Sunday Riley Good Genes

Sunday Riley Good Genes


168 reviews

57% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.1

Price: $$$


NV-5 Ageless Complex (Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Cyripeedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Tuna Fruit, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract), Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalene, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth 20, Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-100 Stearate, Arnica Extract, PEG-75 Meadowsol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Extract, Lemongrass Extract, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, DMDM Hydantoin.

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on 10/26/2015 12:08:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I'm sorry but this is way overpriced for what it is. Good Genes is, in short without the fancy marketing, a chemical exfoliator. The lactic acid in this is the only miracle ingredient... and you can find it in much cheaper formulations. It is an alpha hydroxy acid, proven to slough off dead skin cells. In turn you are left with lessened wrinkles, lightened hyperpigmentation, and an overall even skin tone.

So will this product work? Sure. However if you heed my warning of it being overpriced, at least listen to me when I warn you that the PH level of Sunday Riley Good Genes is 2.6. That means it can be quite rough on the skin as it is more acidic than needed for exfoliation. The ideal PH levels for alpha hydroxy acids to work their magic safely is 3-4. It's not anything that will cause a chemical burn, however Good Genes did irritate my skin to the point where it turned beet red.

Here is the full ingredient list: NV-5 Ageless Complex (Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Cyripeedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Tuna Fruit, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract), Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalene, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth 20, Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-100 Stearate, Arnica Extract, PEG-75 Meadowsol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Extract, Lemongrass Extract, Triethanolamine, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, DMDM Hydantoin.

Note that the NV-5 "Ageless Complex" is just gimmicky marketing. I can think of much simpler ingredients that preform much better than that "complex" formula.

Also note it has a few comedogenic ingredients (Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth 20,...). All can be found on's list of ingredients to avoid. I'm NOT saying this product will break every acne prone customer out. However I *am* noting that there's a fair chance it could. Good Genes is expensive and targets aging skin so perhaps Sunday Riley didn't take acne-prone skin into account. But hey, I'm past 21 yet still breaking out.

Last but not least - lemongrass oil is what gives this "treatment" such a strong fragrance. It can potentially irritate sensitive skin... if the PH level didn't already. :P

I'm not repurchasing.


EDITED TO ADD: Please please PLEASE wear sunscreen whenever using any chemical exfoliator. They cause the skin to become more photosensitive, meaning you are more vulnerable to UV rays. Sunscreen is actually the cheapest and smartest way to prevent further sun damage.

48 of 56 people found this helpful.

on 6/27/2016 9:22:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

This is a good product - but it's certainly not life changing. There are so many other products out there that work the same if not better at a much less "WTF?!?" price-point. Out of all SR's products, it's this serum which is hands down the best of them performance and ingredient-wise IMO. [check out my very detailed Luna oil review]. Even so, this is far from the miracle worker its hyped up to be.

Good Genes is your basic Lactic Acid exfoliant. It works overnight to sloth off dead skin, evening out skin texture as much as it can allowing for other lotions and potions to work better and also helping to create a smooth canvas for makeup. I got no aggravation or irritation from using this as some have, but that's because I am used to hardcore peels which are much stronger than this. People have also complained about the scent; well, I don't have an issue with that simply because SR's oils smell so damn terrible that this serum is like walking through miles of jasmine in comparison.

So does this product work? Yeah. Is it worth $105.00 per oz? Hell to the no. You can totally get better results from other AHA products. Lauder, Peter Thomas Roth, DHC, even (dare I say it?) Paula's Choice has way better overnight exfoliation treatments at half the price of GG. I was completely underwhelmed by this serum treatment and will not be re-purchasing it.

25 of 27 people found this helpful.

on 6/14/2018 9:14:00 AM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

there is absolutely no reason for this to be as expensive as it is.
like, the formula is good and the ingredients are fine, it does what it's supposed to do, but the 110 dollar price tag is such a scam.
any old exoliating lactic acid serum will do just fine, you can get the same thing from paula's choice or even the ordinary for much much cheaper. i highly doubt the plant extracts in this do anything, and they could even irritate your skin.
i guess if you're just really rich and want to blow money for no reason, it's good. the packaging is cute.

