Navigating the Sunday Riley Serums

The past few months, I’ve kind of been on a Sunday Riley kick. After all, I have always been a fan of the lines beautiful presentation from the frosted glass bottles to the golden design touches.

Perusing the entire line, I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed with all the information for what all the products did that I kind of didn’t know which was actually the right product for me. This is common for brands that have multiple items in one category. With Sunday Riley, I ended up indulging my inner beauty junkie and exploring the differences between her anti-aging serums: Luna, Good Genes, Bionic (this was even more confusing when her Skin Adrenaline was on the market).

Use the following as a cheat sheet when picking your anti-aging power house from this line:


Luna is essentially¬†a face oil that is infused with retinol. This is to say, it’s not going to be a cream/gel type of serum but rather a very, very strong oil. As a retinol product, you’ll be limited to using this as a night time product. Also if you do not want a retinol product, it’s very simple: just steer clear of this one and go for one of the others.

The lightest of the three, this is applied first if you want to combine the products. If you want to add this with one of the other products, I think Bionic should be your pick and you’ll see why shortly.

For a full review of Luna, please check out this earlier post.

Good Genes

Good Genes has perhaps the most exposure compared to the other two. Emily Weiss of Into The Gloss says it literally gave her skin the confidence of having ‘good genes’ in the old school days before she turned her eye from high-end brands to cater to her new image as queen of the new-age mass market millennials.

I think it’s easy to get swept up in the messaging of Good Genes – the light cream is sold as a treatment that can be used as mask and it is said to deliver brightening, multitasking that reveals newer, younger skin, smoother complexion, restoration from damaged skin, reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and increased firmness. Unlike Bionic, Good Genes is a ‘corrective’ treatment which may make some think it is more active.

After purchasing these products what I realized is that Good Genes is essentially a lactic acid based exfoliation product. When skin is exfoliated technically all the above claims are true. Now – as a lactic acid exfoliating serum, it probably doesn’t get any more luxurious than this, however I don’t want you to be misled into thinking there is that much more in terms of ingredients that back up the claims.

Due to this, I tend to use Good Genes either as a Sunday mask to clear out pores and exfoliate or I use it once a week (twice if it is summer) as an overnight treatment without any of the other two products.

Similar Products:
Kypris Moonlight Catalyst
Kate Somerville – Exfoliate
REN Wake Up Wonderful Night Time Facial


Bionic has comparatively less press than the aforementioned products. This doesn’t mean it is one to overlook. Bionic is actually the only product out of the three that is in the “Anti-Aging” category on the Sunday Riley website.

Think of this orange cream as a moisturizer suped up with anti-aging ingredients like peptides and antioxidants. This has a roster of ingredients ranging from the buzzy resveratrol and copper peptide to the mainstays like CoQ10.

In terms of results, I don’t think it’ll give the quick results one might see from Luna or Good Genes which are ‘corrective’ products but if you’re looking for that daily moisturizer that keeps skin looking young which I think most people are when they say they’re looking for an anti-aging cream, this is the one.

* I know some retailers are carrying Skin Adrenaline but did not include it in this round up as it is no longer produced by Sunday Riley. But for those of you who are interested, Skin Adrenaline is essentially the anti-aging moisturizer option for normal-to-oily skin while Bionic is stronger as a moisturizer for normal-to-dry skin. For what it’s worth I was able to use both products without breaking out but my personal preference is actually Skin Adrenaline.¬†

Similar Products:
Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum
Omorovicza Radiance Renewal Serum
Ren Keep Young & Beautiful Firming & Smoothing Serum

This is just a quick breakdown and of course I made a lot of generalization in the spirit of giving a quickly digestible cheat sheet. In general, my view is that most people searching for an anti-aging product are in reality looking for products that have ingredients that help with skin aging whereas most brands’ answer this with products that take off layers of skin (retinol, acids, etc) and so I wanted to be helpful in this regard that the often overlapping messages between these products can be clarified by these sweeping distinctions:

Retinol – Luna
Exfoliating Acid – Good Genes
AntiAging Moisturizer – Bionic

*All Photos from the Sunday Riley Instagram Account



  1. Julie
    December 16, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    Oh this came just in time! I really have been going back and forth for days over Bionic or Good Genes because like you said.. reading the descriptions both seem good and very similar. This was so useful, thank you for telling it like it is as always!

  2. Nikki
    December 21, 2015 / 9:16 pm

    How do you use good genes as a mask? I don’t own the ceramic slip cleanser (which the brand recommends to mix with good genes to use as a mask) so I was wondering what alternative ways there would be.

    • December 21, 2015 / 9:47 pm

      Hey Nikki, I think it is a better (thicker) consistency if you use it with their Ceramic Slip Cleanser but it isn’t a must. When I got this product, I was told that using it as a mask would basically mean applying more like 3-5 pumps. If your skin is a little sensitive like mine, you’ll feel it when it goes on and sits so you kind of have to wash it off in 20 minutes because it is so intense. I like to cut it with whatever cleanser I have on hand, though you’ll need it to be a gel type just to get the consistency right. I’ve used it with Ceramic Slip, Grown Alchemist and Yuli Halcyon, they all work pretty well.

  3. Lara
    December 26, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    The only products I find interesting from her line are her oils – I do not like to use products that contain silicones, parabens etc. what do you think of her yuno face oil?

    • December 27, 2015 / 3:18 pm

      Hi Lara, I love oils but I do like the old fashioned serum and to each their own. I think Juno is a great as a starter oil in their line and it smells of well… oil.. there isn’t any pretty essential oil that gives it a kick of fragrance so you might love that or hate it. The reason I prefer her later oils is because Juno doesn’t seem to be made from any organic oils which isn’t good for something so concentrated and the price is about the same as her later organic oils.

      • Lara
        January 8, 2016 / 7:38 pm

        Really fair point, thank you. And happy new year!

  4. Nazih
    January 27, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    This was so so helpful! Thank you!!

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