The Complete Guide To Sunday Riley Skincare Products: What To Buy & What To Avoid

by Gio
best and worst sunday riley products

I’ve already shared my fave Sunday Riley products.

But every now and then, someone will ask… “Gio, you’ve left out this oil or that serum. Is there a reason why? Is it worth the money?”

Sometimes. Just because something doesn’t make it into the “Best Of” list, it doesn’t mean it sucks. If I were to include anything that’s good, it’d hardly be a best of list, would it?

Other times, I do leave a product out because it doesn’t live up to my standards or is downright bad for skin. It’s time to tell you about them too, so you won’t waste your money on stuff that doesn’t deliver.

So, here it is: the complete guide to Sunday Riley skincare products. Find out what’s really worth the splurge and what’s best to avoid:

sunday riley tidal brightening enzyme water cream

Best Sunday Riley Products: What To Buy

Best Moisturiser For Oily/Combination Skin: Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream ($65.00)

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream made me break my “no jar” rule. I usually don’t like jars because 1) they’re not hygienic and 2) they don’t protect antioxidants from spoilage. So why do I dig this cream? It’s one of the most moisturising products I’ve ever used in my life. The mix of moringa oil and multiple forms of Hyaluronic Acid hits your skin with a tidal wave of moisture that makes skin super soft and smooth to the touch and keeps it that way – for hours on end. Plus, the extra hydration coupled with arbutin helps brighten the skin tone, giving you a more youthful complexion. Try it, if you don’t believe me.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Sephora, SpaceNK and Ulta

Related: My Full Review Of Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

Best Facial Oil For Dry & Dull Skin: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C And Turmeric Face Oil ($40.00)

You can tell Sunday Riley isn’t lying about turmeric. It’s what gives C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C And Turmeric Face Oil its bright orange colour. It’s a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals. Just like Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, the form of Vitamin C used here. TA is a derivative that penetrates skin deeper than all other forms of Vitamin C to better boost collagen production. The moisturising base is made up of nourishing oils like cranberry, jojoba, and pomegranate. They create a protective barrier on the skin that slows down water loss, keeping it hydrated for longer. Sure, the texture is a bit greasy (it’s an oil, after all), but it still sinks in fairly quickly on dry skin. The catch? It uses a few drops of citrus oils, which can be irritating for sensitive skin.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: Is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate The Best Form Of Vitamin C?


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Best Spot Treatment: Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask ($55.00)

Warning: Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask isn’t a mask. It’s a spot treatment. Here’s why: it contains sulfur, a powerful active fighter. It honestly gets rid of pimples faster than anything else I’ve ever tried. The catch? Sulfur is super drying. It’s ok to leave it a few hours on a small pimple, but NOT to apply it all over your skin. Plus, this treatment has a sprinkle of other acne-fighters: Zinc PCA absorbs excess oil, Niacinamide reduces redness, and allantoin soothes inflammation. Just use it carefully!

Available at: Dermstore, Revolve, Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: Sulfur: Good For Acne, Bad For Skin?

Best For Exfoliation: Sunday Riley All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment ($85.00)

How do you exfoliate sensitive skin? Your best bet is lactic acid. It belongs to the same family as Glycolic Acid, but it’s gentler on the skin. It gets rid of dead skin cells, making skin brighter and smoother – without the irritation (unless you use it too often). Plus, it hydrates skin to boot. Talking about hydration, Sunday Riley All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment has squalane. It’s one of the few oils everyone can use (even people with fungal acne). It’s super moisturising. Non-irritating. And non-comedogenic. My only concern is the small drop of lemongrass oil. But if your skin is fine with that, there’s no reason not to use it.

P.S. The Europen version uses Glycolic Acid instead. It does the same thing, but it’s more suitable for dry than sensitive skin.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: Glycolic VS Lactic Acid: Which One Is Right For You?

Best Facial Oil For Dry & Sensitive Skin: Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil ($36.00)

Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Facial Oil is my fave face oil from the brand. While the other offerings contain a mix of nourishing and irritating oils, the oil mixture here is only moisturising and soothing. Blueberry, grape seed, and the other oils deeply moisturise skin, soothe irritation and eczema, and even help you fight premature wrinkles. The only drawback? The greasy texture (hey, it’s still an oil). Use it at night. P.S. This is for dry skin only.

Available at: Anthropologie, Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Revolve, Sephora, SpaceNK, Ulta

Related: The Complete Guide To Facial Oils In Skincare

Best Moisturiser For Dry Skin: Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream ($65.00)

Ceramides are the building block of your skin. They’re part of the protective barrier that keeps skin healthy and naturally moisturised. When this barrier breaks down, skin starts to get drier, flaky, and red. Adding ceramides back into your skin is one of the fastest ways to nurse it back to health – and keep it that way. But there’s more than ceramides in Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturising Cream. It’s also loaded with fatty acids that deeply moisturise skin and antioxidants-rich plant extracts to help you slow down premature aging. Just close that down lid fast so they won’t spoil too quickly.

Available at: Dermstore, Free People, Revolve, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: Are Ceramides The Key To Healthy Skin?

