As a certified cult favourite brand, Sunday Riley is known for its impeccable formulation that is centred on Green Technology, which is something that the beauty industry hasn’t seen before. Although the brand was founded 11 years ago, Sunday Riley admits that it still feels brand new and they’re constantly pushing the boundaries by innovating new ideas. From celebrities, influencers to beauty junkies, Sunday Riley has accumulated a legion of loyal followers who swear by its groundbreaking creations. In fact, their products are staples in the majority of the beauty editors’ routine. Beauty Insider chats exclusively with Sunday Riley to find out more about her inspirations, product formulation, restarting the now-defunct makeup line to her daily skincare routine.

1.How did Sunday Riley begin, what’s the inspiration behind it?  

I’ve always had a passion for skincare, I’ve loved skincare since childhood. This combined with the fact that I like putting products together — I like creating things and solving puzzles. I started a skincare company and formulated the products because I believe that I have an ability to listen to what people want and craft formulas that can actually make a change in the way people look and feel. Really being a part of other people’s journey towards self-love and self-care is what inspires me, and what gets me up in the morning. 

When we launched in 2009 there was a definite gap in the market for what we called “green technology” which is balancing science-based active ingredients with botanicals. It’s not just about active ingredients and transformation (whilst they are essential for optimum skin health) it’s also about nurturing and nourishing your skin and making sure that you’re naturally taking care of inflammation and irritation too, which is where botanicals come in. At the time there wasn’t a real mix of that and it was something I was really passionate about bringing to life. It’s still at the heart of our brand philosophy today.

2.Sunday Riley started back in 2009 with various top-rated products and it is at the forefront of Green Technology. If you look back, how has the brand evolved throughout these years? 

As a brand, we are continuously evolving and we always try and do better for our customers – This comes through in our pledge to our customers that we only want the absolute best available to people, that’s our mission. This includes ensuring we’re the best we can be in all aspects of the business from product performance right through to giving back to the community and sustainability. It’s incredibly important to me that we continue to grow and adapt – our customers have high expectations and we need to be consistently levelling up. This is how we continuously evolve.

We have only kept one product from the early days of the brand. It takes a long time to get a formula right and if I know there is something that can be changed or improved, I’ll do it. If something isn’t selling I’ll often remove it from the line completely. We’re constantly trying to innovate, think outside the box, show up against new competitors. 

3.Can you walk us through your daily skincare routine? 

I definitely switch it up depending on what we’re developing but my core routine is pretty consistent. I wake up in the morning and I wash my face with Ceramic Slip then I’ll spritz my face with Pink Drink, which helps to support the microbiome because even with cleansing your skin you disrupt your microbiome diversity. Then I mix around 2-3 pumps of CEO 15% Vitamin C Serum, with about 2-3 drops of CEO Glow so both Vitamin C and mix them together in my hand then I apply it. I’m pretty diligent about application, I’ll apply all over my face, under the eye, over the eye, I make sure I apply around the mouth, face, neck and chest. 

From here, I might go make a coffee, do some emails, do my thing around the house. I’ll come back and put some Good Genes on – But only if I didn’t do it in the evening. If I did it at night, I won’t apply it the next morning, I mix it up. If I need a moisturiser, I’ll use ICE Ceramide Moisturising Cream. Finally, I’ll apply Auto Correct Eye Contour Cream around my eyes. I also reapply Auto Correct throughout the day because I have to look awake cause I don’t really sleep. 

Plus I always have products at my desk throughout the day. I’ll always apply CEO Serum and ICE Ceramide Moisturising Cream throughout the day at least once. I just keep my skin dewy all day long. AND I apply a tonne of sunscreen – even if I’m indoors I apply a tonne of sunscreen. 

4.Do you remember your first childhood beauty memory?

I grew up on old movies and watched all of Marilyn Monroe’s films by the age of 11. When I was 12, I read that she had started using anti-wrinkle cream at the same age, so I hopped on my bike (against my parent’s wishes) and rode to the pharmacy and bought a $10 jar of pink face cream. I cherished every drop and was instantly mesmerized by skincare.

5. Previously Sunday Riley launched a makeup line before it was discontinued. Have you ever thought of restarting again?

Yes, we had a huge makeup line and it was probably a little too soon for us and a little too ambitious. We had only been around as a skin-care brand for a year and a half so we didn’t have a strong reputation in the industry yet. The makeup line was also huge – We had 12 liquid foundations, 12 cream foundations, 3 mascaras, 25 eye shadows, 25 lipsticks and more, it was a lot. There weren’t a lot of tools lined up to really help spread the word, so financially it just wasn’t viable for us at the time. Now that we’re more established, who knows? A makeup line could definitely be something we explore again. 

6.Apart from Good Genes, Sunday Riley is also known for its amazing facial oils. What’s your personal favourite? 

It’s hard to choose a favourite because they are all beneficial for different reasons. If I had to choose one, I’m obsessed with Luna Sleeping Night Oil! Luna plumps fine lines and wrinkles, corrects discoloration, reduces the appearance of pores and really nourishes dry skin.

Luna is a retinol ester; the benefit of that versus traditional retinol is that it’s just as strong as 100 per cent retinol, but 90 per cent less irritating. You get the benefits of retinol without the irritating side effects because retinol can cause your skin to flake and peel. You’re not going to get that with Luna. 

7.When did you feel that you’d succeeded with the brand? 

Sunday Riley still feels brand new, even though we’re 11 years old now. When you start a brand from nothing, you’re kind of always in survival mode. We’re constantly trying to innovate, think outside the box, show up against new competitors. I never have this feeling of ‘we’ve made it’. I’m always in entrepreneurial mode and looking ahead. 

8.The beauty community has seen Sunday Riley leading the industry with Green Technology. What are the new things that they can expect? Plus, are there any new product launches that you want to share with our readers? 

There are always new and exciting ingredients, we have great relationships with our suppliers and we always make sure we’re sourcing the absolute highest quality – I’m excited for the innovation to come as we move into 2022. I can’t share exactly what we’re launching yet but I can share we have at least 3 major new launches coming to Malaysia and Singapore. All will embody our philosophy of fusing scientifically proven ingredients with botanicals. I cannot wait to share them with you all, watch this space.