Sunday Riley isn’t just the brand founder, she is the brand formulator. Each product reflects her belief that in order for results to count, they have to be visible, appreciable and fast. The targeted treatments are designed to visibly improve the quality of your skin, including the signs of aging, dryness, oiliness, acne, dehydration, and the appearance of pores and spots. 

Product Claims:

“Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment repairs and helps prevent the visible signs of aging while promoting a brighter, more even complexion. NV-5 Ageless Complex reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving facial micro-circulation. Lactic acid refines your skin’s texture and diminishes age spots and blemishes while yeast extract accelerates new cell growth. Arnica and licorice extracts reduce inflammation while lemongrass tightens pores.” – Company’s Product Description.

Ingredients: Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Agave Tequilana Leaf (Blue Agave) Extract, Cypripedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyses Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract, Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Ppg-12/Smdi Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol And Ceteareth20, Glyceryl Stearate And Peg-100 Stearate, Arnica Montana (Flower) Extract, Peg-75 Meadowfoam Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Triethanolamine, Xantham Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, Dmdm Hydantoin.

Price: $105 (Approximately N42,000)

Size: 30ml


Sunday Riley’s signature ingredient called “NV-5 Ageless Complex” is made up of blue agave, lady’s slippers orchid extract, prickly pear extract, cactus extract, aloe and yeast extract. While all these have some skin benefits, they are not ingredients with comparative benefits to well-established anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, resveratrol and niacinamide. Yes, Prickly pear and Cactus have plenty antioxidants but unfortunately the skin is not a digestive tract so it cannot break down prickly pear and cactus into the smaller components (like ascorbic acid, carotenoids, glutathione etc.). Blue agave (base ingredient of Tequila) does not have much evidence to support its role in skincare, Lady’s slippers orchid is primarily used as a sedative. This proves that there is nothing complex or ageless about NV-5.

This product is pretty much an AHA exfoliant disguised as a “special treatment”. It contains 5% Lactic Acid (AHA), which will definitely exfoliate the skin, improve skin texture, improve skin tone and hydrate the skin; Licorice will also help improve hyperpigmentation and age spots (read about Skin Exfoliation here). Lactic acid is great for dry and sensitive skin as it is not as harsh as glycolic acid. Sunday Riley claims that this product contains “pharmaceutical grade lactic acid” but the grade of lactic acid does not affect its efficacy and there are other skincare products with the same grade of lactic acid that cost much less. Another concern is the pH of the product, which is 2.6; the ideal pH for AHAs to function without causing unnecessary irritation is between 3 and 4, so this product may turn out to be irritating if you have very sensitive skin.

Bottom line is, it is a good product but it is unnecessarily overpriced. You can get the same exfoliating effect using The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% which costs a fraction of the price of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. If you are in your 30s, 40s and beyond, go for products with a higher concentration of lactic acid, retinoids, amino acids, niacinamide, peptides and/or antioxidants as concentrates rather than as a part of a plant extract.

PHOTO CREDIT: Beauty Banter

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