Review: Nivea and Olay Body Lotions

/ Saturday, May 4, 2013 /
It was the wettest of times, 
It was the humidest of times,
It was the age of discovery,
It was the age of the old,
It was the age of reuse,
It was the age of recycle,
It was the age of reviews,
It was the age of great tales,
Thus goes, the tale of two lotions.

*Reference to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

FTC: These products were purchased with my own money. I am not compensated for any reviews.

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner. For where I live, that means quite a change in climate. Although we've had some crazy weather lately (including a flood with hailstones) for the most part the weather has been sunny, in the 80's and 90's, and super humid and hot.

For me, that means that I have to put away all of the body butters and super-emollient substances. Too sticky and icky for body care.

Thus, I've been using two other lighter body lotions. And here are their stories.

I picked up Nivea Express Hydration during my senior year in college at Target. I believe around the time it was for sale around $7 for 13.5 oz. I bought the Olay Quench Plus Firming lotion after seeing some comments about it on Futurederm. It is said to be a very good anti-aging lotion that was within my price range, around $7 for 12.5 oz. I bought this product on

With a cursory glance at the ingredients list:

Nivea Express Hydration Body Lotion:
Water, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Alcohol Denatured, Glyceryl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate SE, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Sea Salt, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Fragrance, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone

Olay Quench Plus Firming Body Lotion:
Water, Glycerin, Niacinamide , Isohexadecane Isohexadecane, Petrolatum , Isopropyl Isostearate, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Panthenol , Dimethicone , Dimethiconol , Sodium Pca, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Propylene Glycol, Punica Granatum Extract, Butylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyethylene, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate , Benzyl Alcohol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide , Tin Oxide, Ethylparaben, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isodium EDTA, C12-13 Pareth-3, Laureth-7, Sodium Hydroxide.

As you can see, the ingredients list for the two lotions are quite different. While the first two ingredients for both are the same, afterward differences appear. Nivea has fragrances, sea salts, fatty alcohols, and dimethicone (a skin protectant) as well as different glyceryl components. Its high concentrations of glycerin give it humectant properties. Olay, on the other hand, has a lot of niacinamide, which can help reduce fine lines and sunspots (if used for quite awhile). Of course, it also has ingredients such as dimethicone and petrolatum for skin protection and emollient properties, but also includes lots of amino acids (arginine, lysine, glutamic acids, serine, threonine, proline, alanine, glycine, etc) as well. However, it must be noted that while these amino acids are listed in the ingredients lists, their concentrations and actual effective properties in situ are not known. Both products have preservatives as well as other commonalities such as fragrances.

Now, how did these products do on my skin?
Left: Nivea; Right: Olay

After a few months of testing, here's what I've come up with:


  • Pros: super emollient, hydrating, pleasant scent, affordable cost
  • Cons: felt kind of greasy, even after a night's application in the morning, felt a sticky residue the day after use
  • Pros: super emollient, felt rich and freshening, pleasant scent, affordable cost, no sticky residue after a night's use
  • Cons: None
Bottom line, I think I understand why FutureDerm raved about Olay's product. I truly believe it is the better product. If one must get picky, per ounce, Nivea is cheaper than Olay (by perhaps pennies) but there is a difference in quality that makes the extra worth it. While I do not think I will repurchase Nivea, I probably will repurchase Olay sometime in the future.



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