20 of 25 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Warm

Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Good Genes is an amazing product and skin changing for me! I have rosaccea (adult on set) and was suffering with swollen, irritated and of course, red skin on my cheeks; unable to use acids until now because of the sensitivity! I was hesitant when I tried this product and sampled it before I purchased it, as it has lactic acid in it. After one night of using Good Gens, the redness was at least 50% improved and by day 5, gone! I could not believe it! I had even tried my dermatologist's regimen of green tea solution and a non detergent soap, but was left with skin so dry and tight, it was truly uncomfortable. I have now purchased my second bottle and have been using it since August 2010 every 2-3 nights. The swollen, rough skin on my cheeks is no longer there! I am now a huge fan of this line and am using Bionic and Juno as well, which I will review separately, but the 3 products together are the "real deal" and a welcome change in the luxury skin care arena where only promises are made. Sunday Riley uses glass pumps to insure efficacy and ingredients like pure retinol, resveratrol, and a multitude of proven antioxidants and collagen builders! LOVE this line! I read Makeup Alley reviews all of the time for "help" choosing good products and have never felt moved enough to review a product. Bravo Sunday Riley!

20 of 20 people found this helpful.

on 2/26/2012 10:09:00 AM

Age: Unknown

Skin: Sensitive, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Good Genes is an exfoliater for the face via latic acid. One of the things about this line I do not like is it really doesn't do a good job of explaining the products and how they should be used; there is no brochure explaining products and the wording on the box is not too helpful. Her line really is all about SA and customer relationships. That said...

I received a bottle via a swap with a super MUAer. That caused me to contact Barneys and I found a fantastic rep at the Boston store. She designed an entire routine for me (day and night) based on a long conversation. Good Genes is not to be used during the day. It's a nighttime treatment used alternately with Serum III (I have dry skin during the winter). It can be used for 5 nights in a row for extra help or layered on heavily and used as a mask once a week.

Did I see results instantly? No. But other than moisturizers, I don't with most products. Weeks later, however, the glow is there. I now use the whole line and will review all the products.

19 of 19 people found this helpful.

on 8/9/2016 2:09:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

About me - sensitive skin prone to hormonal break outs, hyper-pigmentation, and black heads/enlarged pores around my t-zone. When I say sensitive, I mean it. The hyper-pigmentation is a big thing for me and it doesn't take much for my skin to turn 50 shades of red.

Details - as mentioned, the product comes in fairly nice packaging. In my experience, this is the nicest part about the product. It is a pump which means it is more hygienic and I feel it helps to lengthen the life span of the product. It is lactic acid which means it smells kind of like rancid milk mixed with lemon. A lot of other users said it smelled like lemon, well, I in no way have a sensitive nose and am telling you it doesn't smell like lemon only - it definitely has some other scent tones to it and they aren't very pleasant. Because of the scent I only used this product at night before bed.

Experience - now, I am going to start with the fact that initially, this product blew me away. The first time I used it, I applied it as a moisturizer and guffawed as my redness completely dissipated. Not to mention little blemishes and pores. I remember staring at myself and thinking 'so this is what model fresh skin looks/feels like!' I was in love. Really. I could get over the smell that reminded me of my 4th grade field trip (don't ask) and I could get over the slight sting to the formula, I could get over anything with my skin looking so good. THEN tragedy struck. I don't know what happened. I went through a bit of the bottle and I started seeing these huge cystic pimples start to take over my face. I mean massive - to an alarming extent. I wouldn't believe - couldn't believe that my beloved good genes was doing this to my skin. It had worked so beautifully before, no way could it be harming my skin! But the cystic pimples started getting worse and worse. Finally, after the bottle was almost empty, I took a break from Good Genes.

Well, that was it. Within a few days of stopping good genes my pimples started to clear up. Although the hyper-pigmentation was back the pimples had diffused and no longer did it look like I was sporting bug bites on my face. I am not going to lie, I was pretty devastated. My good friend was in love with the stuff and it worked great for her too, however, she too saw her pimples turning into cystic mountains and now only uses it around certain times of the month. She still swears by it - but as a mask that she doesn't use too frequently. So that's that, two people with different skin types both experiencing painful and irritating cystic pimples due to the use of this shtuff.

Price - it isn't the worst but it certainly doesn't make sense to me. With my experience I certainly won't purchase again. But as other users have said, there are cheaper versions of this stuff out there. Take a trip to your local Korean beauty store/website and you will find some pretty comparable dupes. Just saying.

Overall, not impressed with this product in the long-run.

