Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sunday Riley Gray Exposé Cleanser Review

Sunday Riley has unlocked the secret to making great facial cleansers, and she makes three of them: Charisma Crème Cleanser (reviewed here), Ceramic Slip Cleanser (reviewed here), and Gray Exposé Cleanser. I love and use all three- rotating them based on the particular needs of my skin each day. 

I always have a bottle of Gray Exposé in my shower, and find it particularly effective when used with my Clarisonic. This is a clarifying cleanser made for congested, oily, and combination skin. I was concerned that it would be a little too clarifying and harsh- leaning more toward oily and acne prone skin types, but I was wrong- it works beautifully on my combination skin.

Gray Exposé is also a wonderful multi-tasker- in addition to being a fantastic cleanser it is also a really great mask. Just mix one full pump of Gray Exposé with 2 pumps of Good Genes (reviewed here) and leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. This mask leaves my skin luminous, clean, and also helps clear blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. This is an excellent mask for those with acne.

According to Sunday Riley, Gray Exposé is:
A luxe, cooling, non-foaming cleanser for clear, vibrant skin! Clarifies and increases collagen synthesis for enviable, smooth skin. With Activated charcoal, MSM, DMAE, Willowbark, Vitamin C, 3 Tea Blend, and Manuka, Lemon, & Peppermint Essential Oils to brighten and clear the skin, while also pumping up collagen and elastin production! Gray Exposé will pull impurities and skin congestion to the surface, without stripping the skin. It's very important not to dry out congested skin prone to breakouts because you can leave microscopic cracks which act like open doors for acne bacteria to invade.

Gray Exposé is a non-foaming cleanser, and if foam is an essential requirement for you when you clean your face then you might want to use Ceramic Slip Cleanser instead. However, Gray Exposé is the most effective cleanser that I have tried for pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. A non-foaming cleanser may require a huge paradigm shift for some, but I promise you that Gray Exposé is well worth trying. The peppermint essential oils impart a refreshing cooling sensation that is especially invigorating first thing in the morning. It makes my face tingle, but it never irritates my skin. I just love the way that my skin feels when I use this yummy cleanser.  If you are reluctant to commit to a bottle of cleanser that does not foam, then simply ask for a sample. I started out with a sample and quickly got hooked and bought a bottle- now I won't be without it! 

Key Ingredients:
-Activated Charcoal (Pulls toxins, debris, and infection close to the surface like a magnet. Naturally purifies, detoxifies, and balances oil production)
-MSM (Clarifies the skin, helps build healthy tissue)
-DMAE (Skin Firming, Helps smooth bumpy, uneven skin, promotes collagen synthesis)
-Vitamin C (Reduces the redness and scarring of congested skin)
-Peppermint essential oil (Soothing and cooling effect on irritated, inflamed skin )
-Lemon essential oil (Skin toning, naturally cleanses and purifies)
-Manuka essential oil (Anti-microbial, antibacterial)
-Willowbark Extract (Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, exfoliating)
-3 Tea Blend (Green, White, and Rooibos Tea clarify the skin and provide anti-oxidant protection)

Ingredients (click to enlarge):
Overall assessment: I love Gray Exposé Cleanser and always have a bottle in my cleanser rotation. I also love it as a mask, and should really remember to use it this way more often. A definite MUST HAVE for me. 

4.2 fl. oz $45.00 available at Barneys New York


  1. I just placed an order for this. I have "congested" skin along my jawline and I'm hoping this will help.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      It should help you with your jawline congestion. The charcoal in it will really help draw out the impurities. I have found that leaving it on for a while- like a mask really helps. Also if you have Good Genes you can add one pump of Gray Exposé with 2 pumps and Good Genes and leave it on for up to 20 minutes as a mask-- though I would spot check it to see that it's not too active a combination (some people with more sensitive skin might want to avoid this altogether). I do it that way periodically and it helps when I get break outs. Truthfully though- more often than not I just let the Gray Exposé sit on my face for a little while longer and rinse it off with warm water in the shower. The peppermint OIl may make it uncomfortable to leave on the skin for longer periods of time-- so I would start out slowly. I really like this cleanser a lot. I have all three of the Sunday Riley cleansers, but definitely use Gray Exposé and Ceramic Slip the most. If you are used to a foaming cleanser- this one might take a little getting used to because it doesn't foam (I understand that it is being reformulated though, and I don't know if the new version will foam-- I only have the original version). If you want a cleanser that foams you might try Ceramic Slip next time. I reviewed it here:

  2. I am so grateful for your reviews!!! I know that Sephora now carries this brand online, but doesn't have a lot. I'm having a huge issue with blackheads in the on my nose and cheeks... all around, my skin is getting congested. I don't know if I want this (& I'll have to save for Good Genes because I love making masques) or the Ceramic Slip! Foam or non-foaming cleansers... no preference really, as long as as they don't strip my combo skin. Oh, just read the ingredients for the Good Genes... not impressed, boo :( Maybe I'll be able to get a sample somewhere in Atlanta :) Thanks for all the Sunday Riley reviews! xx

    1. Hi figwittage- thank you for stopping by! I'm so glad that you find my reviews helpful! I really like Ceramic Slip Cleanser-- I have combination skin and do not find it at all stripping. It is a foaming cleanser. However, if you are looking for a mask, and Good Genes has ingredients that you are sensitive to, or chemicals that you don't want to use then there are a couple other products that I use that you may like.

      REN makes a fantastic Micro Polish Cleanser that really helps me with excess sebum, and whiteheads and blackheads. You can also get it at Sephora, and should be able to get a sample to see if it works for you. I reviewed it here:

      REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask is another product from REN-- it's an enzyme/glycolic/lactac acid type of mask that does a great job of lifting impurities and has really helped me loosen and remove blackheads, whiteheads etc. It is also widely available at Sephora so you could try a sample to see if you like it. Here's my review:

      There are also a couple of Suki products that I really love- that might help you with congested skin. The first is the Renewal Bio-Resurfacing Facial Peel-- it's a nice and active mask that really helps unclog pores and remove dead skin. Here's my review:

      Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser is another wonderful product from the line- it has always worked wonders on pores when they are more congested. The list of ingredients is pretty clean compared to so many lines:

      Ingredients: sucrose (sugar), potassium cocoate, oryza sativa (rice) powder, cymbopogon flesuosus (lemongrass) oil, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, lavendula angustifolia (lavender) flower extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract & squalene, citrus aurantifolia dulcis (orange) peel extract, ascophyllum nodosum (seaweed) extract, *aroma/fragrance, limonene, linalool, geraniol
      *component of 100% pure essential oils

      You can also pick this up at Whole Foods Market, or at a variety of places online. I actually got samples of it from Whole Foods years ago- before I ever bought it.

      As far as Sunday Riley products go-- you will definitely find some ingredients in many of the products that you might not like if Good Genes sent you running for the hills. However, my all-time favorite Sunday Riley product, Juno Transformative Lipid Serum is actually free of chemicals, Parabens, silicones, and other chemical compounds.

      As far as Sunday Riley cleansers go- I was just told by my friend (who is a rep and makeup artist for Sunday Riley) that Grey Expose Cleanser was being discontinued. If you can't locate a sample anywhere in the Atlanta area-- then please feel free to call Suzi at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills- just tell her that I sent you, and she can probably either send you samples- or at least point you in the right direction so that you can try before you buy. (310) 276-4400 Ext. 5613 or Ext. 5598.

      I hope that this helps. Keep me posted! xoxo


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