

    • Ellis James Designs 8 months ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience of the product with us! Unfortunately no product is ringing a bell, any readers out there who have any ideas?

  7. Umme Fairose Mumtarin Siski 7 months ago

    Which one is great for oily skin? Water gel or gel cream?

  8. Riffat Rehan 6 months ago

    Which moisturizer is better to use in winters, hydro boost water gel or gel cream? I have an oily skin, but it remains dry in winters. Please suggest

    • Ellis James Designs 6 months ago

      They’re both good for winter, and the Hyaluronic Acid in both is great in moisturizing oily skin types! But the Gel Cream may have some ingredients that aren’t very friendly to oily skin, so we recommend the Water Gel instead. Hope that’s helpful!

  9. Chynwe Chyma 5 months ago

    Does neutrogena hydro boost water gel/gel cream Lighten your skin?

    • Ellis James Designs 5 months ago

      According to its primary functions, it should help hydrate the skin, not lighten it!

  10. M-R 5 months ago

    On the package of the water gel are all the above listed “components not present” except for the synthetic beeswax and carbomer.

  11. Green 5 months ago

    I do have a combination skin which is prone to blackheads what products can I use on it please

    • Ellis James Designs 5 months ago

      Hi Green, we suggest checking out our posts on best salicylic acid toners and charcoal for the skin!

      • Rabia Shah 5 months ago

        Hi i have sometimes oily and sometimes. Dry skin with acne also what wil b best for my skin water gel or cream plz reply

        • Ellis James Designs 4 months ago

          Hi Rabia. We suggest you go for the Water Gel first since it’s lighter and we don’t want to exacerbate oily skin. It should help hydrate your skin without looking too heavy. Both are non comedogenic so they should be good for acne-prone skin!

  12. Mairah Shahzad 5 months ago

    I have normal skin type . Which one will suit me ? Neutrogena hydro boost gel cream or water gel ?

  13. Leon 4 months ago

    Hi, I’m currently just using the water gel and seem to like it. I have slight rosacea and my skin is slightly sensitive. Although I have not noticed too much irritation I would prefer to avoid fragrance where possible. I have combo skin (leaning more towards the dry side though) so would like something more Nourishing than the water gel but also very blemish Prone! Would the gel cream likely cause me to breakout? Thanks

    • Ellis James Designs 4 months ago

      Hi Leon! It’s a good chance that the gel cream would work for you as well since they have similar formulas, but best to do a test first before proceeding to make extra sure!

  14. Rabia Shah 3 months ago

    Hi i have acne pron skin i brought neutrogena water gel. But is has made my skin very very much dry. Can u plz suggest somthing

    • Ellis James Designs 3 months ago

      Hi Rabia, so sorry to hear this product didn’t work for you. It might be best to try the Neutrogena gel cream instead since it’s formulated for very dry skin. If this doesn’t work for you, perhaps the formulation in the hydro boost line isn’t sufficient for your particular skin concern, so it wouldn’t hurt to try a different gel cream at all!

    • Jaquan miles 2 months ago

      I was Using the gel cream for about a week. I have to say it felt amazing but my skin would later feel a little oily not a lot. I have Combination skin oily/dehydrated skin which is prone to breakout. I wanted to try the gel version which one would work better?

      • Ellis James Designs 2 months ago

        The water gel might work better for you since it’s less heavy, but maybe if you put on a bit less of the gel cream it’ll help the “oily” feeling!

  15. maryum 3 months ago

    Hi.i’m currently using water gel but thinking about switching to gel cream after reaidng your article.i wanted to ask would i still need hyaluronic acid serim if im using gel cream?

    • Ellis James Designs 3 months ago

      Hi Maryum! The gel cream also already has hyaluronic acid in its formula, so you shouldn’t need a separate serum. But if your skin is used to having that extra boost, best to continue using your chosen serum with the gel cream!

  16. Thato 2 months ago

    This was a great article thanks. I have normal to dry skin, which one would you recommend? the Gel-Cream or the Water Gel

    • Ellis James Designs 2 months ago

      Either would work fine, but since the water gel is slightly lighter, might want to try that out first!

  17. Taylor 1 month ago

    I love this article and normally use the water gel and it works wonderfully! I accidentally switched to the gel cream and I had an immediate allergic reaction with a burning dry face. Just a heads up to anyone and will be switching back to the water gel one!

    • Oh no, and thank so much for sharing your experience for someone who might have the same issue!

  18. Aissha 1 month ago

    Hi dear!! Great review 🙂👍 can we use vitamin c serum with hyaluronic acid and then layer it with Neutrogena hydro boost cream???

    • Hi Aissha! Hyaluronic acid and vitamin c are commonly paired together (just like the serum you mentioned) and since the Hydroboost Cream has hyaluronic acid in its formulation and is a hydrating moisturizer, it ought to be fine to use them together. But always do a patch test first, and quit using if any reactions occur!

  19. Samina 2 weeks ago

    Hey! I have a super oily, sensitive and acne prone skin, which facewash options do i have?

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