To Olay's credit, Total Effects 7-in-1 Feather Weight Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 contains a good mix of restorative anti-aging ingredients including niacinamide, panthenol (vitamin B5) and vitamin E, but there are two main criteria holding it back: Its SPF rating and amount of fragrance.
While this moisturizer provides broad-spectrum sun protection via its blend of non-mineral sunscreen actives, the SPF 15 rating is disappointing, especially for a new-to-market product. The prevailing recommendation for adequate protection is SPF 30 or greater, with SPF ratings between 25 and 30 falling into the acceptable range. (See the More Info section for additional details on minimum SPF levels, as well as how we rate Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen.)
The second issue, fragrance, is a tricky one. Even though you may not physically feel or see the kind of skin damage fragrance can cause, it's concerning, especially when a skincare product is as fragrant as this is. (See More Info for the full explanation on how fragrance irritates skin.)
That's a shame considering the high concentration of niacinamide + other skin-repairing ingredients actually do have research showing they can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, enhance skin tone, and potentially minimize the look of pores as claimed. Of course, all of that is for naught if you aren't getting enough sun protection (which is what can happen if you rely on this as your sole source of SPF).
We also have to dispute Olay's claim that this formula "exfoliates to enhance skin's natural self-renewal process for healthier-looking skin." There's nothing in this moisturizer that can "exfoliate" skin.
However, we do applaud Olay for choosing stable packaging; this product's opaque bottle with an air-restrictive pump to keeps the superstar ingredients potent from first to last use. The lightweight, lotion texture is another plus for those with normal to combination skin. It's not emollient enough for very dry skin, and those with very oily skin will likely want something more mattifying, but for others, it's a nice middle-of-the-road level of hydration.
In the end, despite the fact that Total Effects 7-in-1 Feather Weight Moisturizer SPF 15 contains some beneficial ingredients in noteworthy concentration, the low SPF rating and wafting amount of fragrance leads us to recommend you look elsewhere. Where to? Our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen is a good start!
Sunscreens Rated SPF 20 or Lower: A growing body of current research has demonstrated that it's better to use a sunscreen rated SPF 20 or greater to ensure adequate defense against the sun's aging UV rays. SPF 20 or lower is an option—and certainly better than no sunscreen at all—but only if you're willing to apply liberally and your skin will be seeing five hours of daylight or less.
While this sunscreen will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients, no sunscreen with an SPF lower than 20 will rate higher than two stars in Beautypedia. For more information on our criteria for rating sunscreens, please visit the Best Sunscreens section of the site.
Applying an SPF 15-rated sunscreen under a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far better care of your skin. This layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you're not applying liberally.
How We Rate Daytime Moisturizers with SPF: "Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen" are differentiated from ordinary sunscreens as formulas that make direct anti-aging or other cosmetic claims by the brand, such as "deep moisture" or "redness-relieving." Claims like "combats free radical damage," "protects and firms," "improves skin texture" or others that insinuate benefits beyond what a standard sunscreen formula provides.
Daytime Moisturizers with SPF are judged based upon whether they provide broad-spectrum sun protection, their SPF rating, potential for irritation, packaging and aesthetics. They must also meet the same standards as an anti-aging moisturizer—the inclusion of beneficial antioxidants or other ingredients to back up the claims of improvements in signs of aging on skin beyond what sun protection alone provides. For more detail on how we rate this category of products, see the Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen section of Beautypedia.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octisalate 4.5%, Octocrylene 2.6%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Isostearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Panthenol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Isohexadecane, Stearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Dimethiconol, PEG-100 Stearate, Fragrance, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Polysorbate 60, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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