After reading how this Neutrogena product is a total dupe for the Belif Aqua Bomb I had to try for myself. ​Mila got me onto the Belif brand, but I wanted to search for something a little more wallet friendly. 

Option 1: Drugstore Edition

Average Rating: 4.4/5 with 433 Reviews on Ulta

$20 for 1.7 oz
After reading how great this is all over beauty blogs I thought I would give it a try. I saw this highly recommended it for oily skin from several beauty vloggers. Along with the price and  Hyaluronic Acid to boot I gave it a solid try for 4 weeks.Here is how this product is described on Ulta’s webiste:

“Introducing Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, a refreshing, lightweight water gel that instantly quenches and continuously hydrates skin. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, it boosts hydration and locks it in so skin stays hydrated, smooth and supple day after day. Applies effortlessly, absorbing quickly into skin without leaving behind an oily or greasy feel. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel helps: Instantly Quench Skin Contains Hyaluronic Acid, Naturally Found in Skin Clinically Proven to Keep Skin Hydrated for 48 Hours Oil-Free Dye-Free Fast-Absorbing Non-Comedogenic Ideal for All Skin Types Hydro Boost hydrates skin through an approach of replenishing water and rebuilding skin’s barrier, leveraging two key ingredients: Purified Hyaluronic Acid- Naturally found in skin, it delivers pure boost of hydration. It acts like a sponge for dry skin cells, absorbing up to 1000 times its weight in water and progressively releases water back into skin, keeping skin hydrated and supple throughout the day. Olive Extract- Known for its protective, moisturizing and anti-oxidant qualities, it is a complex combination for fatty acids, which is similar to skin’s natural moisture shield. It integrates into skin barrier, forming a structure that protects skin from excessive moisture loss. It also helps leave skin feeling soft and smooth without tackiness.”

Okay so that is a lot of info for a product. Here are my honest thoughts  after a long trial.

1. My skin is so sensitive and this product was wonderful for that.
2. I did not break out which is a damn miracle.
​3. The price point and how much product you get.
4. It did balance out my oily skin. I did not have to blot as much as usual and its summer people!
5. Pores were improved.
1. I was disappointed that my skin did not feel super hydrated like claims and reviews on Ulta. My skin drank this up quickly and definitely was not dry, but not super soft as it claims.
2. It is funny they use the words “smooth without tackiness” because literally my first thought after putting this on is “man this is tacky”.  It feels like a sticky primer is on my face.
3. Has parabens, phylates, sulfates, and definitely not green beauty.
4. You have to use a decent amount of product.


Option 2 High-End Retailer:

Average Rating: 4.5/5 with 1,556 Reviews on Sephora
$38 for 1.6 oz
This was my go to water gel for a good 6 months until I tried the Neutrogena. The only reason I stopped using was to see if the other water gel was a true dupe. We even posted last year how much we loved this product here. Here is how the product is described on Sephora’s website:“Which skin type is it good for? ✔ Normal ✔ Oily ✔ Combination What it is: A lightweight gel-cream that floods the skin with a rush of refreshing hydration and minimizes the appearance of pores for soft, smooth, supple feel. Solutions for: – Dryness – Enlarged pores – Dullness and uneven texture If you want to know more… Aqua Bomb is an ultralightweight, mineral oil-free gel-cream that instantly cools and refreshes skin while providing intensive hydration. This formula contains a blend of apothecary herbs, including antioxidant-rich lady’s mantle, which helps neutralize skin-damaging free radicals, improves skin elasticity, and minimizes the appearances of pores. This refreshing cream is formulated to ‘burst’ when applied, releasing a flood of weightless moisture onto skin, and then absorb completely for a healthy, smooth, supple appearance. What it is formulated WITHOUT: – Parabens – Sulfates – Phthalates”

After using this for half a year these are my genuine thoughts:


1. This feels amazing on the skin.

2. My skin drank it up and felt ultra soft without being oily. This was in winter months too when my skin is combination but still more on the oily side.

3. It is formulated with out all the nasty stuff parabens etc

4. A little goes a very long way

5. No breakouts or clogged pores.

6. My skin instantly plumped up like I just put on a sheet mask.

7. No tackiness what so ever. 


1. The amount in the jar and price.

2. I did not see any difference in my pore size.

Final Thoughts:

Is this product and exact dupe? No, but its close. I will finish the jar because I paid for it, but after I will spend the extra $18 dollars and buy Belif Aqua Bomb again. Yes the quantity is smaller, but the product moves more. In my opinion it lasts the same amount of time. If it wasn’t for the weird tacky texture I would be all about the Neutrogena Water Gel. Another serious con is the use of parabens, phylates, and sulphates. Alas, I can’t get over it. 

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