Well, this one has been a while coming, for me. First, to get hold of it – it’s a staggering, jaw-dropping, wallet-emptying £85 a bottle. That’s sh*tload of money in any currency in the world, but much more so with the plummeting RM. Second, to figure out if this £85 was something my skin would take to.
This, is the very popular cult product, Good Genes by Sunday Riley.
Yes, it costs £85 for 30ml. It’s alright, I’ll wait while you pick your jaw off of the floor 😀
Back? 🙂 Ok, I’d read a lot of wonderful things about Good Genes Treatment serum before this, but it wasn’t until I was told by my friend Geek, about how good it was for her, and read how well it works for Tine, that I finally capitulated. Nothing better than actually hearing from someone who has actually used it, and has no vested interests, you know.
So one day, when I was feeling flush, I decided to bite the bullet and get a bottle. I bought mine from SpaceNK although you can also get it from Cult Beauty. Both are UK based websites that I shop at often, and have had good experiences with.
So, what is this serum then? Good Genes is a bit of a multi-tasking product that is aimed at reducing signs of aging, while smoothing, refining, clarifying and brightening the skin while improving on skin thickness and elasticity. Its key ingredient is lactic acid (40%), and contains a load of actives that aren’t quite aimed at anyone with very sensitive skin. In fact, you are warned that you may even experience tingling on your skin when you use it. It is a chemical AHA-based exfoliant so I’m really not surprised.
My friends tell me that this serum is one they can’t do without, and despite the prohibitive price tag, they have even bought replacements once they were done. It keeps their skin feeling and looking smooth, clear and good. In fact, I was told that the difference in NOT using it, is visible. I knew then, I HAD TO HAVE THIS! I’d live on bread and water for a few months, but I had to have this serum!
First though, let me tell you about the smell. Many people had warned about how badly this serum smells. There is no artificial floral fragrance, nor would I call this a pleasure to the senses when you use this. So, I was braced for something really stinky.
The thing is, I didn’t find it super stinky. If you’ve ever used Perricone Cold Plasma, you’d understand what stinky is (it smells of old, rotting fish) but this wasn’t in that league. I found that Good Genes has a strong scent that is metallic and sharp on the nasal senses, with a slightly sourish note, not dissimilar to that of vinegar. Personally, I didn’t find it unpleasant. Unusual yes, but not unpleasant.
If you dislike scents like that, then do be warned. It’s strong, but it will dissipate eventually. I’ve not been bugged by it at all. That said, I’d be more prone to complaining about strong floral scents, so it’s just how my nose works. If you prefer your skincare to smell pleasant and comforting, you’ll hate this.
But if I were you, I’d suck it up, because this is a pretty good product if you don’t already use a lot of acids and retinols in your routine.
Because of how active it is, I only use it at night, and I only use half a pump. The pump locks in place so if you travel with it, you don’t have to fear your precious serum spurting out everywhere in your bag. The pump is also easy to control, so it’s easy to dispense product. I started out using 1 full pump, but I found that it was a bit too much for me. The directions actually specify 2-3 pumps for best results, but it was too much for me (and for my wallet!)
Initially, when I first started using Good Genes, I wasn’t too thrilled with it. I suppose, I was expecting quite a lot out of it. I also started experiencing minor breakouts. That bugged me. I’m not allergic nor sensitive to lactic acid, and I don’t generally have very sensitive skin. In fact, I did not experience any tingling in my skin at all when using this serum.
However, I eventually worked out that if I use it on alternate days, I’d break out less. After about a month, I reduced the amount used to half a pump each evening, and I realised I could then use it nightly without breaking out.
The serum pumps out a white lotion that absorbs easily into the skin and dries quite quickly. I use it after cleansing and toning, applying it to my skin then letting it dry, before following on with facial oils and moisturiser.
Personally speaking, I find that when I use it daily, I notice that my skin does feel smoother, and it looks clearer. When I stop it for a while, and then come back to it, I do notice overnight results, in that tired skin looks a little less tired, and lines are noticeably softened. This is so if I’ve had a late night. This boosts my complexion the next day. Being a chemical exfoliant, this isn’t really surprising. However, while the serum also claims to even out hyperpigmentation, I personally did not experience any improvements in that area. If anyone should notice an improvement, that would be me, but my pigmentation is still there and not shifted one bit.
If I spread out its use to alternate days or 3 times a week, as I was doing when I noticed I was getting spot, I noticed that the results were less significant, and you will take much longer to notice results. In that sense, and because I do experience minor spots when I use this too often, I’d personally say that it’s hard for me to tell you to run out and buy it on the strength of testimony alone. You’d have to be fairly patient and in tune with your skin, I feel, to best appreciate this product. Not just buy into the hype because oh yes! There is a huge huge hype surrounding this and most Sunday Riley products.
