Science Behind Skincare: Olay Whips Up a Storm

Science Behind Skincare: Olay Whips Up a Storm

Ruby Feneley

Lifestyle Writer


Head Olay scientist David Khoo explains the science behind the beauty company's latest product - Olay Whips. And it's squarely focused at millennials.

Since its launch “Olay Whips” has become the number one moisturiser in the United States, earning itself some credible bragging rights. Kim Kardashian West loves the product because she says it sits well under her makeup. Vanity Fair lauded it as the “number one drugstore skincare product for the dry winter months.”

So what exactly has Olay done so differently with Whips?

David Khoo, Head Scientist for Olay, says the secret to the new Whips formula lay in asking the right questions. He asked women “If you could make a perfect moisturiser, what attributes would it have?” The results were surprising.

Olay Whips Up A Storm

Olay Whips Up a Storm

Women reported that their highest priority was texture and compatibility with other products – not miracle results. They wanted something they could wear well with makeup or sunscreen, without leaving them feeling greasy throughout the day.

The Olay report challenged the assumption that women are willing to put up with inconveniences or discomfort if it means looking younger for longer. Instead, they discovered women want products that will work with their busy lifestyles and deliver results.

David Khoo breaks down the science behind Olay Whips.

Scientist David Khoo breaks down the science behind Olay Whips.

Olay breaks down the data:

Analysing data drawn from their Skin Advisor platform, Olay found that 64% of women enjoyed the feeling of “lightly hydrated” skin over “richly moisturised” skin. To achieve this feeling these women were avoiding sunscreen, oils, and heavy night creams in their regimens. Consequently, women who preferred lighter textures on average had more mature looking skin.  The Olay scientists found that far from being a secondary consideration tactile qualities of a moisturiser came first. And scientists like David Khoo asked themselves, why the trade off? Olay sought to combine the deeply hydrating and anti-ageing properties of the Olay line with the weightlessness of popular gel creams.

David Khoo demonstrates the absorbency of Olay Whips.

David Khoo demonstrates the absorbency of Olay Whips.

The result was the Active Rush technology found in the Olay Whips line. Active Rush is similar to Hyaluronic Acid in that it holds 1000x its weight in water. However, instead of creating a sticky seal on the skin, Active Rush dissolves releasing hydration and powerful anti-ageing ingredients.  At the recent Olay launch in Sydney, David Khoo demonstrated this with a dry powder which mimics the Active Rush technology.

A bevy of beauty editors were instructed to mix the dry powder with dry salt, and observe as it miraculously transforms into a liquid. The same reaction occurs on the skin when the cream comes into contact with salts naturally found on the epidermis. The active ingredients dissolve completely. What remains on the skin is the 3-Dimensional micro-sponge structure, that provides a smooth look and 8-hour shine control. As Kim Kardashian attests this gives the cream all the benefits of moisturiser and a primer in one.

Ruby Feneley and David Khoo All aboard the good ship Olay.

Ruby Feneley and David Khoo All aboard the good ship Olay.

Olay’s millennial report:

Olay has long been popular with mature women. Khoo admits that capturing the attention of millennial consumers has been a challenge they sought to answer with the Whips range.

“Young people have been looking for a moisturiser like this – they want something that is potent but will work them in all situations. Millennials expect a lot of themselves but they also expect a lot out of life. They want a product that can keep up – sit well under makeup, treat the early signs of ageing, and keep their skin looking matte as they run from yoga to drinks with friends. They won’t accept anything less than targeted, personalised solutions.”

The success of the Whips range internationally is a testament to Olay’s ability to answer this groups needs.

I was excited by Khoo’s pitch but as a post-accutane severely dry skin type I was skeptical. So during a recent trip to Melbourne where the temperatures hit above 40c, I put my pot of Total Effects Whip to the test.

Notably, the entire range from Total Effects, Regenerist and Luminous have been released with “Whips” counterparts. I selected Total Effects as it contains Vitamin C, E and Niacinamide to address my primary skin concern, uneven skin tone and dryness. Often gel-creams targeted as mattifying or lightweight leave my skin tight, dry and itchy. With Whips my skin feels… comfortable.

Equally important –  as the temperatures skyrocketed the cream kept me matte and didn’t pill under my sunscreen or foundation. And at night, my skin feels balanced and hydrated. No more need to wash my fringe every day. Now that is something I can get used to.

The Carousel would like to thank Ruby Feneley for her article.