Review: Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser
Okay, so full disclaimer to start us off. I first used this product before Christmas last year. I used it once, loved the immediate effect on my skin the next morning and made the rookie error of slathering it on again for the next two consecutive nights. I say rookie error because I know that Retinol (which is a type of Vitamin A, but the term is often used interchangeably to cover the whole family of Vitamin A derivates) needs to be slowly incorporated into your skincare routine so that your skin has a chance to adjust to it. So why did I break the first rule of Vitamin A? Well, the second rule, the first rule is that you absolutely must, without fail, wear sunscreen during the day when you’re using a Retinol product at night because it makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage. Well, I broke the well-established rule because I had this embarrassingly, naive thought that because I bought this little purple pot from the supermarket it wasn’t *really* going to be that hardcore. I thought this was going to be a water-downed, extra mild (Lemon and Herb marinade level if a Nando’s scale of severity is speaking your language) option and I was very wrong. Just because you can buy Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser where you buy your cereal and broccoli does not mean this is anything to be scoffed at. Lesson learned.
What Makes It Special:
This velvety, white cream is formulated with Olay’s ‘propriety blend’ (aka. their secret recipe) of Niacinamide and Retinol to hydrate the skin while working its transformative magic overnight. The fragrance-free and dye-free cream make a visible difference in the skin’s appearance in a very short period of time, absorbing quickly at night to reveal better-looking skin the next morning.
Why I Like It:
If you know to pace yourself and slowly ease into Vitamin A, then I think it’s a great starter Retinol. It’s not too hardcore that you’ll have any of that dreaded Vitamin A downtime as your skin adjusts to it, but it’s strong enough to give a good result quickly and keep you using it. Even when I went in too hard before Christmas, it still didn’t make my skin peel or hurt like some Vitamin A products can do with incorrect use. It was tight, red and uncomfortable, but that was the extent of it – nothing I couldn’t fix with a great calming serum and good barrier repairing cream. Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser finds that middle ground nicely between effective and gentle, and I think that’s its strength. I also love that it’s a cream, most people know and understand moisturiser and where it fits in a ‘basic’ routine, and serums can be a little overwhelming if you’re new to skincare.
For reference the basics are…
Morning: cleanse, tone, serum, moisturiser, SPF
Night: cleanse twice, tone, serum, moisturiser
Having said that, do what works for you – don’t use a toner if you don’t want to, skip moisturiser if your serum feels like enough, morning cleanse with just warm water etc. Just don’t skip the sunscreen and always wash your face at the end of the day – those are the only hard and fast rules really.
The quick and visible effect it has had on my skin is made more impressive when you remember the price point, most over the counter (OTC aka. non-prescription Vitamin A products) sit at a less affordable price point than this does.
Olay has done something else really special that I think is worth mentioning too. They have designed and manufactured a replacement lid that works with all their tub moisturisers, created specifically for people with dexterity issues and disabilities that make opening a lid and visually identifying products difficult. The ‘Easy Open Lid’ has a ‘wing’ on each side, making it easier to open with one hand with minimal force, plus the lid has Braille on the top for vision-impaired consumers to identify the tub. The lid is currently available online only, but Olay reps have said they hope for it to be in store shortly. More importantly, the prototype lid has not been trademarked, and the design specs have been shared so that any beauty brand can duplicate the design for their own ranges. Although it’s not a perfect alternative and some people have slammed the move as performative inclusion, it seems to me to be a step in opening up a conversation and making people, myself included, aware of a problem that they were lucky enough to not be aware of before. Consumer abilities range across a very broad spectrum, and a ‘one-lid-suits-all’ approach is never going to work for absolutely everyone, but it’s an important issue to address and I applaud Olay for taking the first step in what will hopefully be an ongoing commitment to accessibility.
What I Don’t Like About It:
I think the instructions and product claims on the packaging are a touch misleading; “see the skin transformation in 28 days” to me implies that it’s suitable for everyday use from the get-go, and I don’t think it’s fair to assume that people buy a product and then jump online to get educated through doing their own research on how best to incorporate a product into their routine. I think the Olay Retinol packaging should make mention of slowly incorporating Vitamin A, and stress the fact that sunscreen protection during the day is a non-negotiable.
I began by applying this twice per week for a month, then upped it to three times a week for another month and now I’m using it about 5 nights a week. I apply Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser to dry, clean skin after cleansing and toning in the evening, and then wait at least 30 minutes (sometimes longer) before adding a layer of something hydrating over the top – either a regular, plain moisturiser or a light overnight mask. The Chantecaille Lily and Jasmine Healing Mask and Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream are two favourites, but any plain, moisturising cream would do. This is just personal preference though, you can absolutely just apply this and be done for the night.
Visible improvements in fine lines & wrinkles, smoothness, brightness, firming, dark spots, and pores – can’t comment on pores and dark spots but can confirm that I saw a visible improvement in smoothness, firmness and fine lines.
Absorbs quickly and goes deep into your skin’s surface layers – deep and surface sound contradictory to me, but I agree it absorbs quickly
Wake up every morning to glowing, plumper and younger-looking skin – wouldn’t say glowing, but definitely plumper and therefore younger-looking.
Based on a consumer study (US180ZNU) with 156 women over 4 weeks:
-87% saw smoother skin texture
-88% saw skin looking more radiant
-97% agree skin was left moisturised
-94% agree skin feeling healthy
Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Tapioca Starch, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Retinyl Propionate, Laureth-4, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyacetophenone, Laureth-7, Dimethiconol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Aminomethyl Propanol, Titanium Dioxide, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Niacinamide, Benzyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4
50gm – $59.95
Absolutely. I’d definitely repurchase Olay Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser again, however, Vitamin A is the kind of product that is available in different strengths, and it’s advised to gradually up your ‘dosage’ to continue to see optimal results. What that means is this wouldn’t be the one and only Retinol you use in your twenties up until your eighties. You’d eventually graduate to higher strengths and through different formulations and for that you’d need to explore other brands because this is the only formulation that Olay currently offer.