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Trader Joe's Skin Care

Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer with Aloe & Green Tea Extract

2.50 fl. oz. for $ 8.99
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Trader Joe’s Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer with Aloe & Green Tea Extract feels great and has some good ingredients to boot but is ultimately undone by its packaging.

This fragrance-free moisturizer comes in a frosted plastic jar with a twist-off lid. Its texture is that of a gel-cream, similar to that of Clinique’s Moisture Surge line of moisturizers, or Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Gel Cream. It’s lightweight, yet hydrating enough that it’s suitable for all skin types. Applied in a thin layer, it dries quickly to an imperceptible finish; however, if you want to apply more than that for extra hydration, you’ll notice it takes longer to sink in and remains slightly tacky for about a half hour.

Among the beneficial ingredients included are antioxidant-rich and hydrating squalane, soothing aloe, green tea, milk thistle and white birch extracts, and skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate. None of these ingredients is in a particularly high concentration, so it’s not a powerhouse anti-aging formula, but Trader Joe’s doesn’t advertise it as such; instead, it’s a good source of light moisture that skips any irritants.

Unfortunately, its packaging does most of those great ingredients a disservice. Being in a jar means they’re repeatedly exposed to light and air, and both of those elements break down antioxidants and diminish their effectiveness over time. In addition, jar packaging allows for bacteria to be introduced into this water-based moisturizer, which can lead to other issues (see More Info below for details).

In short, though there’s plenty to like about Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer, it’s better for your skin to get one of the jar-free options you’ll find on our list of best moisturizers.

  • Lightweight, moisturizing gel-cream is suitable for all skin types.
  • Includes hydrating, antioxidant, and skin-soothing ingredients.
  • Contains skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Packaged in a jar, meaning many of its beneficial ingredients won’t remain stable.

More Info:

Jar Packaging & Beneficial Ingredients: Beneficial ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight also is problematic for these ingredients.

Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin!

References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: No

Trader Joe’s Ultra Hydrating Gel Moisturizer is the moisturizing deluge your pretty, parched visage has been thirsting for. The water-based Gel formula is packed with skin-soothing ingredients, like aloe leaf juice and green tea, birch leaf, & milk thistle extracts. It also contains the holy grail of modern moisturizing ingredients: sodium hyaluronate, or the salt form of hyaluronic acid, prized for its ability to both “lock in” skin’s natural moisture and add to it —with no oily residue.

Water, Glycerin, Saccharide Isomearate, Propanediol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Pheonxyethanol, Polyamide-5, Dimethicone, Hydroxyacetophenone, Polysilicone-11, Squalane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Laureth-12, Cetearyl Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Olivate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Tocopherol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silybum Marianum (Milk Thistle) Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Leaf Extract, Beta-Sitosterol, Panthenol, Squalene, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Citrate.

Trader Joe’s is a California-based grocery chain best known for its eclectic mix of gourmet, organic, vegetarian, and staple food products, most sold under the Trader Joe’s name. Its stores are generally no-frills and utilitarian, with a focus on lower-priced products that are still of high quality.

That same low price, high quality philosophy informs the store’s house brand of personal hygiene products, including its skin care line. There isn’t a lot that’s flashy or innovative; rather the focus is on staples, with some skin-boosting products in the mix as well.

For the most part, Trader Joe’s gets it right, with basic but reliable ingredients. There are a few items that include fragrance ingredients (including a face wash and rose face mist that absolutely should be avoided), but overall, if you’re looking to pick up a does-what-it-says, stripped-down moisturizer while you’re out shopping for groceries, the options here are better than you might expect given their prices.

You can find out more about Trader Joe’s as a store at Its skin care products are sold in-store only.

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.

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