Review | Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum

I always try to keep a gallon of orange juice in my apartment because I like to enjoy a glass on most mornings. Getting my Vitamin C is extremely important to me and I'm aways telling people how it keeps my immune system strong since I rarely fall sick with a regular cough or cold (except for allergies which I don't really count). And the more pulp, the better! Grove stand levels, please.

Sunday Riley has been on my list of skincare brands to try and the C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum is the very first for me. Like many formulas nowadays, this one is clinical and botanical. In skincare, Vitamin C gives the skin a boost of energy and brightens the complexion. Serums tend to be the stronger, more concentrated product in a line, so the skin will really see the impact of the ingredients over approximately 28 days of continued use.

The Results

If you simply want to brighter your overall complexion and keep the energy boosted in your skin, the C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum is a great choice...but for repairing the skin, I've seen stronger serums. 

I have read Sephora reviews from some that this is the best serum they've ever used and from others that they didn't see any results. It is important to remember that other products that you're using and other skincare/health habits can affect the way a formula works. My acne isn't severe and I only get breakouts about once a month -- every blue moon, it gets so bad that it's almost out of my control and I have my favorite products for helping me fight those. At this point in my skincare journey, I am mostly about anti-aging and the overall health of my skin.

Vitamin C Skincare Routine

Perhaps you're not pairing with a full Sunday Riley routine, so some other products I can recommend are:

  1. Cleanser | derma e Nourishing Rose Cleansing Oil
  2. Mask | Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask*
  3. Toner | Mario Badescu Aloe, Herbs, and Rose Water Facial Spray
  4. Serum | Sunday Riley C.E.O. Brightening Serum
  5. Day Cream | Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Day Cream
  6. Night Cream | derma e Vitamin C Intense Night Cream*

* = I have not tried these products


The consistency of this serum is more lotion-like, but one pump is all you need. It absorbs into the skin well and won't leave you feeling greasy/oily if you don't use too much.

The Scent

So far, I've used this citrus-scented Brightening Serum with several other products/brands and I would highly recommend being aware of what moisturizer you pair it with. Some moisturizers seemed to clash creating a scent that made my stomach hurt. There wasn't anything wrong with either product, but they just didn't mesh well.

Sunday Riley has their C.E.O. C + E antiOXIDANT Protect + Repair Moisturizer which I'm sure would probably be amazing with the serum in terms of effectiveness and scent, but the recommendations above for day and night creams would also be great choices.

Morning or Night? 

You can use the C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum for your day and night routines! People tend to associate Vitamin C products with morning or daytime, but I love letting the brightening properties penetrate my skin overnight, too.

Tip: Sleep on satin or silk pillowcases to prevent the product from soaking into a typical cotton pillowcase while you sleep. Your skin should be getting all of the benefits from your skincare routine -- not rubbing away!

The Final Verdict

While the price of $85 may seem expensive for a serum, it is actually a great price for the ingredients and quality. I've seen serums cost well over $150! There are less expensive serums, in drugstore brands; however, if you're looking for prestige this is one that you should have on your list.

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I received this product sample complementary from Sunday Riley for review/editorial purposes. All opinions are my own.