Is Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15 The Best Day Moisturiser At The Drugstore?

by Gio
olay total effects day moisturiser spf 15 review

Note to self: don’t ignore a skincare brand just because it has a boring, old lady look. You may miss out on some incredible gems.

Case in point: Olay Total Effects Day Cream SPF 15. Once I got over my aversion for using the same cream as my grandma, I realised why she loved it so much. It’s one of the best moisturisers you can get at the drugstore. Here’s why:

What’s In Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15?


Thank Olay for putting Niacinamide on the skincare map. Needless to say, Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15 is loaded with it, too.

This form of Vitamin B3 is suitable for every skin type and concerns. Here’s what it can do for your skin:

Related: The Complete Guide To Niacinamide: What It Is, What It Does, And What To Use It


Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15 provides UV protection thanks to:

This moisturiser can provide broad spectrum protection, as long as you use enough (1/3 of a teaspoon for the face alone). Use less and you’ll need a separate sunscreen on top.

I personally recommend you use a separate sunscreen anyway. SPF 15 is barely enough in winter!

Related: How Dangerous Is Avobenzone In Sunscreens?


Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15 contains its fair share of antioxidants. Highlights include:

Related: Is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate The Best Form Of Vitamin C For Acne-Prone Skin?


The texture is just right: not too lightweight, but not thick either. Itt sinks into the skin very quickly – no greasy residue behind.


Fresh. Subtle. A little floral. A bit old-fashioned. Fades away quickly.

How To Use It

In the morning, after serums but before sunscreen.

Performance & Personal Opinion

If you’re a regular here, you know I often skip a day moisturiser. My usual routine is cleanser, Vitamin C serum and sunscreen.

But on the colder days of the year, I’ll add a moisturiser to the mix to help my skin better withstand the harsher temperatures.

Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser with SPF 15 is a great option – and not just because it makes a good base for makeup. It’s moisturising enough for my combination skin (dry cheeks, oily t-zone), leaving it soft and smooth for the entire day.

While it’s at it, its plumping effect makes my fine lines look a little smaller – but, of course, the effect is only temporary. Still, I’ll take it.

The cream can’t get rid of wrinkles completely, but the antioxidants in it can definitely help you slow down the formation of new ones.

The best part? This moisturiser didn’t make me breakout. Not even one tiny pimple reared its ugly head. Phew!

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I do use sunscreen afterwards. SPF 15 may be the minimum dermatologists recommend, but I’m not comfortable using anything below 25.

Olay Total Effects moisturiser with spf 15

Who Is This For?

  • Normal skin
  • Slightly dry skin
  • Combination skin

Who Is This Not For?

May be a tad too rich for oily and acne-prone skin.


Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15 comes in a whitish golden tube with a pump applicator. It may look boring, but it’s functional. It keeps the antioxidants inside stable and effective for longer and dispenses just the right amount of product you need.

Does Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser With SPF 15 Live Up To Its Claims?

Reduces the appearance of wrinkles.Notice Olay says it reduces the appearance of wrinkles, not that it reduces wrinkles. When skin is well-moisturised (and this cream does the job), it plumps up so fine lines and wrinkles look smaller.
Evens skin tone.It has Niacinamide, which does help to fade away dark spots. I don’t have any yet, so I can’t vouch for this personally.
Refines look of pores.Niacinamide can help pores a little smaller.
Smoothes the texture of the skin.Yes, but any moisturiser makes skin smoother.
Brightens.I didn’t notice much of a glow, but again, niacinamide can help fade away dark spots.
Helps to restore skin’s firmness.Notice it doesn’t promise to firm skin. It only promises to help (what?) firm skin. There’s no way you can prove or disprove this claim.

Price & Availability

$22.49 at Target and Walmart

Do You Need It?

Very few products are must-haves. But if you’re looking for an antiaging moisturiser at the drugstore, Olay Total Effects Day Moisturiser with SPF 15 fits the bills.

Dupes & Alternatives

Aqua, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Isopropyl Isostearate, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Panthenol, Octocrylene, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, BHT, Stearyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Zinc oxide (Nano), Laureth-7, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, PEG-100 Stearate, Ammonium Polyacrylate, Titanium Dioxide, Polyacrylamide, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, C13-14 Alkane, 1,2-Hexanediol, PTFE, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Benzyl Alcohol, Propylparaben, Parfum, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Salicylate, CI 19140, Caramel, CI 16035



Trisha June 19, 2013 - 4:43 pm

I had no idea that it could have different ingredients in different countries. Good to know!

beautifulwithbrains June 19, 2013 - 8:34 pm

Trisha, I find it quite annoying when they do that. It’d be easier if they sold the same formula anywhere. But that’s not always possible as sometimes this change is due to the different restrictions different countries apply to certain ingredients. In any case, it’s always better to double check. 🙂

Icaria June 20, 2013 - 11:55 am

Good review! I’m never attracted by Olay since in Canada they’re in the same price range as Avène. I tend to go toward the latter. I may try this one since they’re often reduced for my skin reacts very well to niacinamide. 🙂

beautifulwithbrains June 20, 2013 - 4:49 pm

Icaria, Olay products are so underrated imo. I’m not sure if it’s because they have a boring image, but it’s a shame as most of their products are full of goodies, and they are one of the few brands to use a high amount of niacinamide in their creams and serums, which I really love.

Janessa July 12, 2013 - 8:35 pm

I am always bummed when an antioxidant-rich product people race about is poorly packaged.. Like in jars! I am guilty of buying jar packaging sometimes, but not intentionally. I’d purchase a value set and there will be one or two products in jars. I usually avoid them, but I just expect to use the antioxidant-rich moisturizer as a basic moisturizer.

You’ve got me interested in Olay! Their packaging is boring but I love that it is opaque and a lot of their products come with pump dispensers.

beautifulwithbrains July 13, 2013 - 2:40 pm

Janessa, that happens to me too. But I figure, as long as the other products in the set are good enough to justify the price, I can put up with a poorly packaged moisturizer. It may lose its antioxidant properties soon, but at least you didn’t pay full price just for it.

I’m glad to hear that. Olay is so underrated and it’s a shame cos they use a lot of goodies, such as niacinamide and vitamins C and E, in their products, package them well and keep their prices reasonably low.

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