Olay is a drugstore skincare brand known for its effective and affordable products, especially anti-aging skincare products.
One of the most recognizable beauty brands globally, Olay offers an extensive range of skincare products, so it can be challenging to determine which one you should use for your specific skincare concerns.
A perfect example is Olay moisturizers. Olay’s best-sellers include Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream and Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer.
While Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream face moisturizer has been around for several years, Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer is a newer yet very popular offering.
So what is the difference between the two? And which one should you use? Read on to find out!
This Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream vs Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Moisturizer post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
With over 50 million jars sold, this Olay Regenerist face cream is formulated to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and hydrate skin for improved elasticity.
The moisturizer softens your skin and delivers moisture 10 layers into the skin. Per Olay, with daily use, you may see a transformation in your skin in as little as 28 days.
- If you are looking for an all-purpose cream that you can use day and night every day of the week, I’d start with Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream.
- If you want to start using an effective retinol product, be sure to check out Olay Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer.
I use both moisturizers: Micro-Sculpting Cream in the morning and Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer a few nights a week.
I noticed a significant change in my skin after starting Retinol24 Night Moisturizer, so it stays in my skincare rotation!
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, known for its little Red Jar, has undergone some formula updates since its inception but continues to be a best-seller for Olay and the entire beauty industry.
This Olay cream was the leading anti-aging brand in the US, claiming 8.7% of sales in 2018.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Active Ingredients
These are the moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients that make this Olay moisturizer so highly effective:
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): A multi-benefit anti-inflammatory skincare active that helps to strengthen the skin barrier, brighten the skin and increase cell turnover and gently exfoliate dead skin cells. (This is Olay’s favorite ingredient!)
- Amino Peptide: This peptide is made up of amino acid chains that are considered the building blocks of cells and help to keep skin firm and smooth. The amino peptide in this cream is Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, also known as Matrixyl.
- Hyaluronic Acid: A popular active ingredient in skincare products to attract moisture to the skin, helping to regular water within skin cells. Helps to hydrate and plump skin.
- Glycerin: A humectant that helps skin to attract and retain moisture. Glycerin also helps to protect the skin barrier and acts like the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), making it ideal for all skin types even acne-prone and sensitive skin.
- Panthenol: Also known as pro-vitamin B5, panthenol is another humectant that helps skin attract and hold onto moisture. It also helps to support a healthy skin barrier.
- Tocopheryl Acetate: A stabilized version of vitamin E. While vitamin E offers antioxidant properties such as photoprotection against UVB rays of the sun that damage our skin cells, Tocopheryl Acetate is less effective than pure Vitamin E. It is fat-soluble so absorbs easily into our skin and offers emollient benefits.
- Carob Fruit Extract: Carob seed improves structural protein and offers regenerative benefits for the skin. It has been shown to work well when combined with peptides. Carob has also been proven to provide anti-aging benefits and can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream face moisturizer has a lovely rich texture and consistency but doesn’t feel greasy on the skin.
One of the characteristics that makes this cream such a customer favorite is that it feels like a LUXURY skincare cream yet is priced like a drugstore cream.
Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream creates a visible glow that somewhat blurs the skin. This is thanks to mica in the formula.
Although the original Micro-Sculpting Cream is scented, it also comes in a fragrance-free formula that would be ideal for sensitive skin.
Good Housekeeping Institute Study
Olay made headlines when Good Housekeeping Institute performed an independent study and found that Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream outperformed 10 prestige creams, even one that cost $440.
The scientists involved in the study collected over 10,000 hydration measurements and found that:
- Olay moisturized (at the 3-hour mark) 400% better than a cream 18x its price and performed the best out of all creams tested.
- Olay improved moisture by an average of 50% over 24 hours.
- A clinical study by the Good Housekeeping Institute in February 2016 found that Olay improved skin texture by 10% in four weeks.
Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Hydrating Moisturizer
A newer offering from Olay launched in 2019, Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Hydrating Moisturizer has quickly become a best seller.
It incorporates anti-aging all-star retinol into Olay’s popular vitamin B3 (niacinamide) based formula.
This proprietary blend of Vitamin B3 + Retinoid Complex is formulated to improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and pores while supporting brighter, smoother, and firmer skin.
