04.03.2015
7
202
Complete Defense All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30, Sensitive Skin
Rating
2.5 fl. oz. for $12.99
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Last Updated:04.03.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30, Sensitive Skin includes 7% zinc oxide. Although zinc oxide provides UVA and UVB protection, it seems that this product did not pass the FDA's new sunscreen testing in order to earn a "broad spectrum protection" statement on the label. Instead, this product has a statement that it does not protect against signs of aging, which is required if a product did not pass the test required for a broad spectrum protection label. For this reason, we decided to downgrade this product's rating, though this is otherwise a fairly impressive formula—but not an ideal pick for truly sensitive skin.

Because Olay included other synthetic sunscreen active ingredients, this is not a slam-dunk choice for sensitive skin (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are the most gentle choices for this skin type). This fragrance-free daily sunscreen would be best for normal to slightly dry skin not prone to breakouts; but this is not a great option for an anti-aging moisturizer and, let’s face it, that’s the main reason those of us that apply SPF each day bother doing so.

Pros:

  • Fragrance-free formula.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Lightweight texture infused with antioxidants.

Cons:

  • Not labeled for broad spectrum protection, so isn’t a good choice for anti-aging.
  • The mix of active ingredients isn’t ideal for truly sensitive skin.
Claims

Help protect your sensitive skin with SPF30 sunscreen, while providing an immediate surge of Active hydration to moisturize dryness.

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 2.5%, Octocrylene .5%, Zinc Oxide 7.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Water/Eau, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Steareth-21, Cyclopentasiloxane, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polyethylene, Behenyl Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, DMDM Hydantoin, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, PEG/PPG-20/20 Dimethicone, Laureth-7, Steareth-2, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Brand Overview

Olay At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive (mostly); several outstanding water-soluble cleansers and scrubs; boon for any consumer in love with cleansing cloths; good AHA exfoliant; all sunscreens include UVA-protecting ingredients; bountiful selection of state-of-the-art serums and some excellent moisturizers; some of the best products offer fragrance-free versions.

Weaknesses: Bar cleansers; no topical disinfectant for blemishes; random products contain menthol; more than a handful of dated moisturizers; jar packaging; several moisturizers with sunscreen don't offer skin much beyond basic sun protection; repetitive formulas within and between the sub-brands make this line confusing and tricky to shop.

Olay offers a fairly large selection of skin-care products sold at drugstores and mass-market stores. Although Olay's products are not as diversified as Neutrogena's or as attractive as L'Oreal's, Olay has come a long way from its star product being a soft pink lotion designed to make skin younger (yet it was and is just a badly formulated product that was out of date almost from the moment it was launched). Today's Olay lineup for those concerned about staving off the effects of aging skin is impressive, comprising their Regenerist, 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, as explained in the various reviews below, niacinamide is a very helpful ingredient for all skin types, capable of exerting multiple benefits. It isn't the best ingredient out there (no single ingredient has that title yet, and it's unlikely that just one ever will be) and as such doesn't deserve the prominence Olay gives it (a bit of variety would have been far better, such as a mix of antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients).

Olay's sales are expected to reach $4 billion annually in the next few years, and given their global presence in stores and constant advertising in magazines and on television, that's not surprising. Much of this advertising is focused on their best products, which is attention well deserved. Just to give you an idea of the expenditure involved for these ubiquitous ads, Olay spent over $50 million to promote Regenerist in 2003. The good news is that each new range of Olay products generally improves on what came before it, offering results that, while not as impressive as the claims, are noticeable in the mirror.

For its ongoing commitment to understanding consumers and formulating products that, while not perfect, definitely offer more proof than puffery, Olay deserves consideration by any savvy skin-care shopper. And it also deserves mention that Olay is one of the few lines in this book whose entire collection of products with sunscreens provides sufficient UVA protection! (Sources for the financial figures above: The Rose Sheet, July 10, 2006, page 5; September 11, 2006, page 4; and January 1, 2007, page 5).

Olay began 2009 with the launch of Pro-X, their most expensive products to date. Not only are these products considerably more expensive than any others from Olay, the packaging, color scheme, advertising campaign, and claims have all been turned up to "max" on the cosmetics marketing dial. The amount of hype and budget thrown at these products easily explains why our Beautypedia product request e-mail inbox has been inundated with requests for me to review these products!

Whenever something this sleek-looking and pricey debuts in the mass market, lots of consumers wonder whether the extra expense is worth it. They also want to know if Olay's "Professional" designation makes these products a cut above the numerous other products they sell, including those with similar claims.

It turns out we had the same question after surveying the ingredient lists for all of the Pro-X products: How are they different from those available in Olay's Total Effects and Regenerist? Supposedly, all of those other sub-brands also have the answer to improving the telltale signs of aging, from dryness and wrinkles to loss of luminosity and unwanted discolorations. In fact, the claims on the label of these three lines are virtually identical.

It is clear from the get go that there are far more similarities than differences among Definity, Regenerist and Pro-X. All of them contain niacinamide, the B vitamin that has almost single-handedly re-energized Olay as a formidable skin-care brand. One of the Pro-X products contains acetyl glucosamine, just like several from Definity, and many Pro-X products contain peptides, just as Regenerist products do. Why should someone consider Pro-X over those other lines?

