Sunday Riley Skincare Review

The Line up: Good Genes, Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream Martian Matifying Toner, CEO cleansing Oil and CEO Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Quite a while ago I picked up a jar of the Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream to try out.  I believe it might have been one of the first moisturizer reviews I posted on this site.  While there were pros and cons (as with any product) I liked it enough to purchase a backup to have on hand.  In fact, I liked it enough to start speculating about other Sunday Riley Products. 

A couple of them I tried really small samples sized of, but there wasn’t enough product to let me get a good feel for them  Plus, it was long enough ago that I couldn’t actually remember much about them. So I started to acquire a few of the products and I decided that I would test them with the CEO Cream to see not only how the products worked alone but as part of a skin care regime.

For this trial there are five products I chose to work with.  The first is the CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream that I previously tried and purchased a second time.  To go with it, I added two other items from the CEO Vitamin C line (because I really like Vitamin C and they were add ons for Ipsy so the cost was less prohibitive).  These are the C+E Micro-dissolve cleansing oil and the brightening serum. To this trio I added the Good Genes All in one Lactic Acid Treatment and the Martian Matifying Melting Water-Gel Toner.

Start of the trial skin

I eased into this skin care trial with the moisturizer.  I started with it partially because I already knew how my skin reacted to it and I like to phase in products so my skin doesn’t completely freak out with an entirely new regime every time I do a new trial.

I finished the moisturizer I was using before but was still using three products from Elemis (the Foaming Face Wash, the cleansing Balm makeup remover and the resurfacing pads, I already posted a review of the Face Wash and reviews of the other products will be coming soon). 

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After a few days of adjusting to the moisturizer, I put my Elemis cleansing Balm away and rotated in the CEO Micro-dissolve Cleansing oil. I kept the foaming face wash from Elemis because I like to double cleanse and I didn’t pick up a second Sunday Riley Cleanser.  (I thought I ordered one and it turns out I got distracted and didn’t check to see if it was in the cart, oops). 

I finished up the 111Skin Vitamin C Brightening Booster that I was testing a few days later and rotated in the Sunday Riley one.  A few days later I set aside the Elemis resurfacing pads and brought in the Good Genes and Martian toner.  There was no freak out skin-wise (other than external stress) and my trial began. 

Since I already tested the moisturizer, I made notes on this trial and then went over my previous review.  I am going to link the CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream here rather than going over it too much a second time as there really was no change.  I like the cream and will more than likely pick it up again at some point. I adjusted the use with some of the other products, but I’ll cover that when I reach that point.

So first to rotate in was the cleansing oil.  What are the claims of the Cleansing oil?  As you would expect, it is pretty straight forward.

A wet or dry cleansing oil that dissolves pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution particles, revealing a fresh, bright, and calm complexion. Instantly dissolve and remove makeup (even water-resistant eye makeup), pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution for a perfectly, thoroughly cleansed complexion. With gentle white willow bark and lime pearl extracts—rich in beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) —C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil gently refreshes the skin, while turmeric and vitamin C provide antioxidant-rich, calming skin support, for a clean, healthy-looking, and smooth complexion.

I’m pretty sure most cleansing oils have similar blurbs on their product pages.  My only concern was that to get the info about the product, I had to go to the Lovely Skin site. In general that isn’t a problem, because I really like the Lovely Skin site and tend to visit a lot. An extra excuse is not a problem.  The problem is that I couldn’t find the information on the Sunday Riley official site. In my experience that usually doesn’t bode well.  Typically it means a discontinuation of a product.  I could be wrong though.

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The cleansing oil is a decent cleansing oil.  It melted even water proof mascara off with no harsh rubbing required.  With mascara I had to do a second swipe under the eyes to remove the last raccoon like markings, but again there was no harsh rubbing.  The oil didn’t break me out and it wasn’t too heavy on the skin.  However, it is not a standalone product, at least not for me.  When using this I had to double cleanse. Rinsing off the product with just water left an oily film covering my face. 

With this oil I found that I could apply it and then jump into the shower.  Once I was finished with my shower I would be completely sans make up, but still feel the need of a quick face wash.  In fact after a few days of using this product, I just started keeping it in the shower. It has a pump that kept the water out so it was actually the perfect solution. 

It is a decent cleansing oil, but I don’t know if I would repurchase it.  It does its job well, but I didn’t notice anything extra enough to draw me back to it instead of another product. I will continue to use it until I use it up, but there are other cleansing oils I actually like better.

Next we move on to the CEO Vitamin C Brightening serum. This one was not only listed on the Sunday Riley Site, but it is listed among their best sellers.  It is…

C.E.O. Brightening Serum, powered by 15% advanced Vitamin C, is targeted to quickly fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discolorations at the source, while diminishing the signs of aging. Skin looks and feels firmer and plumper, as youthful skin bounce and even-tone are restored.

C.E.O. Brightening Serum uses a sophisticated, ultra-powerful form of Vitamin C called THD Ascorbate. Both highly stable and oil-soluble, THD Ascorbate rapidly absorbs into the skin for visible anti-aging benefits, including visual improvement in loss of firmness, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and dark spots and dullness.

This hydrating antioxidant formula instantly illuminates the complexion with bright radiance, while phytosterols help to reduce the look of skin sensitivity. Saccharide Isomerate extract diminishes the appearance of pores and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier for a skin-smoothing glow. Rapidly brighten the appearance of the skin and boost vital skin bounce, in a flash!

