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Sunday Riley — perhaps best known for their iconic Good Genes treatment — has long been one of the buzziest skin care brands around. And while Good Genes is an amazing, does-it-all product that’s well-tolerated by most people, you should never choose a skin care product based on its popularity. Naturally, then, the best Sunday Riley products for you are less about what’s trending and more about your specific skin concerns, whether that’s excessive dryness, acne, an uneven-looking skin tone, or something else entirely.
If you’re on the hunt for an acne treatment, Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Acne Treatment Oil, which contains salicylic acid and tea tree oil, or the multi-tasking High-Dose Retinoid Serum, which increases skin cell turnover and keeps your pores clear, will likely be your best bets. Lactic acid and licorice extract (found in Good Genes) can help promote clearer, smoother skin, while vitamin C — found in several products from the brand’s C.E.O range — is great for both brightening and providing antioxidant protection. After narrowing down your primary skin concerns and the ingredients you want to try, consider the delivery method; if you’ve yet to find a face oil that you like, for instance, chances are you’d be happier with the brand’s vitamin C serum as opposed to their C.E.O oil.
That said, there are several products that can serve as foundational skin care staples for a majority of skin types. The brand’s cleansers, for example (two of which featured ahead), are made without stripping soaps and potential irritants like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and fragrances. No matter which product lands a spot in your line up, all of Sunday Riley’s products are PETA and Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free, and the brand’s social and sustainability efforts have earned the brand B Corp and Green Lab certifications.
Whether you’re looking to try Sunday Riley for the first time or you’re adding to a growing collection of products from the brand, keep scrolling to shop 10 Sunday Riley products that are absolutely worth spending your money on.
"After going ham on the exfoliants for a few months (and having the dehydrated, mildly irritated skin to prove it), I recently decided to ease myself back in with Sunday Riley Good Genes," Elite Daily editor Caroline Goldstein says of the brand’s best-selling product. "Famously gentle on sensitive skin, it’s made with lactic acid — the rare exfoliant that actually hydrates in addition to polishes — plus licorice for a brightening kick. And that genius combination seriously works. Just a few seconds after smoothing it on, my complexion looks visibly brighter and feels incredibly soft and comfortable — coddled even. The lotion-like texture adds to the moisturizing sensation, but it absorbs very quickly, making it the perfect base layer for a thicker oil or moisturizer. I can’t recommend it enough to my fellow sensitive-skinned folks!"
Sunday Riley makes using retinol a less risky experience with its blend of retinoid esters, retinol, and blue-green algae (though anyone pregnant or nursing should still steer clear of this product). The Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum aims to reduce common signs of retinization — which include redness, dryness, and flaking — with soothing Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, and cactus extract. True to more traditional retinol products, you can expect this serum to help improve your skin’s clarity and texture while increasing overall elasticity and firmness with continued use. If you’re new to retinoids, start by applying a pump of the serum just a few days a week as your skin adjusts, even layering it over your moisturizer at first if your skin is especially sensitive. You can eventually build your way up to more frequent use.
If you like to use a face oil at night, Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil gives you yet another way to (gently) reap the benefits of retinol. The cerulean blue oil uses a retinol ester to speed up skin cell turnover, but it also packs in plenty of nourishing oils like avocado, grape seed, chamomile, and blue tansy to help minimize redness, dryness, and other signs of irritation. As with the retinoid serum above, you can ease your way into this by using it just e until your skin acclimates — unless you’re pregnant or nursing, and then you’ll have to sit this one out entirely.
Elite Daily editor Lisa Fogarty is a fan of Sunday Riley’s Luna oil. She says, “I’ve been trying for years to use retinol creams, but my skin is so sensitive to them — it never ends well. But this perfect oil contains retinol and never dries out my skin. It feels so luxurious on your skin and on nights when my complexion is extra dry, I layer it beneath my regular moisturizer and wake up glowing.”
Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil proves that a well-formulated face oil can actually be an incredible treatment for acne-prone skin. 1.5% salicylic acid is used in the formula to penetrate deep into your pores and dissolve the buildup of acne-causing dead skin and sebum. At the same time, tea tree and black cumin seed oils support general skin clarity, while licorice and turmeric root extracts help fade redness and unwanted scarring. To prevent your skin from drying out or becoming irritated, this acne treatment includes nourishing ingredients like cranberry, milk thistle, and sunflower seed oils, too.
