One of the frustrating things about having uber-sensitive skin is how difficult it can be to find Actives to use on your face. By Actives, i mean things like retinoids, acids, and Vitamin-C derivatives. Those necessary ingredients for anti-aging, line-diminishment, spot-fading, collagen production, et al, are so readily available today, thanks to SCIENCE; but if you’re a sensitive, Special Snowflake due to medication, autoimmune skin, damage due to sun or over-exfoliation, or just plain dumb luck, then it can feel as if those wondrous ingredients are forever denied to you.

But hold your horses, my little Kumquats! Because i’m here to tell you that you, too, can benefit from Actives; and it’s all about the oils. And, you don’t need to freak out if you have oily skin, darlings. No – in fact, many oils not only actually help control sebum production, but also work as an antiseptic and anti-microbial; in other words, help control acne. Sounds counter-intuitive, i know – but it’s true. Conversely, there are some oils that can be quite irritating – for instance, if you have sensitive skin, you don’t want to go slathering lavender oil on your face. Read on to find out more…

I have a few oils in my retinue, but writing about them all in one post would be sort of nuts – as just reviewing the first one ended up being fairly wordy. So, i’m going to start with the first one i ever bought – and, incidentally, the one that started me on my current skincare journey! Adventure. Road. Thing…


Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil


Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil:

When i first ran across the Sunday Riley facial oils/Actives-in-oils (and in particular, the price tag attached to them), i was as eye-rollingly exasperated as any other over-stimulated, cynical Sephora-ite out there. But, having seen so much hype about the product, i decided to delve a little deeper. Now, something a few of you know about me, but some of you don’t, is that i used to have my own perfume company, which i expanded very modestly into skincare – specifically, facial oils. So i happen to know how much certain essential oils cost, from buying them for both my perfumes and my facial oils – which i had been making for myself for years before deciding to sell them.

Of course, the first thing i noticed about this oil is that it’s a deep blue. My mind immediately thought – either that’s got some weird pointless dye, or it’s got Blue Tansy in it…or maybe German Chamomile. How cool would that be? Both of them being SUPER healing for the skin – it might just make it possible for me to use the stuff, if there’s enough in it to make it worthwhile…


it’s blue!


I looked up the ingredients list of Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping oil – it so happens that this Retinol product does contain both Blue Tansy and German Chamomile – and it’s NOT way down at the bottom of the list! Hence the colour, as both are naturally blue. There is also, far down on the bottom as the last ingredients, some colouring. But, meh. I can live with that, unnecessary as it is. It also contains a laundry list of some other pretty serious oils – powerful oils – i.e., pricey oils – which will do some pretty serious good for your skin. Let’s take a look;

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil Ingredients (in order of appearance) –

  • Avacado Oil – fights acne, blackheads, eczema, inflammation;  is hydrating and softening;  is a natural sunblock;  increases collagen metabolism
  • Grape Seed Oil – high in linoleic acid, which helps unclog pores;  high in omega-6 fatty acids, an antioxidant;  helps to heal acne and moisturize skin as it’s high in vitamin E
  • Blackberry Seed Oil – natural source of vitamin C;  high in essential fatty acids, emollient, softening;  is a natural analgesic
  • Chia Seed Oil – source of vitamin B3 and Zinc, which helps with oily skin and clogged pores;  has essential fatty acids which plumps the skin and maintain moisture levels. Also reduces peeling, which can occur with Retinol products
  • Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate – not an oil – this is the Retinol product – a Trans-retinoic Acid Ester, which is a less-irritating Retinol product.
  • Chamomile Oil – strong anti-inflammatory properties which reduce redness and irritation in skin, helping with rosascea and other skin disorders
  • Blue tansy Oil – tissue regenerator, soothing to wounds and helps wrinkles. It’s also an anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and calms itchy, irritated skin.
  • English Chamomile Oil – (see “Chamomile Oil)
  • Cape Chamomile Oil – usual Chamomile calming properties, plus regulates sebum
  • Neroli Oil – rejuvenating benefits, as well as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic; maintains moisture levels
  • Blood Orange Oil – anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and disinfectant
  • Ylang Ylang Oil – anti-inflammatory, regulates sebum production, antiseptic, skin toner
  • Vetiver Oil – hydrating, fades dark spots, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, prevents sepsis in wounds.
  • Sunflower Seed Oil – high in vitamin E; contains essential fatty acids such as linoleic, oleic, palmitic and steraic acids which firm and tighten skin; soften and smooth appearance of skin
  • Rosemary Leaf Oil- protects from free-radical damage, antiseptic, antimicrobial, helpful in fighting acne, eczema, dermatitis, oily skin.

