Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, Sensitive
6 fl. oz. for $10.99
Last Updated:12.19.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Olay brought back the former version of this daytime moisturizer with sunscreen due to consumer demand. The previous version used avobenzone for reliable UVA protection while the reinstated formula includes zinc oxide, which is preferred for sensitive skin.

Although broad-spectrum sun protection is assured, this remains a fairly lackluster formula that, beyond the zinc oxide sunscreen, has no benefit for sensitive skin other than being fragrance-free. One of the actives (octinoxate) isn’t the best for sensitive skin, and the base formula is lacking a good mix of soothing anti-irritants.


Complete All Day UV Moisturizer- Sensitive Skin has a light, non-greasy and gentle formula that provides moisture while helping to protect your sensitive skin from daily incidental sun exposure.


Active Ingredients: 6.0% 0ctinoxate, 3.0% Zinc Oxide. Also Contains: Water, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG/PPG-20/20 Dimethicone, Steareth-21, Stearyl Alcohol, Sucrose Polycottonseedate, Behenyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetyl Alcohol, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Steareth-2, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Disodium EDTA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Oleth-3 Phosphate.

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 new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment 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
Summary of Member Comments
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Not for skin with breakouts

Aldi sells this, plus it was on sale, so I picked it up really cheap. However I quickly discovered it wasn't a good deal for me because this moisturizer for sensitive skin stung like crazy! I have frequent breakouts, which means I can only use this moisturizer/sunscreen on my arms and chest now. Besides that huge problem, I liked how it felt light on my skin and could be layered for more moisturizing effect. I would only recommend this for people with clear skin.

Reviewed by
The best moisturizer

I have very sensitive skin and have literally tried every moisturizer out there and this by fair is the best! It provided enough moisture for dry skin without clogging pores and has never irritated my skin. Great value as well!

Reviewed by
Why the Average Rating

Ignore my ratings for this product because I'm still considering whether to use it. I have combo skin with closed comedones. The reason why I'm writing is because the oily and normal version of this product got good ratings whereas this got an average rating. The ingredients for all 3 are basically identical except that this one doesn't have any fragrance or Vitamin C and has Aloe and sunscreen ingredients I've heard are supposed to be good for oily skin. So why the low rating?

Reviewed by
Simon, A.
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello, and thanks for your comments! The reason the sensitive skin version got an "Average" rating is because it contains octinoxate, a sunscreen active that does pose a risk of irritation for sensitive skin in particular. In the other versions, this isn't an issue because they're aren't specifically made for sensitive skin. We hope this explanation is helpful!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
Agree to disagree

I respect your review, but there is a reason why Olay brought this back. Everyone I know who uses the zinc oxide formula has beautiful skin. I have been using this since I was 19. Now at 32, I am still carded and asked what my secret is lol.

Reviewed by
rita l.
Not what it used to be

I used this product for literally years with no issues whatsoever and loved it. Then it was discontinued. Then it reappeared and I was overjoyed, until I used it again. Now it leaves my face feeling greasy, and worst of all stings and irritates my eyes horribly. In days gone by I would have given this a "Best" rating, but now can't recommend at all. What a disappointment.

Reviewed by
Patti P
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