January 8, 2019

Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Eye Serum Review & Swatches

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

Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Eye Serum ($20) is a new hydrating eye serum that contains hyaluronic acid that acts to hydrate the delicate area of the eye helping it to retain moisture. This launched at Ulta a few weeks ago and I hauled around Thanksgiving and I’ve been using it daily since (I’m almost completely down with it at this point) my purchase. I decided it was about time to share review and thoughts on it as it is an interesting product with some quirks.

Let’s take a look!

Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Eye Serum arrives in a clear pump jar that contains 0.47 oz of product and will set you back around $17-$20. Although a gel base it surprisingly contains no alcohol nor oil which made me very happy. It seems like all these eye gels always contain alcohol and I was surprised to see this didn’t have any! This is a plus since alcohol is known for drying out skin and ho wants that under their already dry eyes?

I’ve used this as a serum which means I apply it first under my eyes, allow it to set, and follow up with my own eye cream. I do feel like that’s the best way to use it for me since I didn’t feel it was hydrating enough when used on its own. The texture is a gel that has tiny “multivitamin beads” which I hated as they left a streaky white mess under my eyes and I felt like I was chasing them around my eye area to get them to absorb. They do burst however, it still leaves behind this weird white slime trail. I could have done without these.

The texture is a lightweight yet runny gel which does absorb fairly fast however, those beads were an issue. It has a nice cooling effect but not due to anything like mint or menthol that Neutrogena sometimes includes in product. I detected no fragrance.

There’s a host of hydrating ingredients here but as I said it works best as a serum and my own drier eyes require way more moisture which means eye cream on top seemed the best bet for me. Perhaps your eyes aren’t as dry and this will work great for you as is but I did require more moisture. It seemed to work perfectly fine under my concealer and didn’t cause any piling issues nor did it feel sticky or tacky.

It also contains niacinamide which is a great skin-brightening ingredient but it’s also the downfall of many micellar waters too as it stings like hell. I did, on several occasions, manage to get some of this serum in my eye and man, it stings crazily. It was NOT a pleasant experience. I blame the niacinamide as it’s been known to be an issue for me in micellar water. The formula also includes Vitamin E and C as well a peptide and hyaluronic acid. The hyaluronic acid is one of the huge draw ins with the Hydra Boost Skincare Collection but I do always find it disappointing it is lower on the ingredients list. Which is the case with many of the good stuff in this formula which sucks. At best though, I did notice my eye area did appear a bit more hydrated when using this in conjunction with my own eye cream. In fact, I’d go so far as to say my eyes looked fresher and more wide awake but not necessarily brighter by any means.

Sadly, some of the quirks it has were off putting such as the sting if I got it in my eye, the stupid white heads that felt unnecessary and gimmicky, and the clear container it comes housed in.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Eye Serum is going to change your eye cream life but it adds a little something more to your eye cream application in my experience. It seems like I get a little extra moisture with this which is a good thing not to mention when using it I like the way my eyes look! At $20 dollars, mmm, I’d debate a re-purchase but considering Neutrogena is so often on sale (right now Ulta has it on sale for Buy 2, Get 1 Free) I’d probably pick it up again!

Where to buy

Ulta Amazon Target Walmart

Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Eye Serum is an antioxidant rich eye serum that contains beneficial ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. It has a lightweight, quick to absorb gel texture which doesn’t leave behind a sticky nor tacky finish but does burn/sting if you get it into your eye. I thought the product worked best as a serum which eye cream on top as it was lightly hydrating but not as hydrating as my eye cream is. It did have some quirks such as the sting but also, the fact it contained multivitamin beads which were difficult to get to absorb and felt unnecessary to the overall formula. It’s a nice serum but isn’t groundbreaking and many of the great ingredients it contains are further down the list!

Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Niacinamide, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyglycerin, Tromethamine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Panthenol, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Sodium Hyaluronate, Agar, Disodium EDTA, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Yeast Extract, Gellan Gum, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate, Copper Gluconate, Titanium Dioxide.


Lightly hydrating without being tacky or sticky making it easy to wear under concealer.
No fragrance, alcohol, or oil.
Contains some very good ingredients!


Not moisturizing enough for drier eyes.
Contains “multivitamin beads which seemed unnecessary and a pain to get to absorb.
Housed in clear packaging which could go off if stored in an area with sunlight.
Contains niacinamide which is great but does make the product burn if you get it into your eyes!


If you’d like to add a little something extra to your eye cream this Neutrogena Hydro Boost City Shield Eye Serum will prep eyes and ease the way for eye cream while providing a little more moisture to the delicate skin under your eyes!

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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  • Ali

    They have to stop putting niacinamide in everything. I have this issue too. It’s a way for a product to appear to have great ingredients but if you use a serum with it, do tou need it in your cleansing water?

    • Isabella Muse

      agreed! It’s the worst in cleansing water! It stings like a mother if you’re using it on your eyes! And as you said, do we really need it in a cleansing water if our serum/moisturizer has it!?

  • kjh

    Classic case of the niacinamide flush. If it’s KNOWN to cause flushing as as oral supplement, wtf about skincare? Once I got inflammatory whatever, as yet to be diagnosed, I had to quit all niacinamide products. Have some good ones, too. But I really prefer not looking like a red balloon. I’m sure it does not bother everyone, but big no for me.

  • Rachel

    Sounds great in theory but disappointing in its execution. Thank you for this great review! Hope something similar like this that works better comes along, since I have dry underyes too.

  • Mariella

    I have dry skin also and would love some recs on what products work well for you

  • Silvia

    Word of caution! I have learned from two persons that their face skin has been burned with a Neutrogena product! One is a male, the other a female who had to follow up with dermatologist since her face got red raw. I believe it is a cream? The only thing I use Neutrogena sometimes for breakouts is their acne prone skin transparent facial bar.

  • Debra Quenqua

    Those white beads make me crazy! On my skin, they seem to stay forever and dry down to annoying little hard beads. They just don’t absorb.
    Serums are actually the only moisturizer that doesn’t make me break out. At 63, this is bothersome.
    Great review as usual.

    • Isabella Muse

      ugh I HATED them! I felt like I was chasing them around my eyes! If you like a serum eye treatment you should try Hydroshield for eyes from Dr Denese. It’s quite good ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully doesn’t break you out! Thanks Debra ๐Ÿ˜€