e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer–Lightweight Moisturizer for Plumped Hydrated Skin

e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel MoisturizerMost of us want to take good care of our skin, but let’s face it, skincare products can be really expensive! That’s why I’m so happy to see e.l.f. continue to expand its skincare collections. E.l.f. has always been a very affordable makeup brand, and that’s carried through to their skincare products as well! One of e.l.f.’s most popular skincare collections is the Holy Hydration Collection. I believe this collection started with only one or two products, but as it’s grown in popularity, it’s also grown in size. Several new products have been added to this collection since its inception over a year ago. One of the most recent launches in this collection is the e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer.

Since I have combination skin, the Holy Hydration collection didn’t appeal to me for a very long time. I thought it would be too hydrating for my skin. Some of the newer products have tempted me, though! The e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer caught my attention the first time I heard about it because I tend to really enjoy gel or gel-cream moisturizers in my morning skincare routine. I was looking for a new morning moisturizer, and this one from e.l.f. seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.

I’ve been using e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer for close to a month now and I’ve got a lot of opinions to share. Please keep reading for a full product review. I’ll be sharing details on the product packaging, ease of application, hydration, how well it works with other products, ingredients, and price!

e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer product claims directly from ElfCosmetics.com

Plump up and moisturize your skin with lightweight, all-day hydration. This gel-based formula is infused with Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, and Peptides to hydrate skin to the fullest while supporting a bouncy, healthy-looking complexion. Ideal for daily wear on all skin types, the silky gel texture absorbs into skin instantly and wears smoothly under makeup.

Disclosure: IntegriBeauty includes affiliate links within product review posts. I receive commissions for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. IntegriBeauty is independently owned and all products discussed within IntegriBeauty product review posts are thoroughly tested and given honest reviews.

Other product details

  • Price: $12.00
  • Net weight: 1.76 oz. | 50 g
  • Made in China
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Free of phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, hydroquinone, and sulfates
  • Shelf life: 6 months
  • Where to buy: ElfCosmetics.com 
    • ElfCosmetics.com ships within the USA and internationally to the following locations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudia Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and UAE
  • Overall rating: 9.0/10
    • Packaging/ease of application: 10/10
    • Hydration: 10/10
    • Team player: 8/10
    • Ingredients: 7/10
    • Price: 10/10

Please note that I am not a skincare professional. I am simply an individual that enjoys learning about and using skincare products. Speak to your dermatologist or esthetician if you have any concerns.

Packaging/ease of application

I don’t care about packaging as much with makeup products, but when it comes to skincare, packaging is important! Skincare ingredients that aren’t exposed to light or air are much more likely to remain effective. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, light and air cause many ingredients to degrade more quickly. For that reason, pumps are my preferred type of packaging for skincare products!

Since lightweight moisturizers often come in squeeze tubes or jars, I was pleasantly surprised to see that e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer comes in a pump. It’s a plastic pump, but it looks nice and is quite effective! It’s very easy to dispense just the right amount of moisturizer. It also comes with a cap that snaps on securely, making this product safe for travel.

One thing I always enjoy about gel or gel-cream moisturizers is the lightweight texture. I would classify this one as a gel-cream moisturizer and it applies similarly to others I’ve tried in the past, like the Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream. The lightweight texture really lends itself to easy application. E.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer smooths quickly and easily over the skin. Also, only a small amount is needed (at least for my combination skin), despite the lightweight texture.


For my morning skincare routine, I look for moisturizers that are lightweight, but still provide a good amount of hydration. E.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer provides just the right amount of hydration without making skin feel greasy, or leaving residue behind. It helps my skin to feel lightly hydrated all day long.

In my opinion, this moisturizer is not quite hydrating enough for use at night. That is just my personal preference as someone with combination skin. For someone with oily skin, this may be perfect for use during the day and night. 

After reading several short reviews of this product from people with dry skin, I unfortunately don’t think this moisturizer is quite hydrating enough for dry skin. I think other skin types would be very satisfied with the level of hydration e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer provides. I know I am!

Team player

You might’ve noticed that I took a couple of points away in this category. But what do I even mean by “team player?” This is where I rate how well a product layers with other products. E.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer layers extremely well over my other morning skincare products which usually include a toner, serum, and eye cream.

The problem comes in when I apply sunscreen over this moisturizer. Sometimes when I apply sunscreen after I’ve applied e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer I experience flaking. It’s very strange though, because it doesn’t happen every time. My best guess is that on the days my sunscreen gets flaky, I’ve probably used too much of the moisturizer.

I’m not too bothered by this problem since I don’t experience it every day. Also, it’s not severe pilling like I’ve experienced with some other skincare products. It’s pretty easy for me to take a fluffy brush and sweep away those sunscreen “flakes” before applying makeup.


