From selfie to shelfie, this cult US skincare brand has taken over the social media by a storm. Even though I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to following brands with cult-like statuses – this one was a rare exception. And why’s that? Well, I recently had a lengthy conversation with my sisters, about their skincare routines. It’s one of those fun conversations we three have from time to time, where we talk about literally everything related to skincare: from brand recommendations to favourite serums, skin chart ideas and our favourite go-to brands. And, one of the names that popped up during our last zoom call was Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil. Since this was backed by a considerably strong recommendation, I knew I had to make time for another vitamin C serum review.
The Role of Vitamin C in Skin Health
Before we delve into the actual review, let me just give you a little bit of a background on vitamin C and why it should be the frontrunner of your daily skincare routine. For starters, vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a potent antioxidant, and when used topically – it can treat and prevent signs of photo-ageing. It also serves an important role in the collagen biosynthesis pathway – and is considered as a must-have anti-aging ingredient in your beauty arsenal. Not only that, it’s also believed to be a known replenisher of vitamin E and is considered a well-researched anti-pigmentation agent.
For further reading, I recommend that you take a look at our article on vitamin C and it’s derivatives here. So, now that you have an idea of why it’s essential in your skincare routine, let’s move to Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Oil. You’ve probably heard that vitamin C is unstable, and that it oxidizes quickly on exposure to light. For the same reason, and to maintain its stability, it is formulated at a low (acidic) pH of less than 3.5. That means, it also needs to be packaged in opaque, air-tight bottles to prevent oxidation.
L-ascorbic Acid: The Lesser Known Setbacks
Despite of all this, ascorbic acid is considered the gold-standard for vitamin C, and till-date, is the most effective form for topical administration. Although realistically, it does have some serious setbacks:
- It can stain your skin yellow/orange/brown. This can happen because vitamin C degrades into erythrulose which is the main ingredient in many self-tanning products.
- It’s inherently unstable and breaks down quickly. So you need to be super careful about storing and closing the bottle lid tightly each time you use it. But chances are, it might still oxidize before you finish the bottle.
- For it to be completely absorbed, it needs to be in low pH (2.5 and 3.2).
This is a matter of choice. Ask me today, and I’ll still tell you that my high-rated vitamin C serums includes a line-up of those with L-ascorbic acid in the formula. But that has not stopped me from trying and testing out other brands. Let’s get moving to compare Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C Face Oil with L-ascorbic acid.
Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil – What form vitamin C does it contain?
This cult-favourite facial oil contains “Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate” which is a more stable form of vitamin C. Chemically speaking, it’s the lipid-soluble ester of ascorbic acid. The lipid-solubility gives it an upper edge and makes it an ideal choice for skin penetration. It is believed that once it’s absorbed into the skin, it breaks down to L-ascorbic acid and produces similar anti-ageing effects.
So far, the research on this vitamin C derivative is scant and equivocal. What we don’t know yet — is how comparable are those results to L-ascorbic acid. Without any doubt, more in depth studies are needed between the two compounds to better understand its similarities and differences, if any, on the absorption rate, efficacy across different functions, including hyper-pigmentation etcetera.
Although inconclusive, but from what I could gather, THD ascorbate tends to be “better” at penetrating skin and is able to maintain its stability at a higher pH.
Although inconclusive, but from what I could gather, THD ascorbate tends to be “better” at penetrating skin and is able to maintain its stability at a higher pH (5.5) — which makes it more suitable for those with sensitive skin. And for the same reason, you shouldn’t worry if the bottle is see-through.
Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil Ingredient List
Cold Pressed Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Caprylyl Caprylate/Caprate, Jojoba Seed Oil, Cold Pressed Cranberry Seed Oil, Cold Pressed Pomegranate Seed Oil, Cucumber Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Seed, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Octyldodecanol, Turmeric Root Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Bitter Orange Flower Oil, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Black Currant Seed Oil, Bisabolol, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Hexyldecanol, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Stearic Acid, Rapeseed Sterols, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/ Leaf/ Vine Extract, Zingiber Officinale, Rosemary Leaf Extract
As you can notice from the ingredients’ list, C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C oil is formulated on a base of cold-pressed raspberry seed oil. Raspberry seed oil contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, and E to rejuvenate and regenerate the skin.
