Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number


sunday riley

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil worth 105 Bucks?

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.

lunaLuna 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extracts containing hydroxypinacolone retinoate which is an ester (esters were acids, where one hydrogen molecule has been replaced by an alkali).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.


Sunday Riley Good Genes – A Lactic Acid Exfoliant worth 105 Bucks?

I am so conflicted writing this post. I can’t make my mind up, I’m thinking: but I like it, but what does it do? But I like it, what is in it? and awww shucks that’s a lot of money for 30ml.

Having written about Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Vitamin C Serum two days ago, and having tested Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, it made sense to apply the same assessment criteria to a product which is also enjoying a lot of hype and is really quite expensive.

The product is a serum with approximately 5% lactic acid in it which acts mainly as a chemical exfoliator. The concentration is (despite social media telling you the contrary) not particularly high, it is high enough to serve it’s purpose. It is designed so that everyday use is possible.

good-genes-treatment-1-940User experience: The serum comes out white, with a lotion like consistency. The scent is slightly citric, very much like lemon sherbet, probably imparted by the lemongrass extract it contains. I have read of complaints about the scent, I find it pleasant and refreshing.It absorbs immediately and my skin straight away looks very smooth, even toned and hydrated. It also feels very soft. The effects are instantly visible and I have never experienced such clearly visible results from a skincare product. But how does it work and why does my skin feel so good? Part of the answer can be found here: Epidermal and Dermal Effects of Lactic Acid I can not testify to seeing changes in fine lines, but I really loved how this made my skin look and also how the product felt on the skin. If you have read the link you will have seen that the 5% concentration really is not sufficient to enhance collagen production, in trials 10% and above was required to thicken the dermis (the layer below your top layer of skin – the depth where hair roots are). This means that the effects really are on the surface , not that that’s bad, it’s just good to know and also means that I will continue to use my 10% lactic acid products. Normal and dry skin will need to moisturize on top.

The effect of this product is also enhanced by the oils it contains, squalane is usually derived from olive oil these days and meadowfoam oil is awesome.  It is super high in anti-oxidants and is a light weight oil similar to jojoba oil in texture. It is a pretty expensive ingredient, one I have used myself in the formulation of haircare for fine hair (it does not weigh it down). It is very quick absorbing. Caprylic Triglyceride are esters obtained from coconuts & palms which combined with the silicone will be causing the silky feel. The other actives are mainly anti-oxidants.

Lactic Acid is not for everyone, some people react very sensitively to it. As the product is so expensive if you think it might be good for you, but do not want to take the risk you could try and get a sample, try a more affordable lactic acid product or even put kefir (a fermented milk product) on your skin and see how it reacts.

If you would like to experience the benefits of lactic acid but do not want to splurge, there are plenty other affordable options which also have great results.

I love this product, it makes my skin feel wonderful. But, there will be no long term anti-aging effects from it. Would I repurchase? I’ll only be able to answer that once the pump is empty, until then I’ll keep enjoying it 🙂

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Skincare gifts that will be well received :)

Skincare is a highly personal purchase. skin types and dermatological challenges vary so gifting skincare can be a tricky business. Here are my tips on getting in right.

If you already know the recipients skin type and challenges you can gift a really well put together set from brands such as Paula’s Choice or Murad. These brands group their products by skin issues. Murad currently offers gift sets as can be found on Sephora or Lookfantastic. Paula’s Choice has many localized international sites to shop from.

Beauty savvy recipients may already be using the brands already, in which case you already know they like them, and if not, may well have thought of checking them out, as they really are well known top-quality somewhat high-end brands.

If you don’t really know so much about the person’s skin, but assume that it is generally without issue and you know the recipient takes skincare seriously and appreciates quality, Drunk Elephant and Sunday Riley are almost guaranteed to be a safe bet.

Sephora has gift sets for Sunday Riley, whose Luna Sleeping Oil and Good Genes daily lactic acid exfoliator are cult. It also stocks gifts sets with Drunk Elephant’s Vitamin C Serum (often quoted as being the best on the market) and Framboise Glycoloc Acid Exfoliator. The Sunday Riley products are very popular for anti-aging for sensitive or dry skins, with Drunk Elephant’s  Framboise Glycolic more suited to anti-aging for normal skins.

AHA, BHA, u ok? Acid peels for at home

When I tell people that I regularly put lactic acid on my face, they usually seem to think that I do this:



And then I’ve got some explaining to do.

First up, it good to know that the skin is acidic anyway, so putting any acid on it, will depending on strength and PH, be like putting like to like. Products advertising that they be PH balanced are therefore actually acidic, meaning it’s not a scary concept after all.

In beauty blogs and on YouTube, you will often hear references to AHAs and BHAs in product reviews and recommendations. AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid (short AHA). AHAs are exfoliators meaning they help remove dead skin cells. They do this by breaking up the cement between cells. BHAs are beta hydroxy acids, they work by dissolving oil and sebum, effectively cleaning out the pores. So despite both being acids, they do different things.

AHAs are staples in effective anti-aging. In numerous studies, higher concentrations (12% to 15%) have been found to lead to an increase in skin thickness and a reduction in lines. Plus, freshly exfoliated skin looks glowing. As this is done chemically, it can be referred to as chemical exfoliation rather than mechanical such as done by a scrub.

The most common AHAs found in products are glycolic and lactic acid. These acids have differing natural sources, glycolic being a fruit acid and lactic from milk and work slightly differently.

Glycolic acid has the smallest acid molecules and penetrate the skin more deeply than lactic. Due to this it is perceived that it is more effective at boosting collagen production. But people with sensitive or dry skin may find their skin irritated by it. Lactic acid is a good humectant; it attracts moisture into the skin making it more suitable for sensitive skins. Both types are effective exfoliators and help to retexturize the skin. Word of warning: they increase photo-sensitivity, which is why they are best used evenings.

I use glycolic and lactic. Twice per week I use the Ordinary Lactic Acid at 10% concentration topped with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar Night which has around 4% glycolic acid. The alternate night I use retinols. I have also enjoyed Ren Skincare’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask.

I find that these products do a great job of exfoliating my skin and since starting the regime around 3 months ago my skin is far smoother and more radiant.

Other products commonly recommended are Sunday Riley’s Good Genes with around 5% lactic acid (to be used every day) and Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (12% glycolic acid).

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