This bestselling $17 water-gel helped me say goodbye to dry skin days

It feels like water but moisturizes like a rich cream.
woman showcasing neutrogena water gel
Katie Jackson / TODAY
By Katie Jackson

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Bad hair days are terrible. However, I think bad skin days are worse. For me, bad skin means dry skin — especially on my face. Unfortunately, I have naturally dry skin and live in Montana where the air is almost as dry as Arizona's. Fortunately, I found this bestselling $16 moisturizer with 18,500 reviews. Here's why it's worth trying, regardless of your skin type and where you live.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Daily Face Moisturizer

It's an Amazon bestseller in two categories

If you think there are too many moisturizers to choose from in the store, try shopping online. You could surf the web for years and never scroll through them all. That's why it's such a big deal that Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is ranked No. 1 on Amazon's list of Bestsellers in Facial Creams and Moisturizers. With a 4.5-star average rating, it's also ranked No. 1 on Amazon's list of Bestsellers in Skin Care Sets and Kits. In fact, 75% of its reviews are 5-star glowing recommendations. I'm not surprised though, because I know firsthand that Neutrogena makes quality products. Two years ago I felt like I won the how-to-look-younger-in-a-week lottery when I tried its bestselling rapid wrinkle repair cream.

The key ingredient is hyaluronic acid

The key ingredient in this moisturizer is the holy grail of hydrators: hyaluronic acid. There are many reasons dermatologists swear by hyaluronic acid. For starters, it occurs naturally in the human body. While the hyaluronic acid in this moisturizer is made in a lab, it works just as well. Neutrogena describes it as working "like a sponge for dry skin to attract moisture and lock it in."

In my own words, it's like water that doesn't evaporate. Even if I wear foundation or spend the morning in the sun, my skin doesn't look parched by lunchtime. This lightweight gel goes on with a light sheen, and that sheen lasts for hours. Sure, it's slightly more expensive than most drugstore moisturizers. But a little goes a lot further than a lotion would, and one dose in the morning does the trick. (At night I use this serum Kate Middleton reportedly uses.)

It's a gel, and gels work better

Katie Jackson / TODAY

I'm not sure if gels are having a moment or if I'm just now jumping on the gel train. Recently, I traded traditional body lotion for this bestselling body gel because it works so much better. Earlier this year, I swapped out my classic tube of chapstick for this hydrating lip gel with 11,000 reviews Sephora. It only makes sense that a gel would be better for my face too. I like that this moisturizer is a water-based gel, so I don't feel like I'm putting a bunch of chemicals on my face.

Katie Jackson / TODAY

It's also non-comedogenic and oil-free. With oil-based moisturizers, my face has a tendency to look greasy. With this moisturizer, my face just looks fresh. There's even a formula with SPF 15 which is great since I'm currently learning how to surf in Portugal.

Say goodbye to dry skin days

Katie Jackson / TODAY

Since this gel comes in a 1.7-ounce tub, I can pack it in my carry-on. Subscribing and saving on Amazon makes the most financial sense, but as a travel writer who spends a lot of time abroad, I know it's easy to find this moisturizer in other countries. Yes, even in beautiful, sunny Portugal I still have bad days like I do in Montana during the winter. But with Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, I can at least say goodbye to dry skin days. And in the midst of a pandemic, having just a little power over at least one part of my body provides serious peace of mind.

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