sunday riley face oil

Face oils have become something of a secret weapon in my skincare. I dipped my toes in with this UMA face oil a couple of years ago and it was a slippery slope from there. Last week I was down to the last drops of two incredible Sunday Riley face oils – Luna and UFO.

Let’s start with the UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil. Meant for spot-prone skin, it’s a dry face oil meaning it absorbs quickly with no greasy residue and layers well under moisturizer and/or makeup. The formula has salicylic acid and tea tree oil, both common in spot treatments. What makes it better is the rest: milk thistle and cucumber seed oil to counteract the drying effects of the acid, licorice to brighten and even out any discoloration from old spots, chamomile and neroli to soothe stressed-out skin. I apply a layer under moisturizer a few nights in a row any time I feel a breakout coming on and it makes everything heal and disappear more quickly. Another bottle of the UFO oil is already en route to my apartment.

I’m indifferent about the Luna Sleeping Night Oil. There’s absolutely nothing I didn’t like about it, but it didn’t have the life-changing effect on my skin that I was expecting. It’s made with one of my favorite skincare ingredients, blue tansy, but I prefer it in May Lindstrom’s blue cocoon balm. As far as retinol goes, it’s incredibly gentle. Sunday Riley balances the potentially aggressive ingredient with soothing chamomile, avocado seed oil and the aforementioned blue tansy. The only reason I’d repurchase the Luna is to keep a gentle retinol in my routine until I’m in need of a stronger dose. If you’re just looking to wake up to miraculously brighter skin, my recommendation is this Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

One of the skills I developed living in New York City is the ability to leave my apartment in the morning with a single bag ready for an array of plans. Things I’ve learned: day-to-night outfits are real, these bandaids replace the need for a change of shoes, and a makeup routine that can last through hot yoga.

I’m not against going bare-faced but sometimes a workout class is followed by brunch or happy hour or something that calls for looking somewhat put-together. And sometimes taking the subway in the summer is about the same thing. It was a happy accident that I discovered this four-step makeup routine that will last through anything.

Here’s what works. I start with this Becca primer which isn’t even advertised to extend the wear time of makeup. Then it’s a layer of my favorite BB cream applied with my fingertips (and a dab of concealer if needed) set with a translucent powder. The key is to seal it all in with a few spritzes of the Pixi makeup fixing mist.

Photo, Ivy Park


After a few bad experiences getting professional facials, I have been sticking to giving myself an at-home facial every month or so. The only difference is that I skip extractions since these should only be done by a professional. Today I’m sharing my seven step at-home facial routine.

1. First I thoroughly cleanse to ensure I’m beginning with a clean slate. Use lukewarm water with any gentle cleanser. Too hot could cause damage, too cold will cause pores to constrict which is the opposite of what you want to be doing before a facial.

2. Next it’s time to exfoliate. I’ll often use the Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial because it’s both a peel and a physical exfoliator. I also love the ExfoliKate exfoliator or the more gentle Tata Harper’s regenerating cleanser. The exfoliating step is meant to create a smoother surface that will better absorb the products that follow.

3. There are two ways to go about steaming. I have a wonderful facial steamer I bought on Amazon that I fill up with water and let run. You can also soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it over your face. Steam for ten minutes to open up pores.

4. Choose a mask. I rotate between quite a few. Maybe The Problem Solver if my skin is congested, Honey Potion or fresh Rose if it’s dry, Borghese Radiante if it’s dull. I prefer to leave one on for longer than instructed, at least 45 minutes, before rinsing off with lukewarm water.

5. After rinsing, do a quick swipe with a toner-soaked cotton pad. This ensures every last trace of the mask is gone and prepares skin for one more treatment step. I recently finished this lovely toner and have been trying out another rose toner.

6. Apply a serum. I usually choose a hydrating one because there is rarely a time when my skin could not use more hydration. The Clarins hydra-essentiel one is an old favorite, I’ve also been trying the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra gel. Occasionally for an extra boost I’ll use this derma roller. You do you here but it increases ingredient absorption by 90%.

7. Moisturize. Think of this step as locking it all in. Instead of my everyday product, I use a heavier moisturizer after doing an at-home facial – this one from Beauty Pie.

My last tip is to complete the at-home facial at least two hours before going to bed to ensure the product fully absorbs into your skin, not into your pillowcase. On that note, switch to a fresh silk pillowcase while you’re at it.

Photo, 4th and Bleeker