July 9, 2018

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.
4 stars out of 5

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly Review swatches

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly ($28) is a new oil-free water jelly moisturizer that’s an ideal pick to add to your Summer regime if you tend to run oily or shiny during the warmer weather.

As you know I chronically complain about drier skin but when the warmer weather hits I tend to get oily and shiny which means I like to go a little lighter with my skincare. Not to mention when it’s hot outside no one wants to wear a heavy moisturizer! I always feel like gel moisturizers are ideal for the Summer months but it is so difficult finding one that doesn’t contain alcohol or heavy fragrance! Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly manages to keep alcohol and fragrance completely out of the formula yet still hydrates very nicely and leaves skin smooth, soft, and shine-free.

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly arrives in 4.2 oz clear square pump bottle (smaller sizes are available should you like) that looks exactly like the Dramatically Different Moisturizer packaging. I think my “real moisturizer” growing up was Dramatically Different Moisturizer! I bet it was yours too! The one disturbing thing about this is the fact it is a clear bottle so you’ll want to tuck it into a cabinet or drawer if you have a lot of windows around so it isn’t exposed to light.

Needless to say the reason that Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly intrigued me was that I had such great success with Clinique’s Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate. I figure Clinique was well equipped to relieve yet another get gel moisturizer my way after that. And I was right because I quite like this formula a lot and you likely will too if you’re ok with the basics.

Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly isn’t going to change your skincare life in all honesty but it is a solid performing moisturizer that lacks the frills, bells, and whistles of antioxidant-rich moisturizers on the market. This relies heavily on algae as the sole antioxidant ingredient. Moral of the story is if you expect this to erase fine lines, dark spots, and protect your skin from environmental stress, well, you’re in for some disappointment. If you want something lightly hydrating that wears well under other skincare and makeup that doesn’t leave your shiny or greasy you should be a-ok.

I’m a strong believer in using the basics in my morning routine and relying on anti-aging ingredients and treatments in my nightmare so this is perfectly fine for me as a lightweight Summer moisturizer. This is great if you aren’t currently experiencing hardcore dryness. It’s a water-like texture that has a runny gel consistency which initially feels a tiny bit sticky during the application but absorbs quickly taking with it that small bit of stickiness and leaving skin soft and smooth and ready for SPF or other skincare and makeup. If you’re looking for glass-like skin and want a bit of dewiness with this formula you won’t get that. It feels and looks dewy for a few seconds after application but absorbs quickly and leaves behind moisture but no dewiness.

At the moment I’m experiencing dryness on my forehead and on my chin whereas my cheeks and the sides of my nose are oily. I can’t currently use products like Belif Moisture Bomb because it’s just too much moisture for me and it adds to the shine. Yet my forehead and chin are still craving that moisture just not my cheeks. This did a great job of hydrating the areas that needed it without adding excess shine or oil and did it without a heavy fragrance or irritation. The lightweight texture wears well under my SPF and my makeup applied smoothly on top of it.

You might wonder how it differs from Clinique’s Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate formula and that’s actually a really easy question to answer. Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate is way more hydrating in my experience. It’s a formula that not only hydrates more but also delivers results throughout the day so your skin feels moist and well hydrated throughout the entire day. Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly is lightly hydrating and doesn’t quite deliver the same amount of moisture retention.

This isn’t an ideal pick if you’re super dry but normal to oily skin will get on fine with it. Plus it seems to layer well so if you want to use it as an essence or prep for other skincare that works perfectly well too! I’ll likely do just that when my skin starts to become drier come the Fall.

Overall, Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly is a very nice, lightweight gel moisturizer that hydrated my skin without adding accessing shine or oil! I liked it a lot and think it’s worth checking out!

Where to buy

Sephora Nordstrom Ulta

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly is a lightly hydrating gel moisturizer that has a thin, runny consistency that absorbs easily but initially is a bit sticky before setting to a smooth soft, finish on my face. It’s very, very lightweight and wears well under other products such as SPF, makeup, or if you need to use another moisturizer it’ll work fine under it. It isn’t loaded with a ton of antioxidants or anti-aging ingredients but it does a nice job of hydrating without adding excess oil or shine!

Water, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hypnea Musciformis (Algae) Extract, Gelidiella Acerosa Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’orge, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Sucrose, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Hydrolyzed Rice Extract, Sorbitol, Sodium Polyaspartate, Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Ethylhexylglycerin, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Caprylyl Glycol, Trehalose, Polysorbate 80, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Hexylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol.


  • Lightweight, doesn’t feel heavy.
  • Not greasy, doesn’t add excess shine or oil.
  • Wears well under other skincare or makeup.
  • Lightly hydrates which makes it ideal for normal or oily skin.
  • Quite inexpensive (a small size will set you back $5 bucks if you want to test it before committing to the larger $14.50 or $28 bottle).


