Jennifer Garner Says This $18 Moisturizer Erases ‘Micro-Lines,’ and My 61-Year-Old Mom Has Used It for Years

Our beauty writer put her mom’s go-to face cream to the test.

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 Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel
Courtesy of Neutrogena.

Since becoming a shopping writer, I’ve received a lot of anti-aging skin-care products. Unfortunately as a 24-year-old, my reviews on wrinkle-smoothing eye and face creams don’t carry much weight, which is why I often ask my 61-year-old mom to test them for me. However, no matter how many pricey formulas I throw her way, she keeps returning to the same under-$20 moisturizer she’s used for years.

TBH, I can’t fault her. With her bright, glowy skin and very few wrinkles, she looks notably younger than her age (people constantly comment how she looks 20 years younger). While I’ve always chalked it up to her oily complexion and good luck, it turns out that there might be more to her go-to drugstore cream than I initially realized. My first tip off? Jennifer Garner, an ambassador for the brand, told InStyle that it “instantly” makes her skin look “fresh and plump and better.” 

In the name of beauty and science, I finally put the Neutrogena HydroBoost Gel Cream to the test, and damn —- the results outperformed even my most expensive creams.

 Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel
Courtesy of Neutrogena.

Buy It: Neutrogena HydroBoost Moisturizing Gel Cream, $18 (was $27),

Neutrogena HydroBoost Moisturizing Gel Cream Key Features:

How I tested: My mom has used this moisturizer in her AM and PM skin-care routine for about four years, but I only gave it a go recently. I used it every morning for a month after applying cleanser and a vitamin C serum

Perfect for: Those with dehydrated complexions, fine lines, and sensitive, oily or combination skin types.

What you’ll love: Hyaluronic acid, the moisturizer’s key ingredient, immediately takes effect, making your skin look plumper, tighter, and brighter thanks to increased water retention. 

Keep in mind: Formulas with hyaluronic acid should always be applied to damp skin in order to pull water inwards. If used on a dry face, this water-binding molecule can actually draw moisture out into the surrounding air, leaving your complexion more parched. 

Neutrogena HydroBoost Moisturizing Gel Cream Review:

For context, I’m a self-aware skin-care snob. Many of my all-time favorite products cost more than $50 and can’t be found in a drugstore. However, when Jennifer Garner says that something makes “micro-lines” — a notoriously tricky issue to manage — “go away,” I take note. “I think we all should be okay with our skin, but I don't think that means we don't want to make it look the best and brightest that it possibly can,” Garner added in the aforementioned interview. 

TBH, my decision to test out this cream was born out of a mistake — during a weekend visit to my parents’ house I forgot to bring one of my dozens of moisturizers. Luckily, my mom pulled out a HydroBoost container from the cabinet where she hoards them in bulk, and I’m so glad I tried it. 

Star ingredient, hyaluronic acid “can significantly improve the way skin looks by hydrating it,” dermatologist Amy Forman Taub, M.D., previously told Shape. Other components like glycerin and olive oil derivatives moisturize and soften your face, and in the case of the latter, soothe inflammation and free radical damage with a boost of antioxidants. Plus, the water base gives this cream a non-greasy texture, so those with oily and combination skin can avoid clogged pores, breakouts, and ‌sebaceous hyperplasia (hard bumps formed by sebum buildup).

My mom has used this best-selling moisturizer religiously every morning and night for nearly half a decade, and says it leaves her skin feeling soft. “It’s light, non-irritating, easy to find, and feels like it just absorbs into my skin,” she told me. Upon first application, I immediately understood what she meant — the texture was light and silky and brought my complexion back to life after a night of sleeping in my dry apartment air. Within two weeks of use, my face looked plumper and more hydrated, an effect I found lasted all day between applications. 

It’s impossible to say whether this moisturizer is the reason behind my mom’s relative lack of wrinkles, but it’s clear that the formula is perfect for her skin as it continues to lose moisture with age. Best of all, you can currently find it on Amazon for just $18,  more than 30 percent off its original price. 

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