Trusted by millions of women around the world, Olay is the best-selling anti-aging skincare range in five continents. This multi-billion dollar brand produces hundreds of different beauty products, which can make it pretty daunting to choose a product to fit your specific needs.
In order to help you out, below we’ll discuss the top 10 best Olay skincare products with a scientific lens, meaning we’ve evaluated the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the ingredients that you’ll find in these products.
We’ll also share some Olay reviews so you can get a better idea of what customers really think about these products.
What Are The Top 10 Best Olay Skin Care Products?
Olay offers a wide variety of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, masks, mists, moisturizers, serums, treatments, and sun protection products. Since there are way too many Olay skincare products to discuss in one review, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 best Olay skincare products.
Housed in a little red jar, there’s no doubt you’ve seen the brand’s most iconic moisturizer — Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream — lining the shelves of any drugstore you walk into. The brand claims that this cream will visibly reduce wrinkles and fine lines starting day 1. But is this true?
Based on the formula, you’ll likely notice a temporary plumping with the cream thanks to the combination of the silicone dimethicone with plenty of humectants (glycerin, panthenol, sodium hyaluronate, etc.).
Dimethicone forms a thin, invisible film on the surface of the skin that helps to disguise lines and wrinkles, while humectants bind moisture on the skin. The extra hydration is the extra volume, which effectively plumps out the skin and makes lines and wrinkles less noticeable.
However, keep in mind these effects are transient — as soon as the product is rinsed off, lines and wrinkles will return to normal size.
The good news is Olay included some ingredients that will provide long-term benefits, such as niacinamide and palmitoyl pentapeptide-4. We’ll discuss these ingredients in detail in the Key Ingredients section below.
It’s too bad this cream is packaged in a jar, though, because these ingredients will deteriorate over time due to exposure to light and air.
Bottom Line: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream combines dimethicone with humectants to plump skin and disguise signs of aging, while niacinamide and a peptide provide benefits over time.
We want to love this anti-aging night cream because it combines some of the best skincare ingredients into one product: niacinamide, a peptide, and anti-aging superstar retinol.
Retinol is truly a multi-tasking ingredient. According to a publication in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, retinol can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores.
But here’s the thing: all of these benefits go down the drain if retinol oxidizes!
You see, retinol is very unstable and oxidizes every time it’s exposed to light and air — like when you open the jar to use this Olay moisturizer!
After retinol oxidizes, it loses its effectiveness until it stops working completely, which is why we don’t recommend Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer. But don’t worry; we’ve rounded up our favorite retinol creams into one post for you!
Bottom Line: Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer would be a great product if it was packaged appropriately, but the jar packaging will cause retinol to oxidize and lose effectiveness over time.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum overcomes the issues that the Night Moisturizer has thanks to its opaque plastic bottle with a dropper dispenser that protects retinol from exposure to light and air.
Since retinol is packaged to remain stable, this night serum should promote improvements in fine lines and wrinkles, smoothness, brightness, firmness, dark spots, and pores.
It’s also great that this fragrance-free night serum includes niacinamide and palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 to further assist in brightening skin tone and reducing signs of aging.
Bottom Line: Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum combines retinol, niacinamide, and a peptide to address multiple signs of aging.
This eye cream has a light, silky texture that absorbs quickly without feeling greasy or sticky. It contains the same key ingredients as the other Olay Retinol 24 products, which include palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, niacinamide, glycerin, and, of course, retinol.
Once again, the fact that this eye cream is packaged in a jar means that retinol will deteriorate over time due to exposure to light and air.
Bottom Line: An eye cream with beneficial key ingredients, but the jar packaging will cause these ingredients to lose effectiveness over time.
This fragrance-free face moisturizer has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly without leaving a sticky, greasy, or heavy feeling. That’s because there’s a high concentration of velvety emollients like isohexadecane and silky silicones like dimethicone, which both help skin to feel nice and smooth.
Like all of the products in this collection, the formula includes palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, or what Olay refers to as the “collagen peptide”. We’ll give you the details on this peptide in the Key Ingredients section below.
There’s also the skin-brightening ingredient niacinamide in this formula, as well as hydrating ingredients like glycerin, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), and snow mushroom extract.
Based on the formula, we think this moisturizer would be suitable for nearly all skin types, except those with very dry skin who would likely benefit from a moisturizer with more occlusive emollients.
Bottom Line: A facial moisturizer for all skin types that combines the “collagen peptide” with niacinamide and hydrating ingredients.
The term “whip” in the name of this Olay moisturizer is due to the inclusion of Whip Technology. Whip Technology creates an ultra-lightweight, whipped texture that transforms from cream to liquid on contact for fast absorption, resulting in a smooth, matte finish that leaves your skin feeling moisturized.
