this thing's incredible

Like Strategist Readers, I Too Buy This £12 Gel Moisturiser on Repeat

Photo: Retailer

If I had to describe my skin-care routine, I’d say I’m impressionable. If a friend or a colleague is excited by something, I’m usually keen to try it for myself. Before lockdown in March, I’d been using the Ordinary’s moisturiser on the recommendation of my friend Sam. But when my supply ran out in April, it was impossible to find it stocked online (it was always sold out on ASOS and Cult Beauty). I’d even set up email notifications to tell me when it was back in stock, but by the time I’d gone online, I missed the drop.

I was looking for an alternative: something affordable that wasn’t a pain to track down. That month, while editing the Strategist’s What Readers Bought feature, I noticed that one thing remained at the top month after month: Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser.

It first appeared in March and has now spent five months on our most-bought list (and of those five, it’s spent three months at No. 1). I decided to follow the wisdom of the crowd after seeing it on sale (£6, down from £12). In fact, I’d spent so long writing about it that I’d grown quite familiar with the product. I knew, for example, it came recommended by experts for dry-skin types, the rosacea-prone, and even pregnant women. I knew that it contained glycerin and hyaluronic acid, meaning it can hydrate skin without the need for emollients, which can make skin feel heavy. It’s both alcohol free and oil free too.

In conclusion, I’m a total convert. I’ve just ordered my third jar of it (one jar lasts me about a month). I really love the gel texture, which is light and soaks into my skin instantly. During the heat wave, I actually kept it in the fridge, and the cooling sensation felt like dunking my head in Tooting Bec Lido. I also really like the fact it’s designed not to clog your pores, as thicker moisturisers (particularly Bulldog) have made my skin feel kind of smothered in the past. My skin feels as hydrated and soft as if I’d worn a sheet mask, and it’s so soothing I’ve even used it to ease the pain of sunburn on the rare occasion I’ve not put enough SPF on. In other words, I finally see why everyone’s buying this stuff every month. It makes compiling the next What Readers Bought piece feel even more dangerous than before — who knows what I’ll end up trying next?

Some other skin-care products we like

CeraVe Moisturising Cream

“I can confidently say I’ve tried nearly everything on the market, from super-whipped, thick creams to high-tech body serums and luxurious oils from natural brands. But nothing is ever quite as good as CeraVe Moisturising Cream,” wrote Strategist contributor Daniela Morosini. After consulting her dermatologist friends (and fellow /r/SkincareAddiction lurkers), she tried CeraVe’s Moisturising Cream and said it handled everything from dry skin to heat rash, and because it’s so affordable, “I feel happy applying it with wild abandon.”

Speaking of /r/SkincareAddiction, this subreddit was where Isobel Lewis first heard of a K-beauty technique that uses acid facial toners to exfoliate the scalp. “Six months on, I’m a convert,” she wrote, having had a persistent dry scalp for two years. “My scalp feels fresh but not sore, and my wash routine remains the same.”

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

I Buy This £12 Gel Moisturiser on Repeat