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 in the world, Olay offers a large range of skincare products, so it can be difficult 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 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!
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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. Richardson-Vicks Inc was eventually acquired by P&G 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. So what makes Olay’s Micro-Sculpting Cream so special?
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.
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 skin and delivers moisture 10 layers into the skin. Per Olay, with daily use, you can see a transformation in your skin in as little as 28 days.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Active Ingredients
These are the 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. (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 has a lovely rich texture and consistency but doesn’t feel greasy on the skin. I think 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 which would be ideal for those with 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.
A newer offering from Olay launch in 2019, Olay Retinol 24 Night Face 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, 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 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.
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 take a 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, 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, there was a study done to compare these two active ingredients.
This 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 Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream in your morning skincare routine and Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer in your nighttime skincare routine.
Another option is to alternate nights and using 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 Retinol 24 Night Serum and then follow it with 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 other Olay’s Regenerist moisturizers:
Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 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.
Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer contains many of the same ingredients as Micro-Sculpting Cream but it focuses on 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 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 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 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.
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 like niacinamide, peptides, retinol (Retinol 24 line) and hyaluronic acid.
If you are looking for an all-purpose cream that can be worn 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 big change in my skin after starting to use Retinol24 Night Moisturizer, so it stays in my skincare rotation!
Related Post: Olay Body Skincare Review
Thanks for reading, and until next time…