The lightweight texture and lack of rich emollients in this formula make it ideal for those with normal to oily or combination skin types. But if you have dry skin, you may find this isn’t moisturizing enough.
The formula also provides sun protection with four chemical sunscreens — avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene — that provide broad-spectrum SPF 25 protection.
While chemical sunscreen ingredients won’t leave a white cast, we don’t recommend these types of sunscreens due to research that has shown they absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s still unclear if these chemicals are linked to health conditions, but it’s known that they do enter the body. In our opinion, mineral sunscreens are a safer choice.
Another drawback with this formula is the inclusion of a synthetic fragrance blend.
Bottom Line: Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer is an ultra-lightweight face moisturizer with a whipped texture that creates a smooth, matte finish while also moisturizing and providing a broad spectrum SPF 25 protection.
This is another moisturizer in the “whip” collection, which is actually very similar to the Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer SPF 25 — but we think this formula is better.
One reason is the higher concentrations of sunscreen ingredients providing SPF 40 protection (although this moisturizer contains the same four chemical sunscreen ingredients, which aren’t as safe as mineral sunscreens).
What takes this moisturizer to the next level is the inclusion of antioxidant vitamins C and E. This powerful duo protects skin from damaging free radicals. Fortunately, the opaque, airtight packaging will keep these antioxidants stable.
However, this is another product that contains a synthetic fragrance blend.
Bottom Line: Olay Total Effects Whip Face Moisturizer has an ultra-lightweight, whipped texture and provides broad spectrum SPF 40 protection along with antioxidant protection thanks to vitamins C and E.
This oil-free anti-aging facial moisturizer has the same key ingredients as many of the other Olay moisturizers we’ve discussed. Those ingredients include glycerin, niacinamide, dimethicone, panthenol, and vitamins C and E. Sound familiar?
Since this moisturizer contains the same key ingredients as other Olay moisturizers, you can expect similar results, such as improved hydration, softness, and brightness.
But if you’ve tried other Olay moisturizers and haven’t noticed much of a difference, then this one probably isn’t worth trying out (check out our favorite face moisturizers for better options!)
Bottom Line: This oil-free face moisturizer has the same key ingredients as other Olay moisturizers and, therefore, will provide similar results.
Olay Exfoliating & Moisturizing Body Wash
This Olay body wash uses sugar to gently massage away dead skin cells, providing a light exfoliation that helps to reveal radiant skin.
There’s also cocoa butter to help keep skin soft and smooth. Cocoa butter is a very rich emollient, but don’t worry – this Olay body wash rinses off clean without leaving an oily residue on the skin.
Like all Olay skin care products, the formula includes the brand’s star ingredient niacinamide. While this is an excellent ingredient, it works better in leave-on products such as moisturizers and serums.
Bottom Line: Olay Exfoliating & Moisturizing Body Wash uses sugar to gently exfoliate skin while cocoa butter helps to soften skin and lock in moisture.
Olay Cleansing & Brightening Body Wash
With its rich and creamy lather, this Olay body wash is ideal for those with normal to dry skin. The rich texture is created by a high concentration of petrolatum (aka Vaseline) in this body wash.
There’s quite a few good ingredients in this body wash, such as niacinamide and vitamin C, but once again these work best with leave-on products. Leaving these ingredients on your skin for just a minute or two as you wash your body doesn’t give them much time to exert benefits.
Bottom Line: Olay Cleansing & Brightening Body produces a rich, creamy lather that helps skin feel soft and silky, but if you’re looking to brighten your skin it’s best to use a leave-on product.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Olay Skin Care Products?
Even though Olay produces hundreds of different skincare products, we’ve noticed that the formulations are nearly identical. Nearly all Olay moisturizers have the same key ingredients, which include niacinamide, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, glycerin, panthenol, and silicones. Let’s take a closer look at how these ingredients work, as well as the research that supports their use in skincare.
One ingredient that Olay loves to include in their formulations is niacinamide. Niacinamide is the amide form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that provides many benefits to the skin.
For instance, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, excess sebum, and wrinkling.
Niacinamide is also an antioxidant that helps the skin combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Another key ingredient used throughout the collection of Olay skincare products is palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, or what the brand calls an “amino-peptide”.
Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 is a matrikine, a messenger peptide that regulates cell activities through cell signaling. For example, when the collagen protein is degraded, matrikines send signals to fibroblasts to produce new collagen.
Since matrikines have the ability to increase the production of collagen, elastin, and other macromolecules in the ECM, synthetic peptides like palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 have been created to mimic these effects.
According to a publication in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 stimulates the production of collagen types I and III and fibronectin.
