Sunday Riley

C.E.O. C + E Micro Dissolve Cleansing Oil

3.40 fl. oz. for $ 38.00
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Brand Overview

C.E.O. C + E Micro Dissolve Cleansing Oil, like most such products, works quickly to remove all types of makeup. When mixed with water, it forms a milky emulsion that rinses without leaving a greasy residue. That's nice, but this product isn't problem-free, and ends up being a questionable option for normal to dry skin.

Worth noting is this cleansing oil's smaller size. It's on the pricey side already, but given most competing cleansing oils come in sizes of 5 ounces or greater, the shortchanging here makes it really not worth the price.

The other part that makes this unworthy is the inclusion of fragrant citrus oils and extracts. All pose a risk of irritating skin, as we explain in the More Info section. Vitamin C (a water soluble ingredient that's mostly wasted in a cleanser because it gets rinsed down the drain) products don't need to smell like a citrus grove to be effective.

This cleanser claims it can remove "micro-pollution" from skin but it can't do that better than any other cleanser in the world. Paying extra for that claim doesn't make sense.

What about exfoliating? Sunday Riley claims the willow bark and lime blossom are sources of AHA and BHA ingredients, but that's not true for either ingredient. Willow bark is a source of salicin, an ingredient that must be converted to salicylic acid (BHA). The problem? This conversion doesn't happen on skin, it only happens when willow bark is ingested. Topically, willow bark is a very good soothing agent, not an exfoliant.

As for the lime blossom, it doesn't contain AHA, but it does have volatile fragrance components that can irritate skin. Even if willow bark and lime blossom were great for exfoliating, in a cleanser they'd be rinsed from skin before they could help skin.

See our list of Best Cleansers for superior options.

  • Works quickly to remove all types of makeup.
  • Rinses without leaving a greasy residue.
  • Contains fragrant citrus oil and citrus extracts that pose a risk of irritating skin.
  • Expensive compared to many cleansing oils that come in larger sizes.
  • Can't remove "micro-pollution"
  • Willow bark and lime pearl aren't the same as AHA and BHA ingredients, to say nothing of their brief contact with skin.
More Info:Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!

Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.

Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.

A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don't get lulled into thinking that if you don't see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.

Generally, it's best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there's no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.

References for this information:

Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36

International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385

Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Lime blossom and skin: Phytochemistry, July-August 2009, pages 1,428-1,434.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Instantly dissolve and remove makeup (even water-resistant eye makeup), pore-clogging debris, excess oil, and micro-pollution for a perfectly, thoroughly cleansed complexion. With gentle white willow bark and lime pearl extractsrich in beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil gently refreshes the skin, while turmeric and vitamin C provide antioxidant-rich, calming skin support, for a clean, healthy-looking, and smooth complexion.

Isoamyl Laurate, Sorbitan Oleate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Triethylhexanoin, PEG-10 Laurate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aqua (Water), Decyl Glucoside, Propanediol, Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate, Squalane, Methylpropanediol, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Sodium Phytate, C30 Hydrocarbons, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Microcitrus Australasica (Lime Pearl) Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Alcohol Denat., Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Fruit Extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Extract, Nasturtium Officinale (Watercress) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Caprylyl Glycol.

Sunday Riley is a brand that has captured the attention of many with its mix of luxury-positioned skincare products and its ties to today's top fashion designers. This coupling, plus the brand's cult-like status among beauty editors, has led many of our readers to ask us whether Sunday Riley products are deserving of the hype. The answer: Yes and no.

Often noted in Sunday Riley's products is the NV-5 Ageless Complex. Despite the number 5 in this trade name, the complex contains a mix of seven plant ingredients: prickly pear extract, blue agave, lady's slipper orchid extract, opuntia tuna fruit, cactus extract, aloe, and a type of yeast extract (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

We explored the research on each of the ingredients in the NV-5 Ageless Complex. While all of them have some benefit for skin, they're not ingredients that have comparative benefit to long established ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C, and niacinamide, for example.

This brand has some intriguing products and many of them contain beneficial ingredients that are packaged to maintain their effectiveness, but there are a few missteps in terms of highly fragrant formulas. Even the highly rated products are on the pricey side for what you get, but at least if you choose to indulge you'll know which products are worth buying.

Sunday Riley products are available at several online retailers, as well as at Sephora stores.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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