Since retinol can cause irritation, dryness, and redness, this cream is formulated to hydrate for up to 24 hours.
Related Post: Olay Retinol 24 vs Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair
Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Face Moisturizer Active Ingredients
Active ingredients in Olay Retinol 24 Night Face Moisturizer include:
- Retinoid Complex: Olay’s proprietary formula includes retinol and retinyl propionate (a retinoid ester not quite as strong as retinol) that smoothes and brightens skin in just 24 hours. After 4 weeks, you should see an improvement in the look of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, skin tone, and pores.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): This multi-benefit anti-aging active brightens, balances sebum production, promotes the turnover of dead skin cells, repairs the skin barrier, and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Amino Peptide: Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, also known as Matrixyl, is the amino peptide in this cream. It helps to firm and smooth the skin.
- Glycerin: A humectant that moisturizes and protects the skin barrier, helping the skin to hold onto water.
This cream is fragrance-free and dye-free. It has a very silky texture and leaves your skin super smooth. But don’t be fooled. This cream is potent.
For a slightly less potent version of this MAX cream, you can try Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer.
The MAX version of the moisturizer has 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than the original Retinol 24 moisturizer.
The MAX version contains Tropaeolum Majus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, a plant extract that supports the skin barrier and offers anti-aging benefits.
Related Post: Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum, Eye Cream & Moisturizer: Skincare Review
Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream vs Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer
If you are wondering whether to use Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream or Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer, let’s look at the ingredients to help you decide. Both creams contain niacinamide (vitamin B3), amino peptide, and glycerin.
The main difference between the two products is that Retinol 24 contains RETINOL and Micro-Sculpting Cream does not.
Micro-Sculpting Cream uses niacinamide and a peptide to improve the signs of aging (and contains mica for an instant and temporary glow), while Retinol 24 uses retinol and retinyl propionate in addition to niacinamide and a peptide to improve the signs of aging.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact percentages of each ingredient in the creams, so the concentration of each active ingredient is unclear.
You are more likely to see a more immediate improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, and improved texture with Retinol 24 vs Micro-Sculpting Cream since the Retinol 24 line contains retinol.
Peptides vs Retinol
If you are wondering whether to simply stick with Olay’s Micro Sculpting Cream that uses an amino peptide instead of Olay’s Retinol 24 Cream that uses retinol, consider the following clinical data.
A clinical study compared Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 (Olay’s amino peptide) with retinol.
They compared 3ppm (parts per million) Pal-KTTKS (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 ) with 700 ppm (0.07%) retinol. The findings may surprise you:
The results indicated that the peptide provided similar improvements in wrinkles and was better tolerated than retinol.
This is good news if you have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate retinoids.
How to Use both Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream and Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer in Your Skincare Routine
Since retinoids are best applied in the evening, you can use Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream in your morning skincare routine.
Save Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer for your nighttime skin care routine.
Another option is to alternate nights and use Micro-Sculpting Cream one night and Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer the next night.
Or, if you want to incorporate retinoids while using only Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, you can use Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Serum or the slightly less potent Olay Retinol 24 Night Serum and then follow it with Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream.
(The Olay Retinol 24 line also includes Retinol 24 MAX Night Eye Cream, perfect for fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area.)
The choice is yours:
- If you are ready to incorporate stronger actives, i.e. retinol, into your skincare routine, consider Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer. But keep in mind that you run the risk of irritation, dryness, and redness if you haven’t used retinoids before and will need to start very slowly.
- If you want to stick to a tried and true anti-aging cream that can be used both morning and night, go with Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream.
Additional Olay Regenerist Moisturizers
When it comes to facial moisturizers, if you have too many choices, it can be hard to pick just one.
But if Micro-Sculpting Cream or Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer doesn’t fit your needs, consider these additional Olay products to moisturize your skin:
Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 MAX Face Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 MAX Face Moisturizer is formulated with amino peptide (also known as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 or Matrixyl), glycerin, niacinamide, and panthenol to firm skin and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
It contains 2X the collagen peptide than the original Collagen Peptide Moisturizer from Olay.
Collagen Peptide 24 MAX Face Moisturizer contains many of the same ingredients as Micro-Sculpting Cream.
