REVIEW: Did Sunday Riley’s ‘Luna’ live up to the hype?

Sometime in 2015, Sunday Riley Luna oil was making a huge splash in magazines and on blogs. Aimed at anyone who wants to address visible signs of ageing it has been presented as a highly desirable luxury product.

It carries a hefty price tag – £85 for 30ml to be exact, though Cult Beauty is now selling the smaller 15ml for £45 in the UK.

As ever with luxury items, it’s worth comes down to whether you can afford it, and how much you value its performance.

According to the experts over at Beautypedia, it contains a number of potential irritants for sensitive skin types, and is grossly overpriced for the basic carrier oils that make up the bulk of the formulation.

While popular skincare guru Caroline Hirons has listed Luna as one of her top retinol products, she has also admitted that some expense has been spared in the manufacture of Luna in the use of these cheaper carrier oils. Here is her write-up, which contains more details about specific ingredients.

Another strange point to note is that while the product contains blue tansy, the blue colour actually comes from the inclusion of dye, which critics have been quick to describe as a flaw. Blue tansy itself is believed to work as an anti-redness agent, soothing, and a great foil to the retinol.

When it first came out, I gave it a wide berth, mainly due to the cost. However, recently I became intrigued. Retinol (aka vitamin A) and spf are said to be the only effective tools in fighting ageing of the skin.

I slap factor 30 on daily (factor 50 when I go out running), so I was keen to try out the other ‘wonder’ ingredient.

Something worth noting is that it’s especially important to use spf during the day if you are using a retinol-containing product at night as they are said to make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays. In addition, the sun makes the retinoids themselves less effective. So always use retinol at night, and an spf in the morning (and reapplied as necessary).

So what has my experience been of the product so far?

I find a product has to be enjoyable to make sure I use it regularly (nothing too sticky, too scented etc). Sunday Riley oils are sometimes criticised for their strong smell, but I personally find the aroma of Luna very pleasant, and it dissipates quickly, so this hasn’t been a problem.

The product itself is fairly light for an oil, and spreads easily onto the skin-that controversial blue colour means you can see where it has and hasn’t been applied. (This is not to say you turn a Smurf-like blue-it is more like a very subtle sheen).

It’s one of those products which has had a pretty instantaneous effect (well – to me anyway as I’m pretty clued-up as to the minutiae of my own face-to other people, probably less so). The night after using it the skin looks a bit clearer and cleaner. Whether this continues or not is the question, and I’ll update in a few months.

I use this product at night, after cleansing and toning, pre-serum, and have been using it several nights a week rather than every.

The big question is: would I repurchase?

I would have to say no. Despite enjoying the product, I found it didn’t continue to perform over the long term. For me, there are cheaper products that do a comparable job.

The launch of Deciem’s The Ordinary line has also had an impact. While its products lack the sophistication of Riley’s formulations, its 2% Retinol – at just £5.90 – does a very similar job on my skin (sensitive types may find it causes issues).

Despite this, it is a great product for many reasons. Lots of people choose their skin care for the buying experience, the quality of the packaging and other reasons aside from performance. If that is the case, you will find this an enjoyable luxury buy.

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