Thursday, 20 October 2016

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Describe the brand in five words.
Affordable. Chemist/Drugstore. Simple formulas.

What is it?
'Cleanser developed for even the most sensitive and dry skins.'

Who is it for?
It says 'ideal for dry and sensitive skin' but I wouldn't go quite that far. All skin types except really dry and really sensitive.

What’s in it?
Water, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, polyglyceryl-10 laurate, ethylhexylglycerin, cetearyl glucoside, caprylyl glycol, carbomer, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol

What's not in it?

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
Not really, but as always, you can be allergic to anything.

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?

Tested on animals in home country/EU/sold in territories that advocate testing?
Yes (probably)/No/Yes**

How does it smell?

How does it feel on the skin?
It's faintly creamy, like a runny cream-gel.

How do you use it?/Where to use in your routine?
Apply to dry skin, or wet skin if you prefer, massage in, flannel off.

Does it remove makeup?/1st or 2nd cleanse?
No it doesn't. 2nd cleanse or AM cleanse, hence the 'can be used on damp skin'.

How long did I test it for?
I've had it for 2 weeks.

How much is it? /Size/Approximate cost per usage?
Big. 12ozs for $9.49. Will last ages.

What’s good about it?
This is the first cleanser of this nature I have tried in a long time that has not left my skin feeling like a shrivelled up prune. It is fairly gentle, although I would stop short of saying I could use it every day without dryness becoming an issue.
My skin felt comfortable after use, it was soft and not parched. If you were particularly oily/combination I think you would like the effects of this.
In essence, this is definitely a suitable alternative to Cetaphil. Similar price bracket/claims/distribution/packaging/minimal ingredients and yet this is superior, if only due to the lack of sls, although for those of you concerned with them, it is also paraben free.

What’s not so good about it?
I would not describe this as suitable for very dry or eczema-prone skin, as it says on the bottle. It will be too harsh, regardless of the label.

Works well with?
Anything, it's a cleanser.

What’s the website like?
Good for information, but the product would no doubt be bought from huge drugstores/Target etc.

Would I purchase/repurchase?

Do you need it?
If you use Cetaphil, yes.
If you have normal/combination/oily/slightly dry skin, yes.
If you have really dry or really sensitive skin, I would stick with balms and milks.

Similar products?

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is available from, and

**Neutrogena is owned by Johnson & Johnson, they are made in the USA, which has not banned testing, sold in the EU, which has, and sold in China, which requires it on products sold into the country.

*This post contains some affiliate links. If you are happy to click on them and support the blog, thank you very much. If you would rather not, just google the product. It's all good. See my full disclaimer here: The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.


  1. Caroline,
    Between this one and CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser what's your pick?

    1. They're very similar. I'd honestly go by what's available near you x

  2. Almost bought this last week but opted for the naturals fresh variety instead. Other reviews mention this doesn't lather well, and I am partial to cleansers that lather easily. Also, I like my cleansers to be efficient makeup removers. Looking forward to your review of the naturals cleanser. I may try this one someday since you gave it your stamp of approval ;)

    1. Step away from too much lather Disa! ;)
      Will report back in the Naturals. X

  3. I bought this after my dermatologist recommended it. I have very sensitive, oily/combination skin. YMMV but sometimes I get a burning sensation from cleansing with this product that I don't get from others like CeraVe.
    It's okay, nothing special IMO.

  4. Hi Caroline,

    Is there a budget friendly cleanser that you *would* recommend for very dry skin?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Lieke,

      I'm not Caroline, but as I've hit my late 20's early 30's my skin did a huge shit to the very sensitive and reactive side. Two great budget options I've found that are also friendly to the dry/reactive/sensitivity I now have are:

      Good Things Mankua Honey Creamy Cleanser and Earth Science Fruit Oil Cleanser. Both are under 10 USD, and you can typically find in store or online.

      I hope that helps!


    2. Where do you live Lieke? If you're in the UK try Una Brennan's oils from Boots. x

  5. Hi Caroline. Tks for the great work. I've learnt so much from your blog. Still struggling with my very oily skin though. I've started a new routine by including things I've learnt here but I feel like I couldn't control my oil production yet!! And my guess is I'm with the wrong moisturiser. Would you have tips for a good oil control (perhaps matifying although I know you're not a big fan of mat hehe) moisturiser?
    I double cleanser (pm), using ta key the day off and a gentle Cleanser afterwards,
    Acid toning with beauty aid pads,
    1% retinol paulas choice (pm)
    Light serum (vichy)
    Moisturising with several samples to try to find a good one. So far no success but I've tried herbology balance me, paulas choice gel for sensitive skin, kiehls ultra light (tried the gel and lotion), kiehls midnight recovery (to give oils a try), clinique prep gel. Nothing, nothing works.
    Ah. and twice a week 2% salicylic acid exfoliating (paulas choice) and once a week a clay mask (vichy)
    Is there something very wrong in this routine?
    Am I putting too much stuff on my skin? Why does it shine so much???

