Long hours under an air-conditioner and rising levels of stress can disrupt the balance of your skin – whether you’ve resumed work at the office or embraced the WFH life. This combination of factors can dry out your skin’s moisture barrier and cause dehydration, which can trigger redness, tightness, and irritation. Some may even experience a series of breakouts on top of that.

Thankfully, there’s a new hydrating skincare product in town that can put these to rest: the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion. To put its hydrating abilities to the ultimate test, we invited 10 readers to try the Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion for five days.

They were tasked to set aside one day to take on the 12-hour challenge, where they would apply the essence in the morning and check in at various times of the day to see if their skin feels just as soft and hydrated as it did hours ago. Spoiler alert: The average verdict was a 4.5-star rating out of 5!

Read on to find out more about the essence and have a look at the in-depth reviews.

About Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion

While most skincare products on the market can certainly boost moisture levels on the surface of your skin, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion is able to enhance your skin’s hydration levels from within. That’s due to its US-patented prebiotic technology and hyaluronic acid pearls, which quench and restore your skin’s moisture barrier effectively.

The essence has a fresh, lightweight texture that absorbs into your skin fast, plumping it up for a glowy, healthy-looking complexion. On top of that, it has a pH level that’s between 5 and 6, which mimics our skin’s optimal pH levels. This rebalances your skin’s pH levels after cleansing and helps to lock in long-lasting hydration too. Coupled with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, it can provide up to 72 hours of hydration!

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion is free of oils, alcohol, and parabens, so it’s great for all skin types – even sensitive, oily, and acne-prone complexions. Simply pour the essence in one hand and press your palms together to activate the hyaluronic acid pearls. Then, pat it gently on your skin, morning and night, right after your cleansing or toning step.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion retails for S$26.90 at all leading supermarkets, Guardian, Watsons, and online on Lazada and Shopee

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion review: 10 readers give their honest opinions

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion
4.5

Summary

All reviewers were impressed with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion’s lightweight yet hydrating formula, unlike other essences they tried in the past. They liked that the essence absorbed quickly into their skin without leaving a greasy residue, and most of them said it locks in hydration for a full 12 hours.

Some reviewers with oily skin even noticed a decrease in sebum production after five days, which meant that the essence helped to balance out their hydration levels. Most reviewers said they would continue using the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion.

Wan Zhen, 26

Skin type: Combination-dry, sensitive
Skin concerns: Textured skin with visible pores and blackheads

Some of the essences I’ve used tend to be too sticky and they don’t absorb well into the skin too. I didn’t experience that with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion. It absorbed quickly and made my skin feel supple and hydrated. My skin felt moisturised but not greasy.

I spend most of my workdays indoors and I don’t sleep in an air-conditioned room at night. For 12 hours, the essence locked in moisture very well and my skin didn’t feel dry or uncomfortable. After using it for two days, my face didn’t feel as dry as it usually does after cleansing, which is pretty impressive!

The essence delivered what it promised, which was to retain the moisture on my skin. The round pearls in the formula burst upon application and absorbed easily into the skin.

Marianne, 27

Skin type: Combination-dry, sensitive
Skin concerns: Dehydrated, textured skin with uneven skin tone

My job requires me to be out and about for long hours throughout the day, so I needed a product that could give my skin lasting hydration. When I first used the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion, my skin felt soothed and refreshed instantly. It’s like a 2-in-1 product, so I used it as a toner and an essence, which saved me a lot of time in the morning.

Even though 12 hours had gone by, my skin still looked glowy and felt hydrated. My makeup also stayed on longer throughout the day. After five days, my skin felt softer and more supple. My textured skin looked smoother and more refined too. The essence kept my skin moisturised for hours on end, and it didn’t feel the least bit greasy.

Jolyn, 29

Skin type: Combination-dry
Skin concerns: Dehydrated, textured skin with uneven skin tone

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion Jolyn 1

I love the lightweight, gel-like texture of this essence. It absorbed within seconds and left no residue on my skin. In fact, it felt really cooling and refreshing. My skin felt instantly hydrated and more supple after using it for the first time.

By midday, the makeup around my T-zone – the nose area, in particular – would typically disappear. However, after using the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion, my makeup stayed put the whole day! Although I was out with my friends the entire day, my skin still felt hydrated and supple after 12 hours.

In five days, my skin texture was smoother and more refined. The essence locks in moisture really well, and it has worked better for me than other essences I have used previously.

Eunice, 30

Skin type: Combination-dry
Skin concerns: Dehydrated, textured skin with uneven skin tone

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion Eunice Before After 1

I was very impressed by how lightweight the essence felt! I didn’t have to worry about it clogging my pores as it was water-based. The scent was pleasantly surprising, although I would have preferred it to be fragrance-free. After using it for the first time, my skin felt supple and looked more hydrated. The essence was also easily absorbed by my skin.

