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The first time I head about Sunday Riley Good Genes ($85, Ulta), I couldn’t figure out what was so special about it. All I knew was that women were talking about this skincare product as if it were some kind of miracle that changed their lives. Could any cream, ointment, or serum really be that amazing? I doubted it. Then I tried it for myself.
The first thing to know about Good Genes (or really any of Sunday Riley’s across-the-board fabulous line of products) is that it’s not cheap. The second thing to know is that it’s worth it. Good Genes is a lactic acid-infused alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) treatment that diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, helps fade dark spots and make pores appear smaller, and completely retexturizes your complexion.
I’d only been using my new, precious bottle of Good Genes a couple of days when my 17-year-old daughter did a double-take and asked me if I was using a different foundation. When I told her I wasn’t wearing any makeup at all, her eyes widened. “You’re glowing, mom,” she said — and promptly snapped a picture of me to post on Instagram. (The highest possible praise from a teenager.)
Good Genes can be used as a night serum, as a base layer under moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup in the daytime. (Makeup optional, obviously.) It’s lightweight, milky, and has just a slight sour milk smell to it that fades as soon as it sinks into your skin. Take care not to get it close to your eyes, and remember that a little goes a long way. For me, half a pump is enough to smooth over sunspots and scars, and leaves me feeling dewy and fresh-faced.
Good Genes works for all skin types: dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin can all benefit. And it does so much, all in one product. Lactic acid exfoliates your skin, licorice and lemongrass brighten it up and help fade discoloration, and prickly pear extract soothes redness and evens out your skin tone. It doesn’t have sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, triclosan, or a slew of other unpronounceable harmful ingredients. Plus, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in fully-recyclable, easy-to-open packaging. (No wrestling with stiff plastic that won’t come apart.)
And I’m not the only one who sees results. “After using it at night, the next morning my skin looks brighter, my overall skin tone looks more even, and my dark spots less pronounced,” wrote one reviewer. “I feel like it helps my skin glow! I feel so beautiful using this,” raved another. “Brightens, softens, helps me with wrinkles, lightens acne discoloration.”
Now, when I hear people talk about the wonder of Sunday Riley Good Genes, I understand why it’s often in a hushed tone of wonder. It really is that good.
Where to buy: From $85, Ulta