When I heard that Olay was coming out with a line of products containing retinol, I walked, no ran, to my computer to learn more.
It didn’t take much convincing: I ordered online, and before I knew it, I had in hand Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum, Night Eye Cream, and Night Moisturizer from their new Regenerist Retinol 24 skincare line.
I’ve been using Olay Retinol 24 skincare products for many months and have some thoughts on the collection, both the original and MAX formulas, which I will discuss in this Olay Retinol 24 review.
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If you want more product details (or are in a hurry), you can find:
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 products here
Olay Retinol 24 Key Ingredients
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 is a collection of products designed to be used at night in your evening skincare routine (except the SPF Moisturizer).
The collection is named Retinol 24 because each product was formulated so that it continues to work on your skin for a full 24 hours, working deep into the skin’s layers.
Olay’s formula for the collection is a proprietary blend of Vitamin B3 + Retinol Complex.
Olay combines retinol, which is converted in the skin to retinaldehyde, and then to retinoic acid to reach its active form, with retinyl propionate.
Retinyl propionate is a retinol ester that requires three conversions by your skin to be available in its active form. For more details on retinyl propionate, INCI Decoder provides a pretty funny analogy comparing retinoids to the royal family.
Olay’s Retinol 24 products are formulated to treat fine lines & wrinkles while improving smoothness, brightness, firmness, dark spots, and pores.
They work to accomplish these anti-aging benefits without the typical irritation that you may experience from retinol.
Too good to be true? Let’s look at the other active ingredients found in this skincare line.
Related Post: A Guide to Drugstore Retinol
What is Retinol?
Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A, and derivatives of the vitamin come in different forms, one of which is retinol.
While other retinoids, such as retinol esters, take two steps to be converted into active retinoic acid in the skin, retinol needs only one step to convert to retinoic acid.
So while retinol is not the strongest retinoid, it is also not the weakest, making it the perfect over-the-counter retinoid option.
The Benefits of Retinol
Retinol is a key player in any anti-aging skincare routine.
By supporting cellular turnover and stimulating collagen production, retinol can improve uneven skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and firmness.
As a result, skin appears clearer, brighter, and more youthful. Yes!
As with any retinoid, retinol makes the skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight.
While you should be wearing sun protection every day anyway, it is super important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher while using retinol and for seven days after.
The Benefits of Niacinamide
Olay also includes niacinamide (Vitamin B3) in these products. Niacinamide is an all-star skin savior. It helps support cellular turnover and exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and brighten dull skin.
Niacinamide also helps the skin retain its moisture barrier to improve hydration. It helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.
Niacinamide helps balance sebum (oil) production in the skin and reduces the look of enlarged pores and acne scars, making it ideal for oily skin. It can even improve acne and rosacea.
Niacinamide also has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it ideal to use in conjunction with a retinoid, which we all know can be irritating.
This study in the New England Journal of Medicine determined that niacinamide can even protect the skin against the damage caused by UV radiation.
Related Post: The Benefits of Adding Niacinamide to Your Skincare Routine
If that weren’t enough, the Regenerist Retinol 24 collection also contains amino peptides. These peptides are the “building blocks” of skin cells.
These molecules support the production of collagen for firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
Olay Retinol 24 moisturizers and serums contain palmitoyl pentapeptide-4. This five amino acid chain sequence can help improve skin texture and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Although it takes longer to see results, it has even been shown to reduce wrinkles like retinol and other retinoids but has better tolerability.
Related Post: How to Build A Skincare Routine with The Ordinary Products
How Much Retinol is in Olay Retinol 24?
Since the formulas for these Olay Retinol 24 skincare products are proprietary, Olay does not disclose the percentage of retinol in their products.
Olay does disclose that the Olay Retinol 24 MAX products contain 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than the original Retinol 24 products.
Olay Retinol 24 Review
I’ve updated this post to include reviews on Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX serum, eye cream, and moisturizer in addition to the original Olay Retinol 24 products.
Olay Retinol 24 vs Max
Here’s a quick comparison of the original Retinol 24 products and the newer Retinol 24 MAX products.
Olay’s new Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Face Serum, MAX Night Eye Cream, and MAX Night Moisturizer are reformulated to be more potent and include 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex compared to the original Retinol 24 products.
