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  • Writer's pictureSasha Huang

Sunday Riley On Her Eponymous Skincare Brand, Personal Beauty Regime & Anti-Ageing Tips


Sunday Riley is one of the leading skincare brands of the 21st century. From its Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment to the CEO Vitamin Serum, Sunday Riley has been hitting all the marks in its products and earned the love and loyalty of beauty bloggers and skincare specialists the world over. Since its launch in 2009, Sunday Riley has been a 'yes' brand with a mission to heal and improve your skin through using green technology to formulate chemicals to create products for all skin types and all conditions, all the while keeping with its zero waste philosophy. The products are luxurious in effect yet accessible in price.

We chat with the brains behind it all, founder Sunday Riley, on her eponymous brand and its journey to success, her thoughts on the current beauty industry – and some exclusive skincare tips for everyone at home.

1. What inspired you to get into the beauty industry?

I’ve always had a passion for skincare, I’ve loved skincare since childhood. It’s hard to pinpoint but it was a series of little flashes – I remember my grandma cutting aloe in her backyard for things like abrasions and saying how good it was for your skin. I remember my mother applying blue eyeshadow when I was young, looking like the most beautiful woman in the world. I grew up on old movies, my mother and I watched them together when I was young, and everyone had this beautiful glowy presence about them. I was just infatuated with this idea of beauty and self-care from a young age. I’d watched all of Marilyn Monroe’s films by the age of 11. When I was 12, I read that she had started using anti-wrinkle cream at the same age, so I hopped on my bike (against my parent’s wishes) and rode to the pharmacy and bought a US$10 jar of pink face cream. I cherished every drop and was instantly mesmerised by skincare ever since.

2. What's the best advice you’ve ever received?

A good friend of mine once told me in life and business there are builders and destroyers – listen to the builders and ignore the destroyers. Also, when it gets loud I just remember I’m alive, I’m learning. Everyone is just doing their best.

3. How do you wish to impact the beauty industry?

Really being a part of other people’s journey toward self-love and self-care is what inspires me, and what gets me up in the morning. Listening to what our customers need and crafting products that change the way they feel about themselves is what I love most about being in this industry. Skincare is a very honest experience and skin has a profound effect on how we feel about ourselves. To have a chance to help people feel like they can be better, more confident versions of themselves and that they can make great choices in life, that’s really an honour.

4. What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about skincare today?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that it needs to be overcomplicated and follow a stringent routine or type of layering. We want skincare to be fun and accessible, a form of self-care and taking time out for yourself. My skincare philosophy is simple – everyone can benefit from incorporating AHAs, Vitamin C and Retinol into their skincare routine. If you’re incorporating these ingredients in some way throughout your routine, you have a recipe for radiant, healthy skin.

I also think we all get a little hung up on percentages and ensuring we are always putting the highest concentrations of active ingredients on our skin. When in fact, we sometimes need to look at the ingredients themselves, the quality of the ingredient and how they are being delivered to the skin.

'To have a chance to help people feel like they can be better, more confident versions of themselves and that they can make great choices in life, that’s really an honour.' – Sunday Riley

5. What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you and how does Sunday Riley keep striving for it?

As a brand, we are continuously evolving – this comes through in our pledge to our customers that we only want the absolute best available to people, that’s our mission. This includes ensuring we’re the best we can be in all aspects of business from product performance right through to giving back to the community and sustainability. It was important to me to ensure we’re using our business as a force of good, influencing positive change wherever we have a corporate presence.

We are proud to be a B Corp Certified brand, recognised for our conscious efforts and commitment to minimising our impact on the environment. Among many other things, we continue to support social impact initiatives. Over the years we have made significant contributions to organisations that align with our brand values. This includes planting trees around the world through ‘One Tree Planted’ where we have planted thousands of trees across the globe, and we will continue to plant 500 trees a month internationally.

In addition, we’re also Green Lab Certified, Plastic Neutral and we have even introduced a ‘Zero Waste Oils’ process. The seeds we use to press our oils can contain as little as 10% of the material needed, this process ensures the remaining 90% of the seeds never go to waste. The by-product is ground into a seed powder and put into various nutritional supplements and plant protein forms or used in agriculture processes for fertilisation so that the nutrients are back into the ground they were grown.

Overall, we want you to feel good about the products they are putting on your skin because you trust that they are made to the highest quality and with the highest ethical standards in mind.

6. Could you give us a little rundown of your daily skincare routine?

I definitely switch it up depending on what we’re developing but my core routine is pretty consistent.

At the moment, I keep our new CEO Afterglow Vitamin C Brightening Cream on my bedside table, I use it a little differently than most. I wake up in the morning and I wash my face with Ceramic Slip then I’ll spritz my face with Pink Drink, which helps to support the microbiome – I take my probiotics and I use my Pink Drink! I then apply Afterglow first basically as a thick water-based serum – this is an extreme hack but I really believe it has brightened the appearance of my skin. Then I mix around 2-3 pumps of CEO 15% Vitamin C Serum, with about 2-3 drops of CEO Glow so both Vitamin C and mix them together in my hand then I apply it.

From here, I might go do some emails, and do my thing around the house. I’ll come back and apply Good Genes. If I need a moisturiser, I’ll use ICE Ceramide Moisturising Cream. Finally, I’ll apply Auto Correct Eye Contour Cream around my eyes, which I continue to reapply throughout the day to help me look awake.

And then I apply a ton of sunscreen – even if I’m indoors I apply a ton of sunscreen.

7. What are your top five tips for skincare?

  1. Good skincare starts with a good cleanser. Cleansing for at least one minute is ideal but if you’re washing your face at all, I’m happy. Believe it or not, a lot of people come to us who actually don’t wash their face at all and that's problematic. Not cleansing properly can cause so many skin issues including inflammation, sensitivity, redness, and collagen degradation.

  2. Knowing the ingredients and the quality of ingredients you’re putting on your skin is important. For example, Vitamin C is essential for protecting your skin against pollution and other environmental aggressors, which can cause skin damage like hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and dullness. We use THD Ascorbate in our CEO line which is the absolute gold standard of vitamin C – a highly potent, more stable and less irritating form. Ensure the ingredients you're putting on your skin are high quality and at the highest standard.

  3. Spend time on skin prep. I always use CEO Afterglow mixed with a small amount of CEO Glow under foundation. Vitamin C works with golden turmeric for instant vibrance, a brightening effect and antioxidant defence. CEO Glow is a lightweight, dry-touch oil that gives a really luminous, hydrated look to your base.

  4. Don’t be afraid of oils! The right formula for an oil shouldn’t make your skin oily. Our active, dry-touch oils sink in and leave the skin really fresh and dewy-looking. Massaging your skin will also increase blood circulation, which will help the products to absorb and sink in deeper.

  5. A fun tip – I often apply a touch of Auto Correct around the eyes, along the cheekbones and on the cupids bow. Auto Correct instantly delivers a brighter more lifted look. Plus, the pearlescent finish gives a beautifully natural highlight.


Website: | Email: | Instagram: @sundayriley | Facebook: @sundayrileyskincare | Twitter: @sundayriley | Pinterest: @sundayriley | TikTok: @sundayriley


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