Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil Review

Hello lovely ladies,

Today’s review is from the premium skincare brand “Sunday Riley,” known for their cult favourites – Luna Sleeping Night Oil and Good Genes. Today’s review is on their relatively newly-launched product – UFO – Ultra Clarifying Face Oil. I do not know what it is about the brand and then naming their products like we are all in outer space or something. Maybe, it’s the brand’s way of saying – all our products aren’t all natural and are based on cutting edge technology! Maybe that’s what I think anyway! I will not get into a debate on “all natural” versus synthesised chemicals. I am not a believer that “all natural is all good.” So, let us get on with the review.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil Review

Product Details:
Which skin type is it good for?
✔ Normal
✔ Oily
✔ Combination
✔ Dry
✔ Sensitive

What it is:  A quick-absorbing, medicated dry oil to clear congested pores, treat and prevent acne, and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for clearer, smoother skin. Solutions for: Acne and blemishes, blackheads, pores.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil label

If you want to know more…  With 1.5 percent salicylic acid, this fast-acting, quick-drying, medicated oil clears acne and blackhead-causing buildup and debris from congested pores for smoother, blemish-free skin. Tea tree oil and black cumin seed oil support clear skin, while hexylresorcinol and licorice naturally brighten the appearance of old acne discolorations for a more even-toned complexion.  Counterbalancing the potentially drying effects of salicylic acid, milk thistle and cucumber seed oil nourish the skin and smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles, without leaving a greasy residue. Chamomile and neroli soothe stressed, blemish-prone skin.  It is formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil outer packaging

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil all ingredients

USD 80 for 35 ml. Did you just do a double take reading the price? Yes, it is pricey.

My Experience with Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil:

My standard skin type information:  I have oily to combination skin which gets dull and dehydrated very easily, due to my lousy eating habits and my horrid sleeping patterns. If I am honest to myself – I am sure dehydration and lacklustreness could also be associated to my “age”!! Also, I struggle with gaping open pores and cystic acne on my chin area on a monthly basis!

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil full

Skin Type/Target Audience: First things first – even though, for some reason, the Sephora site says that this product is suited for all skin types, it isn’t. This is a dry oil which has been created for “oily skin.” Can someone with dry/combination skin use it – yes, of course, but that is not the target group. Also, if I am not mistaken, this oil is supposed to replace Sunday Riley’s Artemis, which has subsequently been dropped from the Sephora US site.

Packaging:  Sunday Riley seems to go all out on her oil packaging. The oil actually comes packaged in a slightly tinted small glass bottle with a dropper dispenser. I do wish skincare companies would put in pumps instead of droppers. I understand that the amount being dispensed through a pump has lesser control. However, the positive of keeping the ingredients intact and not letting them start deteriorating – far outweighs it. Back to the packaging – the glass bottle itself comes embeded in a cardboard stand with velvet lining. And this whole thing has an extremely thick cardboard cover which has all the details related to the predicted printed on it. In all, quite an impactful packaging. I’m not gonna deny that I like the pomp and show, but if getting ride of it would have resulted in making the product a little more affordable.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil all details

Color and Fragrance:  The product is green in colour but the colour does not have pigmentation – so your skin wont turn green on application. Once applied, you do not see the colour at all. You can use it during day or night. The one thing which gets you is the fragrance – it is strong, distinct and herbal. For a while, I kept wondering what it reminded me of and then it suddenly clicked – it reminds me of the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil. The fragrance stays on a for a while. As per the ingredients, the fragrance hasn’t been added, so it must come from the mix of all the seed oils.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil bottle

Texture:  The texture of the oil is extremely lightweight. Considering that it is targeted towards people with oily skin, I guess this is not surprising. The oil gets absorbed very quickly into the skin. I have tried a handful of oils – including the Clarins oil meant for oily skin. This is probably the most lightweight texture that I have come across, along with maybe the Caudalie Detox Oil. So, while it is lightweight, spreads easily and penetrates quickly, I must add that it still feels quite nourishing on the skin. Also, does not leave any residue or stickiness.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. oil

I have used it in the night – post applying this, I haven’t felt the need to apply another moisturiser – it does really take care of nourishing the skin well. I have used it in the day time as well – it works really well and does not interfere with anything which gets layered on tip of it – be it the sunscreen or a full face of makeup.

Ingredients (from the site):
-Salicylic Acid 1.5%: Clears congested pores; treats and prevents acne and blackheads.
-Tea Tree Oil and Black Cumin Seed Oil: Help purify the skin and supports clarity.
-Licorice Root and Hexylresorcinol: Naturally brighten the appearance of dark spot

While there are a plethora of ingredients – the main ingredients have been penned on top. While the oil is being touted as something special because one, it is a dry oil meant specifically for oily skin, two – is also the fact that it has 1.5% salicylic acid which is known as an effective BHA. However, if you remember your 9th standard chemistry and litmus paper experiments, you will remember that acids work at a lower pH. Considering the salicylic acid in this product is in an oil base, I do not know if it is as effective as it is touted to be.  Also, the plethora of oils used in this conception, including fragrant oils – may actually irritate someone with sensitive skin – rather than being beneficial.

