This is my first installment of Try Three Things Thursday (which I shall abbreviate to TTTT), when on the first Thursday of every month I will… drum roll… yes… you’ve guessed it folks… try three things! Complete madness, I know.

The point is to compare the same either three similarly priced products or maybe one budget, one middle of the road and one high-end – mix it up basically – and see which one, if any, comes out best. This month, it’s gel moisturisers. With my combination skin, heavy, rich moisturisers tend to make me break out; on the other hand, I still need hydration, especially at this time of year, so I want something light which is also soothing and emollient. And no irritation thank you very much; my sensitive complexion really doesn’t need it.

Here are the three I tested.

From left to right – Darphin Hydraskin Light All-Day Skin Hydrating Cream Gel – Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

Ingredients: 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

First up is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, a simple, no nonsense product at a great price. It contains some decent humectants to keep the skin moisturised and has a silky-smooth texture due to the silicones included. It’s light, matte, oil-free texture is best for combination/oily skin, in my opinion, and though Neutrogena recommends it for extra-dry complexions, I’m not sure this would provide enough moisture. There’s no fragrance to this gel-cream, it caused no irritation to my rosacea and I would definitely purchase it again. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream costs £12.99


Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Silybum Marianum (Lady’s Thistle) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Sucrose, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Trehalose, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Sorbitol, Oleth-10, Tromethamine, Caffeine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydrolyzed Extensin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, PEG-8, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Carbomer, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Red 4 , Yellow 5

Clinique’s Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief definitely has a more sophisticated ingredients list than the Neutrogena Gel-Creme, though they do share a few components known for their surfactant and emollient qualities – which provide moisture, and the mix of silicones – which give that silky smooth feeling to the formulas. Clinique, however, has included antioxidants in their product, like Birch Bark Extract, Lady’s Thistle, Green Tea and Saccharomyces Lysate but, because of the jar packaging, it’s possible that these are rendered useless as soon as you remove the lid. (The Birch Bark Extract can potentially cause irritation due to its astringent properties. It’s never given me a problem, but it’s worth bearing in mind.) There’s also a peptide included along with vitamins C and E.

I like this moisturiser very much and come back to it again and again. The texture leaves my skin smooth and hydrated without stickiness and is gentle enough for my sensitive skin. What I struggle with is the price. It seems to me that this gel-cream does much the same as the Neutrogena Hydro Boost, but at nearly three times the amount for exactly the same 50ml. The ingredients are very similar except for the antioxidants and vitamins, which I get from other skincare products I use, so, I think from now on, I’ll be sticking to the cheaper Neutrogena version. Clinique Moisture Surge Thirst Relief is £34.00


Darphin Hydraskin Light All-Day Skin Hydrating Cream Gel

Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Cetyl Esters, Sorbitan Stearate, Squalane, Tridecyl Stearate, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Cyathea Medullaris Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Dipentaerythrityl Hexacaprylate/Hexacaprate, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethiconol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Geraniol

Finally, housed in yet another jar, Darphin’s contender is a gorgeous, pale green, bouncy cream which smells of freshly washed cotton sheets drying outside on a beautiful spring day. Unfortunately, that’s the problem with this product: the scent. This lovely, cooling gel contains some great soothing, moisturising, skin-conditioning ingredients, some of which it shares with the Clinique and Neutrogena offerings, but then it goes and chucks a load of sensitizing fragrance into the mix. Not just once either. There are over ten fragrance-based ingredients in this cream with the potential to cause massive irritation to the skin. And yes, Darphin Hydraskin Light All-Day Skin Hydrating Skin Gel has a lovely bouquet, but for the sake of my face, I’d rather it didn’t. It’s just such a shame because the texture is splendid, rich yet light (it’s definitely the creamiest of the lot), which leaves your skin feeling comforted and soft. I persevered in using it because sometimes I can handle a little perfume in my products, however, this was too much. After a few consecutive nights of using it my skin felt sore and stingy, so I gave up.

Darphin Hydraskin Light All-Day Skin Hydrating Skin Gel costs £35.00


All in all, I liked all three of these gel-creams for their ability to moisturise without leaving you feeling like a grease-monkey and in terms of texture, they work really well for my dry/oily/combination/godknowswhat skin type. For value and performance overall, I’d say the Neutrogena is the winner. Have you tried any of these? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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