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The Highlighter





Get this brand founder’s famous Fashion Week Flash Facial and more.

With fashion week buzzing in the air, it’s not all the makeup and hair looks that’s inspiring—it’s the models’ gorgeous skin too. Now you can get your own runway-ready skin at home courtesy of Sunday Riley, who innovated backstage skincare at fashion shows with her Flash Facial. Learn more about Riley and how to recreate her five-minute mask hack below. KELLEY HOFFMAN

Have you always been interested in beauty?

I have very fair skin and was raised in hot, sunny Texas.  I was constantly told by friends, family, even strangers to "take care of my skin!" so I've been a little paranoid about proper skincare from a young age. I will not leave the house without sunscreen, ever, and I cannot go to sleep unless I have hydrated, clean skin.

Can you tell us about your experience of working on the formulation side of the beauty industry?

Sometimes you make magic in lab and create an amazing product...that unfortunately falls apart once you put it through stability testing. You kind of hold your breath while anything is in testing, crossing your fingers that everything sticks together and you have a winner. Sometimes the "winning ingredient" is a soothing botanical and sometimes the phenomenal active is an advanced, brand new scientific ingredient. Making great skincare is an art form; you have to find a balance between great texture and great results, natural-focused formulas and science-based formulas, botanical ingredients and biotechnology. We found that balance at Sunday Riley and we call it Green Technology—balanced formulation principles that we apply to all of our products.

What inspired you to start your own line?

I wanted to help change the way people felt about their skin, which is a massive challenge. I'm a perfectionist, so I knew I could only do that if I had total control of the process from start to finish. Creating my own line gave me the freedom to create my own team, create a brand, and to create a skin-changing line of products that are revolutionary, effective, good for you to use, highly active, and balanced.  I love my job.

What elements are important to you when you create new products?

I believe that people invest in their skincare, so I want to invest in them. It's important to me to use high quality ingredients, with a powerful mix of technology and plant based actives, so that our clients have an instant "WOW!" moment when they use our products. Instant results are a big deal around here. I also make sure our products have a now and later effect—immediate results with long term payoff. I like to create things. That's my motivator in life.

You were the first skincare company to have a backstage presence at fashion week. How did that come to be?

I'm persistent. I asked and asked and asked until I finally wore people down and they said, "yes." Probably just to get me to stop calling them. Makeup artists love using our Good Genes lactic acid treatment and a dash of our Effortless Tinted Primer on models before going into full makeup because it sets the makeup and gives them a gorgeous all-day glow that can't be achieved through makeup alone. It's an incandescent combo!

Can you tell us about your signature Flash Facial—and walk us through the steps?

Our signature Flash Facial is a huge hit backstage and with clients at in-store events because it’s super simple and provides results right away. We mix three pumps of Good Genes with one pump of Ceramic Slip and leave it on the skin for five-ten minutes to reveal healthy, glowing skin for runway ready skin in a flash!

What’s amazing about Good Genes?

Good Genes is a treatment product, literally great for every skin type, every age. It's a multi-tasking overachiever made with pro-strength pharmaceutical-grade lactic acid and brightening botanicals for instant transformation. It immediately brightens skin, plumps lines, clarifies the complexion, evens out hyperpigmentation and acne scars, and smooths texture. It's a major staple backstage at New York, London, and Paris Fashion Weeks because it makes models' skin literally glow without being oily—just an amazing, healthy, instant, baby smooth radiance. Makeup artists love it!

What do you love about Ceramic Slip?

We have a saying around our offices: “Cleanse with Clay, Don't Strip with Soap.” Ceramic Slip is a French Green and Moroccan Rhassoul Clay based cleanser, balanced with Vitamin C and essential oils. Too often, people correlate thoroughly cleansed skin with skin that feels tight and dry. However, what they don't realize is that every time they feel this squeaky-clean sensation, their skin has been completely stripped of its natural oils, develops micro cracks, and is subsequently more prone to blemishes and inflammation. With Ceramic Slip, we utilize clay in conjunction with soothing essential oils, such as Neroli, to ensure that you get the deepest, detoxifiying clean without sacrificing your skin's health. A lot of our clients with more combination and oilier skin actually sleep in a thin layer of Ceramic Slip to wake up with soft, matte radiant skin.


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