Skincare Review: Olay Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir

by PJ on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

in -Olay, skincare, skincare - moisturizing/others

Olay Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir 1


In terms of facial moisturizers, Olay is currently my preferred brand as I have been using Olay Complete Care Daily Sensitive UV Fluid SPF 15 and Olay Complate Care Night Enriched Cream in the last few years. Today I am reviewing a new product from Olay’s Regenerist range, Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir.

Olay Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir (50ml) is essentially an exfoliating serum that is designed to be used during night-time. It has a lightweight gel-serum consistency and an aloe-like slippery texture. It takes a bit of time to sink into the skin.

The key ingredient in this product is glycolic acid (third on the ingredient list, after water and glycerin). It is a form of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that, depending on its dosage in a product and the overall pH of the product, has either water-binding or exfoliating efficacy.

It is not possible to tell exactly how much glycolic acid there is in this product or the pH of the overall formulation simply by reading the ingredient list. However, according to Paula Begoun, the product* contains 8-10% glycolic acid (according to the information she obtained from Olay) and it is in the correct pH range for glycolic acid to work as an exfoliant (between pH 3 and 4, according to Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary entry on AHA).

The product contains moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, butylene glycol, and propylene glycol. It contains antioxidants such as camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract and vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract, and it also contains palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 as a cell-communicating ingredient and allantoin as an anti-irritant.

The product is fragrance-free. It contains benzyl alcohol, which might be a skin irritant for some people, but it is towards the end of the ingredient list and it is not likely to cause irritation for most people.

The container of the product is semi-transparent. The efficacy of the antioxidants would last longer if the bottle were opaque.

Even though this product is marketed as a moisturizer, I don’t think the lightweight serum consistency will be emollient enough for most people. (It will probably be hydrating enough only for those with oily skin with no dehydration issues.) However, Olay is right to stress (on the back of the outer packaging) that the product should be used as part of the evening skincare routine and that, as AHAs may increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun, sun protection should be used during daytime. (Everyone (from infants over 6 months old) should be using sun protection anyway…)

Overall, this is a well-formulated product that not only contains antioxidants, a cell-communicating agent and an anti-irritant but also should do what it is designed to do. However, please bear in mind that some people may be sensitive to AHAs (particularly at this level of concentration in this product.) Patch tests are highly recommended before including this product in your skincare routine.

*The product reviewed by Paula Begoun is Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir, which is sold in the US. Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir, sold in the UK, is essentially the same product with very slight variations. For your information, here are the full ingredient lists of the two products:

Olay Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir (sold in the UK):

aqua, glycerin, glycolic acid, sodium hydroxide, butylene glycol, hydroxyethylcellulose, propylene glycol, panthenol, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, camellia sinensis leaf extract, vitis vinifera seed extract, mica, allantoin, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, cellulose, phenoxyethanol, benzyl alcohol, methylparaben, PEG-100 stearate, CI 77499, CI 77891

Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir (sold in the US):

water, glycerin, glycolic acid, sodium hydroxide, butylene glycol, hydroxyethylcellulose, propylene glycol, panthenol, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, camellia sinensis leaf extract, vitis vinifera seed extract, allantoin, PEG-100 stearate, cellulose, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, benzyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, mica, iron oxides (from

(On a side note, even though, according to, this is the full ingredient list of Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir, the list doesn’t seem to include preservatives. I’d like to think that they are inadvertently left out of the list on the website because preservatives are vital in preventing bacterial contamination. (In Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir, the preservatives are phenoxyethanol and methylparaben.))

(The product featured in this article is provided by Olay.)


Related posts:

Review: Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum

Review: Chanel Sublimage Essential Revitalizing Concentrate

Review: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5, Retexturing Activator & C E Ferulic

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

kuri Wednesday, October 19, 2011

thanks for the thorough analysis! Unfortunately I don’t think Olay is available in Japan but I’ll look for this in the U.S.


