Sunday Riley

Good Genes Treatment

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 105.00
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Brand Overview

Good Genes Treatment is said to do all sorts of great things for the skin, from brightening and exfoliating to plumping, improving hyperpigmentation, and bringing oxygen to the skin. Sadly (actually, in the case of the oxygen claim, happily), the only claims you can count on are exfoliation and improving hyperpigmentation (brown spots, uneven skin tone).

This is really an AHA exfoliant dressed up as a specialized treatment, perhaps to coincide with its deluxe packaging and its eyebrow-raising price. The formula contains the proven AHA ingredient lactic acid, and this product's pH allows it to function as an exfoliant. Despite this, we have a serious concern: The ideal pH for AHAs to function without causing undue irritation is 3–4; this product's pH is 2.6, which is far more acidic than necessary and much more likely to be irritating.

Exfoliating with an AHA product will improve skin tone and, if you're being good about daily sun protection, dark spots, but this benefit can be obtained from lots of exfoliants that cost a whole lot less than this one.

What about the claim that this contains "pharmaceutical grade lactic acid"? The "grade" of lactic acid does not have anything to do with its efficacy (we posed this question to a few cosmetic chemists just to be sure). Plus, there are lots of skin-care products that contain pharmaceutical-grade lactic acid that cost far less than this.

Note: Please see the brand summary for a discussion of this product's NV-5 Ageless Complex (in short, it is neither complex nor ageless).

  • Contains an amount of the AHA lactic acid that's likely enough to exfoliate, and the formula's pH enables exfoliation to occur.
  • Lightweight, easy-to-apply lotion texture.
  • Overpriced for what amounts to just a good AHA exfoliant.
  • The arnica and lemongrass extracts pose a risk of irritation (the lemongrass gives this product a noticeably citrus scent).
  • pH is so low it's likely to be an undue source of irritation.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Everyone wants the unmistakable look of having "good genes". This amazing pharmaceutical-grade, Lactic Acid-based treatment is an instant complexion booster, plumping fine lines and exfoliating to reveal brighter, newer skin.

NV-5 Ageless Complex (Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Cyripeedium Pubescens (Ladys 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.

Sunday Riley is a brand that has captured the attention of many with its mix of luxury-positioned skincare products and its ties to today's top fashion designers. This coupling, plus the brand's cult-like status among beauty editors, has led many of our readers to ask us whether Sunday Riley products are deserving of the hype. The answer: Yes and no.

Often noted in Sunday Riley's products is the NV-5 Ageless Complex. Despite the number 5 in this trade name, the complex contains a mix of seven plant ingredients: prickly pear extract, blue agave, lady's slipper orchid extract, opuntia tuna fruit, cactus extract, aloe, and a type of yeast extract (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

We explored the research on each of the ingredients in the NV-5 Ageless Complex. While all of them have some benefit for skin, they're not ingredients that have comparative benefit to long established ingredients such as retinol, vitamin C, and niacinamide, for example.

This brand has some intriguing products and many of them contain beneficial ingredients that are packaged to maintain their effectiveness, but there are a few missteps in terms of highly fragrant formulas. Even the highly rated products are on the pricey side for what you get, but at least if you choose to indulge you'll know which products are worth buying.

Sunday Riley products are available at several online retailers, as well as at Sephora stores.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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