Best For Antiaging: Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum ($85.00)

First things first: Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum doesn’t really contain a high dose of retinoids. Officially, you get 5% Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR, or what The Ordinary calls Granactive Retinoid) and 1% retinol. In practice, HPR suppliers use a 90/10 mix of the solvent dimethyl isosorbide + HPR while retinol itself is a “liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend”. In plain English, you’re getting smaller doses of both. But that’s ok. Retinoids work even at incredibly low concentrations. They fight off free radicals, boost collagen production, and speed up your skin’s cellular turnover. Translation: brighter, smoother, more even toned skin.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Revolve, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

Best Cleanser For Dry Skin: Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser ($35.00)

I know this is a controversial. After its reformulation, Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser received an onslaught of bad reviews. That’s cos it has completely changed its skin. It went from being a heavy-duty cleanser for oily skin to a gentle, moisturising cleanser for dry skin. Of course oily-skinned people don’t like it anymore! But if you’ve got dry skin, you’re now in for a treat. Its milky texture quickly removes all traces of dirt, grime and non-waterproof makeup without drying out your skin. But if you’re wearing more makeup than a Kardashian, you’ll need a separate makeup remover.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: My Full Review Of Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser

sunday riley ceramic slip cleanser

The OK Skincare Products From Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream ($65.00)

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream promises to give you a “brighter, lifted look”. Does it deliver? Mmmm… You guessed it, it can’t lift anything. Once skin has sagged, you need to go under the knife to unsag it. But it can brighten the eye area thanks to mica and titanium dioxide, two pigments that reflect light. FYI, you can get the same effect from a concealer. At least, it’s moisturising but your facial cream can do that… It sort of works but… do you really need this after all?

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Mica In Skincare

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream ($65.00)

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream uses Tetrahxyldecyl Ascorbate, a stable form of Vitamin C (the jar packaging won’t make it go bad). It penetrates deeper into the skin to fight free radicals, boost collagen production, and brighten the complexion. Squalane makes up the moisturizing base: very similar to human sebum, it creates a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss and keeps skin hydrated for hours. So what’s bad about it? It has a couple of citrus extracts that can be irritating, especially for sensitive skin.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Revolve,Sephora, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Related: Is Squalane The Safest Oil In Skincare?

Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum 02

Worst Sunday Riley Skincare Products: What To Avoid

Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water Gel Toner ($25.00)

You know my thoughts on toner. You don’t need one. And you certainly don’t need Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water Gel Toner. It claims to use clays to soak up excess oil and mattify skin, but there’s only a sprinkle of them here. Instead, it relies on drying alcohol to do the job. Ouch! Just to confuse things a bit more, Sunday Riley has added a bunch of oils that could make oily skin a little greasier… Leave this one on the shelf.

Related: Why You Don’t Need A Toner

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($55.00)

Wait, what?! Isn’t this the best Sunday Riley product loved by influencers and magazine editors alike? Truth bomb: just because something has achieved cult status, it doesn’t mean it’s any good. Sure, the base of Luna features a few moisturising oils – like avocado and grape – that make dry skin softer and smoother. But it has also its fair share of fragrant oils – like neroli and vetiver – that can easily irritate skin. Even the next generation retinoid complex isn’t anything special. It’s simply Hydroxypincolone retinoate (what The Ordinary calls Granactive Retinoid) and there’s no proof it works as well as retinol (just a lot of hype).

Related: What Form Of Retinoid Is Right For You?

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil ($40.00)

There’s a lot to like about Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil. For starters, it contains 1.5% Salicylic Acid. It’s the only exfoliant that can get deep into your pores and remove all the clogs that cause breakouts. Plus, it has a moisturising oil base that deeply nourishes skin, leaving it softer and brighter. It could be a good alternative for dry, acne-prone, if it weren’t for a major flaw. The fragrance: it’s super strong. Add to that a few citrus oils and you could very well end up with an irritation.

Related: How To Deal With Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

Sunday Riley Blue Moon Clean Rinse Cleansing Balm ($50.00)

Sunday Riley Blue Moon Clean Rinse Cleansing Balm has got what it takes to remove even the most stubborn of waterproof makeup. I have no complaints about that. So what’s the problem? Too many citrus oils. When will brands stop adding them to skincare products?! I know they smell amazing, but they’re so irritating!

Related: How To Choose The Best Cleanser For Your Skin Type

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Serum ($85.00)

Usually, when you see “15% Vitamin C”, that means L-Ascorbic Acid (the pure form of Vitamin C). It’s a powerful antioxidant, but can irritate sensitive skin. Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Serum opted for 15% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, a derivative of L-Ascorbic Acid that can fight wrinkles and brighten skin, too. But it’s way gentler on the skin. Too bad that when I put it to the test, I didn’t see any results at all… To add insult to injury, it contains too many irritating citrus oils for my taste.

Related: My Full Review Of Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Serum

What are you fave products from Sunday Riley and which ones are you avoiding? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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1 comment

tiffany cece April 14, 2020 - 2:12 am

I was just about to purchase the Sunday Luna Oil – but I figured I should read your advice first.
I’m so glad I decided to check out what you had to say about this oil – you just saved me some serious cash. However, I do enjoy using the Juno oil – it’s helped heal some definitely dry skin thanks to DE’s retinol and tlc products!
Thanks, Gio!!

Reply

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