Created in partnership with Olay.
There are two things you’ll hear me say a lot here. First, that retinol is the best thing (besides SPF) that you can do for your skin to fight the signs of aging. Second, that if you want skincare that is affordable and high-tech, Olay is where you should look.
You might remember that last year, Olay asked me to review their Retinol24 line. I was really, really impressed with the products and how effective they are, especially at that drugstore price point. You can read my full review but what impressed me most about that line was that the products were so effective, without any irritation! Well this year, they have gone and launched their brand new Retinol24 MAX line, which has 20% more of Olay’s proprietary Retinoid Complex. I don’t want to spoil my review but can say with full confidence that Olay Retinol24 MAX is the best retinol cream on the market at this price point.
Olay Retinol24 MAX Moisturizer Review
The formula is very similar to the original product – it’s just more powerful. At first blush, it would be hard to tell a difference between the two. It’s fragrance-free, cruelty-free, super hydrating, and sinks in immediately. The formula contains Vitamin B3 and Olay’s unique Retinoid Complex which includes two types of retinoids: retinol and retinyl propionate.
I also want to touch on the jar format and product stability, as I got a bunch of questions (for good reason!) last time… I hadn’t ever seen a retinol cream in jar form either so was also curious. Olay did quite a bit of research before launching this product and had the understanding that most of their consumers prefer facial moisturizers (and eye cream) to come in jars, so they invested a lot of research into coming up with a formulation that would keep the retinol stable and potent without special air-tight packaging. They have developed a unique micro-droplet oil-in-water emulsion that keeps the retinol blend stable even in jar packaging.
Olay’s Retinol24 formula now comes in MAX form with 20% more of Olay’s unique Retinoid Complex*. 34% of women currently using a retinol product want their skincare products to be powerful, with maximum potency. Olay packed these fragrance-free formulas with Retinol24’s maximum concentration of hydrators to leave your skin feeling hydrated and replenished.
My Experience Using Olay Retinol24 MAX:
First of all, as always, some context. I am 39 years old with dry skin. I am lucky that my skin is pretty well-behaved. But it is definitely starting to show the signs of aging: fine lines, dullness, the occasional rough patch.
I started using this moisturizer on October 9th. I submitted my review to the brand on November 11th, so I had a full month to test it. Then I started out using it every single night but it’s very potent (I definitely felt that it was more intense – in a good way – than the original Retinol24 cream!) Every other night was the sweet spot. I was already an avid retinol user so my skin is used to it but if you are new to retinol I’d definitely recommend starting with 2x a week and working up.
How to use retinol
This is a retinol night cream. I would not recommend using it (or any other retinol product) for daytime. I like to apply it before bedtime. After cleansing and toning, I would apply a generous amount of the cream to my skin. I let it sink in for at least 10 minutes or so. Most nights I didn’t feel like I needed any extra moisturizer (this one is really hydrating) but if my skin was feeling dry I’d pat on face oil over it.
Retinol Benefits – Short Term
In the short term, I felt like my skin was SO soft and hydrated, and immediately brighter and smoother the next day. The cream provides 24 hours of hydration so no waking up with dry, tight skin (this happens to me with some retinols).
The brightness was really really noticeable – I’d wake up glowing! I loved that it wasn’t irritating, too.
Retinol Benefits – Long Term
In the longer term, the formula will visibly smooth wrinkles and fine lines and even out skin tone. Over the month, my skin tone really evened out and fine lines were less noticeable as well.
I have said this before: retinol is not Botox; you won’t see this immediate elimination in fine lines but you will see a softening. Besides the blur in fine lines, my skin was noticeably smoother overall. This is one of the best retinol creams I have tried. I can honestly say that this is the best retinol moisturizer I’ve ever tried at this price point. It’s comparable with most of the more expensive ones I have tried over the years, and I really love the new MAX formula.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative! When it comes to anti-aging ingredients, Retinol is hands down the star ingredient you want to look for. It works by simultaneously increasing collagen production and accelerating skin renewal.
What does Retinol Do for the Skin?
So what does retinol do??? Using retinol for skin (a moisturizer, or other retinol products like a serum) a few times a week can help accelerate skin renewal, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots; it will refine the skin’s texture, and even out your skin tone.
photography by Allie Provost.