PJ Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hi Kuri,

Yes, I seem to remember that Olay is not available in Japan, which I think is slightly surprising. (But perhaps a few independent stores might carry some of the products…that is just my wild guess.)

Thank you for stopping by again! :)


CedriCeCCentriC Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I have a mixed skin and bought the US version during a vacation about 6 months ago, as my skin loves exfoliation. While I had good results with Olay products in the past (loved Definity), the elixir made me break out, but also made my skin very dry at the same time (dehydration lines in my oily T zone). I’m probably one of those people who is sensitive to glycolic acid. As you said the elixir is really just a serum and a separate moisturizer on top was needed or my face would feel very tight. Another thing I thought strange was that for a night time product it was full of glittery particles. Why would you put glitter on your face when you just took 5min to remove makeup/sunscreen and wash afterwards?
That said I’m loving another P&G product line at the moment… SK II!!!


PJ Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hi CedriCeCCentriC,

Yes, it could be the case that the dosage of glycolic acid in this product is slightly too high for you. I am not sure if you have tried using it less frequently, but perhaps you could try using it just once or twice a week. (Also, on the days when you do use it, I would suggest that you slightly increase the amount of moisturizer that you apply on top of it.)

I certainly agree with you on the shimmery particles (mostly mica, in the UK version). There is really no need for them in a product designed for night-time use. (I didn’t comment on this because the shimmer doesn’t really show up on my face.)

Yes, I read your comment on the SK-II products that you have been using. I am glad you like them! :)

Thank you for posting your comment again! :)


mn Friday, October 21, 2011

What did you think of the product? How long have you been using it?


PJ Friday, October 21, 2011

Hi Mn,

Thank you for your questions.

This (entire) review is based on what I think of the product. If there is any other aspect of the product you would like to know about, please feel free to follow up and I will be glad to help you.

(In terms of skincare products, I tend to present my reviews in relatively objective and analytical (as opposed to personal and anecdotal) terms. I present the facts about a product and I evaluate them objectively based on the ingredient knowledge I have and on other related resources. I believe this enables my readers to have sufficient facts and knowledge about a product so that they can make a relatively informed decision on whether to purchase it, and I feel that this is the best way to review skincare products.)

My sensitive facial skin doesn’t react well to (regular/continuous) use of most products designed for exfoliation (whether they are facial scrubs or products with chemical exfoliants such as AHA or BHA). (Very occasional use (once or twice a year) is usually okay.) In terms of this particular product, I used it for three times in the space of two weeks so that I was able to comment on its consistency, texture, and absorbability. It didn’t irritate my skin after each use.

I hope it helps, and thank you for stopping by.


Richa Sunday, January 8, 2012

I used this product just for one night. Next day morning I find that my skin looks way much darker than the previous day. I’m very much disappointed at this product. Did everything according to the directions on it.
Disappointed and wont recommend to anybody.


PJ Friday, January 27, 2012

Hi Richa,

As I mentioned, Olay is marketing this product as a lightweight moisturizer (which is reflected on the application instructions) and I don’t think it is emollient enough for most people. The dullness that you experienced could be due to the lack of moisture on the skin. If you haven’t, I would recommend that you layer your usual moisturizer over the serum and see how it goes.

Thank you very much for stopping by! :)


Memo Tuesday, January 10, 2012

it is effected on my eyes ,I feel my eyes hurt specially at mornnig when I woke up ,I don’t know why ? i am thinking to stop using it .although I avoid putting it or touch my eyes .


PJ Friday, January 27, 2012

Hi Memo,

I see. Please do bear in mind that this is an exfoliating serum, and there is always a risk of irritation depending on your skin type and current skin conditions. I would suggest that you stop using it. If you would like to continue using it, try using it on specific areas only and avoid any area near the eyes. Also, the product can be drying for the skin (which may be one of the reasons for the irritation). Do make sure you hydrate the skin adequately after using the serum.

Thank you for posting your comment! :)


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