I reached out to Olay, and they told me that the new MAX products contain 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex plus Tropaeolum Majus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.
This plant extract has anti-aging benefits and supports the skin barrier.
Like the original Retinol 24 products, the Olay Retinol 24 MAX products contain retinol and retinyl propionate (retinol attached to propionic acid) to address wrinkles, fine lines, and skin texture and support the formation of collagen.
Olay Retinol 24 MAX products are slightly more expensive than the original Retinol 24 products.
All products in both collections are formulated without fragrance, phthalates, mineral oil, or synthetic dyes.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum is a super-light formula containing Olay’s proprietary blend of Vitamin B3 + Retinol Complex that hydrates and works for 24 hours.
Olay Retinol 24 serum also contains amino peptides to improve skin texture and glycerin for added moisture and hydration.
This Olay retinol serum is fragrance-free, absorbs quickly into my skin, and leaves my skin feeling incredibly silky without any stickiness.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Max Night Face Serum
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Face Serum is formulated with Olay’s proprietary retinoid formula that works on your skin overnight. It contains 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than the base 24 Night Serum.
It targets wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots and improves skin texture. I wake to brighter, smoother skin with more clarity.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Serum is very similar to the original Retinol 24 Serum. I tested the two side by side, and the MAX feels very similar and a little more potent.
Since my skin is somewhat sensitive, on nights that I use this serum, I follow it with a rich moisturizer to combat any possible dryness and irritation that the potent retinol in the formula may cause.
I apply this serum at night and see smoother, more radiant skin in the morning. I will use this serum the same night I use the Retinol 24 MAX eye cream but save the Retinol 24 MAX moisturizer for another night.
This is one of my favorite drugstore retinoids.
The results speak for themselves: brighter, smoother skin, improved skin texture, and a reduction in the appearance of pores.
Related Posts: Olay Retinol 24 vs Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair, Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Review, The Inkey List Retinol Review
Olay Eyes Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream
Olay Eyes Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream is formulated with Olay’s proprietary blend of Vitamin B3 + Retinol Complex.
This Olay eye cream addresses many skin concerns around the eyes and works to firm, brighten and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles.
Olay Retinol 24 eye cream also contains antioxidant vitamin E and moisturizing glycerin.
The eye cream is creamy and light and leaves the skin under my eyes silky smooth.
I accidentally applied this Olay retinol eye cream too close to my eyes and found it slightly irritating.
So I made sure to apply it a bit lower under my eye during the following application and did not experience any further irritation.
This is one of my favorite eye creams since it helps smooth fine lines while nourishing the sensitive skin under my eyes.
Related Post: Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Skincare Review
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Max Night Eye Cream
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Eye Cream is a fragrance-free eye cream that helps you look well-slept even if you aren’t.
Like the other two Olay products in the MAX line, this eye cream contains 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex versus the base Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream.
I love the original Retinol 24 eye cream, so I couldn’t wait to see how this new MAX eye cream performed. The original is pretty rich and creamy, and the MAX is just as smooth and creamy.
But the rich texture should not be equated with heavy.
The MAX eye cream feels lightweight on my skin and leaves my eye area soft and smooth.
Applying a retinoid product around your eyes can be tricky because the last thing you need is to irritate the sensitive skin around your eyes.
This formula makes sure that your eyes are hydrated, smooth, and brightened. I don’t notice a huge difference between the original and this MAX eye cream, but I love them both!
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer also contains Olay’s proprietary blend of Retinol Complex + Vitamin B3. This fragrance-free moisturizer absorbs deeply into the surface layers of the skin and goes to work for a full 24 hours.
This Olay retinol cream helps to improve dark spots, brightness, smoothness, and firmness of the skin with no or very little irritation. Similar to the eye cream and serum, this moisturizer is light and creamy.
Those with sensitive skin should be careful since even though the retinol in this formula is gentle, it can be irritating.
When I experienced dryness from this Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer, I added a light layer of an additional moisturizer on top of this night retinol face moisturizer.
I alternate between this rich cream and Olay Regenerist Whip, which really seals everything in.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Max Night Moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer is a fragrance-free moisturizer that hydrates and replenishes skin while reducing the appearance of the signs of aging.
Like the other products in the MAX collections, this moisturizer contains 20% more Retinol 24 Hydrating Complex than the original Retinol 24 moisturizer.
