Good Genes In A Bottle? Sunday Riley Says Yes

Sunday Riley Good Genes

I don’t think there’s another skincare serum more lauded these days than Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. Heck, that spot used to go to the ubiquitous little brown bottle but these days, every other blogger’s going “OMG have you tried Sunday Riley’s Good Genes? It’s so good!“. At the time I first heard about it, I wasn’t very interested to be honest. I was already trialling a serum then and I didn’t think I had room for another just yet.

Then LeGeeque bought it, tried it and raved about it so much to me that I knew that I had to at least give it a go. I had a small sample sachet of it to try out and thought “oh why not”. She did warn me about the scent though (which I’ll discuss more about later) and when I used it, the smell turned me off. I didn’t get instant results but I didn’t expect to. I really didn’t like the scent so I told LeGeeque, nope, it’s not for me.

This was a number of months ago. More and more reviews of this serum popped up left, right and centre and it was long before I thought “okay, there must be something really good about this serum that people are willing to overlook that godawful scent for“. That was when I decided that I was going to splurge on a full-sized bottle.

Guess what? It was sold out almost Australia-wide. I couldn’t get it on the Mecca website, none of the Mecca stores I went to or called had this in stock. In hindsight, I should have just ordered one from Net-a-porter but at that time, the harder it was for me to get the serum, the more I wanted it. I know. I’m such a child. πŸ˜›

Long rambling intro aside, when Mecca finally restocked this, I snapped it up and gave it a proper go. I’m sold, folks. Totally sold. I finally know why so many people love this so much and I’m now going to tell you why you should get a bottle too.

Everyone wants the unmistakable look of having β€œgood genes”. This amazing treatment is formulated with key ingredients which will plump fine lines, reveal brighter, newer skin, and improve circulation for a smooth, vibrant complexion. Long term use will help restore damaged skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and scars, reduce the depth and number of line and wrinkles, even out skin tone, and increase epidermal thickness and firmness.

Sunday Riley Good Genes Ingredients

Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is what I call a chemical exfoliant serum. It contains 40% lactic acid that exfoliates and refines the skin. The other more “natural” ingredients like lemongrass, licorice, arnica and yeast helps to boost circulation, soothe and heal the skin. It’s a light serum that is quickly absorbed onto the skin.

I’ve used exfoliating serums before but those were mostly glycolic acid serums. This is the second time I’m using a lactic acid serum and it works just as well. At 40%, it’s pretty damn high so it can be strong for many, especially if you have sensitive skin. I don’t normally have sensitive skin but even so, whenever I use this, I experienced a slight tingling on the skin. On days when I have slightly sensitive cheeks, this stings the skin quite a bit. Still, it’s nothing too uncomfortable that I couldn’t tolerate.

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Most importantly, this serum gave my skin amazing results. My lines are softened, my skin is smoother and brighter. It feels and looks really good and I had to give it to the Good Genes. It’s amazing stuff. I achieved those results in just a week. The sample sachet wasn’t even enough for me to use past two days, which was why I thought this serum was just meh at the time I used it.

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Now comes the part about the serum that turned me off in the first place: the scent. LeGeeque and I were discussing on how to describe the scent and the only thing I could come up with was toilet cleaner. It smells like a loo detergent. The mixture of lemongrass and yeast doesn’t make this a pleasant-smelling product at all. The first few days were particularly hard; I almost wanted to give up because I couldn’t stand the smell. Thankfully, my skin showed really good results after a week and that was when I knew I had to jolly well suck it up because this is a damn good serum.

As the serum is pretty strong, I don’t use this daily. I use the Good Genes on alternate days now and even so, it maintains my skin very well. Occasionally my skin breaks out with a pimple or two but I don’t think it’s the work of the serum.

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Do I recommend you get this? YES. Is it expensive? OH YES. At AU$125 per bottle, it’s slightly more expensive than Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair but like the little brown bottle, this works. Is it worth the splurge at all? Most definitely. I would rather give up buying a blush AND a lipstick if that meant that I could buy this serum. But if you asked me to give up a month’s coffee worth for this … erm … I think we might have a problem. πŸ˜›

Sunday Riley’s Good Genes retails at AU$125.00 for 30ml and is available at Mecca. It is also available on Net-a-porter.

What I like about it: It has a high concentration of lactic acid. Gave me great results (softened lines, smooth and radiant skin) in just a week.

What I do not like about it: The smell. Oh the smell. *pinches nose*

Have you tried Sunday Riley’s Good Genes? What did you think? If you haven’t, is this something you’d like to give a go? Last Q: do you use any lactic acid products?