Thus, the inclusion of palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 in the Olay skincare products means you may notice an improvement in skin firmness after using these products.
You’ll also notice that Olay skin care products are formulated with high concentrations of humectants (like glycerin and panthenol) and silicones (like dimethicone).
Humectants are beneficial skin care ingredients because their structure is composed of water-loving groups that hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin. This not only hydrates skin, but also gives you a more plump complexion.
The inclusion of silicones in the Olay skin care products helps to give these products a silky smooth skin feel. Silicones also form a protective film on the skin that provides both water-binding and water-resistant properties.
And like we mentioned earlier, the film-forming properties of silicones enables them to blur imperfections like lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. This may cause you to think the product is really correcting signs of aging, but really it’s more of a makeup effect (that’s why makeup primers contain silicones).
How Much Do Olay Skin Care Products Cost?
Olay skincare products are on the higher-end of drugstore products, but they’re still pretty affordable. For example, Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream costs $33.49 USD for 1.7 oz, and Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum costs $38.99 USD for 1.3 oz.
Where Are Olay Skin Care Products Sold?
Olay skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third-party e-commerce websites such as Amazon, eBay, Ulta, and more. You can also purchase Olay skincare products from drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, and more.
What is The Olay Return Policy?
The Olay return policy states, “You will be responsible for the shipping charges to return the item(s). To obtain your refund, the item must be returned to us, unopened and in its original packaging, with all accessories, within 30 days of the date upon which we provided the item to the carrier for shipment to you.”
Is Olay Cruelty-Free?
Olay is not cruelty-free. Olay is owned by Procter & Gamble, a company that tests on animals. Olay also sells its products in stores in mainland China where animal testing is required by law.
Is Olay Vegan?
Olay may offer some products that are suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand.
Olay’s reviews on the brand’s website are mostly very positive. One product that has an impressive amount of reviews is the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. After more than 23,000 customer reviews, this product has received an average rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars.
The positive Olay reviews for the Micro Sculpting Cream mention that this moisturizer really does help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles while keeping the skin moisturized and smooth.
For example, one review says, “I finally found a product that works and it didn’t cost a small fortune! Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is the best product I ever tried. I’m 60 and I have those horrid marionette lines below my nose and around my mouth. After about one week I noticed that they were not as noticeable and now, one month later they’re barely there.”
Another 5-star review says, “I have tried EVERYTHING from Mary Kay, Este Lauder, Votre Vu, Arrbonne and this is by far the BEST moisturizer I have used. I was just plain tired of spending $50 for moisturizer so on a whim I picked up this cream at my local drug store. Immediately my skin felt amazingly smooth. I then purchased the micro-sculpting serum and these two products together have done amazing things for my complexion! I am 36 and have spent my fair share of time in the sun. Small wrinkles are practically gone and I have a dewy glow.”
However, there are quite a few negative reviews for Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream from customers who did not see the results they were hoping for after using this product for months.
For example, one review says, “I have been an Olay user for years. I was sure that the Regenerist Micro-Sculpting cream would live up to the standards of prior products. I have purchased a total of 12 jars(3 unused so far) and have seen NO improvement or change as promised. I do not expect miracles at my age (71) but do expect some small and positive changes. Not happening with this product.”
There are also some Olay reviews that mention it doesn’t work well underneath makeup, as one reviewer says, “I tried this product and was terribly disappointed. You can not apply it if you plan to apply foundation/bb cream, etc. It instantly dries the foundation/bb cream seconds after applying making it impossible to blend your makeup. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I even tried it with a different brand of foundation to see if it would react the same as it was with my Clinique foundation and it did exactly the same. Also, my fine lines seem worse.”
Overall, we think that Olay skincare products are an okay option if you’re trying to build a skincare routine on a budget. With that being said, some products are better than others. We recommend avoiding the Olay skincare products that are packaged in jars.
- Beneficial ingredients like niacinamide, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, and sodium hyaluronate used throughout collection
- Relatively low cost
- Many positive Olay reviews
- Formulations lack innovation; the same few ingredients are used in nearly all of the brand’s products
- Some Olay products contain fragrance
- Jar packaging may lead to degradation of delicate ingredients
What Are Some Alternatives to Olay Skin Care?
After reviewing the 10 best Olay skincare products, we’ve noticed that this brand does include some beneficial ingredients in their products, but they really lack innovation. If you’re looking for skincare products that include unique ingredients based on the latest research and cutting-edge technology, we recommend Formulyst.
One example is Formulyst’s Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum, which contains six rejuvenating peptides that work together to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. The peptides are combined in a base of several potent hydrating ingredients, including glycerin, Chondrus Crispus extract, and sodium hyaluronate.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting-edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.
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J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41
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