Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel vs Gel Cream – Which is Better?

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

Neutrogena has two moisturizers which look almost identical to each other in their Hydro Boost line. The Hydro Boost line is trusted by countless beauty professionals, and works with many skin types. Once you’ve taken a closer look, you’ll soon understand why this line is so popular, especially the two moisturizers we’re talking about today.

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Despite the visual similarities, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream are actually distinctly different moisturizers. Both are amazing, but each suits a particular skin type.

Has your skin felt a bit dry recently over the past few weeks? These two contenders of Neutrogena’s most popular facial moisturizer might be able to help. Let’s explore the difference between Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream below!

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream Moisturiser 50 ml Unique Hylauronic Gel Matrix

Table of Contents

Water Gel vs Gel Cream Comparison Table

Consistencylightweight, gel-like texture, absorbs quicklyslightly thicker and richer texture
Moisturizing Abilitieslighter moisturizerextra nourishment and hydration
Ingredientshyaluronic acid, fragrance, dyehyaluronic acid, synthetic beeswax, thickeners
Skin Typesnormal to oily skindry or combination skin

Water Gel vs Gel Cream Fragrance

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 types.

If you’re likely to have an allergic reaction, its best you try the Neutrogena Gel Cream. Since its formula has no known scented ingredients, it shouldn’t aggravate your really sensitive skin or cause any issues usually associated with this skin type.

Water Gel vs Gel Cream Color

It is important to note that these moisturizers come in packaging that are very similar-looking. However, the creams inside look quite different.

The Water Gel has a light blue color. Meanwhile, the Gel Cream has a white color.

If your skin reacts to coloring in moisturizers, it may be important for you to remember this.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Gel-Cream Face Moisturizer to Hydrate & Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, Oil-Free, Fragrance-Free, Non-Comedogenic & Dye-Free Face Lotion, 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. They also don’t cause any outright allergic reactions from sensitive skin types, and they’re good for oily skin types as well.

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.

More details below!

About Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin, Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic Face Lotion, 1.7 fl. Oz
Buy on Amazon

Ingredients Unique to the Water Gel Moisturizer

  • C13-14 Hyaluronate – Hyaluronic acid, a compound similar to the fluids surrounding the joints of the body. Hyaluronic acid gives our skin a cushioning effect while hydrating deeply and promoting the production of collagen which firms and smooths the skin and the skin’s surface. Did you know that hyaluronic acid is found naturally in your skin, tissues, and eyes?
  • Fragrance – Known to trigger allergens, especially if you have sensitive skin
  • Blue 1 Dye – Slight chance to trigger allergens but might be increased depending on your sensitive skin
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel on Amazon

About 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
Buy on Amazon

Ingredients Unique to the Gel Cream

  • 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 (or sodium hyaluronate) 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. This is also how it keeps skin hydrated. Sodium hyaluronate helps restore skin’s natural barrier by keeping it moisture-locked and skin feels extremely nourished.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream on Amazon

Water Gel vs Gel Cream Hydration

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and the Neutrogena Hydro Boost 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 to keep skin hydrated. The gel cream is full of compounds which nourish dryer skin while helping it heal back to optimal health.

The Gel Cream’s composition far better attracts moisture for long lasting moisturizing power, combating intense dryness.

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 Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Face Moisturizer Gel-Cream to Hydrate and Smooth Extra-Dry Skin, 1.7 oz
Buy on Amazon

Water Gel vs Gel Cream Benefits

Both products will plump up your skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Both mositurizers are also oil free that offer intense hydration power that won’t clog pores.

You can apply both to either dry or wet skin.

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. This is the option more suitable to dryer skin.

Hyaluronic treatments also have profound antioxidant properties which help slow the process of aging. These treatments can help with fine lines and wrinkles. 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.

Neutrogena water gel or gel-cream?
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Should I Switch Moisturizers?

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. After all, its formula doesn’t contain skin and eye irritant ingredients.

Hopefully it also doesn’t do anything bad for your skin, such as clog pores or cause even more extra dry skin. However, symptoms such as cracks and poor sebum production will only manifest after extended use.

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.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin, Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic Face Lotion, 1.7 fl. Oz
Buy on Amazon

Which Neutrogena Hydro Boost is Better

Both the Water Gel and Gel Cream from Neutrogena are great for dry skin, sensitive skin, or aging skin. These moisturizers will help support the good health of all skin types.

But there is an option which we have clearly established to be safer. In the Hydro Boost Water Gel vs Gel Cream debate, we do have a winner for its performance on the skin’s surface.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream is the winner and one of the best solutions for hydrating and firming skin. If you have severely, extra dry skin, this is your best bet. 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
Buy on Amazon

RELATED: What Moisturizer Should I Use with Retin A?

