Sunday Riley

Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 65.00
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Brand Overview

Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream has a fairly accurate name: The texture is a slightly watery cream, the formula contains brightening ingredients, and is capable of delivering a “tidal” wave of hydration to your skin.  The enzyme part of the name requires a bit of explanation…

This moisturizer for normal to dry skin contains the enzyme papain plus some of the plant extracts it contains, including tamarind seed, are rich sources of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, May 2014, pages 379-385).

That’s good news and supports the “enzyme” part of the name, but this moisturizer’s jar packaging means such ingredients aren’t likely to remain effective once you open it—enzymes are very difficult to keep stable in cosmetic formulas. See More Info for details on why jar packaging is the wrong choice for products that contain such delicate ingredients.

The other concern is that fragrance is included and this plus the Holy basil extract pose a risk of irritating skin.

Ultimately, in better packaging Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream would be easy to recommend. It’s substantially hydrating, leaves a radiant-looking glow, and is infused with a good mix of replenishing and smoothing ingredients skin needs to look younger. You’ll find moisturized loaded with these types of ingredients—but not packaged in a jar—on our list of Best Moisturizers.


Gel-cream formula feels wonderfully hydrating.

Leaves skin looking fresh and radiant.


Jar packaging won’t keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.

Some of the plant extracts can be sensitizing.

More Info:

Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Moisturizers: This anti-aging formula is packaged in a jar, which means the beneficial ingredients won’t remain stable for long once it’s opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients are air-sensitive and begin to break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective.

Jars are also unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product. This leads to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

When shopping for an anti-aging moisturizer, the ingredients that provide the most benefit for addressing visible signs of aging among many other concerns need to be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging.

References for this information

Pharmacology Review, July 2013, issue 14, pages 97-106

Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82-88

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: No

Delivers an intense water drench with two forms of hyaluronic acid, for significant, continuous hydration for 24+ hours, while evening texture with papaya enzymes and brightening with alpha-arbutin.

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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