Of all the drugstore beauty brands in existence, Olay absolutely has a special place in our hearts. Coming up on 70 years of skincare innovation, it's stood the test of time for a reason—who else remembers their mom (even grandmother) with a bottle of Oil of Olay in their bathroom growing up?
Originally founded by South African chemist Graham Wulff (who was attempting to create a product for his wife), the original formula was marketed as an anti-aging elixir and quickly took off around the world. In the mid-'80s, it was bought out by Procter & Gamble and has been a market leader in skincare science ever since. Fun fact: P&G is actually a leader in vitamin B3 (niacinamide) research and has filed over 200 patents on the ingredient over the years. That's why it's championed in so many of their formulas (we love to see it).
Nowadays, the brand's offering is varied and innovative, with products to target every skin type and concern. Still, we get that there's a lot to choose from, so if you're hoping to road test the brand but are a little unsure where to start, you've come to the right place.
Here, we've curated our picks of the bunch. Just keep scrolling to discover the best Olay products of all time.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream
Smooths texture and dark spots
Affectionately referred to as the "little red jar," this iconic moisturizer has sold over 50 million units since it launched. Infused with niacinamide, amino-peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants, it promises to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles while simultaneously balancing and refining the skin. The medium-weight cream formula is hydrating and plumping without any greasy residue. If you're looking to try Olay for the first time, this is an excellent place to start.
Price at time of publish: $26
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Dry Skin
Olay Regenerist Ultra Rich Fragrance-Free Hydrating Moisturizer
May be too heavy for oily skin
If you crave a buttery moisturizer or are prone to extremely dry, stressed-out skin, this stuff is like a hug for your complexion. Like the original Micro-Sculpting Cream, it contains a great deal of skin-firming peptides plus niacinamide to boost and even out skin tone, while the inclusion of shea butter gives it an occlusive property, nourishing the skin and preventing water loss.
Price at time of publish: $30
Active Ingredients: Peptides, niacinamide | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Olay Total Effects 7-in-One Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30
Seriously, who’s mom didn’t have a bottle of this cream in the bathroom growing up? The 7-in-One name comes from the formula targeting seven different skin concerns, including hydration, replenishment, boosting radiance, more even tone, smaller-looking pores, plus a visibly firmer and smoother complexion. It’s lightweight, quickly absorbed, and contains a mix of vitamins, antioxidants, and niacinamide to keep the skin healthy. Also nice: It boasts SPF 30 protection from the sun to up its anti-aging prowess.
Price at time of publish: $20
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, SPF | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Dull Skin
Olay Luminous Whip Face Moisturizer
Like a cloud in skincare form, this fluffy moisturizer is a great pick for dull, lackluster skin. From an ingredients perspective, there’s niacinamide, glycerin, green tea, and panthenol—plus what’s called PearlOptics technology to give the skin a luminous, lit-from-within effect. The whipped mousse-like lotion melts quickly and dries down to a soft, natural finish, so it works well for balanced to combination skin.
Price at time of publish: $14
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide | Skin Type: Normal, Combination, Oily | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Face Moisturizer
Less irritating than other retinol formulas
The jar format isn’t hygienic
This targeted night cream contains a retinol blend (retinol and retinyl propionate) to increase cellular turnover and improve healthy skin functions, in turn improving the look of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven tone, and texture. It’s a rich cream buffered with soothing ingredients, so it works well for anyone who finds traditional retinol serums irritating or too intense. Just be sure to pair it with an SPF every single morning.
Price at time of publish: $43
Active Ingredients: Retinol, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer
May not be moisturizing enough for dry skin
If it’s dedicated sun protection you’re after, this best-seller is here to serve. Even though it has a sun protection factor of 40, the whipped consistency means it glides onto the skin like silk, leaving it soft and nourished, not sticky or greasy. There’s a stack of skincare benefits, too, thanks to the inclusion of peptides, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, so feel free to use this as both your moisturizer and daily sunscreen.
Price at time of publish: $30
Active Ingredients: Peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Anti-Aging Serum
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum
Pills under makeup
Smooth and firm your skin with this powerhouse serum. Like a concentrated version of the Micro-Sculpting Cream, the innovative formula is designed to improve skin structure and support, filling out lines and wrinkles. It’s also immediately hydrating (hello, hyaluronic acid), so it'll plump up the skin’s surface on application.
Price at time of publish: $27
Active Ingredients: Peptides, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Hydrating Serum
Olay Deep Hydration Vitamin B3 + Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Got flaky, tight uncomfortable skin? This hydrating serum is like a tall drink of water for a parched complexion, restoring lost water and improving signs of dehydration. The magic lies in the combination of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, glycerin, and squalane, improving the way skin holds water. Texture-wise, it’s fresh and bouncy, so try pressing it into damp skin and topping it with your favorite moisturizer.
Price at time of publish: $32
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.3 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best for Eyes
Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream
Instant brightening effect
Hydrate and boost the delicate skin around your eyes with Ultimate Eye Cream. Enriched with vitamins, peptides, and niacinamide, the formula gently firms and depuffs while a light pigment (in the form of iron oxide) illuminates and corrects. Gently pat it on with your ring finger for best results.
