Sunday Riley Review: A Review of The 10 Best Sunday Riley Skincare Products

Sunday Riley is an indie skincare brand that rose to cult status surprisingly fast. In 2009, the brand’s founder, Sunday Riley, pitched the fledgling line to Barneys with just a few prototypes, including Good Genes (which is now the brand’s most popular product). According to Allure, the Barneys buyer suggested Riley name the collection after herself. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Sunday Riley motto is “Powered by science, backed by botanicals.” The brand states it uses “advanced, clinically proven ingredients blended with balancing botanicals, for non-irritating, fast-acting formulas.” All of this sounds good in theory, but do Sunday Riley products really deliver results?

To answer this question, we’ll have to evaluate the key ingredients in Sunday Riley products. We’ll also share some Sunday Riley reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.

Is Sunday Riley Skincare Worth The Money?

A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.

In our opinion, Sunday Riley products deliver value for money, we recommend brands that are committed to developing clean yet effective products.

What’s Inside Sunday Riley Skincare Products?

All Sunday Riley skincare products are free from parabens, sulfate cleansers, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, and petrolatum. The key ingredients used in Sunday Riley skincare products include a mix of botanicals as well as tried-and-true ingredients, such as vitamin C, peptides, retinol, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), just to name a few.

Vitamin C
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. It’s a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

Vitamin C also helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.

The Sunday Riley CEO collection consists of three vitamin C products: CEO Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil, CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream, and CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Peptides
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.

While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.

This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.

Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Essence contains Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9 and Acetyl Tetrapeptide-11, peptides that work synergistically to gently resurface and increase the look of skin firmness.

Retinol
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. It’s clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores.

The only downside? Retinol can often lead to side effects like skin dryness, peeling, and irritation.

At the time of writing this review, the brand offers three Sunday Riley retinol products: A+ Retinoid Serum, 5 Stars Eye Serum, and Luna Sleeping Night Oil.

Use retinoids at night.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids
The brand’s most popular products — Sunday Riley Good Genes — contain the AHAs lactic acid and glycolic acid. AHAs provide many benefits to the skin, such as exfoliating the skin, stimulating the skin’s natural regeneration process, and helping the skin to retain moisture. Ultimately, this promotes smoother, brighter, healthier skin.

Everything Else

It’s important to note that nearly all Sunday Riley products contain fragrance, typically from fragrant essential oils like lemongrass oil, neroli oil, orange peel oil, and more. And there’s a very high concentration of the fragrance ingredient limonene in the Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum.

These ingredients give the product a pleasant scent, it’s important to note that these fragrance ingredients aren’t helping your skin in any way.

All fragrance ingredients (whether natural or synthetic) impart scent through a volatile reaction. This is something to keep in mind before purchasing Sunday Riley products, especially if you have sensitive skin.

What Are The Top 10 Best Sunday Riley Skincare Products?

Sunday Riley sells a wide range of skincare products, including cleansers, exfoliators, oils, treatments, serums, moisturizers, eye care, sun care, and more. Arguably the most popular product is the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. We’ll discuss this and the other best selling Sunday Riley skincare products below.

Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment

  • A leave-on exfoliator that is said to deeply exfoliate the dull surface of the skin for an instant glow and radiance. It is also said to visibly brighten the appearance of dark spots and discoloration, as well as plump the look of fine lines and wrinkles in just 3 minutes
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with dark spots, discoloration, uneven skin tone, dull skin, acne-prone skin, and signs of aging
  • Key ingredients include a botanical blend, lactic acid, and squalane
  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment

  • A leave-on exfoliator that is said to deeply exfoliate and repair the look of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin for a visibly radiant, healthier-looking complexion
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with dark spots, discoloration, uneven skin tone, dull skin, acne-prone skin, and signs of aging
  • Key ingredients include glycolic acid, squalane, and potassium lactate
  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Sunday Riley Luna Retinol Sleeping Night Oil

  • A retinol facial oil that is said to boost the look and feel of skin plumpness, while improving the appearance of wrinkles, redness, and pores for visibly younger-looking skin
  • Can be used by all skin types (should not be used during pregnancy)
  • The retinoid used in this oil is hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), which provides the same benefits of retinol but without the irritation
  • Additional key ingredients include avocado oil, grape seed oil, blackberry seed oil, chia seed oil, and blue tansy oil
  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Sunday Riley CEO Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil

  • A vitamin C facial oil that is said to promote instant vibrance, leaving your complexion looking brighter and nurtured
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with dark spots, discoloration, uneven skin tone, and/or signs of aging
  • The form of vitamin C used in this oil is tetrahexyldecyl (THD) ascorbate
  • Additional key ingredients include red raspberry seed oil, jojoba oil, cucumber seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, cranberry seed oil, evening primrose oil, and turmeric root extract
  • Contains fragrance

Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream

  • A vitamin C moisturizer that is said to deeply hydrate, visibly brighten dull skin, prevent and repair the visible signs of premature skin aging, fight the signs of dehydration and damage, and provide advanced antioxidant support
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with dark spots, discoloration, uneven skin tone, and/or signs of aging
  • The form of vitamin C used in this cream is 5% tetrahexyldecyl (THD) ascorbate
  • Additional key ingredients include squalane, hydrogenated vegetable oil, sweet almond oil, and bisabolol
  • Contains fragrance

Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

  • A vitamin C serum that is said to quickly fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discolorations at the source, while diminishing the signs of aging
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with dark spots, discoloration, uneven skin tone, and/or signs of aging
  • The form of vitamin C used in this serum is 15% tetrahexyldecyl (THD) ascorbate
  • Additional key ingredients include squalane, soybean sterols, and vitamin E
  • Contains high concentrations of fragrance (e.g. limonene is the 6th highest concentration ingredient)

Sunday Riley UFO Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil

  • A fast-acting, quick-drying, medicated face oil that is said to clear acne and blackhead-causing buildup and debris from congested pores for smoother, blemish-free skin
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with oily skin, clogged pores, and/or acne-prone skin
  • Active ingredient is 1.5% salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA)
  • Additional key ingredients include milk thistle seed oil, black cumin seed oil, cucumber seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, cranberry seed oil, flaxseed oil, and licorice root extract
  • Contains fragrance

Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum

  • An anti-aging serum that is said to fight the signs of aging and improve the look of congested and UV damaged skin for the appearance of a calmer, even-toned complexion
  • Can be used by all skin types, including sensitive skin
  • Key ingredients include 5% retinoid ester blend, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend, and 0.5% blue-green algae with natural, retinoid-alternative activity
  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

  • A lightweight, oil-free gel-cream that is said to promote instantly glowing, dewy skin, smooth the look of textured or dehydrated skin, and brighten the appearance of discolorations for clear radiance
  • Can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with normal, oily, or combination skin
  • Key ingredients include alpha arbutin, cucumber extract, allantoin, sodium hyaluronate, and horse chestnut seed extract
  • Formula also includes synthetic fluorphlogopite, a synthetic mineral that adds a shimmering effect and reflects light from the face, creating the illusion of a smoother, softer, and more radiant skin tone
  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturizing Cream

  • A dual action facial moisturizer that pulls hydration into the skin while also strengthening the skin’s natural moisture barrier, sealing in moisture
  • Best for normal to dry skin
  • Key ingredients include red algae extract, squalane, coconut fruit extract, ceramides, sodium hyaluronate, beet root extract, and fatty acids (linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, linolenic acid)
  • Contains fragrant essential oils

Where to Buy Sunday Riley Skincare Products?

Sunday Riley skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as numerous third party online retailers, such as Sephora, Ulta, Dermstore, Amazon, and more. The brand also has a store locator on their website so that you can find a physical location that sells Sunday Riley skincare products near you.

What is The Sunday Riley Return Policy?

The Sunday Riley return policy states, “We want you to love your purchase, so if you are not totally satisfied, please email [email protected] so we can provide you with a return label and our return address. Within 30 days, upon return and inspection of the product at our warehouse, we are happy to offer you a full refund or merchant credit, depending upon your preference.”

Is Sunday Riley Cruelty Free?

Yes, Sunday Riley is cruelty free. None of Sunday Riley skincare products or ingredients are tested on animals, and the brand does not sell their products in mainland China (where animal testing is required by law). In fact, Sunday Riley is double certified as a cruelty-free brand, by PETA and Leaping Bunny.

Sunday Riley Reviews

Sunday Riley reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. The product with the most reviews is the Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment, which has earned an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars after more than 400 customer reviews.

The positive reviews for Sunday Riley Good Genes mention that it improves the skin in multiple ways, such as fading dark spots and promoting smoother, clearer skin. For example, one review says, “I have been using Good Genes about 3 months now, every day, and have noticed a drastic improvement in my skin’s overall appearance, especially the fading of dark spots and overall brightness and clarity. I LOVE this product!”

While there aren’t many negative reviews for Sunday Riley Good Genes, those that we did read were from customers who experienced adverse reactions after using this exfoliant. For example, one reviewer shares, “I bought this product because it had amazing reviews but geez my skin has never looked worse. Kept it up for a few weeks (sometimes you break out after you switch products) but I’m getting acne in places I never did before. Can someone tell me how this is a 5 star product?!”

Then, there are some reviews for Sunday Riley Good Genes from customers who saw no difference after using this product. For example, one review says, “I religiously use this at night and have not seen any difference in my skin. I have dark spots and breakouts and was hoping this would help. Nothing. I have kept with it hoping it would take a few weeks and no change. Disappointing.”

Another product with very positive reviews is Sunday Riley Luna Retinol Sleeping Oil, which has earned an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars after nearly 300 customer reviews.

The positive reviews for the Sunday Riley Luna oil call this facial oil the “holy grail” and others promise they are “lifetime users of the product”. For example, one review says, “Absolutely love this oil. It’s the first oil I’ve tried that isn’t heavy and greasy. It’s light, hydrating, and doesn’t feel like a heavy, oily mess. It absorbs beautifully and hello, retinol. Will purchase again and again.”

There are no 1-star reviews for the Sunday Riley Luna oil.

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