Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser


Hydro Boost
— Cleanser

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Product Review by Noema

Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Cleanser is a water-based gel cleanser, targeted for sensitive skin types due to its hypo allergenic and soap-free properties. Choosing a cleanser is a really essential task – it’s the first step of your routine that completely cleans your face and prepares you for your whole skincare routine. There are so many types on the market that target various skin conditions and types, however the usual three are gel, cream and foam.

Gel cleansers are usually not as foaming as foam cleansers, and not as creamy as cream cleansers. They have a lighter consistency, that ensures a milder cleanse, ideal to not stripping the skin’s natural oils. Generally, they are suitable for more normal to combination skin types. If the skin condition is sensitive, this product will need to be patch tested regardless of the dermatological testing, as individuals may find some reactions to the ingredients used.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Product Review by Noema

Brand integrity

Neutrogena is a part of the Johnson & Johnson family, and begun in the 1930s as a small specialty cosmetic company. The relationship between Neutrogena and dermatologists gave Neutrogena a competitive advantage in the market, and quite quickly gained a unique acceptance by the medical profession.


The brand has a NeutragenaMD channel that offers research and resources for skin conditions, and topical articles to inform consumers on their skin health. The promotion of their products aligns with this portal.


The brand doesn’t disclose much information about their environmental impact, only that they do not animal test unless the government or particular laws require it to be done.

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First impressions

The cleanser has a subtle, yet fresh fragrance to it, although unidentifiable from the ingredients listed.

The texture is a lightweight gel consistency, providing smaller amount of foam to that of a foaming cleanser. It has a silky lather to wipe away dirt, oil and makeup.

Gel cleansers are particularly cleansing for normal or combination skin types, depending on whether your skin can withstand the formulations. Gel cleansers offer a milder cleanse to foaming cleansers, which is great news in keeping the natural oils in your skin. Gel cleansers also work best on an already semi-wet face, therefore are suitable for showers.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Product Review by Noema

Ingredient watch

read our full Formulation Analysis

The Good

Glycerine, a plant-derived substance that reduces loss of moisture.

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, a naturally occurring molecule with water-binding and water-attracting properties.

The Questionable

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, a foam booster, an antistatic agent and a thickener.

Disodium EDTA, a preservative and a stabiliser.

Phenoxyethanol, a common ingredient linked to allergic reaction, eczema and toxicity in the nervous system.

Ethylhexylglycerin which could be considered a safer alternative to your average paraben.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Cleanser Product Review by Noema

Packaging review

Bottle: PET- See more about PET and its impact

Neutrogena Hydro Boost bottle is made with No 1 plastic, also known as PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate).  

We wish it was as easy as reading the bottom of the bottle, however when recycling, we need to identify all the parts to ensure they are recyclable, including the pump and its compartments, the plastic label and its adhesive.


Formulation full analysis

The Good

Glycerin is an odourless, colourless, viscous liquid known as a humectant – a substance that reduces the loss of moisture, hence its ability to moisturize and hydrate effectively. The way that Glycerin can do this is by drawing moisture from the air around us and help keep it in the skin, essentially like a sponge that pulls water to the outer skin layer. Once Glycerin is applied, it also has the ability to signal superficial skin cells (on the surface) to mature more rapidly, and thus increasing cell turnover for fresher, softer skin.


Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, also known as Sodium Hyaluranate, is a naturally occurring molecule within your body’s tissues, especially the ones in your face. Its water-binding and water-attracting properties fill up the spaces between collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, resulting in hydration and more youthful looking skin. Hydroluzed HA has been broken down into smaller molecules, which is actually less effective than Hyaluronic Acid. It’s worth noting that the ingredient is the last on the list, meaning it is present in the least amount compared to other ingredients.

The Questionable

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine is an inner salt derived from the fatty acids of coconut oil. It acts as a foam booster, a surfactant and a thickener. In a cleansing gel such as the Hydro Boost, it would be the main ingredient that foamed the product when in contact with water. It’s one published study regarding the safety of the ingredient stated that it is similar to that of Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which is a strong skin allergen. Due to the study being the only one of its kind, and not even made public, the data is inconclusive on whether this ingredient is safe or harmful. No history of side effects or warnings means that there is no side effects of it being safe either. If you suffer from sensitives, or skin conditions, we recommend avoiding this ingredient.


Disodium EDTA is a really concerning in any cosmetic product. Usually, it’s included as a preservative, to enhance the foaming action or to stabilise the ingredients used. Because this toner doesn’t have a foaming texture, we can assume the first and latter. The primary reason we can’t get on board with this ingredient is that it is a “penetration enhancer”. That might sound like it’s doing its job quite well, but in fact, it is disrupting the surface of skin cells for other chemicals to penetrate easier. This includes the preservatives and chemical additives in the product, as well as the chemicals in your environment. Disodium EDTA has the ability to bind to metals dissolved in our shower water, which isn’t something we want penetrating further than the surface of our skin.


Phenoxyethanol is one of those ingredients we would see right at the bottom of the list of many products, and probably don’t think twice about it… What’s the harm in one little long word in the mix of all these beautiful botanical ingredients? The truth is, this bad boy has been linked to many allergic reactions and skin conditions such as eczema, and toxicity in the nervous system, particularly in infants. The European Union has classed it as an irritant, and Japan has restricted the ingredient. Juxtaposed to this, The Scientific Committee of Consumer Safety (SCCS) has deemed the chemical safe to use as a preservative if concentration does not exceed 1.0%. However when taking into consideration reapplying the same product, as well as many other products on the bathroom shelf, we may be applying and absorbing more than what we think.


Ethylhexylglycerin – is it as dangerous as it sounds? It’s important to know the benefits and risks of every ingredient and understand how it can affect you. We know that parabens are horrible chemicals used in products, and sadly, that they are the most effective preservatives going around. Ethylhexylglycerin may not be as effective as a paraben, but it sure as hell is safer and less detrimental to your health than them. Although the ingredient is labelled as a preservative, it is “natural” in that it is derived from Glycerin. There have been some studies to show this ingredient has been found to be an irritant, so even if it’s a little better for you than the rest, we still don’t recommend it to put on your body.



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