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The search for ‘perfect’ skin is a tedious one. Trying out endless products only to toss them aside in the end because it didn’t have the desired effect. I am part of that club for sure. Perfect skin for me is hydrated, soft and bouncy. I, like everyone else, was quick to jump on the water gel bandwagon which promised hydration and reduced transepidermal waterloss through the use of various humectants (retains and preserves moisture in the skin).
Surely these products have to be hydrating – with names like water boost, water mask and hydroboost my skin is going to be positively drowning!
[What do I think?]
Let’s take a look at the ingredients and see what we find…
[Simple Water Boost Skin Quench Sleeping Mask]
Water(Aqua), Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglycoride, Saccharide Isomerate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate beheneth-25 methacrylate crosspolymer, Cetearyl alcohol, Benzophenone-4, Linoleamidopropyl pg-dimonium chloride phosphate, propylene glycol, stearic acid, dimethiconol, cetearyl glucoside, BHT, disodium EDTA, c12-14 pareth-12 ,Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, T-Butyle alcohol, Chlorphenesin, Glucose, Potassium chloride, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate ,Lactic Acid
[Neutrogena Hydroboost Gel Cream (not Water Gel)]
PR-016936 Aqua, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethiconol, Synthetic Beeswax, Sorbitan Olivate, Laureth-7, C12-14 Pareth-12, Polyacrylamide, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Carbomer, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Methylparaben, Benzoic Acid
[Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel Ingredients…for curiosity’s sake]
PR-016935 Aqua, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethiconol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Laureth-7, C12-14 Pareth-12, Polyacrylamide, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Carbomer, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Methylparaben, Benzoic Acid, Parfum, CI 42090
The most blatant difference between the Gel Cream and the Water Gel is the added Parfum and colour to the Water Gel (the last two ingredients). These two are not in the Gel Cream which is why I always suggest to use the Gel Cream and not the Water Gel. There is no need to add perfume and dye to your face! It adds no benefit but can cause irritation. The Gel Cream has 21 ingredients and the Water Gel has 22. The Water Gel is missing Synthetic Beeswax. The beeswax is in there for texture so no direct benefit to skin anyway.
[Superdrug Simply Pure Leave on Water Mask]
Aqua, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Dipropylene Glycol, Allantoin, Sodium PCA, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trideceth-9, Ethylhexylglycerin, Menthyl Lactate, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Boswellia Serrata Gum, Disodium EDTA.
Simple Quench Sleeping Cream has has 33 ingredients. 10 good ingredients according to Incicoder, although not all stated as “goodies” but you can read the descriptions yourself, 7 of which are humectants, one of which is exfoliating. It has silicones and no added fragrance.
Neutrogena Hydroboost Gel Cream has 21 ingredients, 4 beneficial ingredients according to Incicoder, 2 of which are humectants and 2 which are skin barrier repairing. It has silicones and no added fragrance. It is the only product to contain sodium hyaluronate (the salt of hyaluronic acid).
Simply Pure Leave on Water Mask has 19 ingredients, 5 beneficial ingredients according to Incicoder, 4 of which are humectants. It has no silicones and does however have fragrance which I personally prefer to avoid and would advise people to do the same.
A research study comparing the humectant properties of glycerin, hyaluronic acid and silicones found that products that contain glycerin and dimethicone provide the most hydration and can retain it for longer. Followed by hyaluronic acid and silicone cream, glycerin only cream, hyaluronic acid only cream and then silicone only cream. Products with glycerin and/or hyaluronic acid accompanied by dimethicone are the most beneficial at providing and retaining moisture.
So based on this piece of research, which product has the best potential to hydrate and moisturise the skin?
[The Number One Spot goes to…]
Last place goes to Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel (the other one) because it has fragrance and dyes!
Third place goes to Simply Pure Leave on Water Mask because it has added fragrance and on it’s own would not be able to provide and retain hydration and moisture. Although it has a very impressive humectant list, it doesn’t include any silicone or occlusive ingredients. Occlusive ingredients, those that can seal in the moisture from the humectant, would need to be used with this product otherwise TEWL would occur and defeat the whole purpose. Although the directions for this product say to leave it on and then wipe off excess after 10 minutes, it would be better used as a humectant underneath a more occlusive moisturiser (it doesn’t have to be dimethicone). An occlusive moisturiser on top of this that also had hyaluronic acid would add an extra boost of hydration. My advice would be not to use this product on its own and to use a product on top of it or don’t use it at all because it wouldn’t be helpful for your skin. It does also have fragrance, although it is last, but it is a negative of this product.
I am genuinely toiling to decide between the The Hydroboost Gel Cream and Simple Skin Quench. Given that glycerin and dimethicone is more effective than sodium hyaluronate and dimethicone, it could be either of the gels as they both have glycerin and dimethicone. Hydroboost has the added bonus of sodium hyaluronate, however the Simple Quench cream has several other humectants that are beneficial but not researched in that one particular study I looked at. Neither have added fragrance or dyes. I have used both and they feel very similar and leave similar results. My skin was left feeling soft, hydrated and bouncy with the Simple and Neutrogena gels. I recommend them both to help keep your skin looking smooth and bouncy.
First and second place would need to come down to your own personal preference with the other ingredients within the products and the price. Simple Quench tends to come in at about £6.99 and Hydroboost about £12 however it is always half price somewhere. I have never paid more than £6.49 for the Hydroboost. I have tried all three of the products and whilst I wouldn’t recommend the leave on water mask because it is soooo very sticky and tacky, the other 2 are good products.
Have a look at the ingredients and decide yourself what it is you are looking for. Check out the preservatives as they can be a deal breaker for some. If you can’t decide from the ingredients alone, you can afford to buy both and decide for yourself which works best for your skin type.
As always, I hope this has been helpful. Share the love if it has, it would mean a lot. Let me know your experiences by commenting below.
S ❤ x
Ingredients lists taken from Superdrug.com, Simple.com and Boots.com
I haven’t added in an affiliate link for the Leave on Mask because I am not going to openly encourage the sale of an item I personally don’t recommend. If you want to buy it, the link is there so please feel free. The other two items I do recommend so I have placed affiliate links. Running a blog isn’t cheap so every little helps. Thanks!