Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care 72H Matte Normal/Oily Skin
Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care 72H Matte Normal/Oily Skin is an ultra-light, gel moisturizer that feels refreshing on contact—like a cool drink of water for dehydrated skin. Although that sounds good, this moisturizer for oily skin makes some serious formulary missteps that prevent an enthusiastic recommendation.
Housed in a tall, unusually heavy glass bottle that's topped with a pump dispenser, this moisturizer absorbs quickly. Unfortunately, the quick absorption and cool feeling is mostly due to the skin headache-inducing amount of denatured alcohol this contains. See More Info to learn why this ingredient isn't what you want to see among the first on a skincare product ingredient list.
The next issue occurs from the cooling sensation the potent menthol derivative menthoxypropanediol imparts. Don't mistake this sensation for skin being refreshed or soothed—it's a sign skin is being irritated!
The last offender is the fragrance this moisturizer contains, which is fairly intense. Highly fragrant products like this—you guessed it—also pose a risk of irritating skin. So, despite the generous size for the money and the inclusion of some proven hydrating ingredients, this hydrator is no genius for skin!
We couldn't end this review without discussing L'Oreal claim that Hydra Genius provides 72 hours of "instant and continuous hydration". We're not disputing the instant hydration part (although the amount of alcohol is likely to make this short-lived), but if this really provides 72 hours of hydration, then why does L'Oreal direct you to apply it morning and evening (meaning every 12 hours)? If it hydrated as long as they say, you'd only need to reapply every three days!
See our list of Best Moisturizers for superior options that omit the problematic ingredients this one contains.
- Silky, ultra-light gel texture feels refreshing on contact.
- Good mix of hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid.
- Absorbs quickly, leaving oily skin feeling smooth and looking matte.
- Inexpensive and generously sized.
- The amount of alcohol poses a strong risk of irritating skin.
- Highly fragrant formula can irritate skin.
- Cooling agent menthoxypropanediol can irritate skin.
- The 72-hour hydration claim is contradicted by the directions to apply this every morning and evening.
When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we're referring to denatured ethanol, which you'll most often see listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat, denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.
When you see these names of this type of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question they irritate and cause other issues for skin. No way around that, these types of alcohol are simply bad for all skin types.
These types of volatile alcohols give products a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it's easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short term benefits didn't lead to negative long term outcomes!
Consequences include dryness, erosion of skin's protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.
The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from alcohol can lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. Alcohol can increase oiliness because of the irritating feeling it creates, so the immediate de-greasing effect is eventually counteracted, prompting your oily skin to look even shinier.
We are often challenged on this information based on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, July 2007, pages 74-81 that concluded "alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing…" The only thing this study showed is that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash containing sodium lauryl sulfate. Think about it this way: If you test to see whether or not you'll get burnt by a flame or slowly boiling hot water, you will quickly get damaged by the fire. You will eventually be damaged by the slowly boiling hot water, it will just take longer, but burned you will be.
There are other types of alcohols, known as fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be exceptionally beneficial for skin. Examples you'll see on ingredient labels include cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol. All of these are good ingredients for skin. It's important to discern these skin-friendly forms of alcohol from the problematic types of alcohol.
References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1-16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41-49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542-551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360-366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179-190
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
,strong>References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Daily Liquid Care Normal/Oily Skin is specifically formulated to meet the needs of Normal to Oily Skin with Aloe Water + Hyaluronic Acid for 72H of instant and continuous hydration. Skin is ultra-hydrated, fresh and healthy looking.
L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.
Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.
L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minorif there are any at all.
L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.
The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreals makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.
Unfortunately, despite the brands enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstoreimagine the results if their skin care followed suit.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.