The high antioxidant content as well as the pairing and synergy of vitamin A with THD ascorbate is fantastic.
Similarly, it also contains varying concentrations of jojoba, cranberry seed oil, pomegranate seed oil and evening primrose oil. Anything else? Yup – there’s also the extracts of turmeric root and ginger root to boost skin’s radiance and glow.
My personal experience using Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C +Turmeric Face Oil
Formula and texture
Available in two sizes, the C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C oil is housed in a sleek and sturdy glass bottle paired with a convenient dropper dispenser. Moving onto the formula – this feels lightweight, is easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no tell-tale residue behind. Although the oil has a bright orange tint, it does not stain your face or hands during application. However, to maximize benefit, it should be used in the morning (to protect your skin from photo-damage) and applied as a serum, before your heavier moisturizer.
Another thing to point out here: You can actually smell the turmeric and bitter orange pretty heavily. But if you can get past the smell, it really is a great product. The scent doesn’t last long, but then again – I never had a problem with the earthy/slightly herbal medicinal scent of turmeric in the first place.
Although I would love to be able to share the exact concentration of THD ascorbate’s in this face oil, I haven’t been able to find this information online. Having said that, I’ll try to reach out to the team, and will update you all once I have some clarity on this.
Pros to consider
Deeper penetration + faster absorption = skin brightening results with a non-greasy feel.
- The lipid soluble formula enables it to penetrate the epidermis more effectively than some of the other serums.
- The oil is prepared in a base of cold-pressed red raspberry, jojoba, sunflower, moringa and evening primrose seed oils. These plant-derived oils work together to form a nourishing yet non-greasy emollient base that soothes and moisturizes your skin. These plant oils are also high in fatty acids and vitamin E, in particular linolenic acid, which helps to maintain the skin’s natural barrier and retain moisture.
- The formula combines several antioxidant-rich extracts, including THD ascorbate and turmeric.
- The formula is non-comedogenic, is highly absorbent, and won’t clog yours pores.
- It’s also non-irritating for most people, and is best suited for dry, normal and combination skin types.
- This product is both vegan and cruelty-free.
Cons to consider
- Price factor. Although, it may seem a bit pricey, but the 30 ml bottle (310 AED) will last for around 3 months, if used once a day.
- The oil does contain some fragrance – most likely from the bitter orange extract. But the scent dissipates within minutes of application.
- Another thing to note is that, this does not have a super high concentration of vitamin C. But the combination of the vitamin C with the other anti-oxidant and skin-brightening ingredients, is what makes the formula work.
The bottom line
Overall, I have enjoyed introducing this to my skincare routine. If you look at it as an anti-oxidant rich facial oil — this has everything your skin needs. In simpler words, its a lightweight, multitasking oil that comes power-packed with some incredible plant-oils to keep your skin nourished, moisturized and at the same time, protected.
It would be not be a fair comparison to measure this against those products with 100% pure vitamin C serums such as Skinceutical’s CE Ferulic or Obagi. Which is why it has not been marketed that way either: its strengths lie in its versatility, because it combines several other anti-oxidant ingredients with the vitamin C — to augment the overall benefits of the serum for your skin. It helps keep your skin nourished and glowing for longer. This serum has definitely earned its place in my shelf!
Another reason why I have liked this so much, is because includes turmeric in the formula – which is known to have dynamic skin healing abilities. In fact, studies have shown that the turmeric extract (curcumin) exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant as well as skin healing and restoring benefits. You can read our article on curcumin supplements here.
In the end, whichever formula you choose to go with, vitamin C serums and oils are a great addition to the daily skincare routine and can bring noticeably smoother, brighter and firmer skin.
Disclaimer: PR sample – but the opinions are solely my own. Sunday Riley skincare is available exclusively at Sephora and across all its branches in the UAE and the GCC.