In the winter months, it’s easy to hide badly behaving skin by snuggling down into a huge scarf. As we emerge from our woollen hibernation and head into spring (yes, really!), it’s time to start banishing our winter beauty bothers – we’re talking dryness, uneven skin-tone and a desperate need for oomph! Can Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream deliver?

The Claims

This cream aims to drench the skin to improve its hydration, whilst also having an exfoliating and smoothing effect to brighten up problematic pigmentation and illuminate the complexion. With wintry weather taking a toll on our skin, we’re ready to see if this product can bring it back to life!

Science behind the Bottle

Hydrolysed Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer

If you’re a BBTG regular, you’ll know how much we love this ingredient for a hit of hydration. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in our skin, clinging onto water molecules to help our skin maintain its healthy and plump appearance. Because hyaluronic acid levels decrease as we get older, it becomes harder for our skin to retain the moisture it needs to keep its youthful glow. The hydrolysed hyaluronic acid and the sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer found in this product will both work in the same way: boosting the skin’s capacity to hold onto moisture! We’re impressed with this double-dose of hyaluronic acid.


Blemishes are often the result of too much melanin (our skins pigment) being produced by overactive tyrosinase enzymes in the skin. Alpha-arbutin is a molecule that can effectively block this enzyme’s activity and this slows down the production of melanin. Over time this should have a brightening effect and help to improve skin tone, just like the product claims! 

Tamarind Seed Extract

We’re always on the lookout for anti-oxidants to help protect our skin and this ingredient serves up plenty. Studies have shown that this extract can ‘reduce oxidative stress’ in skin cells, which in simpler terms means that it mops up the destructive molecules that would otherwise be capable of accelerating the ageing process of our skin. Eggplant extract, also found in this product, has high levels of anti-oxidants too but unfortunately we could only find evidence of their effects in the diet. Maybe save the eggplants for dinner instead!


Papain is a fruity enzyme derived from papayas, which has been used as an exfoliating ingredient because of its ability to degrade the proteins holding our skin cells together to make them more easily shed. This is gentler than physically scrubbing the skin with products that have a gritty texture, but there are quite a number of studies linking this ingredient to uncomfortable allergic reactions. Erring on the side of caution by doing a patch test might be a good idea if your skin is particularly sensitive.

The Verdict

It’s hard to find fault when it comes to this product’s claims, as we found scientific evidence to back up each one. If you’re tight on time when it comes to getting ready, this moisturiser might be a good investment to tackle several beauty bothers in one step, but if you enjoy a luxuriously long skincare routine then combining several products that specifically target individual problems will probably give better results!

Click here to get hold of Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.

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Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (and) Lecithin, Strelitzia Nicolai (Bird of Paradise flower) Seed Aril Extract, Alpha-Arbutin, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) seed extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Papain (and) Carbomer (and) 1,2-Hexanediol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Algin, Melia Azadirachta (Neem) Leaf Extract (and) Melia Azadirachta Flower (Neem) Extract (and) Amino Esters-1 (and) Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract (and) Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract (and) Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract (and) Lawsonia Inermis Extract (and) Ocimum Sanctum Leaf (Holy Basil) Extract (and) Pearl Powder, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal.