Masks Vitamin C + AHA Resurfacing Peel
Olay’s Masks Vitamin C + AHA Resurfacing Peel has the core components of a good skin brightening peel – but bungles the execution in such a way that we can’t recommend it.
This is a 2-part product: a gel-based vitamin C face mask/scrub that you apply first, and an AHA serum that you put on after. You’re instructed to massage the mask/scrub into skin for one minute, then apply the serum, and continue massaging another minute, then rinse with warm water. When the two products come in contact with each other there’s a slight foaming and warming effect, which, while not unpleasant, doesn’t add any benefit to this product.
Olay gets the bio-active ingredients right: the vitamin C mask contains ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) as well as niacinamide. Both of these thoroughly researched ingredients have potent brightening benefits that can result in a more even skin tone, and the niacinamide can refine the pores and normalize their function.
As for the serum, it’s a basic formula, but it contains a good amount of the AHA lactic acid, formulated at a pH of 3.77 that’s within the optimal range of between 3-4 for exfoliation to occur.
That’s where the positives end, though. The vitamin C mask, while including gentle silica beads to provide manual exfoliation, also contains a high amount of baking soda (there’s more baking soda than silica beads), which is a harsher scrub material. Baking soda also likely makes the formula alkaline, and ascorbic acid works best at a pH that is more acidic.
The mask also includes fragrance, which puts skin at risk for irritation – not to mention it’s packaged in a jar, which compromises the stability of the vitamin C (see More Info below for details). Among all forms of vitamin C, the pure stuff is most prone to breaking down with repeated exposure to light and air.
And one final issue – the two minutes total that you’re supposed to have these products on your face before rinsing is not nearly enough time for the active ingredients to be effective (both vitamin C and AHA are much more impressive when left on skin longer).
With all these issues, this is simply a product that isn’t worth trying, even with the appeal of its multitasking claims. We suggest instead to look into the options you’ll find on our lists of best exfoliants and vitamin C products.
- Contains ascorbic acid, a well-researched form of vitamin C, and niacinamide.
- Includes the AHA lactic acid at a pH that’s optimal for exfoliation to occur.
- Silica beads provide gentle manual exfoliation.
- The length of time this is left on skin doesn’t allow the featured ingredients to work as claimed.
- Baking soda makes the mask feel too abrasive.
- Includes fragrance, which puts skin at risk for irritation.
- Packaged in a jar, which compromises its beneficial ingredients.
Jar Packaging and Beneficial Ingredients: Beneficial anti-aging ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight also is problematic for these ingredients.
Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin!
References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10
Reveal skin as radiant as you with Olay Vitamin C Mask + AHA Resurfacing Peel. It’s a spa-like experience for you and a revitalizing experience for your skin. The Resurfacing Treatment with Vitamin C exfoliates and renews your skin’s surface while the AHA Peel removes impurities. Plus, our friend Hydrated Silica works hard to polish away dirt and oil – then kindly dissolves to prevent over scrubbing. You’ll be admiring brighter, smoother skin that glows with just one use, but it’s gentle enough to enjoy once or twice a week.
Starting decades ago with the now-classic Oil of Olay, this brand now offers an extensive range of skin-care products sold at drugstores and mass-market stores. Today's Olay lineup for those concerned about staving off the effects of aging skin is impressive, comprising their Regenerist, Pro X, and Total Effects lines. All of these (and several other Olay products) contain the B vitamin niacinamide. As you might expect, the claims made for it are inflated, but niacinamide is a very helpful ingredient for all skin types, capable of exerting multiple benefits.
In fact, perhaps the biggest complaint about Olay is that there are a number of repetitive formulas within and between the sub-brands make this line confusing and tricky to shop! Still, there is a lot to like about this drugstore stalwart, with its main drawback being a few formulas containing fragrance or other ingredients that have the potential to cause irritation.
For more information about Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble, call (800) 285-5170 or visit www.olay.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.