  • Not loaded with a ton of antioxidants or anti-aging ingredients.
  • Might be too lightweight and not moisturizing enough for severely dry skin.
  • No SPF (not an issue for me as I prefer applying a separate SPF but some people do like SPF built into their moisturizer).


Anyone seeking a lightweight gel moisturizer or anyone with normal to oily skin will love this. It’s lightweight, doesn’t add shine or oiliness to the skin, and wears quite well under makeup or other skincare without feeling heavy which makes it an ideal pick for Summer!

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Nat

    Ooo I really liked the look of this when I first saw it last week online! I always grab the gel moisturiser but I’d love to give this one a go as it may help my combination skin! πŸ˜€

    Great review, I loved reading it. ^_^

  • Lacy

    You are so right about my first real moisturizer! And it was the only one for years. Then when the dramatically different moisturizing gel launched I bought it immediately and loved it for warmer weather times. I even like to buy the minis to stock for trips and vaycay time knowing my skin won’t freak out or be disappointed. I’ve been waiting for this jelly to launch and have it in my cart to check out. So glad I caught your review. Great tip about the bottle being clear btw, I’d have never considered it.
    If you like this – you MUST try the new Belif Pore Cleaner Moisturizer it’s described as “a water gel” but combines toner, essence, and moisturizer into one. Helps minimize pores and sebum. I love it. It’s light, refreshing and when you’re in a hurry it definitely fits the bill. Sometimes I just slather this on with some eye cream and my routine for the morning is done!

    • Isabella Muse

      likewise. I think I used it from the time I was like 18 until I finished college. it just worked great and I was happy with that and that alone as my daytime moisturizer! I have a lot of sunlight that gets into my bedroom so I def like storing things like this in a cabinet! I’ll have to check it out thanks for the rec! I love Belif anything so I’m sure will love!

  • Janeen

    I love your new format! Great review, I will check it out!

  • Gloria

    I was highly interested in getting this when I got the email from Clinique announcing and I’m glad to hear that you like it, Muse! I’ll have to test it out the next time I’m at a Clinique counter. I’ve been really liking the Clinique Moisture Surge 72 hr auto-replenishing hydrator as a warm weather moisturizer so far.

  • Cheryl

    Hello Isabella! If you had to choose between this new Clinique moisturizer and the COSRX Oil Free Moisturizing Lotion to hydrate 50 year old combination skin that gets pretty oily in the T-zone in the summer, which would you choose? In the morning, I cleanse with micellar water (current favorite is it cosmetics version) and then follow with Paula’s choice light antioxidant serum. I tend to prefer sunscreens that dry down and set, which means they have alcohol. There are days where I need a little extra moisture on my cheeks and around my mouth to combat the tightness from the sunscreen and some flakiness from Retin-A products. I am looking for something very light weight that will sit well under make up with all of the other layers in the summer heat. Thanks!

    • Isabella Muse

      I’d probably go with Cosrx’s just because it sounds like you need the extra moisture with the alcohol in your SPF (I know the feeling as my SPF contains alcohol too!).

  • Jane

    I thought this stuff looked so wacky, like Crystal Pepsi, but I’m glad you liked it. I might go try to get a sample at the counter; most Clinique skin care that i’ve bought has been either 100% amazing or quite bad (the 72 hour moisturizer? Forget it. It created such a drying sensation that I actually had to return to the bathroom to apply something else).

    • Isabella Muse

      lol crystal pepsi ;-D wow flashback! You can buy a small size for $5 bucks if you want to give it a whirl on the cheap ;-D I never tried the 72 hour moisturizer if you can believe that! Sucks it dried you out :-/

  • Saoirse

    I have used Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel every night for years. Any idea how this jelly differs from it?

    • Isabella Muse

      thin, runny, gel consistency, absorbs fast, not as hydrating, a different set of ingredients but still both lacking good antioxidants to keep skin looking good/young.

  • Deb

    Le sigh… I got excited about this when I came across it in-store on the basis of it being pollution protecting which has become such an issue for me recently, but didn’t buy it on the spot for some reason. After your review, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to give this one a miss on the simple basis that it’ll do nothing for my dry skin πŸ™ I don’t suppose you could point me into a general direction?

  • Emily

    Muse, do you use a vitamin C serum in the morning, and if so, which one? And what facial SPF are you loving these days?

    • Isabella Muse

      Hi Emily I’m using Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum lately. And Kanebo Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist Sunscreen.

  • Deborah Longo-Emley

    I am a beauty advisor for Clinique and want to compliment you on your review. Well done!

  • Emmy N

    I like using Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly but want to use a vitamin C serum during the day as well. What is the order to add products? Would the order be vitamin C serum first, then the Hydrating Jelly, and then my moisturizer with spf? Thank you for the help!