Olay and L’Oreal are two of the world’s most popular drugstore skincare brands. They offer a wide range of skincare products, from cleansers and serums to eye creams and moisturizers.
Since I own several products from both brands, I decided to compare similar products from each brand by looking at the formulas and claims to see how they compare.
In this post on Olay vs L’Oreal, we’ll compare some of their best-selling products: two serums and two moisturizers.
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Olay vs L’Oreal
The Olay and L’Oreal moisturizers in the post are comparable in size, as the moisturizers from both brands are 1.7 oz. Olay’s serums are a little larger than L’Oreal, and weigh 1.3 oz, while L’Oreal’s serums are 1.0 oz.
Since prices vary depending on where you purchase the product, I won’t list the current prices in this post, but both brands tend to be comparable in price.
One more note. Everyone’s experience with skincare products is personal, and since everyone’s skin is different, how my skin responds may be different from how your skin responds.
So while I can objectively compare the ingredients, packaging, product texture, and skin feel, my noted preferences are simply my opinion. My results are based on my somewhat sensitive, combination skin.
Olay vs L’Oreal: Hyaluronic Acid Serums
Olay Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Serum
Olay Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Serum is formulated to provide hydration that lasts all day while leaving a fresh, dewy finish on your skin.
The serum contains sodium hyaluronate, a form of hydration super-star hyaluronic acid. It draws moisture from the environment into the skin and binds it there, providing long-lasting hydration and moisture.
The serum also contains Olay’s favorite ingredient, niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, which brightens skin, evens out skin tone, and improves the appearance of pores. It also helps strengthen the skin barrier and smoothes the look of fine lines.
The hyaluronic acid serum also contains Olay’s Amino Peptide (palmitoyl pentapeptide-4). Peptides are short chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. In this clinical study (manufacturer-sponsored), palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 was shown to improve wrinkles, fine lines, and skin texture.
The fragrance-free serum also contains moisturizing glycerin and soothing panthenol.
For more on my experience with this serum, see my Olay Hyaluronic Acid + Peptide 24 review.
L’Oreal Revitalift 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum
L’Oreal Revitalift 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum contains a 1.5% concentration of pure hyaluronic acid in the salt form of sodium hyaluronate.
This lightweight hydrating serum contains multiple molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate skin at different levels:
- 0.5% High MolecularWeight Pure Hyaluronic Acid: Hydrates the skin’s surface and stays on the outer layer to attract and retain water for an instant boost of hydration. Skin is left looking dewy and plump.
- 1% Low Molecular Weight Pure Hyaluronic Acid: Easily penetrates the skin’s surface and binds to water to help smooth skin texture.
Like Olay, this fragrance-free hyaluronic acid serum also contains glycerin, a humectant that helps skin retain moisture.
The serum isn’t greasy or tacky and is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.
Ideal for all skin types, the serum is especially beneficial for sagging and wrinkles, and aging, very dry, and sensitive skin.
Olay vs L’Oreal: Which Hyaluronic Acid Serum Is Better?
Olay doesn’t disclose the amount of hyaluronic acid in the formula, so we can’t compare to compare concentrations. L’Oreal, on the other hand, discloses that their hyaluronic acid serum contains 1.5% hyaluronic acid.
Both are fragrance-free and play well with makeup, but since Olay contains silicone, you may notice pilling if you use multiple skin care products in the same routine.
For a pure hyaluronic acid serum, I prefer L’Oreal since you know exactly how much is in the serum. Plus, the lightweight, non-sticky finish works well with makeup and other skincare products.
Olay Retinol24 MAX Night Serum vs L’Oreal Retinol Night Serum 0.3%
Olay Retinol24 MAX Night Serum
Olay Retinol24 MAX Night Serum contains 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than Olay’s original best-selling Retinol 24 serum.
This silky serum contains Olay’s retinol complex, which includes two retinoids: retinol and retinyl propionate. These retinoids help to reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots while improving skin texture.
The serum also contains niacinamide, a multi-tasking ingredient that helps to brighten skin, even out skin tone, and reduce the appearance of pores. Niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the skin, which is helpful when it is used in combination with potentially irritating retinoids.
The serum also contains Tropaeolum majus flower/leaf/stem extract, which is a plant extract that calms and soothes the skin. Glycerin strengthens the skin barrier, defends against irritation, and moisturizes your skin.
Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, also known as Olay’s Amino Peptide, is another ingredient that helps to boost collagen production and improve skin elasticity.
NOTE: While Olay does not disclose the amount of retinol in this serum, if I use the serum two days in a row on my somewhat sensitive skin, I’ll start to experience dryness and irritation. I’ve used many over-the-counter retinol serums, and this seems to be one of the stronger ones.
NOTE #2: When using this or any other retinol product, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during the day, as retinoids can make your skin slightly more sensitive to sunlight.
For more on my experience with the serum, see my Olay Retinol 24 review.
L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum, 0.3% Pure Retinol
L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum, 0.3% Pure Retinol that contains an optimal concentration of 0.3% pure retinol. This serum targets all facial wrinkles, including forehead wrinkles, for visible results while smoothing and brightening your skin.
Although pure retinol is unstable and loses its effectiveness as it’s exposed to light and air, L’Oreal Paris has an international patent-pending technology called Retinol Guard that helps to protect the retinol so that it doesn’t lose its potency.
The retinol serum also contains the moisturizing humectant glycerin and hydrating hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate to offset some of the drying tendencies of retinol.
Olay vs L’Oreal: Which Retinol Serum Is Better?
Once again, it’s impossible to compare serum strength when Olay doesn’t disclose the amount of retinol in its formula. In my experience with using both serums, it feels like Olay Retinol 24 MAX is more potent and has a higher retinol concentration.
While both serums contain retinol, Olay Retinol 24MAX also contains retinyl propionate, a retinol ester, which is less potent than retinol. It needs to be converted to retinol before being converted to retinaldehyde and then finally to retinoic acid, which works its magic in the skin.
Olay’s Retinol24 MAX serum has a more silky feel on the skin, but both are non-greasy and absorb quickly.
So, which is better? It depends on your skin type and what you’re looking for in a retinol serum. If you have sensitive skin* or are new to retinols, L’Oreal Revitalift Night Serum with Pure Retinol might be the better choice.
Olay Retinol 24 MAX serum could be the better choice if you are looking for a more potent retinol serum.
Both serums will improve the look of skin texture, diminish the appearance of wrinkles, and give your skin a more radiant glow.
*Another gentle starter retinoid is the very affordable Good Molecules Gentle Retinol Cream, which contains 0.1% retinol.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream vs L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, known as “The Red Jar”, is Olay’s best-selling anti-aging cream. It is formulated to reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines, starting on Day 1.
The moisturizer contains niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that offers multiple skin benefits. Niacinamide helps to brighten the skin, even out its tone, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
It also contains Olay’s signature ingredient, Amino Peptide, which helps to regenerate surface skin cells and boost collagen production.
Sodium hyaluronate is an ingredient in this cream that helps to hydrate and plump the skin. Glycerin and panthenol moisturize and soothe the skin.
This cream has a thick, creamy consistency that leaves your skin feeling nourished and hydrated. It contains mica, which gives it a slightly pearly, shimmer finish.
L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Moisturizer
L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Moisturizer is formulated to reduce wrinkles while firming and brightening the skin. It uses a combination of actives to soften, smooth, and hydrate the skin for up to 24 hours.
Like Olay, this L’Oreal moisturizer also contains niacinamide, a wrinkle-fighter and skin refiner that brightens the complexion and restores the skin barrier.
Another key ingredient is hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), which helps restore skin moisture. The moisturizer also contains ascorbyl glucoside, a stable vitamin C derivative that brightens the skin, helps smooth wrinkles, and has skin-protective antioxidant properties.
Retinyl palmitate, also known as Pro-Retinol, is a stable retinol derivative that is included to smooth wrinkles and improve the skin’s texture. It is more gentle than retinol and suitable for sensitive skin.
Olay vs L’Oreal: Which Anti-Aging Moisturizer Is Better?
While L’Oreal includes pro-retinol and vitamin C as some of their key ingredients, both of these actives are actually derivatives, so they aren’t as potent as pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and pure retinol.
Also, pro-retinol and the vitamin C derivative (ascorbyl glucoside) are lower on the ingredient list, meaning they are included in the cream at lower concentrations.
Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream contains niacinamide like L’Oreal plus their proprietary firming peptide. Micro-Sculpting Cream also contains mica, which creates a pearlized glow, making it ideal for wear under makeup during the day.