If you’re wary of the oil’s green tint, don’t be. As Elite Daily beauty editor Adeline Duff reports, “Despite its green tinge, this oil blended into my skin invisibly, and it didn’t leave my face feeling greasy once it was fully absorbed.”
Vitamin C is a tried-and-true ingredient when it comes to fading unwanted hyperpigmentation and protecting skin from sun damage and other environmental aggressors. That’s probably why Sunday Riley has devoted a collection of products to the skin care power player, the most beloved of which is the C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil. Made with good-for-skin ingredients like raspberry, jojoba, and cranberry seed oils, which are all moisturizing and protecting, this oil is light enough to be used both morning and night (though note that you should never apply a face oil over your sunscreen). For more skin-soothing and brightening abilities, the formula also harnesses the powers of turmeric root extract and ginger.
“I was super impressed by the glow this face oil gave me, and it felt moisturizing but not greasy — even on my oily spots,” says Elite Daily editor Jen Fiegel.
You can work more vitamin C and moisture into your skin care routine with this C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream. Appropriate for both morning and evening use, the cream promotes a brighter, more even complexion and protects your skin as well with a combination of 5% vitamin C, Kakadu plum extract, and turmeric root extract. On the moisturizing front, squalane, glycerin, sweet almond oil, and shea butter provide plenty of hydration. The consistency of the cream is rich and luxurious, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortably heavy or leave your skin shiny. It’s a solid choice for most skin types — even sensitive and acne-prone skin.
To give your a.m. sunscreen a boost, apply this C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum first. The concentrated serum includes 15% vitamin C in the form of THD ascorbate (a stable version of vitamin C) to protect and brighten skin, as well as a phytosterol complex to reduce redness and skin sensitivity. The serum also provides plenty of hydration, thanks to squalane, glycerin, and jojoba esters.
You can use this serum under any of the oils or creams featured above, or under your go-to sunscreen in the morning, though it’s a nice choice for nighttime use, too. Unlike a lot of other vitamin C serums, this one doesn’t feel at all sticky.
If a multi-tasking eye cream is what you’re after, consider the brand’s Autocorrect Brightening And Depuffing Eye Contour Cream. To tackle tired, puffy eyes, Sunday Riley combines caffeine with ginseng and horse chestnut, while light-reflecting particles give your under-eye area an instantly brighter appearance. The lightweight cream also keeps your delicate under-eye skin hydrated and protected from damage caused by things like blue light with antioxidant-rich watermelon extract, apple fruit extract, and lutein (an ingredient derived from marigolds). In other words, it targets practically every eye-related concern imaginable (and you only need a dab or two to cover your entire eye contour area).
This gentle cleanser uses plant-based ingredients and a blend of bentonite, white kaolin, and French green clays to draw out pore-clogging impurities without stripping your skin. While the clay ingredients make it especially good for those with oily or acne-prone skin, the Ceramic Slip Cleanser also includes rice and olive oil esters to leave skin feeling soft, nourished, and soothed. You can use this morning and night (or as the second step of your nightly double cleanse to thoroughly remove all of your makeup).
According to Elite Daily beauty editor Adeline Duff, this cleanser works nicely for dry skin, too. “I discovered this on my oily-skinned sister’s sink — I had forgotten to pack my own cleanser — but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this face wash left my dry skin feeling smooth and comfortable — not at all tight or dry. It does, indeed, have a unique, slippery texture, which I found oddly satisfying. I quickly picked up a tube of my own to add to my rotation of cleansers!”
Personally, I prefer a cleansing balm when it comes to my end-of-day makeup and sunscreen removal, as I find that they really dissolve all of the grime (yes, even waterproof mascara) without having to scrub at your face. Cleansing balms also don’t dry your skin out — they leave your face feeling soft and nourished instead. Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Clean-Rinse Cleansing Balm combines sugar-based cleansers with cocoa seed and moringa butters to help rinse away makeup, dirt, and oil while strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier. For an antioxidant boost and skin-calming benefits, the balm also contains blue tansy and chamomile oils. You can use this with the Ceramic Slip cleanser; with your other water-based cleanser of choice (a cleansing balm should always come first; or on its own.

Studies referenced:
Harvard Health Publishing, Why is topical vitamin C important for skin health? By Neera Nathan, MD, MSHS, and Payal Patel, MD; https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-is-topical-vitamin-c-important-for-skin-health-202111102635

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