REVIEW: Sunday Riley Space Race


After enjoying my first Sunday Riley Purchase earlier this year, I was eager to try more of their products. And since I’m constantly looking for products that control oil and treat acne, I decided to test out the Space Race collection which includes the: Martian Mattifying Toner, UFO Oil, and Martian Mask. I’ve slowly goldilocks-ed my way through each of the 3 products, one of which was absolutely not the right fit for me and another that I’d repurchase in a heartbeat.

Here’s my review for each in the order in which I purchased them:

Sunday Riley Martian

My mom was kind enough to get me something that had been on my wish list for a while: Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner for oily and acne-prone skin.

The packaging boasts an impressive key ingredients list including:

  • Bentonite Clay to mattify and absorb excess oil
  • Marhsmallow and Green Tea to soothe and reduce redness
  • Manuka to smooth and mattify

I was sold! This sounded like something I wanted to slather all over my face every morning to keep it matte throughout the day. But upon trying this toner I noticed it smelled strongly of alcohol. Lo and behold, I took a look at the full ingredients list (not just the ones highlighted by Sunday Riley) and the second one on the list: Alcohol Denat. Sigh.

It’s mostly my fault because I occasionally get so excited about a product that I don’t fully check the ingredients until it’s physically in my hands. But I was more than a bit disappointed by this. It’s misleading that they state their key ingredient, Bentonite Clay, is responsible for reducing oil when clearly alcohol is responsible for the doing the mattifying.

Just to get into alcohol denat. quickly, I’m not 100% against all products that contain it. When you spot it towards the bottom of the ingredients list, it’s probably there for purposes of preserving the product or making the texture smoother and more “luxurious” feeling and it probably won’t cause irritation unless you’re especially sensitive. But when it’s one of the first ingredients, it will often cause irritation, dryness, and breakouts for most people. Furthermore, alcohol denat. can damage your skin’s protective barrier, making your skin ineffective at keeping moisture in, which will then lead to your skin overproducing oil to compensate.

So this toner was a no-go for me. But I didn’t let this deter me from testing out the remaining two products.

Side note: since drafting my review on this product a few months ago, Liah Yoo has posted an incredibly useful video about alcohol in skincare!

Sunday Riley UFO

I’ve been using Stridex as my BHA of choice for years! But while it’s incredibly effective at reducing my breakouts and exfoliating, it’s also quite drying. During my search for a new BHA, Maria (of Maria Likes Makeup) brought up Sunday Riley UFO as an option, although she still prefers Stridex to anything else she’s tried.

Sunday Riley UFO is a quick-absorbing oil that contains 1.5% Salicylic Acid. Sunday Riley lists Tea Tree oil and Black Cumin seed oil as their “key oils,” (although the ingredients list a total of 12 other oils including Milk Thistle, Cucumber, and Pomegranate, so while it didn’t irritate me, be extra diligent about patch testing in case one of these many oils irritates you).

I’ve been using UFO on and off for a little over a month now and while I do find it effective at controlling my breakouts, I’ve had a hard time fitting it into my routine because of the fact that it’s an oil combined with a BHA, so I can’t use other oils on my BHA days. So while I like UFO, it doesn’t really fit my needs currently and I won’t rush to repurchase if I run out (especially at $40 for a .7 oz bottle). I’m more likely to go for a BHA toner or switch back to Stridex so that I have the option of using other oils on the days that I exfoliate. However, if you don’t mind combining your BHA and oil into one step, I think it’s worth trying.

Sunday Riley Saturn Mask

Sunday Riley’s Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask is my most recent Sunday Riley purchase and my favorite by far! A few of the mask’s main ingredients are Niacinamide, Sulfur, and Zinc, which I already know my skin loves. It comes out of the tube as a really fun bright green color! Sadly, it’s not as insta-worthy on your face because it’s transparent when you apply a thin layer, but I won’t give it any points off for that.

The directions say you can also use it as an overnight mask although I haven’t tested that suggestion because I’m worried it’ll be too much for my skin.  I highly recommend it to my fellow oily/acne-prone peeps because it’s not overdrying, unlike most of the clay masks I use to keep my oiliness at bay in the summer. 10/10 would mask again and would repurchase.


Have you had any recent skincare hits or misses? Tell me in the comments below!


Follow me on Instagram @Levitate.Beauty for your daily dose of skincare tips and mini reviews!

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