Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil is incredibly popular and has enjoyed a great deal of hype on YouTube. Retailing at 105 USD per ounce, it is a pricier skincare item. Influencers I hold in high regard support this product, so it’s kind of logical that I would test it.
Luna Sleeping Night Oil is a blend of vegetable oils and botanical extracts containing hydroxypinacolone retinoate which is an ester (esters were acids, where one hydrogen molecule has been replaced by an alkali). The idea behind using this ester is that it should have the same collagen induction properties but without the irritation associated with retinol or tretinoin. As far as I am aware this effect is not proven, I find only one study where effectiveness was researched but in combination with retinol glycospheres as a replacement for tretinoin in acne patients, so for its effects on acne rather than collagen production. As such we may be the guinea pigs. The blue color of the product is a dye.
User Experience: The first thing you notice when using Luna is the blue color and the smell. The oil goes on blue and stays blue, by massaging the oil in some oil is absorbed and the color hue muted. The smell is very strong and reminds me of hay. I grew up in the countryside and love the smell of hay, but there have been many who greatly dislike the smell. Over the two weeks I sometimes used and entire dropper of oil, other nights I used only a few drops. Regardless of the amount I used, when I awoke in the morning the oil was not wholly absorbed. Many have reported that their skin felt very well moisturized in the morning. I did not experience that, I experienced my skin feeling taut (dry) and covered in oil.
If I used too much oil it would seep into my eyes during the night and I would awaken with very irritated puffy eyes.I noticed no positive change in my skin. The main issue will have been that my skin needs moisture and moisture is not imparted by oil alone, but also water. Creams have emulsifiers in them that help transport the water and the oil into the skin. If your skin does not require additional water, then using Luna alone every night might suit you.
I am bothered by the blue color, the color is not necessary and could color bed linen. Whilst I have no issue with the aroma of the oil, imparted by the chamomile, as hydroxypinacolone retinoate is supposed to be non-irritating, there should be no need for the calming properties of chamomile and this appears gimmicky. The use of avocado and grape oil makes this very suited to oily skin, very unlikely to block pores. Rosemary oil is astringent.
I am sure there are many people who experience positive effects to the skin from the use of this oil. My experience was pretty neutral and my skin definitely needed more moisture. At my age, I feel that it would be better for me to continue to progress with proven Retinol. For an unproven ingredient (hydroxypinacolone retinoate) I perceive this oil to be overpriced. I would be happy to continue using any skincare which includes this ingredient, but I also would want to have retinol and other ingredients as well to have more faith in it doing something.
Due to the use of the light grapeseed oil and astringent rosemary oil this product is probably best suited to consumers with oily or combination skin.