Retinol Rundown


I recently finished my bottle of Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil and realized that I never reviewed it. I have been waiting for the Sephora VIB sale to repurchase it (20% off of the $105 price is worth waiting for). My new bottle should be arriving any day now. I am a big believer in retinols for smoothing wrinkles and spurring collagen renewal. It’s a proven ingredient that will always have a place in my night-time skincare routine. I know that I am a little late to the party reviewing this product, but I do have several months of using it under my belt. Like many others, I think this is a very good oil. My only issue with it is the addition of dyes that give it a rich peacock blue hue. They seem unnecessary, but since they haven’t caused any irritation or issues for me, I decided to repurchase. Luna is comprised of deeply hydrating oils: avocado, grape seed, blackberry seed, and chia seed; calming oils such as chamomile and blue tansy; fragrance oils (neroli and vetiver among them); and the star ingredient: trans-retinol ester. Both the scent and color disappear pretty quickly. I like to use retinols just about every other night, unless my skin is very dry or windburned. (Hi winter! Take your sweet time showing up!)

This oil provides the benefits of a retinol without the redness and flaking that can accompany OTC and prescription products. Wrinkles are smoothed, pores look a bit smaller, and skin is supple and firmer. Many reviews state that this oil absorbs quickly. I am not sure that I agree. I think it needs a bit of time to sink in. I like apply it over a few spritzes of my fave toner (Yuli Panacea is my go to for this). This helps spread just a few drops over my face and neck. Once it’s on, it feels pretty rich–enough so that I can skip putting moisturizer on top unless the weather calls for an extra layer.

Full list of ingredients: Persea Gratissima (Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Organic, Cold Pressed Concord Grape) Seed Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Cold Pressed Blackberry) Seed Oil, Salvia Hispanica (Cold Pressed Chia) Oil, Dimethyl Isosorbide (and) Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Chamomila Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) oil, Anthemis nobilis (English Chamomile) oil, Eriocephalus punctualatus (Cape Chamomile) oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Blood Orange) oil, Cananga Odorata Flower (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Vetivera zizanoides (Vetiver) oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (and) Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, CI 61565 (Green 6), CI 60725 (Violet 2).

When I ran out of the Luna, I decided to try something else in the meantime: Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum. This little beaut is a fraction of the cost of the Luna. At $33, it is a no brainer for those who want a green reintol option. I have a little retinol “wardrobe” going. It’s good to have choices because these are very different. The MH Vitamin A Serum has a light-weight gel consistency–even though it has coconut and safflower oil. This one features retinyl retinoate, which like the trans-retinol ester in Luna, is supposed to do the trick without drying out the skin. It also contains some of my favorite soothing ingredients: hyaluronic acid, aloe, and oat beta glucan. I find it is a bit stronger than the Luna and definitely requires use of moisturizer on top. I was nervous about the coconut oil in it, but haven’t had any breakouts. It really is so light, you can’t feel the oils in it! I really like this as another option to switch into my routine when I want a bit more of an “active” overnight treatment. Plus having a less expensive, but very good product like this stretches the lifespan of the Luna.

Full list of ingredients: Deionized Water, Carthamus Tinctorious (Safflower) Seed Oil, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl Glyc- erin, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Retinyl Retinoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Ananassa (Pineberry) Extract, Oat Beta Glucan, Phytoceramide, Steam Distilled Aurantifolia (Lime) Essential Oil, Alpha Lipoic acid, N Acetyl D Glucosamine




3 thoughts on “Retinol Rundown

  1. So glad to see your review of these two! I’ve been eyeing the MH version as an affordable option for a while now, so it’s good to hear your feedback about it.

  2. both of these sound lovely and I haven’t tried either. I do love the Moonlight Catalyst serum from KYPRIS though which uses pumpkin enzymes instead of straight vitamin A

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