11.26.2014
34
7250
Foaming Face Wash, for Sensitive Skin
Rating
7 fl. oz. for $4.99
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Foaming Face Wash, for Sensitive Skin is one of the best cleanser values at the drugstore, and is ideal for all skin types, including sensitive or rosacea-affected skin. It is an excellent water-soluble cleanser that removes makeup without leaving your skin feeling dry or tight.

Claims

Formulated specifically for sensitive skin, this foaming face wash has a rich lather that gently cleanses and refreshes skin.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Polyquaternium-10, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Laureth-10, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, DMDM Hydantoin

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being a soft pink lotion designed to make skin younger (yet it was and is just a badly formulated product that was out of date almost from the moment it was launched).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 Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
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03.25.2015
excruciating allergic reaction

face burned, puss filled blisters and swelling

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Reviewed by
dianna H
02.19.2015
Great for combination skin& as long as your using other facial products because the face is poned to

I dont just use a face wash.I also am using other products in this order:face wash,toner(different name brand,exfoliant,facial sunscreen,for blemishes I am using a cream with 2% benzoyl peroxide.Also when I where makeup I use a Mineral or waterbased matte foundation.I have did alot of research,if you dont want an allergic reaction research into different products for your skin,no ones skin is the same. Tina

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Reviewed by
Tina
02.17.2015
Best Cleanser!

Best cleanser because it leaves your face feeling clean but not at all dry - no residue. It removes makeup (including non-waterproof mascara)effectively. No fragrance and no burning. I have the MOST sensitive eyes EVER, and this does not irritate me at all. I've been using it for years, and I hope it's never discontinued.

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Reviewed by
Nicole
12.15.2014
Great face wash for rosacea

This is a great, non-irritating, fragrance free facial cleanser. I have rosacea and very sensitive skin and most cleansers irritate my skin, but not this one! It left my skin soft and smooth after the first use. It also removed all my eye makeup and I use BB gel eyeliner and cream shadow, which are tenacious. Didn't irritate my eyes either! I see a lot of reviewers had bad reactions, so I would say buy from a place that has a liberal return policy bec it is def worth a try!

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Reviewed by
Lauren
11.24.2014
Worst: burnt my face

I read the reviews from Paula's choice and decided to buy it. It burnt my skin badly, red swollen, itchy rashes. To my surprise, when I saw the ingredients I realized it was all harsh chemicals and irritants such as sodium laurel sulfate. Can't believe it's made for sensitive skin. Awful product!

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Reviewed by
Lilig
11.24.2014
Paula's Choice Research Team Response

Hello, and thanks for sharing your comments with us - we invite you to contact a member of our Customer Care team for information about a possible exchange or refund.

—Paula's Choice Research Team
11.22.2014
Leaves Filmy Residue feel

I bought this product because of its BEST rating on PC . Very disappointed. No matter how much I rub or rinse there is a filmy residual feel left on skin. Amazing why some people have this reaction and some do not . Wonder why.

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Reviewed by
Christine
11.10.2014
does not rinse off easy

This is a good cleanser, but it does not rinse off easily thus leaving a soapy residue on your face. I returned the produce after a few tries.

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Reviewed by
Glendys S.
11.05.2014
Great cleanser

This is a beautiful cleanser. Like with any cleanser, if you would like for it to foam more, wet your hands and face. The cleanser doesn't leave the skin dry or tight. It actually leaves you with super smooth skin. It also cleans makeup very well, leaving no traces of it behind.

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Reviewed by
RafaellaS
10.07.2014
Great Nightly Face Wash

I have been using Olay Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin every evening for about a year now. It is excellent at removing makeup and cleaning my skin without drying it out. If I happen to be wearing waterproof mascara, I simply go over my eyes with makeup remover, but regular mascara comes right off with this product. In the morning, I generally use a generic version of Cetaphil. This routine has proven to work perfectly for my sensitive skin!

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
09.22.2014
good!

I use this foaming face wash at night under the shower when I had a busy day and my face is sweaty, oily and dirty, otherwise I use a non-foaming cleanser because I have dry skin. I just use a dime size drop for my face and my skin feels soft and clean. Another plus is the price and I can buy it at my local grocery store.

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Reviewed by
Susanne T.
09.14.2014
Very disappointed

Nice and creamy, but stings when it gets in your eyes. Not what I expect for a "best of the best" recommendation.

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Reviewed by
Kathleen R.
08.09.2014
No need to pay more

Best cleanser I've ever used. Dirt cheap. I don't even look at other options. Can't ask for more.

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Reviewed by
David V
07.14.2014
Amazing cleanser

After a thorough search on Beautypedia for the best cleanser I could easily get in my country, I found this and decided to give it a try. I fell in love with it on first usage. It removed my makeup completely and my skin didn't feel dry at all. Many people complained that it didn't rinse off well but it did for me. I went back to the store where I bought it from and got the remaining 2 tubes they had left. I will gladly recommend it to anyone.

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Reviewed by
Ifeoma I.
07.08.2014
Amazing!