    Thanks a lot!
    Love from a Brazilian living in the Netherlands (aka oily skin in need of hydration for upcoming winter hehe)

    1. I have a similar routine and the exact same issue. By noon my face is so oily you could warm me up and fry an egg. The Shine Stopper from Paula's Choice helps a bit when I remember to use it, but I've yet to find a daily moisturizer that combats the shine.

    2. While Caroline gets back to you I'll just say I have combination skin and used the Alpha-H balancing moisturiser and found it excellent in terms of oil control. On me it was a little 'too oil controlling' so I stoped using it but if you have very oily skin I'm guessing it'll work beautifully. Not the nicest smell I tell you, but the effect was great and I think it has acids in it because my skin cleared up really nice from it too and the blemishes/pimples were gone properly!

    3. Hi Estela, I would really recommend you try January Labs 'Moisture Balancing Lotion; I have combination to oily skin and it has really been a god-send for me. Not mattifying either! It's good value at £21 for 50ml and I believe it is on offer over at cultbeauty at the moment.

    4. I find anything labelled for 'oily skin', anything 'mattifying' will disrupt the balance so I steer clear and look for 'hydrating', 'radiance'. I have your typical oily skin that always had a slick on it by lunch time but since nurturing with good hydrating serums and moisturizers and exfoliating properly HIron's style my skin moved on from 'shine' to 'radiant' and my makeup stays put. Again I stay away from the word matte. Shine stoppers give me the shudders these days. I started with L'Occitane serums and moisturizers and still can't fault them although I've tried Kate Somerville and am presently trying Dr Dennis Gross. I like them all and can recommend. Exfoliating 'Hiron's style' is key. I'm using retinol reface and liquid gold at the moment. Also the nip & fab pads. I alternate the pads with L'Occitane's hydrating toner.

    5. Estela try the Bioderma moisturiser I just put on the blog, the tube one for you. And the readers above are right, try January Labs!

  6. When we leave the EU, does that mean we will see an influx of animal tested products?

    1. Hi Jess, I hope it doesn't and it doesn't have to but I guess if we buy the stuff then it will, flim'n brexit or not. For the record, I'm not some kind of tree hugging nutter who slathers olive oil on should see my cupboard....I'm a skincare junkie!

    2. Hi Jess,

      I'm over here in the US, and I've found there are quite a few brands that don't test on animals. You do have to look sometimes, but more often than not brands are making it easier to see the info on their sites and packaging.

  7. A gremlin entered my phone as I pressed "send" so at the risk of this posting appearing twice.......
    There are a zillion products out there that don't test on animals and yes probably everything has at some point but this one does test on animals so even if this product did all my housework for me, it would still be a VERY big no from me!

    1. Where do you live Mags? If you're in the EU it is not tested. If you're worried about China though, then that's another matter....

  8. Finally the drugstore starts offering products that are free of SLS. It was about time.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  9. Great post! This cleanser looks good.
    Caroline, is there ANY way I could get your opinion on my current skin care 'palette'?, tell you the products here, send you a picture on Instagram, etc? Most products I'd say have the green light from you, but I feel like something is lacking, deeper exfoliation being one. I have deep congestion and some whiteheads deeper thab the surface that are not going away with what I have and I went for a facial recently but the girl who did it is not convincing me with what she recommended and didn't like the facial there anyway honestly. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Mafaz, I'm sorry I'm swamped but if you tag me on your routine on Instagram I'll always try and jump in. Please bear with though as it's not always possible to get back to everyone.

  10. Hi do you know if this product is available in the uk? Thanks xx

  11. Why does Caroline never reply? It's so annoying. She has to be one of the slackest YouTube/bloggers out there. She has time to post loads of meaningless Crap on her Instagram but can't respond to people who genuinely ask for her help? Seems she's all about the money these days

    1. Oh where to begin...
      i was going to post something about my 5 jobs and how I don't blog/vlog full-time but I guess that doesn't matter if I don't get back to you and your needs IMMEDIATELY.
      As you're clearly not following me and my 'meaningless crap' on Instagram anymore, I thought I'd remind you here that it would be hard to be 'all about the money' when talking about the blog because I don't do sponsored content, but if you mean I'm 'all about the money' by working my various jobs, getting paid and you know, feeding my kids, then yeah, I'm definitely all about that money thank you.
      I'd say that you had touched a nerve were it not 22:45 on a Saturday evening and I was sitting at my computer answering as many comments as possible before I go to bed, but instead I'll just call you what you are, an asshole, and carry on responding to the 150+ comments I receive EVERY. DAY.
      Bite me.

    2. What a magnificent response!

      And I'm not expecting a reply to this comment ;)

    3. Fair play Caroline, Taffi88 grow up and get over yourself..

    4. That made my day! You are brilliant, C. Hirons.

    5. Was that post sponsored by Bite Beauty? Just kidding! That was so awesome! I love reading the comments, but anyone who has followed you for more than 5 minutes knows how insanely busy you are. I reference something I have learned from the blog or vlogs on an ALMOST DAILY basis. My skin at 51 is the best it has ever been and it is obvious to anyone paying attention that you give alot of yourself to clients and readers. Thank you!

  12. Prior to reading this, I recently bought this for my tween daughter as her first cleanser. She's absolutely in love with using it and it has treated her skin very nicely. :)