18 of 18 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

I feel I must preface this review after reading some of the negitive comments. No product is going to work on 100% of people, 100% of the time. Just not going to happen. It doesn't mean the product is bad, everyone has different chemistry, skin type, climate, etc. I know I've said this before, and often, but I can't help thinking it warrents repeating. So as far as the Good Genes goes, and for most of the SR skin care line..Just amazing. It really is. I will start off by saying this stuff is expensive by most peoples standards. The best way in my opinion to start with this line is to get samples. I live nowhere even close to a store, but I was able to get free samples via the mail, and I must say Barneys in particular goes above and beyond the call of duty to accomadate people. I live in FL, and the Barneys in Boston didn't blink an eye when I inquired about the line and possible samples. They are #1 in my book for customer service. I was sent samples of Ceramic Slip, Good Genes, Stimulant 2 (which is magical) and Skin Adreniline. Let me say I ordered every single product exept the Stim 2 because I guess they are being repackaged and there are none at the moment to be had. The samples are generous and you will deffo be able to tell if it's something thats going to work for you before buying. For me these products showed results FAST. I have rosy cheeks and pale the pink really stands out and I hate it, lol. ONE treatment of Good Genes in the evening and when I woke up the next morning my pink cheeks were gone! My pores were almost impossible to see, my skin had the proverbial glow. I was shocked. We've all read those claims a thousand times over. For me, this was the first product that delivered. My skin is very sensitive and the Good Genes did feel strong on it, but the more I used it, it became a non issue. I don't use a lot of retinols and the like so that is to be expected. Just something to keep in mind when trying. Good Genes is a HG product for me, as is the whole skin care line. Theres nothing I've tried that I haven't loved. The Stim 2 should be a National Treasure for people with skin like mine. It really works like a miracle. (And it should for over 200$) As I said, they are expensive, BUT they last forever, a little goes a long way, and I do feel for how they deliver results, they are worth the hefty price. Good Genes doesn't have what I'd call a good smell, but it doesn't bother me, it quickly fades and again, is worth any displeasure because of the results. I can however, see the smell as possibly being a deal breaker for a select few. Good Genes used in combination with the line only enhances the the effects. The Good Genes makes my skin look plumper, younger, healthier, more even, brighter, the name is quite accurate. All in all I recomend Good Genes 100%. HG all the way for me. Just get the sample to make sure it's right for you.

16 of 19 people found this helpful.

on 5/2/2018 11:53:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This product was a swing and a miss for me. I was really excited to try it because of all the rave reviews, but once I started applying it - it did nothing for my skin. I had just ended using a different serum and my skin was looking amazing. I thought Sunday Riley was going to turn my level 8 skin into a 10. But after a few weeks of using this I noticed my texture was coming back as well as some pigmentation that had decreased with my other skincare routine. I could tell there was acne forming, but it wouldn’t surface. It also made my holy grail foundation sit poorly on my skin, primarily settling in my pores. I had never had that problem before.

Finally, I decided to stop using this and go back to my other serum. My skin is currently in a purge and I am breaking out like crazy. I never have had a breakout this severe, but knew it was going to happen after I went back to my regular products that increase cell turnover. I could tell by the texture of my skin while on Sunday Riley .... something was festering under the surface.

Based on how other people have raved about this I really wish it had worked the same for my skin! But at they same time I guess I’m lucky that I know in a couple weeks my skin will be back to normal using a product with a lower price tag!

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

on 6/27/2017 1:10:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Dark, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I was hesitant to try Sunday Riley due to the price but took the plunge due to the raves I heard. I have NC42 skin prone to hyperpigmentation, some aging issues with loss of brightness/dullness, and occasional outbreaks with combination skin (normal to oily t-zone, dry elsewhere). Before trying this I admit my skin was not bad. However I was blown away by how much better this product make my skin in 2 weeks. I have used for 2 months now about 3-4 times a week (using Luna oil or Tidal on other days) and my skin is balanced, my hyperpigmentation is gone, and my skin looks healthy and bright. I haven't had a break out in over a month and when early in use they threatened, they were magically wiped away in 1-2 days by this product. I honestly don't remember my skin ever looking this good, and given I am in my 40s I am impressed to say the least.

Do I wish it were cheaper? Sure, but it works wonderfully for me. It will be a skincare staple for me. I do wish the packaging were less wasteful so you can really get every drop out but I appreciate the pump sealed dispenser to keep the product active and not having to dip in.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

on 5/17/2017 9:19:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I had such high hopes for this (as I always do of exfoliants, none of which, I might add, have ever come up to my expectations). (Maybe I should just take the Visa by the horns and go and get my face lasered.)

No, it didn't transform my skin. It DID exfoliate, yes - after a couple of weeks of use, I started noticing peeling round my ears and hairline. (At which point I bought a konjac sponge. I will say, the combination of konjac sponge and this seemed to bring about some slight improvements.) The texture of my skin was a LITTLE finer, perhaps, and the winter flakiness round my nose disappeared. That's about it. Little lines - still fully in evidence. Aging visibly - yes, alas.

The smell is - not great, a sharp, acrid chemical citrus. It burns on the skin occasionally, though not to any extreme degree. No adverse reactions.

For the price, it also didn't last very long. I was through the 1 oz bottle in less than a month, which is a deal too quick for something that cost $135. I will say, though, that unlike most of these pump-type bottles, this one did dispense almost the very last drop of product into my waiting fingers.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

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