Apologies in advance: this post may make you want things. Because they are pretty bloody good, the products from Sunday Riley. I can’t say that I have tested the entire range, just a few of the hero offerings, but what I have tried I have loved. My face has loved. There are three things in particular that have been getting a lot of use, recently; the Artemis Hydroactive Face Oil, the Good Genes Treatment and the Ceramic Slip cleanser. None of them come cheap, but if you’re looking to invest in skincare that will really turbo-charge your routine then I think that they are a very good place to start.
Sunday Riley’s skincare is a bit like a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it looks very pretty and lovely on the outside and so you expect it to be all soft and woolly and namby-pamby on your skin. The styling is lovely enough that you might want to display the bottles on your dressing table – or it’s at least quite retro and cool and non-embarrassing to have on your bathroom shelf. At any rate, it doesn’t look hi-tech or science-y at all. But then you use it and it’s so effective that it kind of wallops you across the head with a frying pan. It’s super stuff.
I’ll start with Good Genes, because this is the very first product that I tried from the brand. It’s a leave-on treatment that exfoliates, plumps and boosts circulation. Very tingly, due to the lactic acid, and I say that as a hardened user of chemical exfoliants! I would say that this wouldn’t be at all suitable for you if your skin is sensitive, so please beware, but if you tend to tolerate chemical exfoliants well then this could be a nice addition to your “instant facial” kit. It’s like rocket fuel. Probably almost as expensive as rocket fuel, but you only need to apply a very thin layer of this at a time, and you wouldn’t want to be using it too frequently! I’d say once or twice a week is enough for my skin… It does leave quite an exceptional glow if you use it before bed as a serum. I just apply a thin layer and go to sleep, but please don’t do this if you’re using it for the first time; test a bit on your arm or something, and see how you fare. I want to stress that this stuff is really strong! But it does an incredible job of giving your skin a great big kick up the arse, so… If you were looking for a similar effect but at a much lower price point then you could always start with Liquid Gold from Alpha-H and work your way up. Liquid Gold is a glycolic treatment that works in a similar way to exfoliate and plump and generally give your skin the equivalent of an electric shock session followed by an ice-bath. You can find that here – it’s £31.50. Good Genes is £85 here.
Next on my little list – and if you forced me to just pick one from the trio then I think this would be it – is the Ceramic Slip Cleanser. This is amazing for oily skin. It smells like sludge and looks like sludge, but it does a good job at keeping pores clear and skin spot-free. It seems to have a similar effect as a clay mask, but you don’t have to wait for this to take effect, you just massage it on and then wash it off. I wouldn’t use it if I had dry skin, I don’t think, as it is quite tightening, but on oily or combination? It’s just beautiful. Actually beautiful isn’t the right word…if this product was an animal then it would be something like a toad or one of those weird fish that lie on the bottom of the ocean; but it’s definitely effective. You know when you go to a campsite shower block and you just want to get a big spray-bottle of industrial strength cleaner to squirt all over the tiles before you take a wash? This is like the facial version. It’s excellent for PMT skin that is oozing grease. Sorry. But it is. The Ceramic Slip costs £35 here. It’s very liquid and you need far less of it than you do of many other cleansers, so long-term it doesn’t work out to be too hideously expensive..
The Artemis Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil is a relatively new one for me; I started testing it after my success with the Argan Oil from Neal’s Yard Remedies. I had been “off” oils for a while; subconsciously I think that I was scared that using them would make me break out in a repeat of the Great Adult Acne Battle of 2012. But my skin has been getting on well with oils and so I’ve been going to town with various potions, including the gorgeous (and very pricey) Artemis. Sunday Riley claim that this particular facial oil is great for “split personality skin” – combination skin that can be oily but also sensitive and aggravated at the same time. Most people would think that an oil would be the last thing you’d want to touch when skin is having a tantrum, but in fact it can be a great way of balancing and toning it. I don’t think that the Artemis is anywhere near as light as the Argan Oil from NYR, but it does seem to have quite a sophisticated effect on my skin. It’s incredibly plumping and softening and, used throughout more “hormonal” times, it does seem to give a good glow without causing any spot issues. This is the priciest product of the lot at £95 (here) – definitely a bit of a splurge! If you wanted to try something a little more affordable to see whether or not you like the idea of a balancing oil, you could take a look at the Lotus Treatment Oil from Clarins. Same kind of principle, though quite different in formulation. It’s £32 nationwide or £28.15 at Escentual.com here.
You can view the whole of the Sunday Riley range at Cult Beauty here – I am about to get started on the Skin Adrenaline, which was a gift from the lovely Caroline Hirons. Caroline uses Sunday Riley on the models when she preps their skin pre-show at Stella McCartney. And if it’s good enough for them, with their skin that has been to hell and back with a thousand rubs of the baby wipe…