But this moisturizer focuses on an amino peptide for its plumping, moisturizing, firming, and wrinkle-reducing properties. It is also lighter in texture than Micro Sculpting Cream.
Related Post: Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Skincare Review
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer uses Olay’s Active Rush Technology to transform from a cream to a liquid on the skin.
Olay’s Amino-Peptide Complex II hydrates and improves skin elasticity with amino peptide, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and panthenol.
This lightweight formula leaves a matte finish on your skin, making it perfect for combination/oily skin types. It’s also available in an SPF 25 version.
Related Post: Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Review
Olay Regenerist Ultra Rich Hydrating Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Ultra Rich Hydrating Moisturizer has the thickest texture of all Regenerist moisturizers thanks to the shea butter in the formula.
Like Olay’s other Regenerist moisturizers, it also contains niacinamide and amino peptide to firm, smooth, brighten, and rejuvenate your complexion. This rich formula is ideal for dry skin.
Olay Niacinamide + Peptide 24 Moisturizer
Olay Niacinamide + Peptide 24 Moisturizer is a powerful formula designed to strengthen your skin barrier and hydrate your skin while addressing the visible signs of aging.
This moisturizer features Olay’s star ingredient, niacinamide, which offers numerous benefits to your skin.
- Balances oil production
- Reduces the appearance of enlarged pores
- Fades hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone
- Increases ceramide production, fortifying your skin’s protective barrier
- Stimulates collagen synthesis, which helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Calms inflammation and redness, making it ideal for the sensitive skin type
- Offers skin-protective antioxidant benefits
Enriched with peptides, this hydrating moisturizer improves skin texture and minimizes wrinkles and fine lines.
It also contains sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid to boost your skin’s hydration levels and retain moisture.
Pro-vitamin B-5 (panthenol) moisturizes and soothes your skin.
This rich and nourishing cream has a silky yet lightweight texture that delivers deep hydration and is perfect for dehydrated and dry skin.
Please note that this Olay moisturizer contains added fragrance.
Back in 1952, chemist Graham Wulff from South Africa formulated a lotion for his wife that absorbed easily and was moisturizing but not greasy.
He worked with an advertising agency to name the pink product Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid. The name was a take on the word “lanolin”, an ingredient in the product.
Oil of Olay was a huge success. Distribution was expanded around the world.
After several years the company that owned Oil of Olay was sold to Richardson Merrell Inc (later Richardson-Vicks Inc) in 1970. P&G eventually acquired Richardson-Vicks Inc in 1985.
In 1999, Oil of Olay shortened its name to Olay. Olay launched their Regenerist line in 2003 and the wildly popular Micro-Sculpting Cream in 2007.
Final Thoughts on Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream vs Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer
Whether you choose an all-purpose anti-aging moisturizer like Olay Micro Sculpting Cream or a targeted wrinkle fighter like Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer or any of the other moisturizers in Olay’s Regenerist line, you will be benefiting from proven, effective active ingredients.
Actives like niacinamide, peptides, retinol (Retinol 24 line), and hyaluronic acid improve skin health for a brighter, smoother, and younger looking skin.
- Olay Collagen Peptide 24 vs Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
- Olay Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Review
- Olay Body Skincare Review
- Olay vs L’Oreal
- CeraVe Retinol Resurfacing vs Renewing Retinol Serum
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel vs Gel Cream
- Olay vs Dove Body Wash
- Olay AHA + Peptide 24 Review
Thanks for reading!
Sunday 13th of November 2022
I’m very pleased with the explanations, comparisons and basic terminology used. Your delivery of pros & cons provide a “better than average” outline for consumers to make a very educated choices.
Monday 14th of November 2022
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the kind words!
Friday 16th of April 2021
Hi, as you say olay micro-sculpting cream and olay Regenerist moisturiser do not contain retinol(an animal derivative)can vegan use this cream?
Sunday 18th of April 2021
I reached out to Olay and they said that although it is their policy to use synthetic or vegetable-derived ingredients where they're available, if there is no alternative to using animal ingredients or if there is a shortage in synthetic or vegetable ingredients, they may use animal ingredients in their products. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream and Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Moisturizer are not 100% vegan, and some ingredients that may not be vegan are Alcohol (fatty), Gelatin, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Keratin Amino Acids, and Tallow Glycerides. Thanks for your question!