This is a VERY impressive list, if you’ll allow me to be redundant; and i can tell you just off the top of my head that Blue Tansy, German Chamomile, Neroli, and Vetiver are all pricey oils. When you add onto that all the other oils, which vary in price, plus the Retinol product itself, it’s no wonder this oil has such a high price tag.

I’ve personally been using Blue Tansy and German Chamomile, as well as Vetiver and Neroli, less occasionally, on my skin on and off (erratically because lazy – until now) for many years. I know their benefits when it comes to reducing inflammation, calming, hydrating, and purifying even super sensitive skin like on my very own Special Snowflake face. So, i decided to give this stuff a whirl.  I’m currently on my second smaller-sized bottle ($55), and i can tell you that this oil is really incredible – and worth every penny. If i’d had the $105 on me at the time, i’d have purchased the larger bottle.  In fact, I’m almost out of my second bottle, and will definitely be repurchasing.

Not only is the Retinol product effective, but i can actually use it without my face turning bright red, and peeling like a moulting snake.  Is there a little tingling? Yes, a bit. But NOTHING like what i’m used to with other Retinol products, and it quickly goes away as the oils sink in and begin to soothe my skin.

And has it made a difference? Um, yes. Yes, it has.  I don’t wear foundation anymore, for one thing. I wear a brightening primer or BB cream, or cushion – but never foundation. Not for months. Yes, this is the cumulative effect of lots of good skincare, but at the time i stopped wearing foundation, i attributed it to the Luna oil, as that was my first real step towards serious skincare at the time, since finding out how much my skin has changed in the past year. I’ve moved quickly since then to include a whole lot more in my routine, but this stuff is sort of what kicked it all off.


Glowy skin

Since using this stuff, my skin has definitely evened out, texture-wise. It glows now, whereas before, it looked dull and lifeless.  In other words, i was starting to (gasp..choke) look my age.

Just, no.

The plethora of healthy, skin-healing and balancing oils in this lovely treatment are just so fantastic – and now i don’t have to buy several super-pricey things from my essential oil wholesaler anymore, PLUS a Retinol product that irritates the living Hell out of my skin; i actually end up paying less buying the Luna oil. And it just feels so nice on the skin.  It smells quite strongly of German Chamomile and Blue Tansy, which are quite pungent oils. But it fades eventually – and as it’s a night oil, who cares anyway? Plus, it’s not an unpleasant odor – just quite herbal.

It took probably a good two weeks for my skin to start showing marked improvement, but show it, it did. I use this oil about three times per week (i don’t use any actives nightly – it’s just too much, and can end up causing more harm than good).

Is it a miracle oil? Of course not. My naso-labial lines haven’t magically disappeared. However, my skin does look much more even-textured, more glowy, more plump in the morning on nights when i use this. Flakiness is a thing of the past. Plus, there is some definite improvement in fine lines – especially on my forehead, where it was just starting to getting a little worrisome. It’s no overnight miracle, as i said – but these things take time.

So, if you happen to have trouble using Retinol products because they are just too irritating for your skin – i definitely urge you to get a sample of this stuff at your local Sephora, or wherever they sell Sunday Riley products near you. I know there is also a mini-sized version for sale.

The Last Word? I give this a 5/5 for gentleness, efficacy, appropriateness for sensitive skin, and even value for the price – because as i said, i know exactly how much all these oils cost wholesale. And the results speak for themselves.

In the meantime – have a Retinol product you can’t use? Try using a hydrating facial oil you already have, like the Boscia one i love (which seems to be hard to find these days, sorry guys!), and apply it before you use it – then after for good measure. It will act as a buffer, and your skin won’t go so haywire. You can even try mixing it WITH the oil, depending on the consistency of the Retinol product you’re using. Give it a shot! It won’t be ideal, but it’ll do until you can get your mitts on this amazing stuff.

Makeup in this post:


Have you tried this oil? What did you think? Or maybe you tried one like it? Let me know in the comments section – and if you like this post, please share – so that my inimitable brilliance may be spread. Or whatever.

Stay gorgeous, Kumquats!

XO – Monday