This stuff is the best I've ever used! Typically, foaming cleansers tend to leave my face feeling a bit dry and tight, but not this one! The lather feels so soft and creamy, I'm not always sure when I've rinsed enough so I splash some more. It fully removes all of my makeup and my skin is left soft and smooth. And so wonderful that it is fragrance free too. Highly recommended!

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Reviewed by
Shelley d.
05.29.2014
Not good for my sensitive skin!

This cleanser was one of the worst for irritating my sensitive skin. My face is typically combination with some oil by mid day, but very sensitive. This dried out my skin, gave me redness and just generally was too strong for my skin. Not sure what ingredient or ingredients were the problem, but this is not for me at all!

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
05.13.2014
sodium laurel sulfate

This has sodium laurel sulfate in it so I don't know how it is a best. It left my face dry but I admit I love how it removes my make up so well.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
05.14.2014
Paula's Choice Research Team Response

Hello, and thanks for your comments! This is subject of which there is much confusion. This product contains sodium laureth sulfate, which is a good and gentle cleansing agent. Another very similar-sounding ingredient, sodium lauryl sulfate, is one of the most irritating cleansers used in skin care. We're happy to report this cleanser does not contain the latter!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
04.25.2014
Nice basic face wash, but nothing special...

I have normal to dry sensitive skin and in moderate to warm/hot weather this wash works great on my face, leaves in feeling clean and not stripped, hydrated. I don't find it burning to the eyes or stinging as other reviewers have stated (I have a feeling they are used to the low lathering or no lathering products associated with PC). However, in cooler or cold weather my skin feels a bit tight and flaky after use. In that regard, I think Paula is wrong to call it great for all skin types.

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Reviewed by
Howard
03.11.2014
Best cleanser I've tried

My skin is combination (sometimes a little oily but with dry flakiness underneath) and very sensitive. It is very easily dried out by cleansers, and can take a long time to recover. After using Clinique's redness solutions cleanser, which was good but a little expensive and would leave a white film of product on my skin, I switched to Olay's cleanser. I love this product! Even though it foams, it doesn't over dry. It cleansers beautifully and now I rarely breakout. Better yet, it's much cheaper.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
03.05.2014
Doesn't look good

I was excited to try this based on the good review. Have been using this for a week during the longest, coldest winter in Winnipeg, and it has stripped my skin and caused a breakout on my forehead. Interesting that PC criticizes other products for having sodium laurel sulfate (irritant) but not this product. It is too harsh for my very temperamental, acne-prone skin. Back to the drawing board.....

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Reviewed by
Kelly M.
02.27.2014
Best value

I keep going back to this cleanser year after year for its ability to take my makeup off and its gentleness on my sensitive, acne prone, combo skin. It's a no-frills cleanser that has just enough suds, rinses clean, is non-irritating and doesn't leave skin overly tight. Plus, a little goes a long way and a tube will last me months. It's also great for cleaning makeup brushes!

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Reviewed by
Jen, R.
02.19.2014
Bad Allergic Reaction

I used it this past Friday evening to clean face. It stung my eyes and the foaming action was less than desirable. Saturday morning I noticed a few dry patches around mouth & forehead peeling. I used it to clean face after exercising and it burned a little. By Saturday night my whole face was itching and my neck had dry patches and itched terribly. I took Benadryl to try to calm the itching. Sunday resulted in droopy eyelid and dry patches over eyes, eyelids scaly, forehead dryer & itching.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
02.15.2014
Not worth it

I bought the product based on PB review and my skin has been terrible ever since. Red, dry and sensitive, my skin is burning still and i used it last night. Its a product marketed for sensitive skin, so to me its an epic fail. Will never use this product again. Im going back to Cetaphil, it may be mild without bells and whistles but God it makes my skin feel wonderful.

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Reviewed by
Tracy, t
01.13.2014
What a bargain

I don't have any makeup to take off, so I can't speak to that, but if you want to save some money, this is the place to do it. I have oily skin and found that the cleanser did a good job doing what it's supposed to do...clean my skin. I don't like washing away expensive products, so this is a new keeper. Thanks beautypedia for saving me some cash!

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Reviewed by
Ron, R
01.09.2014
Love this! Dupe for bareminerals/sheseido

Got it as BOGO 1/2 off Ulta online so 2.50$!!!! This works just as well and has the same rich luminescent consistency as the bare minerals cleansing foam (20$) and shiseido ibuki cleansing foam (30$) at sephora!!! Dupe overall love it

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Reviewed by
Kaitlin h
01.07.2014
Great product, great deal!

Age 54, sensitive skin, mild rosacea- This product gets high marks from both Beautypedia AND Allure- an extremely rare event in itself- and it was on sale at ULTA- so I took the plunge. I use a separate dual phase eye makeup remover, but this removes the rest of my makeup better than anything else I've tried recently, and is neither drying nor greasy. I bought the tube- product is liquidy so tube leaks a little- I will get the pump next time. 4 stars from me for this effective bargain product!!!

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Reviewed by
Sharon K
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