Interestingly, the folks we spoke with at Procter & Gamble didn't have a clear answer either, which isn't surprising, at least not from a formula superiority standpoint. Rather, their explanation was all about a marketing decision. This "cosmeceutical" –oriented line is supposed to give women who think that a line that looks medical must be better even if it's available at the drugstore. Pro-X was also designed to appeal to women who typically seek professional skin-care products, meaning those that are sold or recommended by a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.

Of course there is no standardized definition for "professional skin care" and "cosmeceutical" is a bogus term. The dermatologists who consulted Olay about these new products are well-respected, but the formulas still come up short in terms of a cocktail of antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients that can repair damaged skin. As it turns out, despite the Alliance for Skin Care Innovation that Olay speaks of in their promotional materials for Pro-X, its creation had more to do with marketing than with bringing anything new to the cosmetics table.

Don't get me wrong: the Pro-X products have some commendable attributes and certainly offer multiple benefits for aging skin, but the truth is they're not different enough from Olay Regenerist or Definity products to warrant the higher price.

Pro-X's packaging is indeed sexier, the claims are more enticing, and the prices speak to a high-end consumer, but, to borrow a popular catchphrase from the 1980s, we were left wondering "Where's the beef?" The beef, as it were, is merely Olay creating products whose differences are much stronger from a marketing standpoint than from a formulary standpoint. That's not breakthrough news for your skin, and it's a fact that anyone considering Pro-X should know that other Olay products offer comparable benefits for less money. The only significant difference between Pro-X and Olay's other sub-brands is that Pro-X is fragrance-free; that's great, but you would think that leaving out an ingredient as opposed to adding one would lead to a price decrease rather than an increase. It's up to you if that point is enough to make the higher prices worthwhile.

For more information about Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble, call (800) 285-5170 or visit www.olay.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
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03.09.2015
Interested in review of the new UVA and UVB protection formula

The overview for this product is a different formula than the new one found in stores that offers protection against both burning and aging sun damage. The new one has 7% zinc oxide. I tried it because I like the olay spf 15 sensitive, but I think a decent breakout was caused by the spf 30. In this review it says it is for skin not prone to blemishes, so I'm wondering what it is that causes breakouts?

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Reviewed by
Sj
03.12.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  Thank you for the heads up on the ingredient changes.  We will get the ingredient list and review updated to reflect the changes.
-Beautypedia Team

—Admin
02.26.2015
7.0% Zinc Oxide?

Hello - I just purchased this and the label says 7.0% zinc oxide. It also states on the package, "if used as directed with other sun protection measures, decreases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun." Is the formula I purchased new then? It contains SolaSheer Sensitive Technology and is called Olay Complete Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It feels great but I want to make sure it is providing adaquate protection.

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Reviewed by
Kimmie R.
03.02.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  "Broad spectrum" is exactly what you want to look for on a label and with this product having an SPF of 30, I would say that you are getting great protection.

—Admin
05.24.2014
Excellent for use around eyes

I know this earned only a "good" official rating, but for me it's a "best." I've been using it for years. Now I use it only on my eyelids and under-eye area. I use Paula's Resist Super-Light sunscreen on the rest of my face and one of her other (non-tinted) sunscreens on my neck. But this Olay product is the only thing I've ever tried that doesn't sting my eyes--so I'll keep using it. Also--I have oily skin and never experienced breakouts when I used it on my entire face.

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Reviewed by
MARY W.
02.13.2014
DOES NOT CONTAIN UVA PROTECTIOn

I loved this product until I realized it doesn't contain UVA protection--a ridiculous choice from a line that identifies itself with anti-aging.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
02.13.2014
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello, and thanks for your comments! This product does actually contain UVA protection in the form of Zinc Oxide. We appreciate your feedback.

—Paula's Choice Research Team
05.15.2013
Caused Breakout

Although the lotion was scentfree (yay!) and did well as a sunblock (yay!) it did not moisturize well and after using it for about 10 days, I had major breakout on my checks. I never breakout of my cheeks...I'm 30 years old and this was like a teenager's breakout :( D o not recmmend for senstive or acne prone skin.

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Reviewed by
Jamie M
05.04.2013
Great stuff for rosacea skin + no makeup needed!

I originally found this through Paula back when it was a "Best" choice. I've stuck with it for years and still love it. I have sensitive skin with rosacea and a tendency towards acne on my chin, and this makes my skin happy without breaking it out. It does leave a slight cast, but it just brings a little more glow to my light skin and camouflages slight imperfections (so I can skip foundation). Whenever I see this on sale, I stock up.

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Reviewed by
GRACIE S.
04.11.2013
Love this sunscreen!

This product is awesome! I have very sensitive, acne prone skin and this product does not cause breakouts at all! It is not greasy or sticky and goes great under makeup. I have noticed that recently is out of stock in retail stores, guess I'm not the only fan :)

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Reviewed by
Katie K
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