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How Can Body Wash Contain As Many Moisturizers As Skin Cream?

Posted Oct 27 2012 2:01am

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Cee Cee says…I saw a bottle of Olay body wash that claims to contain as many moisturizers as a jar of Olay moisturizing cream. How is this possible?

The Right Brain responds:

You have to hand it to those rascals in the cosmetic industry. They keep coming up with claims that sound compelling but aren’t really that meaningful.

First let’s be clear about this: it is helpful to have  moisturizers in body wash. Procter & Gamble, the makers of Olay, have some very nice technology that can disperse oily conditioners in a rich foaming system.  But the idea that it’s helpful to have a “jar full of Olay moisturizer’s” in body wash is a little bit silly. Here’s why:

The exact claim is “over a jar full of Olay moisturizers inside.” We take that mean that this bottle of body wash has (at least) as many moisturizers as a jar of Olay moisturizing cream. Looking the label of Olay’s original Active Hydrating Cream we see that the first moisturizing ingredient listed in the formula is petrolatum. Let’s assume for the same of discussion that this formula contains 5% petrolatum. (It’s probably somewhat less than that but we’ll use that number for a ball park calculation.)  To find out the total amount of petrolatum in the Olay cream we just calculate 5% of 2 ounces to come up with 0.1 ounces.

The Olay body wash is sold in a 23.6 ounce bottle. If you took the entire quantity of 0.1 ounces of petrolatum from the cream and put it in this bottle the formula would contain approximately 0.1/23.6 = 0.004% petrolatum. This is far too little to have any impact. The irony is that the body wash HAS TO contain far more petrolatum than that since it’s the second ingredient in the formula!

This exercise isn’t meant to imply that this body wash doesn’t moisturize skin; we’re sure it does. We’re not even saying that the claim about the body wash containing more moisturizers than a jar of face cream is false; in fact it most certainly does contain more. We just think the comparison they’re using is a bit silly because it doesn’t mean anything.

But enough with our scientific skepticism…what do YOU think? Does this kind of claim mean anything to you? Would you buy this body wash because it contains more moisturizers than a jar of cream? 

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