I have to say, I can easily see why it is a favorite.  Personally, I really liked it.  Instead of being liquid like most serums it is a cream formula.  The recommended amount is two to three pumps of product, but I found that one pump’s worth was plenty for my face in the morning with maybe a little more at night.  And I was happy that the pump is the sort that allows you to only depress it half way so you can more easily regulate how much product being used.  I find it less wasteful that way.  Now my skin does really well with most vitamin C products, but I have to say I was a big fan of this one.  It absorbed really well and although this may be wishful thinking, I did notice the fine lines appearing around my eyes weren’t as prominent after the first week of use (I used this for thirty days for the trial). 

Incidentally, I did look up THD Ascorbate (Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate ) in case you are wondering.  It is just a slightly modified version of Vitamin C that has been tweaked so that the skin absorbs it more easily. And absorb it did.  Not only will I be using this ti the last creamy drop, but I will be repurchasing it at some point. Truthefully this was the highlight of the skincare test. Other products are good, this was excellent. So for the CEO line, at least the products I’ve tried, two out of three are things I would repurchase.  Not a bad average.  But how do you feel about Martians?

I found the Martian Mattifying melting Water-gel toner to be very interesting. Unfortunately, I have no official product information because it has been discontinued.  I find this to be a shame as I liked it for my oily days.  If I knew I was going to be sweating outside or having hormonal break outs, then using this in the morning really helped my skin. 

It is also a fun green slime texture. It worked well on the days I needed it, but it wasn’t an everyday sort of product for me.  I suspect it was too much for most people to use every days.  If you are looking to dry out oily skin for a bit and happen to come across this, it isn’t a bad thing to try.  I’ll keep using it until it is gone, but alas it is discontinued and no more.

This finally brings us to the Good Genes All in one Lactic Acid Treatment. I doubt this will ever be discontinued as everyone I’ve talked to seems to find this a skin care holy grail.  It made me very eager to try it. So first what does this best seller do?

Clean, purified glycolic acid deeply exfoliates and repairs the look of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin for a visibly radiant, healthier-looking complexion.

Containing clean, ultra-pure, formaldehyde-free glycolic acid, to revitalize the appearance of dull, congested, and sun damaged skin, without compromising on what matters to you most: safety, quality, and fast results. Good Genes Glycolic penetrates the surface of the skin with tiny glycolic acid molecules, sinking deeper into the skin than other forms of AHA, to break apart pore-clogging debris and repair the look of sun-damaged, congested, wrinkled, or dull skin. With just one use, instant radiance and skin clarity are visibly boosted. Balanced with fermented prickly pear extract, perfect for sensitive skin, to soothe and calm the complexion, along with skin-purifying lemongrass extract.

After my recent sunburn episode, I was happy to try some repair work.  And I love exfoliators in general. So I was all in.  Again two to three pumps are recommended and you are only supposed to use this once a day.  The above picture shows one pump, which is all I ended up needing tocover my face.

For me, this replaced my night cream during the trial. 

Sort of.

It took me a few days to sort things out.  First, I want to address the one day claim.  I will say that the sun damaged parts of my face did show almost immediate improvement.  My face took less damage than my legs, but it still spent too much time accidentally baking. So I will have to give them that. 

The scent took a little getting used to as well.  For me it has the exact same scent as some of the cleaning products used in a building I once worked in.  It was an old building with wooden floors and the scent is a cross between floor polish and an herbal based disinfectant.  It’s not a negative as it is actually a nicely astringent scent, but to me that is what it smelled like. It is heavy on the lemongrass and I think that paired with the astringency was what triggered the memory.  Luckily the scent dissipated so I didn’t have dreams about my old office.

But again, that’s just me. Certainly no one else mentioned it smelling like a cleaning product.

It took me a while to adjust to using this product because it is not quite a night cream, but it is really hard to apply a moisturizer over it.  Things get very greasy quickly and I felt like I over did it.  The problem was that if I didn’t apply moisturizer, my skin felt a little too dry the next morning.

The best way I found to deal with this product was to wash my face and apply the Good Genes to my skin an hour or two prior to actually getting ready for bed.  (I like to read before going to sleep as a means to quiet my brain, so I did all of my pre bed routine (sans moisturizer) before reading, leaving the Good Genes on top of the skin and then just before bed, I went into the bathroom and did a quick moisturizer application before actually going to sleep. 

For me this worked really well.

end of trial skin

I will say that because my skin was sun damaged, I saw more of an effect than I might have otherwise seen.  It worked well, and I am glad I used it at the time I did, however I am not terribly familiar with chemical exfoliates.  I tend to go for the more physical variety.  I am starting to try out the chemical ones more though so I might be switching camps. 

So while I liked the product, I think I want to try a few more products, specifically Lactic Acid based before I commit to repurchasing it. 

In other words it was good, but it wasn’t so over the top good that I feel I must keep it on hand at all times.  Which, from the reviews I’ve read and seen, tends to be the reaction.  Perhaps when trying others I will find they fall far short of this and I will realize everyone else was right about the Good Genes.

I am very glad I did try this though as it is so beloved by so many people and it is nice to know the standard. For now though, I am sticking with, a good product, but I want to try others as my personal assessment.

So that was my Sunday Riley trial. Two items that I will repurchase repeatedly, one that isn’t really worth bothering with, one discontinued and one still to be determined. All in all an interesting mix.  I’m actually rather surprised to see the split. Everyone I talked to either loved or hated Sunday Riley products. There were very few inbetween. As there were many other products they offer that I find interesting, I am sure it will not be my last Sunday Riley test.  I suspect I will go to reorder the serum and find something I want to try.  But that is for another day.  For now, there is still a world of skin care out there for me to try. There are so many excellent brands I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Now I just have to figure out what I want to try next.


Below I’m posting three of my favorite skin care sites should anyone be looking to expand their skin care boundaries.

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