You might be skeptical of e.l.f. skincare since e.l.f. used to only do makeup, or maybe because e.l.f. is such an affordable brand. Let me put you at ease. E.l.f. did its homework! I don’t think their formulas are revolutionary, but many of their products, including this one, include a lot of ingredients that skin loves. The ingredient list for e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer is quite long, with 40 ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Diisostearyl Malate, Jojoba Esters, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ceramide 1, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Lecithin, Xylitol, Tromethamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Saccharide Isomerate, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Carbomer, Phytosphingosine, Polysorbate 20, Cholesterol, Geraniol, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum)

When I research ingredients, I classify them as “good,” “neutral,” or “bad.” Good ingredients provide specific benefits to the skin, neutral ingredients neither benefit or harm the skin, and bad ingredients have the potential to be sensitizing. E.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer contains 17 “good,” 19 “neutral,” and 4 “bad” ingredients. Let’s start with brief descriptions of those “good” ingredients our skin loves!:

  • Glycerin
    • Natural moisturizer
  • Sodium Hyaluronate
    • Sodium form of hyaluronic acid (they work the same way)
    • Humectant
  • Ceramide 3 (aka Ceramide NP)
    • Protects skin barrier 
    • Improves the look and feel of dry skin
  • Ceramide 6 II (aka Ceramide AP)
    • Protects skin barrier 
    • Improves the look and feel of dry skin
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1
    • Reduces deep eye wrinkles and increases collagen; 
    • “Famous” peptide known as Matrixyl 3000 when coupled with Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (see below)
  • Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7
    • Reduces inflammation which slows degradation of collagen
  • Ceramide 1 (aka Ceramide EOP)
    • Protects skin barrier 
    • Improves the look and feel of dry skin
  • Xylitylglucoside
    • Sugar-derived moisturizer
  • Anhydroxylitol
    • Sugar-derived moisturizer
  • Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters
    • Retains moisture in the skin
  • Lecithin
    • Water-binding agent
    • Skin-restoring
  • Xylitol
    • Moisturizing sugar
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
    • Antioxidant
    • Strengthens skin barrier
  • Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
    • Improves damaged or irritated skin barrier
    • Good for all skin types
  • Saccharide Isomerate
    • Plant-derived moisturizer
    • Binds to the skin longer than other moisturizing ingredients to keep the skin hydrated longer
  • Phytosphingosine
    • Water-binding agent
  • Cholesterol
    • Works with ceramides and fatty acids to maintain a healthy skin barrier and keep skin hydrated

Pretty impressive, right? All of these are excellent skincare ingredients. I’m most excited to see the two peptides since they are helpful for anti-aging, and also saccharide isomerate since it keeps skin hydrated longer than other hydrators. Paired with the humectants and other moisturizing ingredients, it’s no wonder this lightweight moisturizer is able to be so hydrating. 

Next up are the “neutral” ingredients. There are a lot of these, but that’s OK since these ingredients won’t harm the skin. The “neutral” ingredients in this product are emollients, texture enhancers, preservatives, etc.

Lastly, the “bad” ingredients. This is always my least favorite part! The first one may come as a surprise. When I first saw this ingredient name, I thought it would fall into the “good” category! Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate is a molecularly smaller version of sodium hyaluronate; it penetrates skin well and may be able to moisturize deeper layers of skin than hyaluronic acid. However, it has the potential to cause inflammation due to its very small size.

The remaining “bad” ingredients stand out like sore thumbs. Geraniol is a common fragrance ingredient that smells like roses. It may cause sensitivity when applied to skin, but the risk is lower compared to some other fragrance ingredients because it doesn’t penetrate skin easily. Linalool, another fragrance ingredient, is a common skin-sensitizer. Lastly, fragrance (parfum), is an unknown fragrance blend that also has potential to be sensitizing.

Even though all three of the fragrance ingredients are at the bottom of the ingredients list, and therefore their concentrations are low, they make themselves known. The scent of this moisturizer is quite strong! I would advise anyone that is sensitive to fragrance to avoid this product. 


It comes as no surprise at all that e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer is very affordable! It’s priced at $12.00 for 1.76 oz., so it’s only $6.82/ounce! That’s extremely reasonable, even for a drugstore brand. 

There are some moisturizers that can be purchased for less than $12.00, but I believe their formulas are quite simple (many of them also aren’t cruelty-free). This one doesn’t contain groundbreaking ingredients, but it definitely has some that you don’t see in every affordable moisturizer. 

There isn’t much else to say about the price of this product, but I will make one more point. As I mentioned in the “team player” section, I was sometimes using too much of the moisturizer. A little goes a pretty long way with this moisturizer, so it’s a great value. At my current rate, I expect e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer to last me about four months total.

I’m happy to report that e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer has met, or maybe even surpassed, my expectations! I really appreciate how well it hydrates my skin and keeps it hydrated throughout the day. And the fact that e.l.f. used a pump to protect those great skincare ingredients is very exciting!

The primary claims for e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer are that it will plump up and moisturize skin with lightweight hydration that lasts all day. I agree with those claims! E.l.f. also claims that it’s ideal for daily wear on all skin types. That one, I disagree with since I’ve read multiple reviews from people with dry skin stating this product is not hydrating enough. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t work better for those with dry skin, but it’s rare for individual skincare products to work for all skin types. I would recommend this moisturizer to anyone, except those with dry skin or fragrance sensitivity.

I purchased e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer myself, but e.l.f. did kindly send me some other products from the Holy Hydration collection recently. Once I’ve had a chance to test those, I’ll definitely be reviewing them as well!

Have you tried e.l.f. Holy Hydration Hydro-Gel Moisturizer or any other products from the Holy Hydration collection? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially since I’ll soon be trying out more products from the collection. Please comment below!


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