Ahhh where do I start with Good Genes? Could it be the total of six sample jars I used up before I bought this? Could it be that the first time I used it, I truly said, "Wow," out loud?

All of the initial (and continued) feeling of flabbergast aside, Sunday Riley Good Genes is described as a "serum" that contains 40% pharmaceutical grade lactic acid, lemongrass, arnica, licorice, squalene, and yeast extract.

Claims - Taken from

Everyone wants the unmistakable look of having “good 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. The official usage instructions: -Can be used as a daily serum or as needed for an immediate transforming treatment. -Good Genes can also be mixed with Charisma Créme Cleanser or Ceramic Slip Cleanser and used as a mask. -Apply to the face for 10 to 30 minutes for an instant radiance boost. They also suggest using this as a DIY mask in combination with the Ceramic Slip cleanser: Flashfacial: five minutes, two products, one dramatic result. Lactic acid plus green clay DIY mask to reveal flawless, glowing, radiant skin—in a flash. Mix three pumps of Good Genes with two pumps of Ceramic Slip, leave on for five to 10 minutes, and rinse off.

Here's my thing: Why in the world would one use three pumps of this stuff for it to sit on your face for ten minutes before going down the drain? This stuff isn't cheap. It's brilliant, but it's not cheap. I want to relish in every penny of this as it sits on my face for as long as possible. But to each their own.

Personally, I have never once used this without putting a serum and moisturizer on top because, well, it's a leave-on exfoliant product to me. There's other beneficial stuff added to it, as most exfoliants (in my opinion) should have, but it's an acid exfoliant.

With that said, one pump of this all over the face at night (and I tend to use this exclusively at night) will give you skin that shines like a new chrome faucet the next morning, with a texture as smooth as a rubber glove pulled taut, and a plumpness as juicy as the flesh of a plum. Now, all these similes sound ridiculous, and that's because the effect that I get from using this is ridiculous. There's not another exfoliant in my collection that can give the brightness, plumpness, smoothness, or absolute radiance that this product gives. Not one. And I own a lot of exfoliating products that I love to high heavens. Because of that, this is a product I use sparingly. I save it for when I need my skin to look extra perfect the next day.

I think this is the penthouse suite of exfoliants.

If you're just starting out with using an exfoliating product, I personally wouldn't recommend using this every single night right off the bat. I would suggest starting small by using it a few times a week for the first week, and gradually increase usage - but never to the point of excess.

The combination of acid exfoliation and brightening ingredients will certainly help to even out tone and texture over time, that's for certain - but you'll want to stick with it.

Another point: like all Sunday Riley products, the scent of this is fairly polarizing. I don't mind it and I don't think it smells bad. Some of you might, but the scent dissipates.


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.

If you've been thinking about getting this because this review is the tenth one you're reading in order to justify the price or confirm/deny the hype, bite the bullet - buy a bottle. Seriously, this stuff is that good. Better yet, get a sample from Sephora or Nordstrom and give it a whirl! I'm almost onto my second bottle - if that tells you anything.

Sunday Riley Good Genes $105 for 1 fl. oz or 30mL Available at Sephora, Dermstore, or Nordstrom


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