Price at time of publish: $40
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 0.4 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best with Collagen
Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer
Research on topical collagen is inconclusive
Fun fact: The molecules in most topical collagen products are too large to penetrate the skin, but Olay's 24 Max Serum is formulated with an innovative collagen peptide that actually can. Additionally, the niacinamide- and glycerin-enriched formula works to promote a firmer, more supple complexion over time. It's hydrating, too, so it's a nice pick for dehydrated skin showing those early signs of aging.
Price at time of publish: $35
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, collagen | Skin Type: All | Size: | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Body Wash
Olay Exfoliating & Moisturizing Body Wash
Multi-tasking formula that exfoliates and moisturizes
Pump-top dispenser makes it easy to use in the shower
Some reviewers note that the scent isn’t particularly pleasant
Olay is known for their intensely moisturizing body washes, and this one is no exception. But beyond cleansing, this pick gives you a little extra bang for your buck, touting sugar crystals that work to gently buff off dead skin as you wash. And thanks to ingredients such as cocoa butter and niacinamide, you're still getting plenty of moisturization, all in one fell swoop. Multi-tasking for the win.
Price at time of publish: $11
Active Ingredients: Sugar cane extract, cocoa butter | Skin Type: All | Size: 17.9 fl. oz.| Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Body Lotion
Olay Rinse-off Body Conditioner
Easy way to moisturize while still in the shower
Doesn’t leave behind any residue
Bottle could be larger
You condition your hair, so why not condition your body? Just like you would with your strands, apply this moisturizing formula all-over your body after cleansing. Then unlike a lotion that gets rubbed in, this is rinsed off so there’s so residue left behind. Even though it’s meant to be rinsed off, it still leaves tons of moisture in your skin—so much so that you can even skip applying lotion post-shower.
Price at time of publish: $8
Active Ingredients: Shea butter, dimethicone | Skin Type: All | Size: 8 fl. Oz. | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best with Hyaluronic Acid
Olay Regenerist Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Hydrating Gel Moisturizer
Feels lightweight, but delivers plenty of long-lasting hydration
Contains three different tried-and-true skincare ingredients
Jar format isn’t particularly hygienic
The latest addition to the Regenerist franchise, this new line of hydrating products is so effective that it’s been clinically-proven to deliver 24 hours of hydration. (As in, a whole day’s worth.) There are five products in the line, but you can’t go wrong with this gel moisturizer. Lightweight and super refreshing, it absorbs lightning fast without any residue, making it the perfect makeup prep step. Still, it’s packed with hyaluronic acid to give you that heavy hit of hydration, as well as skin barrier-repairing niacinamide and line-smoothing peptides.
Price at time of publish: $30
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacnamide, peptides | Skin Type: All, dry, mature | Size: 1.7 fl. oz.| Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Vitamin C Serum
Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Brightening Serum
Fragrance may not be good for sensitive skin or noses
This radiance-boosting antioxidant serum is designed to target and treat dark spots, uneven skin tone, dullness, and pigmentation. Unlike other vitamin C formulas on the market, it has a lovely jelly texture (not watery at all), and there’s a nice citrus scent! It’s protective and hydrating, so try and incorporate it into your morning routine underneath SPF.
Price at time of publish: $40
Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.3 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What to Look For in Olay Products
Olay offers a wide variety of products, particularly for the face, ranging from serums to creams to lotions. Choose based on your personal preference, as well as your skin concerns (more on that point below).
Many Olay products are fragrance-free or come in fragrance-free variants. Particularly if your skin is on the sensitive side or is easily irritated, sticking with these is a good idea.
Consider Your Skin Concerns
Dryness, wrinkles, spots…no matter your complexion concern, there’s likely an Olay product for that. Considering your specific skincare goals is a good place to start when you’re choosing products. Dry skin may want to look for moisturizing or cream-based formulas whereas someone looking for brightening may want something with vitamin C, like Olay Brightening Face Serum. To target wrinkles, consider retinol (Olay Regenerist Retinol24) or an anti-aging treatment (Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream).
Are Olay products cruelty-free?
Olay does not test its products on animals. However, the brand is sold in a few countries where governments still mandate animal testing and Olay can be required by law to submit their products to labs where this happens. As such, they can’t claim to be cruelty-free on their packaging.
Do Olay products have expiration dates?
There’s no set expiration date, but check the bottom of the packaging—you’ll see a little icon of an open jar with a number written inside. This indicates how long the product will stay good for once it’s open. According to the brand, the average shelf life of most Olay products is 12 months.
Why Trust Byrdie
Emily Algar is a contributing writer for Byrdie where she specializes in in-depth product reviews. Melanie Rud is a contributing writer for Byrdie where she covers all things skincare—from buzzy ingredients to acne advice.
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Hakozaki T, Minwalla L, Zhuang J, et al. The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. Br J Dermatol. 2002;147(1):20-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04834.x
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Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2006;1(4):327-348. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327