One of my first ‘grown up’ skincare purchases was Good Genes by Sunday Riley, and since my introduction to this US brand about 4 years ago, I’ve sampled most of their skincare offerings. During my recent Melbourne trip, I took the opportunity to visit Mecca Cosmetica at Myer and purchase their bundle labelled The Power Couple, which consists of 15ml bottles of Luna Sleeping Night Oil and Good Genes (in store only unfortunately, hence the visit!)
Since I’m most familiar with Good Genes, we’ll start off with that.
Good Genes is an intensive serum made up of 40% unneutralised lactic acid, one of several alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that are commonly used in skincare to hep resurface the skin. Resurfacing the skin with an acid isn’t as traumatic as it sounds. AHAs help loosen the bonds of dead skin cells and encourages cell turnover, which should mean a brighter complexion, more of that youthful glow that Photoshop and Instagram filters promises, and baby butt soft skin. This formula has serious kick to it. By that I mean upon application you will usually feel a momentary sting like you’ve been rapidly poked with a needle; that effect may be less so if you’re a regular user of AHAs (remember, momentary sting = good; throbbing burn = bad)
Of all serums I’ve used that promise Fountain-of-Youth results, Good Genes is definitely one where I can actually see the results – fresh, dewy, glowing, radiant, all of that (positive) jazz. It may be too strong for super sensitive skin types, but my oily-combination firmly loves this lotion. I would usually use this under a moisturiser at night, but if you were using this during the day then make sure you wear a good SPF. Use of AHAs increase sensitivity to sunlight and the effects of UV, so you need to protect the new skin that is being revealed.
The serum does have a bit of fragrance through the use of a select few essential oils, but my nose loves it (gingery, spicy, citrusy, what I think cactus smells like, I dunno), and despite the activeness of the lactic acid, it’s still soothing upon application thanks to a base that includes coconut oil and aloe vera. There are a few silicones listed in the inci list, including dimethicone (which is the main ingredient in conditioner), but I’ve never had an issue with silicones in general.
Now, this stuff is admittedly pricey ($158 AUD for 30ml at Mecca Cosmetica). There are nicer-price alternatives out there of course, but if you really want to treat yourself to something that on the whole is really effective, you couldn’t do worse than give Good Genes a try.
Luna Sleeping Night Oil was released around the start of last year and is marketed as a new generation retinoid oil. Strictly speaking the active ingredient in this oil is not actually retinol (i.e. vitamin A), but a cousin to retinol in the chemical chain. You can hear more about what retinol is and how Luna fits into that category from skincare expert, Caroline Hirons, right here. Basically though, if you’re new to retinol and vitamin A, this product is a good starting point.
As the name suggests, this is a night oil you are meant to apply at night to sleep in. The base oils are numerous – avocado, grape seed, chia, sunflower seed, all great for the skin and chock full of omegas. There’s also a healthy splash of essential oils, so be aware of that if you’re sensitive to such.
One of the main marketing points of Luna is that it contains blue tansy, an anti-inflammatory oil rich in azulene, distilled from an ironically very yellow, daisy-like flower. While blue tansy is naturally blue, the oil does also contain synthetic dyes to further boost the colour. Apparently these are food safe dyes and approved in the US, but if you’re hypersensitive to synthetics of this nature then you probably want to spot test at a store, or avoid altogether if a blind purchase is too risky.
It doesn’t feel heavy once you’ve massaged into the skin, but if you were to go over your face with your fingers, you would certainly be aware of the presence of the oil. It’s one of those comforting things where you know your face is protected without needing to actually feel the product on the surface of your skin.
Now because I’ve never seen the effects of a retinol on the skin, I couldn’t currently say whether this is an effective product on me. Luna certainly feels beautiful to apply, and the oil doesn’t feel like an oil once on the face. If you’re still relatively youthful and have good skin thanks to your current regime, you could probably give Luna a miss and instead invest in a proper retinol product, or a really good face oil exclusively. Who knows though, as I age I may be able to see the physical effects of Luna better, and this product may become something I need into my more mature years than right now.
The packaging recommends using Good Genes in the AM and Luna in the PM, but I’m inclined to use them both at night when my skin feels the need for one or the other (or both I guess?) Alternatively if I’m staying at home all day and don’t need to interact with people and be a good functioning human, I’d also be happy to slather my face in Luna and let it do its work too.