Luna Sleeping Oil by Sunday Riley – A perfect introduction to Retinol?

Luna Sleeping Oil


 I’ll start by saying I’ve actually avoided trying Sunday Riley’s cult favourite Luna Sleeping Oil simply because it’s had so much press, blogger attention and I’ve seen so many Youtube Makeup stars who are under 25 raving about it. The reason this put me off is because, when you are in your early 20’s you don’t necessarily need a Retinol, even as a preventative measure, unless you have Acne. In which case you would probably need a  prescription only form of Retinol advised by a dermatologist. A lot of the young people I’ve seen promoting LUNA on social media, don’t have any form of Acne or visible ageing. It made me think these people don’t even know why they should be using this or know about the ingredients and they are recommending an £85 product to a largely teenage audience, who simply would be wasting their (parents) money and putting their skin at risk of irritation. Not because Luna is an irritating product at all, but because it contains a Retinol Ester. The Anti-ageing reason for using an ingredient like this is to try and trick/prompt your skin cell turn over into behaving more like it did when you were in your 20’s and if you do that whilst you are still in your early 20’s or younger, you are just likely to confuse your skin and break out. Again retinol (Vitamin A) is used to treat serious acne, pigmentation and promote collagen production. For me to list everything Retinol has been proven to do would be a blog post in itself.


luna oil

image source: Space Nk, RRP £85 

So when I see a product getting loads of social media attention and having popular influencers talk about it, sometimes I steer clear because the people recommending it technically don’t need the ingredient, which the whole product is designed around. LUNA being the perfect example: It’s a retinol treatment in an oil, not a facial oil. The most important thing when designing your skin care routine is to look at your own SKIN TYPE and then look at your SKIN CONCERNS in order to work out what ingredients/products you need.

Back to LUNA, which is a Retinol Ester housed in an oil. A Retinol Ester is different to Retinol. The Ester is a gentler form designed to give results without the side effects and irritation associated with traditional Retinol. Retinol has countless years of proven research behind it as an ‘anti-ageing’ and acne fighting ingredient, you can get the most potent forms via prescription from a dermatologist and that will be a journey of watching your face get worse before it gets better. It essentially thins the skin down by speeding up cell turnover (getting rid of dead, damaged skin cells) and then builds the skin up again with newer juicier skin cells. These new surfacing cells will be undamaged so the quest is to then keep them that way.  The most vital thing to remember with Retinol is to use an SPF50 EVERYDAY whilst using it, because of all the old skin that is being shed, the new skin cells coming through are so vulnerable to sun damage by UV rays, so you can just get more damage (which you will be trying to fix in the future). As someone with very fair, freckle and pigmentation prone skin, I am aiming to go for it with retinol experimentation over winter. Since I live in the UK and we have such sunless winters, I am still using an SPF 50 (SPF 30/40 if its a dark rainy day) so I still have that SPF protection, but there is less sunshine to do that damage when I’m out and about.

Luna Sleeping Night Oil, , large

Image Source Space NK

You would need prescription forms of Retinol (Retinoic Acid) to get into the Dermis (which only prescription drugs are legally allowed to claim they can reach) Where as over the counter forms can only affect the Epi-dermis. Prescription strengths can cause excessive redness, itchiness, flaking and a horrible skin period whilst you go through the process. If you get these side effects even from lower concentrations of retinol, some skincare experts say the formulation is still too strong for your skin, so you would need to reduce the use of that product until the redness and flaking stops or look for a gentler alternative and there are many – like LUNA! Other skincare experts say you have to power through the peeling and it will take around 3 months to push through to the other side. Some people are allergic to Retinol and can’t use it at all but there are still Vitamin A products they can use that won’t give them the red, peeling skin from hell. I know I’m not painting Retinol in the best light, but it is a magical/clinically proven ingredient for skin that needs it.

If you have never used retinol before and don’t have acne, I would not go near prescription strength, but start with certain Retinoids, Retinol esters and retinyl palmitates which are gentler ones designed for safe daily use – without making your face fall off! Get your skin used to the baby versions first and then work up to higher concentrations when you are sure you want and can commit your skin to that regime.

Again BACK TO LUNA! I finally decided to try this Retinol oil BECAUSE I wanted to slowly start working retinol derivatives into my skincare regime, I’ll be 30 in 5 months time. Having recently gone up to using a 30% Vitamin C every other night, I’ve been alternating LUNA oil in on the nights I’m not using it and absolutely LOVED THE RESULTS. If you are interested in trying LUNA – get a sample from a stockist and at night wash your face as normal then try LUNA completely on it’s own, don’t add in any other essences, serums or creams while you are trialing it. You really want to see how your skin reacts to that retinoid with no other factors to confuse it.

What results did I notice using LUNA?

The very next morning I noticed a smoothness to my skin, that was different from the smoothness I get when using my BHAs and Lactic Acid. It felt and looked comfortable, plumped up, firm and even in tone. (My skin tone has also become more even with the use of a high concentration Vitamin C which you need to work your skin up to). Luna is one product where I did actually notice results the very next day. The oil is a dark blue and it will slightly tint your skin depending on how much you use. The brand say the colour is because of the ingredient Blue Tansy, which is naturally very dark blue in colour, however the formula does contain 2 food grade dyes. My pillowcases have been fine but I don’t know if I’d trust it with White silk ones!


Luna on my hand   – photo ©AtlantisFae 2017

My final verdict is that I LOVE THIS PRODUCT! Because clearly I am at a stage where my skin needs and accepts it and I’m really enjoying using it. It is active and at first I could feel that activity on my face so I would urge you to not go over board and use too much. 2-3 drops warmed up and pressed around the face is more than enough. The fact this treatment is housed in an oil gives a definite comfort to the skin, stopping dryness occurring. I have skin that gets easily congested and is combination so I often don’t get on with facial oils, they can be too heavy and break me out, but this didn’t, possibly because of the Vitamin A. I’m loving the additional ingredients of cold-pressed chia oil, avocado oil and different chamomile oils as well as blackberry seed oils. Sunday Riley also say all of their bottled oils started as a seed a month a go, they cold press their oils for the most potent yield in small batches. If I was really looking for cons I’d say I wish it wasn’t so blue, but I can look past that as the results were so good from the get go. In future blog posts and YouTube videos I’ll be exploring other Retinol esters and retinyl palmitates but for the moment I am so happy I found LUNA. If you want to know my other favourite products from Sunday Riley, comment below. You can find LUNA here. 

Sending you Love and Faery Dust, until next time,

Atlantis Fae

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