So, is it worth £85 (RM553 at today’s exchange rate)?
Yes and No.
Yes, if you have the cash and are willing to splurge on skincare. You must also be someone who is in tune with your skin and realise that you may not notice as glowing a result as the next person. I like how it gives my skin a bit of a boost the next day, especially when I’ve not used it for a few days. Then, I notice the results. Sometimes, if I haven’t used it for a few days and my skin looks exceptionally tired or stressed, I give myself a full pump, massaged in all over and topped up with just a night moisturiser. A little like a “mask”. I always look better the next morning. I’m also someone who’s quite willing to splurge on skincare so I may be the exception.
No, if you have very sensitive skin that doesn’t take well to lactic acid, and if the price is too prohibitive. I realise that there’s a lot that one can do with £85/RM553 so this isn’t something you MUST buy or use. If you already take care of your skin with other products (this isn’t one you can use on its own, but is an additional product in your skincare regimen) then you can and possibly will get by without this. You won’t miss what you’ve never had. But you might, if your skin takes well to it and you find it too prohibitive a habit to keep up.
Will I repurchase? Again, yes and no. I will, if I feel like I have the funds and can justify a purchase. But because I don’t notice as significant result and improvement to my skin as many others do (For the uninitiated, I already do take pretty good care of my skin generally speaking) I might divert my funds to try something else unless there’s an offer on Good Genes that I can’t resist because I like using it as a “treatment”. In that sense, you could say that I’m not as sold on this as many people are, although I do like it as a product. Confused? 😀
IN A NUTSHELL
Sunday Riley Good Genes treatment is a serum with high content of lactic acid, that helps plump up and smoothen fine lines, boost skin elasticity, and also brighten, refine and clarify. It isn’t recommended for those who have very sensitive skin, and you are warned about a tingling feeling on your skin, although I did not experience it. I found that using a full pump daily (in the evening) can cause me to break out in the odd spot or two. So I use it on alternate days or about 3 times a week, or half a pump if used daily. That seems to work for me. While I found that it does boost skin radiance (especially overnight, if your skin is very tired) and makes my skin feel and look smoother and clearer, it does nothing for my pigmentation. I like it for the boost it gives my skin, and how my skin takes to it, but I don’t personally think this a must have, simply because of the high pricetag. Because of the price, I’d say that it’s a good product to own and use, if you don’t feel the pinch; but otherwise, you probably won’t miss it. You don’t miss what you don’t have!
PROS: High content of lactic acid works well to soften lines and skin, Skin looks and feels smoother, Skin looks clearer and more radiant, Noticeably boosts a tired complexion almost overnight, Lightweight texture, Absorbs quickly with no greasy feeling, Not drying
CONS: The strong, sharp, metallic, vinegary smell may not sit well with many people though I’m alright with it, Very pricey, May cause minor breakouts, Not available in Malaysia
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who can afford the high price tag, Anyone who wants a product that can produce visible results to soften fine lines and improve skin texture, Anyone who is in tune with their skin and doesn’t mind a strong smelling serum
This is the ingredient list for Good Genes for anyone interested.
If you look at the directions, it says you can leave it on as a mask and then rinsed off. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying that, but every time, I balk. I just can’t justify washing this off! So, I use it only as a leave on serum – half or 1 pump will do the trick for most of us I feel. 2-3 pumps is A LOT (I tried it the 1st time, following instructions, and was so horrified at how much that was and how quickly that would mean I run through a bottle, that I hastily cut back the next day) and will just be too much for most of our wallets 😛
Have you tried the cult Good Genes serum? Are you in love with it?
I’ve been asked quite a lot about this so I figured I’d better get my thoughts out there, jumbled as they appear to be. Like a lot of skincare, it works differently for everyone. I’d love to know if you love it, and whether the scent bugs you, or better yet, tell me if there are other Sunday Riley products I should try! 😉
Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment Serum Price: £85 | AU$125 | US$105 for 30ml Availability: SpaceNK, Cult Beauty, Net-A-Porter, Sephora (USA)
31 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
quite a bummer that result is not life changing with the price tag, i’d expect it to give me a new face with that price 😛
Paris B says
Hahaha actually some people do get new faces 😛 I think it depends on expectations and the condition of your skin. Those with a pore problem will definitely see results.
Thanks for the review, Paris. Sunday Riley products are something I want to try. I’ve been reading some really good reviews about Luna as well! Perhaps one day when the exchange rate isn’t so horrendous, I’ll give it a go. I’ve been seeing good results from skincare more affordable and available locally, so no hurry there!
Paris B says
I’ve got Luna on standby! But haven’t given it a go yet. Reviews have been quite mixed on that one, although they have been fairly consistently positive for Good Genes. But yes, the current exchange rate isn’t conducive to online shopping unfortunately. On the bright side, that’s money saved, or put towards something else 🙂
For me this is love at first try. I noticed visible reduction pore size which is my gauge went it comes to measuring if a product works for me. I always use one full pump once a day at night and I can see the product almost half gone within 2 weeks. I also bought the artemis oil together with good genes and both smell very similar. I detect the scent of lemongrass in both products. I’ll use the artemis oil on top of good genes when my skin is breaking out and very congested. Quite surprise that these 2 worked so well on my oily combination skin type.
Paris B says
That’s great to know Yuling! I can imagine that it would do an amazing job on pores, simply because of its ingredients and exfoliating effect. I did notice also that 1 pump is quite a lot of product! Heart (and wallet) pain haha! I didn’t get Artemis, but I got Luna which I haven’t yet tried. I suppose that’ll be next on my list!
LOVE this product. Just bought my third bottle. I use it almost every night and it helps maintain clarity on my skin. Alternate this with retinol, it’s kept fine lines at bay for me. I don’t look like a 16year old (and neither do I) but as long as I can pass off as someone younger than my age, I’m all for it.
Paris B says
I’m still searching for a retinol. Might have to take a look at the CSS one, although I do have Luna on standby. Maybe I should try that first 😛
Hmmmmmm…..I don’t know what to do now hahaha! I’ve been wanting to try this for ages! But I don’t know…I’ve recently been using the Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Serum and OMG…..that stuff is amazing. And a lot cheaper than this stuff! Some day…just to quite my aging inner voice that keeps looking for stuff to keep wrinkles at bay! 😉
Paris B says
Haha you know what Tracy? Bite the bullet! 😉 To be honest, I know you take good care of your skin but we are in the age group who would benefit most from really active products like these. I often feel that 20-somethings telling me about “amazing antiaging skincare” just don’t cut it! It’s not a bad product but any stretch, but I do feel that you have to realise if/when it doesn’t work for you (e.g. my random spots) and scale back accordingly, or be able to notice when it does work (when my aging skin has had a late night and is tired) Can’t wait to hear what you think if you get it! I’ve been dead curious about that Caudalie serum too! OMG I think I have to get it haha!
Hani Lutfi says
Not friendly on sensitive skin AND the wallet, hmm might just go on with Kiehl’s Dark Spot serum.
Paris B says
Honestly Hani, I don’t think you actually need this at your age 😛 Give yourself a few more years haha! As for the Kiehl’s serum, is that the clear bottle one? Gosh, that one did nothing for me 🙁
If you’re looking for a cheaper and less irritating AHA, try Dr Wu’s mandelic acid 18% serum. It reduces redness and it exfoliates more gently than glycolic acid because of its larger molecular size. It works great on my rosacea prone skin. Not sure if it’s good at reducing sunspots but since it knocks down inflammation, it should be good at preventing PIH.
There is a gentler 6% version suitable for daily use that you have to get from the official website. Prices are comparable with local retail.
This Sunday Riley one has a few ingredients that would be triggers for me. Capric/caprylic triglycerides, coconut derived fatty acids. So if you break out from coconut oil, avoid these! Also stearic acid and cetearyl alcohol.
I’ve also heard good things about Cosrx’s AHA serums too. Very affordable too.
Oh when are you in Singapore? Or did I miss you yet again?
Paris B says
Hi Firn! Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll try to look for it because you have got me curious 😉 I’m actually not terribly fussed about my pigmentation, so I’m not even actively trying to reduce or lighten it. I know, it’s weird, but I’m kind of resigned to it if you know what I mean 😀 I was actually in Singapore last weekend! Didn’t really make an announcement of it cos it was for an event, but will drop you a line the next time I’m down for leisure 😉
Was so glad to finally read this review! This item has been in my shopping cart for at least 6 mths or so. I just couldn’t decide whether is it worth getting from net-a-porter. The price is rather hard to swallow. May I know, do you think this item is suitable for oily/ acne prone skin? Thanks Paris!
Paris B says
Hey Anne, I think it will work for oily/acne prone skin. It’s the lactic acid. It’ll help exfoliate the skin so it might even be good. That said, I don’t know if there’s anything in there that might break you out further. It’s a very daunting price so it’ll really suck if it doesn’t work out right? 😛
I’ve been using Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic 10% products for years now, and find that they are very effective chemical exfoliants. I’ve been dying to try this but the price is very prohibitive and I’m happy with what I currently use – how many exfoliating products does a girl need?! I recently bought the Luna oil, and boy that is so stinky too. I’ve only used it twice so far – waiting on that “new face” to appear any minute now.