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32 comments… add one
  1. Kate

    Very interesting. Would like to try it, BUT, the thing that puts me (personally) off is not even the possibility of an awful smell (i can tolerate bad stuff quite well πŸ˜‰ ), but the fact that it might be so hard to get! One thing I don’t want to do is run around looking for it (especially when I am ready to part with that amount of money πŸ˜€ ). I might as well wait till the buzz has died out and then go buy it πŸ™‚

    1. Tine

      Mecca is finally selling the serum again but my goodness, it was definitely hard to get up to a month ago. I went from store to store, called store to store, checked the website again and again … and nothing. In hindsight, if I had just ordered it from Net-a-porter from the beginning, I wouldn’t have had to waste my time checking but y’know … I just wanted to get it from Mecca so that I can contribute towards the next level of the Beauty Loop box. I KNOW I’M WEIRD. πŸ˜›

  2. Allison

    Since it sounds like this is a unique to Australia brand, I’m going to google lactic acid and see if I can find any other that use it…and 40% wow. I hear ya about a bad smell. It can be a deal breaker. I’m using a glycolic acid cleanser now with at least 10% glycolic acid, and I can’t use it twice a day, just too much for my skin. Even once a day is a challenge but I’m curious to see if it will make any visible difference so I’m hanging in there.
    Allison recently posted..BeautyKind, A New Way to Shop, and What I GotMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Actually, Sunday Riley is made in the US and is very popular in the UK so as much as I’d love to say it’s unique to Australia, it’s actually not. πŸ˜› Glycolic acid is stronger than lactic acid and even at 10%, it can be pretty strong. A few years ago, I stupidly used one daily, not knowing that I shouldn’t, and it stung my skin so bad. My skin couldn’t take it at all. Lactic acid is milder and even so, I can’t use this one daily. Instead of a cleanser, try a serum instead (at least something you don’t have to wash off). I reckon you’ll see the difference quicker.

      1. Allison

        I looked at the ingredients, and the cleanser has both in it! I am testing it for review, but afterwards I’ll back off and use it less often than once a day even. The recommended use is twice a day. What I’m curious about is the cleanser form. If I wash it off, and I do, how much GA and LA remains behind to do anything?
        Allison recently posted..Jetsetter ipsy Bag May 2015My Profile

        1. Tine

          See, that’s what I wonder too … what’s the point of having it on if I have to wash it off? Honestly, I don’t know how much of it gets left behind. I’m assuming that during the application process where you massage your skin with the cleanser, it’s working away at ploughing off dead skin and all that and that’s about it before you wash it off? I’ve tried LA and GA cleansers but I didn’t find them working as well as in a serum form.

  3. Yolondi

    I had a sample of this a while ago, from a mecca beauty loop box I think. Yes, smell was a bit whatever but the results from a such a small sachet were that good to warrant a purchase! Do you know you can mix it with the ceramic slip cleanser for a flash facial? I have not yet tried this but it’s supposed to be amazing if you have a special night out/ need a quick lift! Just a couple of drops should do it. Clearly it’s very precious and should not be wasted!

    1. Tine

      Oh wow that’s good! I have the same sort of sachet but it didn’t work as well for me to warrant an immediate purchase. πŸ˜›
      Ahh question: how’s the ceramic slip cleanser? Worth the dosh? I’m tempted.

      1. Yolondi

        So far so good! I’ve only had it for a week though yet enjoying it so far. I’ve had some epic sore, red pimples on my chin, and they are drying out nicely. I’ve not been putting anything else on them to dry out. Sometimes I find it’s just better to let them run their course. When they were at the most painful and red, I kind of left the cleanser on for a minute or so, almost like a quick mask. I’ll keep you updated! But I think worth the $$, you ccan get away with 1 pump only if you get enough water into the mix too but I’ve been using 2 pumps as I’ve only been using it in the morning till I finish my other half used cleanser.

        1. Tine

          Ooh thanks! I’m heading to Mecca this evening; I’ll check it out! πŸ™‚

  4. Norlin

    Hmm… very expensive leh… I’d have to give up coffee, and clothes to get this bottle, that knowing my luck with some serums, might cause my skin to go – WTH! You know, like that darn Redermic R?! Can you explain the goodness of lactic acid? Or if you have previously point me to the link so I can read more on it? Would love to learn more about the differences between that and glycolic acid. πŸ™‚
    Norlin recently posted..Did You Know? Maybelline’s 100 YearsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      You’ve given me a good idea for a blog post; I’ll do one that tells the difference between lactic and glycolic acids. I don’t think I wrote a post on it so thanks for the idea; I’ll write one up. In short, lactic is milder than glycolic. Both are AHAs. Glycolic is good for treating fine lines and lactic for treating sun/age spots.

