Sunday Riley…A name that piqued the interest of the beauty world about 2 years ago. Every blogger, every magazine, every celebrity…everybody was talking about their Luna Sleeping Oil. How skin changing it was. But this is not about the oil. This is about the Sunday Riley Cleansing Balm.  Actually, its full name is the Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm.  That’s a mouthful!  The thing that attracted my to SR, was that the owner has a background in chemistry and you know that is really close to my heart!

With my dry skin, I try to stay away from gel or foam facial cleansers and I usually gravitate towards cleansers that are more creamy in texture. And more naturally based. So as Korean beauty continues to have an increasing influence on the industry in the US, I was interested in using a cleansing balm. I decided that, as my first step into cleansing balms, to try this one. I was pretty confident that it would not leaving my skin stripped and dehydrated after cleansing, it contained a lot of botanical ingredients and appeared to be pretty “clean” and the soft blue colour made it all exciting!

The Sunday Riley Cleansing Balm Details

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The company describes this as:

A hydrating cleansing balm that removes makeup—even stubborn eye makeup—and impurities with sugar-based cleansers as soothing essential oils calm irritation. – as per Sephora.

This balm contains sugar based cleansers, Sucrose Laurate, as its surfactant/cleanser. This is the part of the balm that binds to dirt, makeup etc. and turns milky, and is washed away. It also contains Cocoa Seed Butter, Mimosa Flower Wax and Sunflower Seed Wax that contain antioxidants that protect the skin as well as condition and hydrate. The blue colour comes from both the Blue Tanzy Leaf Oil and the German Chamomile which are indigo oils that are rich in azulene, a compound that soothes and calms irritated skin. Citrus based essential oils that help clarify the skin, a note to those who have a sensitivity to citrus oils. These properties make it a great choice for both oily and dry skin types alike.


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The outer packaging and carton are sleek and simple. The balm comes in a cylindrical container with a white screw top cover. The base is indigo coloured to match its newly-famous ingredients and it also has a frosted coating on it. I did not have any issues with the packaging design. It would have been nice for it to come with a spatula but that is just a personal preference.

Application and Use

Sunday Riley recommends a multi-step cleansing process. First, use a small about of balm, I used a thumbnail size, and emulsify it, i.e. melt it between your fingers, which it quickly does. Then apply to dry skin. This is the step where it picks up excess sebum, and conditions. There were grains, like sugar crystals, that took longer to melt, but they did eventually melt and it did not feel harsh on my skin. The balm melted into an oil and it did not feel heavy or greasy. After massaging for about a minute, the next step is to dampen my fingers and continue to massage. This activates the cleaners which then picks up makeup, sunscreen etc. It turned into a milk when it came into contact with water and remained smooth and did not dry my skin out. I used it all over my face including my eyelids and lashes. After about another minute, I used a warm, damp muslin cloth from The Body Shop to wipe away the milk, then splashed my face with water.

Results and Conclusions

I love how this made my skin feel. It was left clean, without being squeaky. I did not get the tightening across my cheeks which is typical when my skin is dehydrated. There was little to no smell and it removed all the traces of makeup that I had around my eyes. I did not use this as a first step makeup remover but I think it would work great because of its oil/wax base. And because there is a gentle cleaner, it is enough for not to have a follow up cleanser as a double cleanse. SR does recommend using a second product if you have oily skin. This is a 3.5oz product that costs $50. Yes. That sounds crazy expensive but I have had this cleanser for a little over a year. I wash my face once a day. Even if you do twice a day, that is still just over $8 a month for six months. That’s a great price for a high-end, mostly natural product. I also like the fact that there are not a bunch of unnecessary ingredients thrown in. This product is free of sulphates, pthtalates, parabens and added fragrance. It is cruelty-free, gluten free and non-comedogenic.

I have enjoyed using this product and I highly recommend it.

VIDEO: The Sunday Riley Cleansing Balm review

If you prefer something more visual!


This product is available online at, Space NK, Barney’s New York, Nordstrom and it retails for USD$50.

Let me know if you have tried this and what is the next item from Sunday Riley I should try!


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FTC Disclosure: Products were purchased by me, Noire Tropical Beauty.  All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own. I have not been compensated for this review.  For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.

An island girl living in the Big Apple. She hails from the twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago but currently reside in the beauty/fashion capital of the world, New York City (Harlem to be exact!). She is passionate - well, obsessed - about beauty and in addition to blogging, she is also a corporate beauty professional and a budding web designer/developer. She loves combining her in-depth, practical knowledge with her chemist/scientific training to make your cosmetic choices fun and easy. She likes to take the guesswork out of beauty, separate the hype from what really works, to help you bring out the most beautiful you! She loves colour, and makeup, and she has been natural for years! She also loves great food, culture, sports and laid back vibes! Check out some more about me here and if you like this post, sign up to my newsletter to get updates on what I am craving right now.