Although L’Oreal is lightweight and comfortable on my skin, I prefer the unscented version of Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream for its plush texture that leaves my skin soft and smooth with a radiant glow.
Olay Retinol24 MAX Night Face Moisturizer vs L’Oreal Revitalift Pressed Night Cream With Retinol + Niacinamide
Olay Retinol24 MAX Night Face Moisturizer
Olay Retinol24 MAX Night Face Moisturizer is Olay’s most potent retinol moisturizer, as it contains 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than the original Retinol24 moisturizer.
Retinol and retinyl propionate help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, sun spots, dark spots, and uneven skin tone while improving skin texture.
The moisturizer also contains brightening and smoothing niacinamide, moisturizing glycerin, and firming Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Olay’s Amino Peptide.
The moisturizer contains Olay Retinol 24’s maximum concentration of hydrators which helps offset any potential irritation that can come with retinol use. Tropaeolum majus flower/leaf/stem extract soothes and calms the skin.
This retinol cream is designed to be used at night on your face and neck, as retinol may make your skin slightly more sensitive to the sun, and it can lose potency when exposed to sunlight.
If you have sensitive skin, you might consider mixing the moisturizer with another cream or oil to dilute it a bit since it could cause irritation.
Like Olay Retinol 24 MAX serum, this moisturizer has a luxe texture that leaves your skin feeling like silk. It is one of the more potent over-the-counter retinol night creams I’ve tried.
After using it at night, I wake to smoother skin with improved clarity and a refined skin texture.
L’Oreal Revitalift Pressed Night Cream With Retinol + Niacinamide
L’Oreal Revitalift Pressed Night Cream With Retinol + Niacinamide contains retinol to fight the signs of aging like wrinkles and uneven skin texture, and niacinamide to brighten the skin and restore the skin barrier.
Retinol speeds up cell turnover and sweeps away dead skin cells to reduce dullness. Niacinamide works to brighten the skin and restore the skin barrier while reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Sodium hyaluronate is a salt form of hyaluronic acid that acts like a sponge and draws in water to keep the skin hydrated. Glycerin is a humectant that gently moisturizes the skin.
Active ingredients are pressed into a cream that is dispensed by pushing down on a plastic disc on the top of the jar. This makes it hygienic and easy to use.
The fragrance-free cream has an elegant texture that glides on smoothly and is easily absorbed by the skin. It leaves the skin feeling soft, supple, and well-hydrated. It is suitable for all skin types.
When just starting out, L’Oreal recommends applying a pea-sized pump on your face along with a pea-sized pump on your neck and decollete two nights per week. In week two, use every other night, and in week three, you can apply nightly as tolerated.
For more information on using retinoids, please see my guide to drugstore retinol.
Olay vs L’Oreal: Which Retinol Moisturizer Is Better?
Both night creams use retinol and niacinamide to improve the signs of aging. However, Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer uses a retinoid complex that feels more potent on my skin than L’Oreal’s Revitalift Pressed Night Cream.
L’Oreal’s retinol cream, on the other hand, has packaging that makes it more convenient and hygienic since you don’t have to use your fingers to dispense the moisturizer. The jar dispenses the same amount every time, so you don’t have to worry about applying differing amounts every day.
If you are new to using retinoids, L’Oreal’s Revitalift Pressed Night Cream is a good choice as it is more gentle on the skin.
If your skin is acclimated to retinol and you are looking for a more potent drugstore option, Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer could be a good choice for you.
NOTE: Although L’Oreal Pressed Night Cream looks larger than Olay Retinol 24 MAX Moisturizer, both are 1.7 oz.
A few takeaways from this comparison: I prefer L’Oreal’s hyaluronic acid since it is a simple, lightweight pure formula. I think that both Olay’s retinol products (serum and moisturizer) are more potent than the L’Oreal retinol products. L’Oreal’s retinol serum and moisturizer might be better suited to beginners or those with sensitive skin.
Olay and L’Oreal are both drugstore brands that offer skincare products with effective active ingredients at a fraction of the cost of luxury brands.
However, it is important to note that neither brand is the most affordable drugstore brand out there. Brands like The Ordinary, CeraVe, and Naturium offer effective anti-aging and retinol products at more affordable prices.
Thanks for reading!