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Line – What’s Your Verdict?

Neutrogena is a brand well-loved by dermatologists, with skincare that can cater to even very sensitive skin. The water gel and gel cream are two affordable and loved products that you can certainly try.

Do you have extra dry skin or sensitive skin? Does the Hydro Boost line work well for you? Which is your pick in the water gel vs gel cream debate? What other Neutrogena products do you love that are in your beauty routine?

We’d love to know in the comments below!

Meanwhile, check out more posts on the blog:

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel vs Gel Cream FAQs

What is the difference between Hydro Boost Water Gel and Gel Cream?

Both products aim to hydrate the skin but the main differences between the Hydro Boost Water Gel and the Gel Cream are the consistency, the color, the fragrance, and for whom the moisturizing abilities are meant for,

Can I use Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel as a moisturizer?

The Hydro Boost water gel is one of Neutrogena’s most popular moisturizers in their Hydro Boost line, so yes!

Can I use Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream everyday?

According to Neutrogena, it is safe to use the gel cream everyday.

Is Neutrogena gel cream good for oily skin?

Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost gel cream can be used for oily skin, but due to the emollients and thickeners in the ingredients, the gel cream is more meant for dry to combination skin. The water gel might suit oily skin better.

Which Neutrogena Hydro Boost is best for oily skin

The water gel is a better choice for oily skin compared to the gel cream because it is a lighter moisturizer. Both can be used by people with oily skin, though, as they are non comedogenic and won’ clog pores.

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  1. Hello, I have combination skin type . Which one will suit me ? Neutrogena hydro boost gel cream or water gel ?

  2. Thank you thank you so much for sharing such detailllllled comparison.
    Bless you.
    I hv ordered the Gel Cream thru a friend recommendation n now yr article confirms it, hope my skin behaves n can adjust to it.
    Tks agn.

  3. You’re welcome, Sarita!

    If you have normal to dry skin, probably best to go with the gel cream, if you’re looking to really hydrate. You shouldn’t have a problem with the cream version either, though, if that’s what’s readily available. You should be able to use both at night without problems.

    As for face wash and sunscreen, what are your goals for these two products (apart from cleansing and sun protection)?

  4. Thank you so much for this article. It was very helpfu. I have been searching for the difference between the gel and cream. Finally found an answer for this. Thank u so much. I would also like to get a suggestion from your end as i have a normal skin in the sense sometimes dry but not that dry and rarely oily. Can u please suggest what should i go for gel or cream. I would also like to know which face wash should i use as well as a sunscreen for my skin. If gel or cream can i use it at night too.

    Would appreciate if u can suggest me on the same.

  5. The Water Gel is much lighter, so it might benefit you better since your primary concern is oily skin. If there are any signs of breakouts, you can stop using it since the fragrance might be affecting you, or maybe the product just isn’t for you. Personally I have combination skin (oily + dry + sensitive) and I use the Water gel, it doesn’t break me out. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi, which one from these 2 should I use? I personally like light moisturizer because I have an oily skin. But I also have acne prone and very sensitive skin. I want to use Water Gel but I am worried it might cause irritation because I contain fragrance. Though Gel cream is fragrance free, it is for dry skin. I have oily skin. Which one will suit me?
    For cleanser, I will use either cerave hydrating or foaming cleanser. I don’t want to use salicyric acid. So which neutrogena hydro boost water gel or cream gel will suit with my skin and cleanser (either hydratin/foaming). Thanks in advance.

  7. Hey Kishani, might wanna try the water gel since it’s thinner in consistency, but take note that it can still be quite thick compared to the average moisturizer. It’s just a matter of letting your skin absorb it and being mindful of how much you put at once. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi I’m a person who sweats a lot. I usually don’t use much face cream. But thought to use now as I turned 50. Pls tell me gel cream or water gel is better for me as my face sweat a lot. Thanks

  9. Both should be all right but if you want the extra boost for dry skin, might be a good idea to go for gel cream!

  10. I have a dry skin with hyperpigmentation. Which one will suit me ? Neutrogena hydro boost gel cream or water gel ?

  11. Actually I initially used the water gel it’s really good the only problem I faced with it was that I needed to apply it around 3times a day also whenever I applied it I would get slight burning or itching sensation near my cheeks as the skin towards my cheeks is dry so I decided to switch to gel cream I applied it and I hope it works on my skin

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

  13. 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!

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

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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?

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

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

  21. 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!

  22. 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?

  23. 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!

  24. 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

  25. 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!

  26. 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

  27. 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!

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

  29. 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

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

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

  32. 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!

  33. 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

  34. 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?

  35. 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?

  36. 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!

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

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

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

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

  43. 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!

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