  5. Ekta

    I’ve been using this for a few weeks and I’m sold! Even my hypercritical mum has noticed the improvement!
    Ekta recently posted..A Day at THE BEACHMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Yay! It’s that good, right? πŸ˜€

  6. Paris B

    Dammit! I have to get this now. Legeeque sold me onto it too but I’m waiting because I just lost a 10 quid voucher as I wasn’t around to redeem it and I’m still smarting over it
    Paris B recently posted..Eyeshadow blending just got more precise with my fave MUFE 216 Eye Blender BrushMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Aww man! Oh yes you definitely need to try it out. Even before I tried it out, LG was already saying “erm be warned, it smells really bad”. And it does. But it works so I have to suck it up. πŸ˜›

  7. Beauty Box

    Oh dear I really hate the smell of loo detergent!! Yuuuuck. I don’t know but I cannot use products that smell bad to me. I can understand if it’s a “weird” scent that takes some getting used to but this sounds terrible! Well, at least it works very quickly! One week is amazing. I’ll def try and have a sniff of this at Sephora if I can. I am so curious now.
    Beauty Box recently posted..Lancome Spring 2015 My French PaletteMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Yeah definitely have a sniff and see if you can tolerate it because if you can, it’s a bloody good serum to use. For me, it was definitely worth the money. πŸ™‚

  8. Victoria

    Hi Tine. Wow, I really want to try this just base on your review alone. LOL. How do you use this by the way, after toner and sealed with a moisturiser? My sister will be in London at the end of June and I was thinking what skincare or makeup item I could get there. I only know that I might get Pixi Glow. Do you think this exfoliating serum would be cheaper in London? What other skin care or makeup should I buy in London which I would not get here in Malaysia?

    1. Tine

      I use it just like I would any serum; toner first, then this, then moisturiser. Oooh get the Pixi Glow! I’ve personally not tried it but know that many people swear by it. Here are some items you can get from the UK:
      – Barry M nail polishes (I hear they’re the bomb diggity)
      – Soap and Glory makeup (I love the Archery Brow thing)
      – Sleek blushes
      – Sarah Chapman Skinesis serums (heard they’re really good)
      Oh there’s so much more! I recommend reading this:

  9. Lee

    I was swatching (is it a swatch when it’s skincare?) all the Sunday Riley oils and serums at Mecca Trove the other day, as I like to take my sweet time in there when I top up on my Bare Minerals. I gotta say, those products must be bloody wonderful because not a single one of them smelt pleasant. I’ve walked away with a sample of Ceramic Slip, as I’m only lacking in the cleanser department in terms of routine at the moment, and it is only surpassed in terrible scent by the Artemis oil.

    That said – All praise a line that clearly has good enough results that it doesn’t bother to correct it’s scent with something possibly irritating or counterproductive!

    1. Tine

      Haha I consider those swatches too! I’ve only tried the Start Over Eye Cream and the Good Genes from Sunday Riley and oh yes, they don’t smell good, not even the eye cream. But I have to say, they are bloody wonderful and even though I feel as though I’m applying toilet cleaner on my face every other night, the results are worth it.

  10. Mardi

    I don’t mind the smell, I think it smells herbal. I’ve just ordered the Luna, it’s supposed to be amazing. Ceramic Slip did nothing for me but I think it’s meant to be good for oilier skin.

    1. Tine

      I bought the Luna but had to return it. I couldn’t stand the smell at all. Good Genes smells fantastic compared to the Luna. I’ve an extra sensitive nose I guess. πŸ˜›

  11. Ofelia

    Hi, thanks for your article. Do you happen to know if you can use Good Genes with EstΓ©e Lauder products. I wanted to use it with my moisturizer but am a bit weary, not sure how well it plays with other products! Thanks, O

    1. Tine

      I’ve used this with Estee Lauder lotions and moisturisers. No problem at all! πŸ™‚

  12. Esther Yeong

    So if I already have the brown bottle wil you STILL recommend to buy this one? To alternate or wait until I’ve finished my EL ANR?

    1. Tine

      I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend getting this. It’s THAT good. I’d alternate between this and the ANR. πŸ™‚

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