At around the 6-hour mark during the 12-hour test, I was surprised to see that my skin still had a slight glow to it. In fact, it did not feel dry at all. Even at the end of the day, I could tell that my skin was not as dry compared to the day before.

When I used the product on the second night, my T-zone was less oily the next morning. After using the essence for five consecutive days, my face didn’t feel as tight as before and it felt more hydrated. I could tell that my skin looked more glowy!

Kristie, 25

Skin type: Combination-oily skin
Skin concerns: Dull skin with visible pores and blackheads

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion Kristie Before After

When I first used the essence after toning my skin, I noticed its pleasant scent. It glided on smoothly and left a cooling sensation on my skin. The lightweight texture absorbed well too, and my skin looked glowier and more hydrated after.

During the 12-hour hydration challenge, I did my usual skincare routine but swapped in the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion and Water Gel. I sat in for lectures during the day and went to a friend’s house for dinner and returned home late at night. My skin still looked and felt hydrated even though it was well after 12 hours.

After five days, my skin felt softer and more supple. I saw a decrease in sebum production just after the second day. Plus, my skin didn’t feel as dry in the mornings!

Michelle, 25

Skin type: Oily, acne-prone skin
Skin concerns: Textured skin with visible pores and blackheads

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion Michelle Before After

The essence has Neutrogena’s signature scent, which I love. It absorbed quite quickly into my skin and it was not oily or sticky at all. My skin felt hydrated and looked glowier! After the first day, I noticed that my skin didn’t get as greasy as it usually does.

I’ve been working from home for the most part, so I only leave the house to meet my friends or go to dance classes. This essence made my skin feel hydrated all day, from 9am to 9pm. It kept my skin from getting oily throughout the day too, unlike other essences I’ve tried. I really like this product and I will purchase it again after I’ve used it up!

Elyssa, 26

Skin type: Combination-oily skin
Skin concerns: Dull, dehydrated, textured skin with uneven skin tone, visible pores, and blackheads

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion Elyssa Before After

During weekdays, I work at an office full-time, but I’ll head out with my friends on weekends. I was looking for a hydrating product with a lightweight texture that could absorb quickly into my skin and leave a non-sticky finish. It had to feel cooling and refreshing, as well as be able to keep my skin moisturised throughout the day.

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion checked all my boxes! The blue bottle looks so pretty and it comes with an affordable price tag too. When I used it for the first time after cleansing and toning in the morning, my skin felt instantly refreshed. My skin looked and felt fresh at 3pm, and it was still moisturised before I washed my face at 9pm.

The essence didn’t clog my pores or irritate my skin at all. After just three days, my face felt much softer and smoother. It’s almost like I gave my skin a drink of water!

Joelle, 29

Skin type: Combination-oily skin
Skin concerns: Textured skin with uneven skin tone, visible pores, and blackheads

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion Joelle Before After 1

The packaging is nice and simple. I love the sweet, powdery scent the essence has, and it’s very soothing when I applied it on my face. There are tiny pearls in the essence but I didn’t feel it on my skin. When I used it for the first time, my skin felt more hydrated and looked brighter too – an unexpected bonus.

Since I work from home, I did a few house chores in between my work hours. My skin still felt hydrated after 12 hours. Initially, I thought my skin appeared oily, but it was actually a dewy glow because my skin didn’t feel greasy at all. When I used the essence before makeup, it helped my foundation last longer too.

Overall, I’m satisfied and impressed! My skin felt hydrated throughout the day, without feeling like there’s a tacky layer sitting on my skin. I even received compliments from my friends and family members after using this product for a few days.

Eileen, 30

Skin type: Combination-oily skin
Skin concerns: Dehydrated, textured skin with visible pores and blackheads

Some of the essences that I have tried in the past leave a sticky feel after application, but not this Neutrogena one. This essence has a lovely light fragrance and a watery texture that absorbs quickly. My skin felt hydrated and supple after the first use.

I worked from home for the entire day, did some housework, and cooked after work. The essence was able to retain my skin’s moisture and it still felt hydrated after 12 hours. It’s the best essence I’ve tried and it worked really well for my skin type. I didn’t experience any irritation from this product at all.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. The essence was easy to incorporate into my routine and it was incredibly light, so my skin didn’t feel clogged or tacky.

Clariza, 30

Skin type: Combination-oily skin
Skin concerns: Dull, dehydrated skin

I was looking for an essence that has a lightweight texture, non-stick finish, and the ability to keep my skin moisturised throughout the day. Thankfully, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Activating Essence Lotion delivered. When I first used it, I noticed that the product absorbed in seconds and left no residue on my skin. My skin looked dewy and plump right after too.

As for the 12-hour test, my face looked a little shiny after work, but that usually happens after a long day. My skin definitely felt more hydrated, though. After two days, my skin appeared much glowier, and my skin texture looked smoother and more refined. The essence didn’t clog my pores or cause any irritation too.