Kim inquires: In the winter, I swear by Olay’s In Shower Body Lotion. It works better and lasts longer than any regular moisturizer I’ve ever tried. How does it work even after you rinse it off? Why is it different from other moisturizers or moisturizing spa bath body washes? Is it safe?
The Left Brain responds:
As the name implies, this lotion is designed to be used in the shower. You rub it on your body after you wash and then rinse it off (just like you use a rinse off hair conditioner.) P&G (makers of Olay) have developed a very interesting formula for this product. Take a look at the ingredient list:
Water, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Panthenol, Mica, Polysorbate 60, Titanium Dioxide, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenoxyethanol, Tin Oxide
Pay attention to the first five ingredients: three of them very hydrophobic (meaning water insoluble) moisturizers: petrolatum, mineral and dimethicone. These ingredients are good at creating a barrier that prevents water vapor from escaping your skin.
How Is Olay In Shower Lotion different than other moisturizers?
Compared to traditional lotions there are two main differences. The moisturizing ingredients noted above are high up in the ingredient list. Normally the fatty alcohols that form the body of the lotion are the primary ingredients. Second, this formula uses a modified starch to suspend/emulsify the ingredients instead of traditional emulsifiers. (Regular lotions usually contain two or more emulsifiers to help the oil and water soluble ingredients mix.) Because of the way regular lotions are formulated, most of their moisturizing ingredients will rinse off and go down the drain if you use them in the shower.
Olay’s In Shower product uses a modified starch to tie the water and oil soluble ingredients together. They’ve balanced the formula such that the oily ingredients aren’t highly emulsified. That way, when you apply it in the shower, these ingredients tend to stay behind on the skin instead of mixing with the shower water and rinsing away.
Safe in the shower?
Is it safe? Sure, these ingredients are excellent moisturizers. The only danger I see is that the high concentration of water insoluble ingredients could end up making the shower floor very slippery.