Sunday RileyTidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream
1.7 fl. oz. for $65
Expert Rating
Community Rating (3)Write a Review
Expert Reviews
Community Reviews
Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

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 while some of the plant extracts this contains are helpful for skin, some (neem and holy basil) pose a risk of irritation, too. Those ingredients are present in high amounts, but it’s worth mentioning as plenty of moisturizers leave potentially problematic ingredients out. Fragrance is also included, which compounds the risk of irritation from the questionable plant extracts.

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

Last Updated:09.16.2016
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

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.


Water, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Tamarindus Indica (Tamarind) Seed Gum, Ethyl Macadamiate, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (and) Lecithin, Isododecane, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol Crosspolymer, Lauryl Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Strelitzia Nicolai (Bird of Paradise Flower) Seed Aril Extract, Alpha-Arbutin, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin, Papain (and) Carbomer, 1, 2-Hexanediol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Algin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Leaf Extract (and) Melia Azadirachta Flower (Neem) Extract (and) Amino Esters-1 (and) Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract (and) Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract (and) Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract (and) Lawsonia Inermis Extract (and) Ocimum Sanctum Leaf (Holy Basil) Extract (and) Pearl Powder, Fragrance, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite (and) Titanium Dioxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Brand Overview

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 and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.

Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!