Efficacy: To determine the efficacy of the product – let us understand the claims the Company has made regarding it.

“clear congested pores, treat and prevent acne, and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for clearer, smoother skin.

Solutions for:
– Acne and blemishes
– Blackheads
– Pores”

So, I tested this oil for close to 2 months. Here is what I found:

1.  The oil is absolutely fantastic for someone with “ageing” oily skin. Why do I specify “ageing?” Well, while it is good for oily skin to use, it is especially beneficial for ageing, oily skin. The way I see, it is not necessary for someone with oily skin to use a facial oil. There are a plethora of treatments which one could use – which have AHA and BHA and top it up with a gel0based moisturiser. It isn’t quite necessary to use a oil. However, when it comes to ageing skin – one of the issues we struggle with is the dehydration and lack lustreness of the skin. You skin isn’t able to retain as much moisture as you age and you need something heavier or more nourishing. But when you opt for a regular facial oil or a heavier cream, it doesn’t work for your skin. It either ends up clogging your pores or makes your face look greasy. This is exactly the target audience for this product. A product which will give that extra nourishment – is an oil, but with it including salicylic acid – will help fight acne as well (to an extent – more on that later).

2. So, did this really have an impact on my acne problem. As I have mentioned earlier, I deal with periodic cystic acne around my chin area. So, when I started using this, I was already in that phase where the acne had started. Did it have an amazing nullifying effect on it? I’m afraid not. It did not seem to make the acne go away any faster or dry it out.

3. However, 30 days down, when the next phase of acne should have happened – it didn’t. I had not changed anything else during that time. So, I can safely say that this product did have some positive impact on my skin and it worked on my skin by ensuring that my skin did not produce fresh acne.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil dropper

4. Another thing we gals with acne-prone skin deal with is that most of the treatments for acne will dry out your skin. This to a lay person may seem like a great idea because hey, your skin is oily, so if something dries it, it should be great, right? Nope! If your skin is dry, it will result in your sebaceous glands working overtime to produce even more oily, which will be counter productive. So, it is great to have a BHA product which actually nourishes your skin – instead of drying it out. However, as I have mentioned earlier, your potent that salicylic acid is – since it is in an oil base – that is the key question.

5. My skin definitely feels more rested and nourished when I use this.

6. The skin feels clearer.

7. However, it did not seem to have any positive impact on the size of my pores. It may have helped in keeping them clean – but then – so does my AHA toner.

8. It had NO impact on the blackheads on my nose. The oil did not clear them up at all.

9. While the face looks brighter, thanks to this oil, I did not feel a drastic change in my blemishes. And here is the marketing jargon – read carefully – “… naturally brighten the appearance of old acne discolorations for a more even-toned complexion.” It does not say that it will reduce discolouration – it will “brighten the appearance of old acne discolouration.” Cleverly worded. So, while you may be thinking that it will reduce the discolouration – the Company isn’t really saying that. And so, technically, you cannot hold them to it! Interesting, No?

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil swatch on hands

To sum this up for you:

Pros of Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil:

  • Lightweight texture.
  • Gets absorbed easily into the skin.
  • Provides effective hydration to ageing, dehydrated skin.
  • Helps keep acne at bay.
  • Suitable for oily-combination skin.
  • Results visible after continued use.
  • Did not break me out.
  • Helps improve texture and radiance of skin.
  • Skin feels soft, supple, brighter, clearer, more even toned.
  • Works well below makeup – and does not melt it.
  • Luxe packaging.
  • Free from unnecessary additives like colour and fragrance.
  • Free from Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates.
  • Can be used in the day or night.

Cons of Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil:

  • The fragrant oils give it an off-putting smell.
  • The product would have benefited from an air-tight packaging.
  • The fragrant oil could actually cause irritation to sensitive skin.
  • How effective is salicylic acid in an oil base? It may not be as effective as it is touted to be.
  • It did not seem to show any effect on existing acne.

IMBB Rating:

I think it is an interesting product and would work well for a niche demographic. It may be sold to one and all or even to all gals with oily/combination skin. However, I feel that the gals with ageing oily/combination skin are more likely to benefit from this. It should NOT be considered a spot treatment for acne. This is something which will show result over a period of continued usage.

The price point works as a deterrent, I understand that. That is why I feel that for any other skin type or age group, there will be alternate products in the market at a much better price point than this. To me, this seems like a product for a very specific group – ageing, oily/combination, acne-prone skin. And just to clarify – when i say “ageing” i do not mean someone over 50-60. I mean someone over 30. You have watched enough Olay adds on TV to know when the first signs of ageing start!! Your skin’s ability to retain water starts going down around this time.

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Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser
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Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10 percent Toning Complex Clarifying Toner
The Body Shop Oils of Life Intensely Revitalizing Facial Oil
The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Oil
Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil


3 thoughts on “Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil Review

  1. this actually sounds pretty awesome. I did not have nay great luck with sunday riley products. a bit of snooze for me but so glad that this worked out for you. I kind of like the color of the oil…it’s like alien green. 😛

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