Sunday Riley C.E.O. Brightening Serum Transformed My Pre-Holiday Stress Skin in a Week

Host Thanksgiving at your house, they said. It would be fun, they said. Actually, nobody ever said this, but I went ahead and volunteered, so here we are. I’ve got about 15 Thanksgiving menu drafts in the works, a dozen packages en route containing matching plates, silverware, and whatever the results were for “autumnal garlands” on Amazon. I continue to Google “Thanksgiving ingredients and global supply chain delays” every day, wondering how much longer I can wait until I have to find room in my freezer for a turkey. Anyways, all of the stress has resulted in my skin feeling like a mess—until I got my hands on a bottle of Sunday Riley C.E.O. vitamin C serum.


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When I get stressed, I break out. I make matters worse by forgetting to drink water, and not getting my full eight hours of sleep per night—and I also tend to neglect my skin-care routine. When my self care gets derailed like this, my skin also gets blotchy and dull. So, I knew I had to remedy the situation, and I went with a tried-and-true serum that could help bring my face back to life.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. serum’s main superpower is that it contains a generous, 15 percent dose of vitamin C, which comes in the form of THD Ascorbate. The cool thing about this formula is that THD Ascorbate is a more stable version of vitamin C, which means it doesn’t lose potency as quickly as other vitamin C serums. “When antioxidants, especially vitamin C, are exposed to oxygen and light, they begin to break down. Within six months of opening, the content can diminish to 2 percent or less, leaving you with oxidized vitamin C, which is actually known to irritate the skin,” Purvisha Patel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, previously told us.

The serum also contains ingredients like phytosterols complex (this fights redness) and saccharide isomerate extract (something that helps shrink pores while simultaneously helping protect the skin’s moisture barrier so you can better lock in hydration). It’s basically a skin booster shot in a bottle, and all it took was one week to notice the difference. While I used C.E.O. in conjunction with Peter Thomas Roth Goodbye Acne Treatment Gel to target the stress zits, the serum definitely worked overtime to brighten my complexion and even out my skin tone. (Also, I’ve been setting reminders to drink more water—that’s also been a contributing factor to this major skin-care U-turn.)

Another nice thing about C.E.O. is that it’s lightweight (something I wasn’t expecting, considering its consistency is more moisturizer-like than most serums I own) and plays nice with my makeup. I never experience any pilling, or the feeling of extra heaviness on my skin after layering a face cream (I’ve been using Saint Jane Hydrating Petal Cream, which has been giving me a little extra dew), foundation, and concealer on top. It’s unscented, cruelty-free, and the formula is 100 percent vegetarian.

While experts say it can take a few months to really notice a true transformation, my skin is already in a much better place. My Thanksgiving dinner menu? That’s going to take more than a little orange bottle—if you have recipe recs, I’m all ears.

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