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Olay: A decade of beauty


Olay Total Effects is celebrating 
its 10th birthday. Beauty editor Milly Nolan discovers what makes 
this skincare icon so well loved 
by women around the globe. MiNDFOOD reports.

If you ask any women over 30  – despite ethnicity or geography – what their skin concerns are, the answer will always go beyond the usual suspect of fine lines and wrinkles.

When skincare brand Olay commissioned researchers and dermatologists to conduct a comprehensive survey on 6000 women globally, to better understand their skincare needs, they found that women’s concerns were similar and could be divided into seven categories: fine lines and wrinkles; blotches and age spots; skin texture; skin tone; skin dryness; skin surface dullness; and pore visibility.

The challenge that arose from this research was to find one solution that addressed all these issues. Ten years ago, Olay launched Total Effects Daily Moisturiser – a product that addresses the seven signs of skin ageing. From this product, a regimen was spawned, and now the growing range is used by 
20 million women worldwide.

Harnessing the power of niacinamide, or vitamin B3 as it is commonly known, the Total Effects formula strengthens the outer layers of the skin by increasing surface renewal, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, minimising pore size and decreasing the appearance of hyperpigmented spots and sallowness.

“Niancinamide not only helps to increase the skin’s collagen levels together with vitamin C, but it also helps speed up the skin’s renewal rate and energy levels, while also increasing the skin’s moisture barrier to fight dryness,” says Olay scientist David Khoo.

“Even after 10 years of research, Olay scientists are still discovering new benefits of niacinamide. Most recently, while leveraging genomic analysis, researchers found niacinamide could decrease inflammatory response genes, which in turn had a positive impact on skin ageing,” he says.

Based on their scientists’ research, a complex was developed by Olay to unlock the ingredient’s potential. Known as VitaNiacin, this blend of 
anti-ageing ingredients consists of anti-oxidants (vitamins E and C) and panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) and niancinamide – combatting the seven signs 
of skin ageing.


The number one facial-care brand in the world (according to Euromonitor data) began 60 years ago with the creation of the legendary Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid.

Formulated in the 1950s by South African chemist Graham Wulff in a home laboratory, the original Olay product sought to emulate the skin’s natural oils and provide superior absorption – a far cry from the thick, waxy creams of the day. Wulff’s wife, Dinah, was instrumental in helping to craft the moisturiser, right down to its texture, pink shade and fragrance.

Once they had their first batch, Wulff enlisted an advertising account executive by the name of Jack Lowe, and the two would go on to create a company to produce and market what became known as Oil of Olay. Lowe brought his talents to bear on the packaging – writing the copy and designing the label – and he and Wulff became lifelong business partners.

The product flourished, and by 1959 it had reached the UK, the US, Canada and Europe. In 2000, the brand’s current owners, Procter & Gamble, shortened the name to simply Olay, and it is now a brand with several lines of skincare, including Total Effects.

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