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Olay

Sensitive Body Wash Unscented

24.00 fl. oz. for $ 5.49
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Although marketed to sensitive skin and supposedly as gentle to skin as water, this body wash isn't as ideal as it seems. It's not a terrible formula and in fact has a nice moisturizing base and silky texture plus a low lather than leaves skin feeling smooth; however, an ideal body wash for sensitive skin would be fragrance-free, because fragrance is a big source of skin sensitivity—yet this body wash contains fragrance.

How can Olay get away with labeling this "unscented" and still add fragrance? Good question! It comes down to semantics and a loose FDA regulation on the term "unscented". Essentially, this term is permissible even if the product contains added fragrance, because in the eyes of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) "unscented" does not mean the same thing as "fragrance-free" (yet products can also be labeled "fragrance-free" even if they contain fragrant plant ingredients, so go figure).

Although this body wash contains the potentially irritating cleansing agent sodium lauryl sulfate, the amount is likely too low to be cause for concern, especially given its buffered by the emollient ingredient petrolatum. On balance, despite some gentle ingredients and a pleasant texture, we respectfully disagree (as would most cosmetics chemists we know) that this body wash is "as gentle as water". Again, it's not a bad body wash (it's deserving of its rating) but it's not as mild or ideal for sensitive skin as Olay claims.

Pros:
  • Creamy, relatively gentle formula cleanses without leaving a soap-like residue.
  • Won't leave skin feeling dry or tight.
  • Other than fragrance, this doesn't contain a preponderance of ingredients sensitive skin doesn't need.
Cons:
  • Despite the unscented name, the formula contains fragrance, which isn't the best for sensitive skin.
  • The overall formula isn't one most chemists would consider "gentle as water".
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

Olay Sensitive body wash cleans as well as regular soap, yet is as gentle on skin as water. Formulated with mildness in mind, Olay Sensitive body wash contains moisturizers that penetrate deep into surface skin, giving you soft, smooth, healthy-looking skin.

Water, Petrolatum, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Trideceth-3, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Acrylonitrile/Methacrylonitrile/Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-90M, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Isopentane, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Olay At-A-Glance

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.

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