Last winter the ICE Ceramide moisturizing cream from Sunday Riley was all the rage in my social media feed. So when CultBeauty included a full size in one of their skincare edits (which included 6 products for less than the price of this moisturizer!) I could not be stopped from placing the goods in my virtual basket and clicking “proceed to order”! In hindsight, it would’ve been better if it was a travel size to test it out. Let me explain…
Sunday Riley | ICE Ceramide Cream
My experience with Sunday Riley products is rather limited. While I did enjoy using their C.E.O Glow Oil and found it beneficial for my skin, I can’t say the same for their C.E.O Rich hydration cream. (review here) It failed to impress me. Moreover, if it hadn’t been for the widespread hype surrounding the ICE ceramide cream, my prior experience with the vitamin C cream would have been a strong deterrent.
Described as a comforting cream to quench and replenish the skin of lost lipids, I was hoping this to be sort of an alternative to Creme De La Mer (review here). I got it at the end of August when there still was some humidity in the air. Although I knew this was more of a winter cream, I couldn’t hold my excitement to try it and thought it could work as my night cream. I was wrong. I threw it back into my drawer to pull it out once the weather got colder. And now, after 2 months of use with less than half the product left, here are my thoughts.
Firstly, let’s go over the packaging. The Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide cream comes in a heavy glass jar, just like all the other moisturizers from Sunday Riley. And if you get the full size it also comes with a plastic spatula which is nice to scoop things out.
While many complain about not liking the jar packaging (including my partner), I’m neutral about it. I am not someone who obsesses over the lack of hygiene in this particular packaging. I am fully aware of the stringent requirements that a formula must meet to be approved for sale in such packaging. However, I’m a bit disappointed to see that Sunday Riley is not yet offering refill pods for their moisturizers. The heavy glass jars just don’t seem environmentally friendly in the long run. But I will agree with some other users that perhaps this particular formula isn’t best suited for a jar… We’ll soon come to that.
Texture & Application
My very first impression of Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide cream was from trying it on the back of my hands with one of those testers at Sephora. And I found it to be pretty spreadable back then. However, that was only a small amount in a small area. My disappointment with this product came when I first tried it on my face. Considering the price point, thick texture or not, I didn’t expect it to be so difficult to spread.
I’m someone who takes a pea-sized amount onto my fingertips and spreads it between my fingers before applying it to my face. And this method seemed to just not work with this cream. It’s like it vanishes into the first thing it comes into contact with! Which is weird, for such a thick cream. My partner goes by the dot method, you dot the cream on a few points of your face before spreading it all over. And this method seemed to be less wasteful. But even my partner complained that it’s harder to spread than many of the other creams and would rather use something else to moisturize his face.
I did read a reviewer saying that they’ve bought this moisturizer twice. Compared to the first purchase, the second jar was much more difficult to apply and didn’t spread as well, and she had to use a lot more of it compared to her first purchase. She thought it may have been due to the safety lid that comes with the moisturizer was not fully on. It’s the same experience I’ve had with this cream. But I’m unsure if it’s truly due to the safety lid. I found the moisturizer to be difficult to apply right from the start.
I don’t find it to be a thick moisturizer that I feel comfortable wearing throughout the day, even during winter. Although it does somewhat sink into the skin, it leaves a rather rubbery uncomfortable feeling, which I’m not fond of during the daytime unless my face is pressed against a pillow. So I’ve been mostly using it in my evening routine.
Compared to many other thick moisturizers, this one’s not very long lasting. As it’s weirdly pasty and vanishes quickly – yet leaves your skin feeling somewhat sticky – you need a big scoop of it to apply on your face. Which again, I find is ridiculously wasteful for such an expensive moisturizer! I know it’s not just me and my partner as I’ve read of others saying that they run through this pretty quickly! As someone who typically applies face cream around the eyes, I’ve observed an issue with this product — it tends to cause milia for me.
Does it make your skin feel baby-soft? Yes, my skin does feel rather soft in the morning after using it. Does it feel comforting against the cold? Yes. Is it a good moisturizer to lock in hydration? Yes. But so do a lot of other moisturizers — both cheaper and more expensive, and even in the same price class. Not to mention, all of those alternatives provide better spreadability and a more pleasant feel on the skin. Importantly, most of them have a texture that encourages you to use less rather than more.
The Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream might be (loosely) worth it for those with truly dry and temperamental skin. If you like to spend a lot and use a lot, this might be a match for you!
As for me, I personally just found the texture and application to not comply with my sensorial standards of what I expect of a moisturizer at this price point. Had this cream cost about half of its retail price I probably wouldn’t have complained too much. But it still doesn’t take the fact that one of my favorite ceramide creams from the Swedish apothecary brand L300 (which only costs around €10!) has a nicer texture and spreadability than this one. I will add though that the ICE Ceramide cream seems to come with slightly more anti-aging benefits. But it’s still something that’s easily added through a serum if you go with a cheaper moisturizer.
I’ve struggled not to hate it. For €68, I don’t consider this to be the best in its category. While I can understand why some people enjoy it, I can’t help but feel that those who do may have low standards or just haven’t tried something better. Or maybe they’ve been paid to advertise it. Either way, I can’t honestly stand by it and fully recommend it.
I’m still glad to have finally gotten to test this out and that it didn’t hurt my pockets, and also got 5 great other products to try. But I’m only lashing out as I got vastly disappointed at every influencer who raved about this one (people with oily skin even!). And how close I’ve come to purchasing it at almost full price. But I should’ve known, as some of the same people raved about the SkinCity Barrier Extreme Cream. Which is an awful comforting cream and turned rancid within a month.
With that said, if something I’ve recommended doesn’t work for your skin, then you should go find another blogger. As for what I would rather recommend instead of the Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Cream, I think you should go with any other but this one! 😅 And if you want to spend around €70 on a barrier cream, and insist me to give you advice, I’d spend my money on the Kate Sommerville DeliKate Recovery Cream. Which not only is comforting but works on redness and has soothing ingredients. That one I loved from the very first try!