Daily Insights

r/SkincareAddiction’s Verdict on Sunday Riley

By: Maile Mccann | Nov 26, 2019

Sunday Riley has seen the power of Reddit’s popular beauty-focused subreddit, r/SkincareAddiction.

In October 2018, a former employee of prestige skin care brand Sunday Riley outed the brand on SkincareAddiction for requesting that employees post “fake reviews” to products on Sephora. The user also linked to an email allegedly from a company executive on how to avoid having those reviews “get traced back to (Sunday Riley’s company) IP address.” One year later,, the FTC ruled that the brand had, in fact, asked employees to write fake reviews and, as part of the settlement, asked the brand to agree to stop the practice. However, many think the settlement didn’t go far enough.

SkincareAddiction’s popularity is on the rise. Relative to October 2017, the thread has increased subscribership by 178% and now has over 1 million members. Driven by honesty and accessibility, SkincareAddiction users weren’t impressed with Sunday Riley’s actions. The most popular thread mentioning the brand on SkincareAddiction is still the initial whistleblowing post. Additionally, across the last year, new comments mentioning Sunday Riley on the form contained the word “fake” 5.6 times more often than the average of other skincare brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty US, suggesting users have not been quick to forget the scandal.* Moreover, according to Gartner L2 analysis of Rakuten sales data, the brands’ year over year online sales growth under-paced the Index average. 

Despite very few official sanctions from the FTC, Sunday Riley may see the consequences of its actions come from the less official, though increasingly powerful, SkincareAddiction community. 

 *Note: Time-frame of analysis was Q1 to Q2 2019 and skincare brands with less than 200 mentions on the form were excluded from analysis.