Sunday Riley Good Genes

Good Genes is what I don’t have when it comes to the genetic skin lotto. When I hit puberty, my face was just a constant battle between breakouts and astringents, in college I had cystic acne that lumped onto each other which even made the dermatologist say “I could give you some retin-a and antibiotics, but honey, that’s like treating a fire with a kitchen faucet at this point”.

Even now that my skin is at the place I’ve dreamed it could be (in no small feat due to the product formerly known as Ultimate Perfect Serum, Cell Perfecto PM– read about my experience with it here) – I still don’t think I’ve ever been in the category of people fortunate to be born with skin that just naturally glows and looks flawless.

If I can’t be born with it, then I’ll buy it! And Sunday Riley has the perfect product for such a thing, fittingly named Good Genes. The playful name promises to deliver the look of “good genes” for everyone! If there is anything Sunday Riley does well, it is in marketing her products.

The instructions for the product are very precise, it is a corrective treatment to be used at night (at least I think it should be), about once or twice a week, for a power treatment she recommends using it for five consecutive nights. The reason is because this is a very acid-heavy chemical exfoliator with a primary active being lactic acid. This doesn’t mean the formula isn’t clean, only that it doesn’t exfoliate through physical means which I actually really like, and lactic acid is fairly clean compared to alternatives.

The full promise of the product is that it will ” plump fine lines to reveal brighter, newer skin, and improve circulation to offer a smooth, vibrant complexion. Long term use will help restore damaged skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and scars, reduce the depth and number of lines and wrinkles, even out skintone, and increase epidermal thickness and firmness.”

The lactic acid is probably the active that addresses fine lines, revealing newer skin. Other actives include licorice which brightens complexion, yeast extract, squalene, lemongrass, and arnica.The formula comes out as a white creamy fluid that smells like dried fruit creamsicle (all her products seem to smell like a creamsicle). It is absorbed fairly quickly, though not as fast as Bionic. After one use, I did not experience irritation, but when I did the consecutive week long treatment I noticed my skin was getting red and I actually got a new breakout on my forehead and not looking so great around Day 3/4 – and my skin is fairly sensitive, so those of you with ‘normal’ skin might not find this to be too tough to handle.

The slight issue I have with this product is once again, it isn’t as clean as I hoped it could be, 3 types of silicones, 2 types of parabens, 2 PEGs, and caricinogenic Phenoxyethanol – I just wish they could have really lived up to their promise of 99% natural, botanical based products without injecting so much of this chemical stuff, it is actually a cheaper way of production that they don’t need to take since they’re at such high price points. Due to my silicone sensitivity, I think this might also explain why instead of getting clearer, my skin was freaking out during the 5 day test.

Good Genes retails for $105 for 1 oz in a beautiful glass vial that feels very heavy in a high-quality way. After having used nearly half the bottle (it does last a while) I will say that I think it is my favorite Sunday Riley product (after hits and misses), and it works well as a chemical exfoliator. The smell is good, texture is good, and results are good. There are cheaper options on the market, such as Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel at $45 (it has a cleaner formula too – but is much stronger and less refined).

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