NOTE: Since Olay does not recommend using all three products together, they suggested that I start with the Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer and Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Eye Cream.
You can always incorporate Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Max Night Serum into your skincare routine on another night.
I notice that my pores are smaller and the texture of my skin is smoother after using this moisturizer.
It feels a little bit stronger than the original Retinol 24 moisturizer. This retinol night cream is the real deal. You get hydration and anti-aging benefits all in one.
The Power of Retinol
You tend to see visible results quicker with retinol than most other anti-aging ingredients. The trick is finding a product or collection of products that work well with your skin.
This collection from Olay is really working for my skin. I’m not surprised since I get great results from other Olay products.
One other thing I love about this line is that since Olay does not recommend using the night serum and the night moisturizer at the same time, you need to use only one to get the benefits of retinol.
Try using the Retinol 24 serum with a nourishing moisturizer, or use Olay Retinol 24 moisturizer with another face serum or treatment product.
You can still get the benefits of retinol with just one of these products, including improved skin texture and a reduction in the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinol24 Skin Renewing Retinol Cleanser
Olay Retinol24 Skin Renewing Retinol Cleanser is formulated to prep your skin for Olay’s Retinol 24 products. It is formulated with Olay’s Retinoid Complex to increase cell turnover, reduce wrinkles and give your skin a healthy-looking glow.
Salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid, exfoliant, and breakout-fighting ingredient, can help brighten your skin and control acne and blemishes.
Salicylic acid travels deep into your pores to clean out dirt and oil that can lead to blackheads and breakouts.
Niacinamide acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce redness and irritation while brightening the skin and helping to reduce hyperpigmentation.
Niacinamide also helps control acne and blemishes, improves collagen production to firm and tighten your skin, and increases ceramide synthesis to improve skin barrier function.
Tiny spheres of hydrated silica (see image below) gently provide an added gentle exfoliation to help brighten your skin.
The cleanser has a thick creamy consistency and is non-foaming.
The hydrated silica in the cleanser provides a very mild physical exfoliation in addition to the chemical exfoliation provided by salicylic acid.
My face feels soft and smooth after cleansing, and my skin texture is improved.
This retinol product works well as a second cleanse for me in my evening skincare routine after removing my makeup with a cleansing balm.
It’s not harsh like a face scrub, and even though the active ingredients are rinsed off, you still get some benefits from niacinamide, salicylic acid, and retinol.
Olay Retinol 24 + Peptide Smoothing Daily Facial Cleanser
If you want to incorporate retinol into your cleanser but are looking for a more gentle cleanse, Olay Retinol 24 + Peptide Smoothing Daily Facial Cleanser is a great option.
This sulfate-free face wash contains smoothing retinol, brightening niacinamide, and a firming peptide (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4) in a lightweight, non-foaming cream cleanser.
Glycerin, trelahose, and panthenol provide moisture and hydration, making this cleanser suitable for dry skin.
The retinol cleanser removes dirt, oil, and other impurities while hydrating your skin. If you want to use it to remove makeup, Olay suggests applying it to your dry face and then rinsing with water.
I like to use a cleansing balm to remove my makeup and then follow with this face wash as a second cleanse after removing my makeup since it leaves my face hydrated, pillowy soft, and supple.
Please note that there is added fragrance in this Olay cleanser.
Olay Retinol24 + Peptide SPF Moisturizer
Olay Retinol24 + Peptide SPF Moisturizer is formulated to provide broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection and up to 24 hours of hydration in a formula designed to be worn under makeup.
It contains Olay’s Retinoid Complex to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, pores, and roughness, visibly firm your skin and improve skin elasticity.
Niacinamide helps balance oil production in the skin, making it ideal for those with oily acne-prone skin, as well as those with dry skin, as it also moisturizes and reduces transepidermal water loss.
Niacinamide’s anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce redness due to acne or other skin conditions.
This retinol moisturizer also contains palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, Olay’s Amino Peptide, which helps to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and increase skin firmness.
The moisturizer has a silky smooth consistency and leaves a natural finish on your skin. Although fragrance-free, it has the telltale scent of chemical sunscreen.
The SPF protection comes in the chemical sunscreen form of Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 9%, Octisalate 4.5%, and Octocrylene 6%.
Since retinol increases cell turnover, new skin cells are thinner and more sensitive to sunlight.
Also, retinol breaks down in sunlight, so most recommend that retinol products be relegated to your nighttime skincare routine.
BUT – since this retinol moisturizer also contains SPF, you are protecting your skin and the retinol in the moisturizer from the sun’s UV rays.
Even so, I like to use retinol and other retinoids in my evening skincare routine and use antioxidants like vitamin C on my face during the day.
The bottom line is while I love Olay’s Retino24 skincare line, this product wasn’t for me.
I prefer mineral sunscreens (I’ve been loving this one for acne-prone skin) instead of chemical sunscreens and stick to using retinol in a serum or cream at night.
Final Thoughts: Olay Retinol 24 Review
After using Olay Retinol 24 and Retinol 24 MAX products, the one thing that stands out to me is my skin texture. I believe this must be due to the retinol, niacinamide, and amino peptides in the formulas.
My skin’s texture is actually changing. My pores appear smaller, especially around my nose, and my skin seems so much smoother.
All the products feel so light on my face. The moisturizer takes it to another level and left my skin feeling like silk.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The MAX products feel slightly more potent than the original Retinol 24 products. All the Retinol 24 products that I tried (original and MAX) help smooth my skin and improve skin clarity.
You can’t go wrong with any of the skincare products in this post.
But if you want to choose just one Olay Retinol 24 product to moisturize and treat your skin with retinol, if you don’t have sensitive skin, you might consider starting with Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Night Moisturizer.
It’s great for dull skin that needs refreshing.
Thanks for reading!
Friday 25th of November 2022
Is it safe to use a face scrub and toner before using retinol 24 products? I am buying Olay today for the first time but not sure want else to add to the serum, moisturizer, eye cream. I am 62.
Monday 5th of December 2022
I reached out to Olay, and they said it was safe to use a face scrub and toner prior to using Retinol 24 products. I would avoid using scrubs or toners that contain strong actives and use a hydrating, nourishing toner prior to Retinol 24 products.
Saturday 26th of March 2022
Hi! Can you walk me through a morning routine starting with a cleanser and a night routine starting with a cleanser, providing product examples/names of each product for each step? Thanks so much!
Friday 1st of April 2022
I reached out to Olay and they suggested using Olay Regenerist Cream Cleanser, and then Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Serum followed by Olay Micro Sculpting Cream in that exact order for the daytime. At night they suggest using Olay Retinol 24 Cleanser, and then Olay Retinol 24 Night Face Serum followed by Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream in that exact order. OR as your evening serum and moisturizer, you can use Olay Micro Sculpting Serum followed by Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer at night. You will want to avoid using Olay Retinol 24 Serum and Olay Retinol 24 Moisturizer together since they are both pretty strong. Also, be sure to use Retinol 24 products in your evening skincare routine only. Thanks!
Monday 5th of April 2021
Hi I’m glad I found your review on Olay retinol 24. It’s been 1 week now that I used Olay retinol 24 musturizer and it’s great. I hope it will lighten my pigmentation. My query is can I use vit C serum during the day? And what kind of Olay musturizing cream can you recommend to use during the day. I have oily skin, pigmentation and large pores. Thank you.
Monday 5th of April 2021
Hello! If you want a matte finish, Olay Regenerist Whip is perfect for daytime wear. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is a little richer but also a good option for daytime wear. I use a vitamin C serum during the day and retinoids in the evening without any issues, but since everyone's skin is different, it really depends on how sensitive your skin is. Thanks!
Monday 29th of March 2021
Hi! Im glad I found your review! I wanted to ask if I can use cerave pm moisturizer after olay retinol 24 serum?
Tuesday 30th of March 2021
Hello! CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is an excellent moisturizer to use after Olay Retinol 24 Night Serum. CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion contains 3 essential ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid that hydrate, moisture, and protect the skin barrier, which is very helpful after using a retinoid. Plus, it won't clog pores. Thanks!!
Friday 26th of March 2021
Hello and thank you for your article, it is very useful. Do you know if I can use Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Serum and then hyaluronic acid serum, before applying the Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer?
Sunday 28th of March 2021
A hyaluronic acid serum would be fine to apply before a retinol moisturizer like Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer. In general, it is best to avoid using exfoliating acids in the same routine as retinoids, so I would save the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Serum for another night when you aren't using retinoids. Thanks!