Paris B says
Hahaha I haven’t broken into my Luna yet because I wanted to let this one settle. Might start it soon! I hear it’s stinky too, but I took a sniff and while it’s strong, I wasn’t too put off by the scent, thankfully. Else it would have been an expensive mistake! Oh wait, we get PTR here, so I might give that 10% Glycolic a go 😀 I’m always up for a good chemical exfoliator 😉
Wash it off? OH HECK NO. It’s so expensive! Every last bit of it goes on my face! 😛
I love this serum and it has given me amazing results. But I don’t use it daily; I alternate this with retinol. It’s the only serum I would happily repurchase. Well, not so happy because it’s so bloody expensive but it’s works so well and … aiya you know what I mean.
Ah yes it’s the smell of vinegar! I keep thinking it smells like toilet cleaner; well, no wonder, I clean my loo with vinegar! When I first tried this out, I couldn’t stand the smell. It was awful. But because it gave me such quick results, I sucked it up and am now on my second bottle. Thankfully, it doesn’t bother me any more. There’s just something about Sunday Riley’s skincare products; they don’t smell good at all. I had to return the Luna after 48 hours because the scent made me nauseous.
Paris B says
I know! I was so horrified when I read that you can wash it off. I’m like WHAT?! And have maybe RM100 go down the drain in one go? 😛 Hey, if it works, it works. That’s the beauty of skincare. I think maybe her products don’t smell good because they don’t go round adding artificial fragrance into it? I haven’t actually used Luna, but I sniffed at it after your heads up, and I’m not too fussed with it, thankfully. Hopefully it works for me. Geek said it broke her out!
Really? 170SGD for a bottles of lactic acid? Well, that being the core ingredient that is. Muac’s 40% lactic peel is a fraction of that price albeit without that pretty bottle and clever marketing. The eye cream is also much hyped and I’m very interested to know if that works better?
Paris B says
I haven’t tried the eye cream but my friend Tine has and here’s her review on it 🙂 http://www.beautyholicsanonymous.com/2014/11/sunday-riley-start-over-active-eye-cream/
Oh methinks that sour note is somewhat inherent to most lactic acid laced products. I’m not really fussed about stinky scents as long as the product works. Cold plasma strangely reminds me of cod liver oil from yonder years before it’s masked with that odd orange flavour you find these days. Now that stuff works but sadly left the skin taut in an unpleasant way and finishes waaay to fast so on to the next!
Paris B says
Haha you are a braver soul than me to be able to stomach the scent of Cold Plasma! I gave up after a while. That dead fish scent really bugged me 😛 But I get what you mean. That’s the thing about scents – they react so differently with different people 🙂
Philippe Bijnens says
Aaaaand skip, I’m more inclined to try her cleansing balm.. the blue one.
Paris B says
I’m keen to try that one too! Will wait till I see an offer around 😉
Talking about serum, recently I started to try Youth Dew by May Lindstrom. Been using for 2 weeks during the night. It’s an oil based serum, just a tiny amount will do. My usual night time moisturiser is Eminence Organics Coconut Age Corrective.
I noticed the skin is visibly more energetic and clear during the next morning after using this serum. Skin texture is smoother and soft to the touch. To me it’s sort of like a night time booster and repairing serum 🙂 minus the harsh chemicals!
My other addictions with May Lindstrom are The Clean Dirt, The Problem Solver and The Honey Mud.
Paris B says
Ugh Bryan, I’m dying to try May Lindstrom but gosh, the prices! I mean, I’m not stranger to high end skincare but she really does make me stop in my tracks. Still, I’m going to KIV your suggestions and perhaps pick up one or two if I get any discounts or offers from any of my regular shopping sites 😉
Finally got my hands on Good Genes and Juno. Been using Good Genes and Juno for the past 3 nights, visibly i don’t see any difference, however skin texture definitely feel the difference. The skin is very soft and smooth, some tiny zits which used to resurface after few days of facial scrub are now gone, i guess must be the lactic acid dissolving them.
The scent of Good Genes is no issue at all, it’s not nice and not bad either. Gonna be using this perhaps 2 to 3 times a week or as a treatment serum whenever skin needs “repair” 😀
As for Juno, I’ve been using it day and night. Really like the dry oil kind of texture. Guess I will use this during the day and use May Windstorm Youth Dew in the night as it is heavier. Skin hydration and sebum production is well balanced during the use of Juno, no oily shiny look. Definitely a good recommendation for those who wanted to try facial oil for the first time and having Sunday Riley in mind.
Sam Still Reading says
I keep picking this up and putting it down…then when I thought I’d buy it today, the shop where I was didn’t have it!
Might try it soon – there’s a decent pack combined with Juno which isn’t too wallet unfriendly here! It seems like a lot of people use less than what’s recommended with good results.
Paris B says
Oh yes, 1 pump is A LOT of product (and very expensive too!) A friend has just told me that it’s gone up in price in Australia! Gosh. I hope you got your hands on it – I’d been interested to try Juno oil but haven’t got round to doing it. Hard when there’s no store selling this brand locally, and too many brands/products out there distracting me! LOL!