sunday riley good genes glycolic acid treatment review

My heart broke when Sunday Riley reformulated Good Genes with glycolic acid instead than lactic acid.

I totally get it why she had to do it. A new EU law dictates that brands can’t sell lactic acid treatments that have a 10% concentration or a pH lower than 5.

Thanks EU! Don’t you have better things to do than screwing up with our skincare? I know you’re trying to protect consumers, but no one has ever died from using Good Genes.

Plus, there are so few exfoliants suitable for sensitive skin. With this move, a lot of people with sensitive skin could switch to something that’s more irritating for their skin. Like, you know, glycolic acid…

I can’t in good conscience recommend the new glycolic version of Sunday Riley Good Genes to anyone with sensitive skin anymore. 🙁

But what if you don’t have sensitive skin? If your skin can tolerate glycolic acid, Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment is still a great buy:

P.S. Yes, that in the picture above is a sample size. I wasn’t sure I was gonna like the new version of Good Genes so I treated myself (read: bought with my own money) to a Sunday Riley holiday set with mini sizes of the brand’s bestsellers to find out.

Key Ingredients In Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment

Glycolic Acid

The old Sunday Riley Good Genes uses 7% lactic acid at a pH of 3. The new Sunday Riley Good Genes uses 7% glycolic acid + a lactic acid salt at 3% and a pH of 3.5. What’s the difference?

Glycolic acid and lactic acid are both members of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) family, a group of exfoliants that dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together so they can slough off.

Glycolic acid has a smaller size than lactic acid. This makes it more effective (you’ll see results sooner) but also more irritating. That’s why I can’t recommend it for sensitive skin.

Glycolic acid and lactic acid have another thing in common: they have water-binding properties that deeply hydrate skin.

In theory, glycolic acid goes even further: this acid is famous for boosting collagen production. The catch? It does it at 10%+ concentrations.

Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment has 7% glycolic acid so don’t expect it to do too much for antiaging. Here, it only exfoliates skin, smoothens out its texture and gives the complexion a beautiful glow. Not shabby, is it?

FYI, if you have oily skin or acne, salicylic acid is a much better exfoliant for you.

Related: Glycolic Acid Vs Lactic Acid: Which One Should You Choose?


Everyone’s into squalane at the moment – Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment uses it, too.

What’s so special about it? For starters, it’s so similar to human sebum (your skin’s natural moisturiser) so it sinks in super quickly.

That makes it super moisturizing too. Squalane strengthens the skin’s protective barrier, moisturises skin and keeps it soft and smooth for hours.

The best part? It’s safe for everyone. It doesn’t cause irritations or give you breakouts. Heck, even people with fungal acne can use it without risking another flareup.

sunday riley good genes glycolic acid treatment


Yep, the base of Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment is Dimethicone, a famous silicone many people love to hate.

They say it clogs pores, suffocates skin and has zero benefits for the skin. I wouldn’t be so drastic…

It’s true Dimethicone has no antioxidants or soothing properties. But it makes the texture easier to spread, fill in fine lines and large pores so they look smaller and creates a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in.

By the way, this barrier is breathable. Silicones have a particular molecular structure with wide gaps between each molecules. Skin can perspire through these gaps.

While we’re busting skincare myths, Dimethicone itself doesn’t clog pores. It’s when you use it together with comedogenic ingredients that breakouts happen.

Related: Are Silicones Bad For Skin?

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion

Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment has a lightweight, lotion-like texture that sinks in immediately on my dry skin.

Now, if you’re expecting a change in pore size or blackhead removal, you’ll be disappointed. That’s a job for salicylic acid, not glycolic acid.

But if you’ve got dry skin with small pores and no blackheads, you’re in for a treat. Already the morning after using Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment, my skin was already brighter. It had a lovely glow to it.

My skin also got softer. Without all those dead cells on my skin, the whole surface was smoother and softer to the touch.

All in all, Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment did exactly what I expected it to do: it exfoliated the surface of my skin so that it looks smoother and more awake. Good job!

Available at: £85.00 at Cult Beauty, Net-A-Porter and SpaceNK


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Have you tried Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ingredients: Water/ Aqua/ Eau, Dimethicone, Glycolic Acid, Squalane, Caprylyl Caprylate/Caprate, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Potassium Lactate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, PPG-24-Glycereth-24, Bis-Stearyl Dimethicone, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Fruit Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ceteareth-20, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Isostearate, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene

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