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Retinol is a gold-standard beauty ingredient for firmer, smoother, and brighter skin. But this potent active comes with a caveat: It’s often irritating, particularly for sensitive skin types. Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil is a cult-favorite retinol product for its calming benefits, and it’s 50 percent off at Ulta today. We tested and reviewed the retinol oil to write this honest review.
Sunday Riley is known for ingredient-forward, celebrity-approved skin care staples (A-listers like Paris Hilton, Drew Barrymore, and Oprah are just a few fans). Although Sunday Riley’s Luna Oil has been around since 2015, renewed interest on TikTok has put this nighttime face oil back in the limelight — the product has 68.5 million views on the app.
Where some retinols can be drying and irritating, Sunday Riley’s Luna Oil is calming and hydrating. The unique formula pairs retinol with many plant-based oils, all of which are designed to counteract any sensitivity you may experience with retinol use. Yes, it’s a hydrating formula, but it also resurfaces skin, helping to fade discoloration and soften fine lines with consistent use.
WWD Shop editors regularly test Sunday Riley skin care products — our favorites include the brand’s B3 Nice Niacinamide Serum for its ability to brighten skin and Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment for more hydrated, smoother skin overnight. We put Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil to the test over the course of a week to assess its pros and cons. If you’re interested in testing out this TikTok-favorite beauty product, don’t wait to place your order: Sunday Riley Luna Oil is 50 percent off today only as part of Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty sale.
How We Tested Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
- Product tested: Sunday Riley Luna Oil
- Testing time period: One week
- Application method: I applied two drops of the retinol oil nightly on clean skin, following up with eye cream.
- Sizes available: 0.5 oz and 1.18 oz
- Key ingredients: Trans-retinol, blue tansy oil, avocado seed oil, chia seed oil
- Non-irritating, calming formula
- Hydrates skin on contact with more moisture extending through the following day
- Vegan, sulfate-free formula
- Only safe for nighttime use
- Not recommended for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Testing review: “Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil is like a hydrating face oil that just so happens to have long-term skin benefits. During the course of testing, I experienced less redness — a rarity for retinol — and more moisturized skin in the morning. The formula absorbs quickly without a greasy finish, and I can’t get enough of its natural botanical scent.”
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Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil: Key Ingredients
The magic of this ocean-blue formula is its trans-retinol, a vitamin A ester that increases collagen production to help promote smoother, softer skin with better bounce. Retinol can be sensitizing (particularly for those who are new to the ingredient), and that’s where Luna Oil’s medley of oils come in clutch. Chamomile and blue tansy oils are the heavy-hitters, as both ingredients are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants that quell sun damage and redness. (Those ingredients are also responsible for the oil’s gorgeous blue color.) Chia seed oil delivers a wallop of omega 3 fatty acids, which help soften skin, reduce irritation, and seal in moisture.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil Testing Review
I’m no retinol rookie — I’ve tested countless vitamin A skin care products in my time as a beauty editor, including prescription options. My experience with over-the-counter retinol always varies, with some exacerbating dryness and others causing my facial redness to flare up. After four years of consistently using the ingredient, my skin is well-adjusted, but still prone to adverse reactions if I don’t apply the right face serums and dry skin moisturizers when I’m using it.
The first night I tested out Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil, I’ll admit I was a bit confused: Retinols are are typically the first thing I apply after washing my face at night, but face oils are always a final step in my PM skin care routine. After studying up on Luna Oil’s ingredients, I realized that this face oil is more like a one-and-done skin treatment than something to layer over or under other skin care products. So I ditched my typical routine, instead applying just two drops of the Sunday Riley oil on damp skin, dotting on eye cream, then hitting the hay. (Its botanical scent is a dream to doze off to, by the way.)
After one week following this uncharacteristically simple nighttime routine, my skin feels well-balanced, softer, and highly hydrated. I have yet to report on any line-smoothing or discoloration-fading benefits, but no product can deliver that in just one week.
Because my skin is used to retinol, I was able to apply the Sunday Riley Luna Oil nightly without any signs of irritation, sensitivity, or redness — those calming ingredients are just as strong as the retinol in this Sunday Riley oil.
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Meet the Author
Claire Sullivan is the Senior Beauty and Lifestyle Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD, where she writes and edits beauty, fashion and lifestyle stories. She has over six years of experience as a writer and editor for national media outlets including Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, InStyle, and Byrdie. She keeps her finger on the pulse of all things related to beauty and wellness, including cult-favorite face oils like Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil.