Brand Spotlight: Sunday Riley

Brand Spotlight: Sunday Riley I Mirra Skincare

I think we can all agree that non-toxic ingredients, clinically-backed formulas, cruelty-free testing, and impeccably posh packaging are just a few of the perks of a *perfect* skincare brand. (Not) coincidentally, these are also some of the perks that are earning the skincare brand Sunday Riley their ritual reputation. This results-driven and science-based bestseller brand is frequently flying off of the shelves faster than you can say “moisturizer.” It’s time to put Sunday Riley under the spotlight to see if the ever-so-popular serums, oils, cleansers, and masks are worth the hype – or the money. 


1. Who is Sunday Riley? 

2. Why are they a leader in skincare?

3. Fan-favorite products

Key Points

  • Sunday Riley is a high-end skincare brand that prides itself on creating clean, cruelty-free, science-backed, botanical-based products that retail between $22 to $158 at Sephora, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales.
  • Sunday Riley’s high-quality ingredients and superb values and priorities make them a leader in skincare. 
  • Some of the bestselling, fan-favorite products are Sunday Riley’s exfoliant, vitamin C serum, retinol, and face oil.

Who is Sunday Riley? 

The Texas-based skincare brand Sunday Riley was launched in 2009, founded by the woman with the name behind the brand, Ms. Sunday Riley. Despite being around for over a decade, the brand has recently soared in popularity, amassing a dedicated following for the brand’s carefully-curated and somewhat limited collection of tried and true products. 

Inspired by beauty her whole life, Riley’s scientific knowledge and credentials are almost entirely self-taught. Nonetheless, this #GirlBoss entrepreneur consistently experiments with a variety of formulas and ingredients through trial and error until the products perform perfectly. The result? A mega-successful company, popular worldwide for its high-end products. 

When building her company, Riley also found inspiration in the lack of “green technology” present in the skincare industry. More specifically, she noticed the gap between balancing active, science-based ingredients with natural, botanical ingredients. This disparity created an opportunity for Sunday Riley to build a brand and a community that bridged the gap, especially by connecting with consumers who were becoming more aware of traditional skincare ingredients that proved counterproductive to beauty and skincare needs.

Via Giphy

In the early 2000s, consumers were bringing awareness to the connection between the ingredients found in makeup and skincare products and long-term well-being. The list of ingredients on skincare bottles rattled on forever, chock-full of unpronounceable chemicals. These impractical ingredients were doing more harm than good to overall health. Although the Food and Drug Administration passed strict laws on drug descriptions in the spirit of transparency, there seemed to be an oversight in the beauty industry. This was Sunday Riley’s call to action to inspire positive change and innovation in the industry. 

Why are they a leader in skincare? 

As if we haven’t touched on Sunday Riley’s superior product quality and values enough, let’s talk about exactly why the products are flying off the shelves– and how the brand has created its cult consumer following. 

Sunday Riley prides itself in believing in the power of positivity, and curiosity, making the impossible, possible, and advocating for: 

  • Active ingredients
  • Science-based formulas
  • Human rights
  • Female-owned brands
  • Cruelty-free brands
  • Sustainability
  • A Zero Waste Oil Process

Specifically, the brand is PETA and Leaping Bunny certified for their cruelty-free testing, and aside from products that use honey or beeswax, their products are all vegan. Sunday Riley is also Green Lab certified, meaning they meet the green standard for best sustainability lab practices. As a lead skincare brand in the beauty industry, Sunday Riley produces a lot (and I mean… a lot) of face oils. They recently implemented a Zero Waste Oil Process to recycle all leftover materials into a seed powder for animals or repurposed in agricultural processes for fertilization. 

Via Giphy

All-in-all, Sunday Riley champions the imperative idea that products should offer results immediately. I mean, no one has time to sit around for months waiting to see if a product works, just to get bored and move on to the next. Their product lines are specially formulated with some of the best and most powerful ingredients out there: they don’t mess around. Also, forget spending millions on advertising and convincing you to use their products; their simple, effective products speak for themselves. 

Fan-favorite products

Although the product range isn’t too wide, it can be overwhelming deciding on a product and commit to spending the cash. But before you weep into your wallet as you press “checkout,” I’ll give you the breakdown of some fan-favorite Sunday Riley products to make the commitment a little bit easier. Happy shopping!

As one of the original (and perhaps buzziest) Sunday Riley products, this product is worth all of the hype. Racking up to 4.7/5 stars on the Sunday Riley website, this sulfate-free, fragrance-free, vegan product has the goal of immediately plumping fine lines and augmenting radiance in just a few short minutes. 

The lactic acid treatment is meant to exfoliate dead skin cells that clog your pores to clarify and reveal smoother, clearer skin. Regular users note that this product is phenomenal on its own; however when combined with the A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum, Good Genes works like a DIY facial. If that isn’t convincing enough, in a clinical trial, 100% of women said it was the most effective skin-plumping product they have ever used. 

According to Sunday Riley, this retinoid serum combines a “5% retinoid ester blend, 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend, and 0.5% blue-green algae with natural, retinoid-alternative activity.” The long-winded mouthful just means that it is a strong retinoid blend to help improve the appearance of damaged, aging skin for a more even-toned complexion. 

It can be used on all skin types, including extra-sensitive skin. If you have to manage stubborn acne scarring or UV-damaged skin, this non-irritating formula is known to dramatically lighten areas of pigmentation by calming your skin. If you’re into skin cycling, try adding this phenomenal formula as your retinol. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

This sophisticated vitamin C serum is meant to target discoloration directly at the source, minimizing signs and symptoms of premature aging and firming the skin. It’s ranked as Dermstore’s top-selling brightening serum under $100, and the statistic seems to be well-deserved. Additionally, Sunday Riley herself lists this product as one of the few products she can’t live without. If you can’t take my word for it, take hers. 

Is your skin feeling a little dull? Dry? Does it need a recharge? The C.E.O. Glow oil may be the pick-me-up that it needs. It absorbs nutrient-rich extracts into your skin, brightening and nurturing your complexion and defending your skin’s barrier against antioxidants. And if you’re worried about oils on your skin, don’t be. It absorbs quickly and is known to avoid the greasy, oily residue that often accompanies face oils. 

Also, this may be a good time to remind you of Sunday Riley’s “Zero Waste Oil Process.” I mean, is there any better feeling in the world than knowing you’re sustainably supporting both your skin and the environment? It truly sounds like a win-win. 

Written by Morgan Taylor


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  1. https://sundayriley.com/collections/bestsellers/products/good-genes-lactic-acid-treatment?variant=33215761028
  2. https://sundayriley.com/pages/sustainability
  3. https://sundayriley.com/collections/bestsellers/products/a-high-dose-retinoid-serum?variant=31664793485408
  4. https://sundayriley.com/collections/bestsellers/products/ceo-vitamin-c-brightening-serum?variant=4147254460447
  5. https://sundayriley.com/collections/bestsellers/products/ceo-glow?variant=18712187699296
  6. https://sundayriley.com/pages/cruelty-free
  7. https://sundayriley.com/pages/8-reasons-goodgenes
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8784274/
  11. Images via Sunday Riley


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