It is with deep sadness that I report to you that, on occasion, expensive skin care products really do work better. Sure, there are plenty of beautifully packaged products marketed at unreasonably high markups, but every once in a while something special comes along that justifies a high price tag. Example: Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-in-One AHA Lactic Acid Treatment and Luna Sleeping Retinoid Night Oil.
I’ve been using this power duo for years, and every time I restart I blame myself for waiting so long. The powerful burst of active ingredients work together to help transform skin in days. The best of all? There’s almost no skin problem they can’t fix. Red and irritated skin, uneven pigment and texture, acne, fine lines and more are all treated. I always notice that I get compliments on my skin a few days after reintroducing them into my beauty routine. But my absolute favorite part? These two do so much heavy lifting that they eliminate the need for a long and complicated multi-step night and day skin care routine.
I use Good Genes and Luna as part of my nighttime routine, on dry skin immediately after cleansing. If you just can’t skip the serums, you can use them first, but as I mentioned, I can’t find any additional products needed. It might seem counter-intuitive to apply an oil first, but since Luna has active ingredients and isn’t occlusive, I use it first (per Sunday Riley’s instructions). After waiting a few minutes for it to sink in, I layer two pumps of Good Genes over it. If you have oily skin, you might not even need to use extra moisturizer, but I find I like the feel of a light night cream on top, and I add that as well after a few minutes. Then it’s a little eye cream and I’m ready to wake up with radiant skin.
The secret is in the high percentage of active ingredients in both, although I’m particularly obsessed with the high lactic acid content in Good Genes. It is a unique chemical exfoliant that promotes rapid cell turnover in the surface layers of the skin, leaving it smooth and helping to eliminate blemishes. It’s combined with licorice and lemongrass, which help lighten the appearance of dark spots, sun damage, and other discolorations, and prickly pear extract, which helps soothe blemishes. redness and calm sensitive skin. If I just had to choose Good Genes or Luna, I would probably defer to Good Genes. There really is nothing else comparable over the counter.
But that doesn’t mean that Luna Oil isn’t a powerful and coveted product! If you’ve been hesitant to try an oil or retinoid, this is the perfect place to start. Soothing botanicals like Blue Tansy and German Chamomile are paired with an advanced retinoid ester that supports skin health and elasticity, reduces redness, and fights fine lines and wrinkles. Avocado seed oil plumps up the skin and provides a healthy dose of antioxidants. It doesn’t clog pores which is great if you’re acne prone like me.
When used together, these two problem-solving skincare products can deliver remarkable results. It’s a great investment for someone looking to up their skincare game and incorporate some serious actives into their routine, but don’t want to go for the prescription cream just yet. I started using them over five years ago and I credit them in large part for the health of my skin. I’m an incredibly vain Libra woman, so if this means anything to you, then you know it’s a recommendation you can trust.
As always, be sure to be diligent about using sunscreen when using these two products. Thanks to powerful active ingredients, your skin is more susceptible to sun damage, whatever the season.
Keep reading to experience this power couple for yourself. As always, I’ve included a few alternative options if these are currently prohibitively expensive. I often turn to them when I’m low on Good Genes and Luna Oil and need to save up. No need to wait for great skin while you save those pennies!
Sunday Riley Good Genes
Oil Sunday Riley Luna
Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
Whether you’re pregnant or just prefer plant-based skin care products, Herbivore Serum is a great option. It’s made with bakuchiol, a naturally sourced retinol alternative that hydrates while targeting the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and texture. It works in tandem with polyhydroxy acid to gently exfoliate and resurface skin and tremella fungus to hydrate and repair the moisture barrier.
Paula’s Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment
Paula’s Choice takes the power of lactic acid and combines it with other effective AHAs like glycolic and malic acids. It is a highly concentrated treatment serum that works to exfoliate the skin, leaving you with a smooth and radiant complexion. It hydrates, brightens and refines skin texture, making it a great addition to your routine.
Inkey List Anti-Aging Retinol Serum
The Inkey list is a must-have for those looking for active ingredients at a lower price. Their powerful, time-released retinol helps smooth and brighten skin without causing irritation thanks to the addition of squalane, which hydrates and soothes.
Ordinary lactic acid 5% + HA 2%
The Ordinary Lactic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a cult favorite and a staple in my skincare routine. It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to shell out for Good Genes, and I often use it on alternate nights with Good Genes when I’m running low and want to expand my supply. You can start with 5% lactic acid and increase the formulation to 10% when your skin has adjusted for even more powerful benefits. It’s gentle, effective, and designed to soothe your skin so you wake up glowing and refreshed.