You probably know this by now, but I am a very big fan of lactic acid as an ingredient. It is far and away, one of my favorite active ingredients as it is super effective, but really gentle!
What is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) but is much gentler than a lot of the other acids (like glycolic acid) out there, while still being very effective: smoothing and brightening the skin… making a BIG difference in just a single night. Originally derived from sour milk (but now there are vegan + synthetic versions available), the lactic acid molecule is larger than other alpha hydroxy acids which means it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply. Because of that, it’s incredibly effective at exfoliating the texture of your skin, but again – gentler than other acids!
Lactic acid is great for all skin types (even sensitive skin can handle it, unlike Honeymoon Glow which I love but is IMO a lot more intense) and it is one of the few products I use where I see a noticeable difference the next day – it does wonders for the texture of my dry skin which can get rough, bumpy, and uneven. Acids are an important part of my skin care routine… and should be an important part of any anti aging skincare routine in my opinion! As I get older I find that using a chemical exfoliator is so important to help prevent dullness, fine lines, dry skin, and clogged pores while sloughing away dead skin. I try to do them 2-3x a week!
Important: do not mix lactic acid with vitamin C or retinol oil (or any other active ingredients, for that matter!). Also, acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure you wear SPF during the day!
Sunday Riley Good Genes vs. Biossance
Before we dive into the review, I also wanted to have a frank talk about packaging. One obvious difference between these two products is price: The Biossance is $62 and the Sunday Riley is $85. When you pick up both bottles, the Sunday Riley one feels much more substantial and weighty. But both products are an ounce. So just be sure to always check the product weights. It can be deceptive. With Sunday Riley Good Genes I do think that you’re definitely paying for the nicer, fancier packaging.
My testing process:
I started testing the two products on May 4th. Every other night (or around this), I would put Good Genes on the right side of my face and Biossance on the left side of my face. In case you were wondering, I remembered this because there’s an R in Sunday Riley. R = right. Very official.
The important thing to note is that I’ve used both of these products a lot over the years, but for the purpose of this test, spent 19 days comparing the two.
Sunday Riley Good Genes
Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is always going to have a special place in my heart as it is the first high end beauty product I ever tried. This was pre-blogging, around 2008 or 2009, I think. The brand had just launched and was teeny tiny and a girlfriend who was doing their PR brought samples to book club.
How to Use It:
I like to use an acid 3x a week. (As a refresher I do retinol 1-2x a week, acid 3x a week, and Bader on the off nights). I will typically wash my face, tone, apply this, let it sink in, and then apply oil or cream over it. More about my skincare routine can be found at The Beauty Hub! (I keep it up to date with my exact routine).
- Nice packaging
- I prefer the texture of this one over Biossance. It’s a small thing but this one glides on and absorbs faster.
- Contains prickly pear extract (another power ingredient – it’s been called the natural botox!) which soothes, calms, and evens.
- Licorice root extract is one of the key ingredients, and that helps with dark spots! (I do not personally have dark spots so cannot personally vouch about either one being better for dark spots).
- Honestly, this one doesn’t smell very good.
- It’s not clean.
- Price – it’s $23 more than Biossance
- Contains less lactic acid than Biossance (only 5%!)
Biossance is a brand I’ve only just started to use but have become quickly obsessed with. They’re one of my favorite clean brands as the products are all scientifically backed, using good for you ingredients. Their Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum has become one of my favorites of their products. I am also a big fan of Biossance because of what they do for the environment. Squalene is traditionally harvested from shark liver (this makes me want to cry thinking about!). Biossance has found a way to develop their own squalane via sugar cane. If this is interesting to you, I highly recommend checking out this post!
How to Use It:
Same sitch as Good Genes. I like to use an acid peel 3x a week. (As a refresher I do retinol 1-2x a week, acid 3x a week, and Bader on the off nights). I will typically wash my face, tone, apply this, let it sink in, and then apply oil or cream over it. More about my skincare routine can be found at The Beauty Hub! (I keep it up to date with my exact routine).
- Smells better than Sunday Riley
- It’s less expensive than Good Genes.
- Contains squalane (the brand’s signature ingredient!) for hydration.
- It’s more highly concentrated – I was shocked to discover that it actually contains double the amount of lactic acid as Good Genes.
- I find that it makes the biggest immediate difference. Over time they even out but this one is a little bit stronger IMO.
- It meets Sephora’s clean beauty standards.
- A really good, sustainable brand.
- Texture is not quite as nice as Good Genes but honestly that’s the only con IMO.
Which is Better?
Honestly, both products are great and both are amazing for smoothing the skin… + have fantastic anti aging benefits! For the past month, 3x a week I used Sunday Riley on my right side and Biossance on my left side. I took careful note of how my skin felt and responded to both products and the difference is pretty negligible.
Because of that, I would recommend the Biossance – simply because it uses only clean ingredients, has double the lactic acid, and it’s $23 cheaper! I don’t think that the Biossance is so much better that you should stop using Sunday Riley if you’re using that already BUT when you run out, I’d say get the Biossance next, as it’s considerably less expensive, contains more lactic acid, and features only clean ingredients.
PS – The Ordinary lactic acid is a fraction of the price and has gotten great reviews as a lactic acid treatment. I’m definitely curious about it but The Ordinary’s products but I’m not sure I trust them. I’ve only heard about it and have not personally tried it. I’d love your thoughts if you’ve tried them – that $7 price tag is pretty outrageous and the reviews are very good!
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