top of page
  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

Affordable Alternatives To Sunday Riley's Good Genes Serum

While some of us are born with good genes and can thank our family for glowing skin, some have to spend a little money to get the same results. If only we could bottle up those traits and use them for our glowing complexion; however, we can get out hands on Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment that can gently exfoliate our skin and give us unbeatable radiance in three minutes.

This OG of lactic acid serums is a multitasker, and New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner told Today that this is "a great product for people with aging or dull skin because it can improve radiance and brighten the complexion." Dr. Zeichner added that this cult-favorite product has anti-inflammatory licorice root extract and a potent antioxidant prickly pear extract to promote younger-looking skin.

There’s no doubt Sunday Riley makes fantastic products and what makes Good Genes so special is lactic acid. Lactic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and dermatologist Cristina Psomadakis told Elle, "This is a class of skin exfoliators that help to increase skin cell turnover by loosening the protein bonds that tie them to the skin's surface." It's gentler than sister AHA glycolic acid and has an array of skin benefits from firming and moisturizing in addition to brightening.

This magical serum with 5% lactic acid (via PureWow) delivers what it promises but isn't cheap as it costs $85 for a 1 oz. bottle. If you aren't ready to spend the big bucks on this, here are some affordable dupes for Sunday Riley's Good Genes that are equally good.

The Ordinary continues to impress us with skincare products that say exactly what's in it and works as well as prestige brands at an unbeatable price. Aegean Chan, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Santa Barbara, California used The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA when she was pregnant, so we know it's good (via Allure).

This wallet-friendly lactic acid serum provides mild exfoliation and is perfect for people with sensitive skin. Added hyaluronic acid supports your skin barrier, and it also has Tasmanian pepperberry to calm inflammation. Plus, this vegan serum is cruelty-free and comes in sustainable packaging. You can't beat skin radiance at this price.

"Just as good as Sunday Riley Good Genes, for less," a reviewer said on Amazon and added, "Used Good Genes for a year and loved how it made my skin look/ feel. Ran out and didn't replenish because of the price tag. Just got this a few weeks ago and can already tell it's just as good!"

The INKEY List Lactic Acid Serum

The INKEY List is another brand that's equally transparent about its ingredients and is so affordable. The INKEY List Lactic Acid Serum comes highly recommended by Minneapolis-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jenny Liu, M.D., who considers it an affordable alternative to Sunday Riley's Good Genes with the added benefits of hyaluronic acid that helps your skin to retain moisture (via Bustle).

If you have dry, sensitive skin, this gentle exfoliating serum with 10% lactic acid removes dead skin cells, leaving you with a smoother and brighter complexion with fewer lines.

This is your go-to if you struggle with dull skin and uneven texture. Use this vegan serum only at night as it could make your skin sensitive to the sun, like all exfoliating ingredients.

A reviewer on INKEY List's website said, "it improved my skin's texture without being too aggressive. My pores feel clean after using it, a few drops go a long way!"

Youth To The People Kombucha + 10% AHA Liquid Exfoliant with Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid

Kombucha is known for improving your gut health, and leave it to Youth To The People (YTTP) to take advantage of this superfood for the skin. If your skin issues include dullness and uneven texture, try adding the Youth To The People Kombucha + 10% AHA Liquid Exfoliant with Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid to your nighttime routine to see reduced discoloration and roughness on the skin. This peel also showed an impressive reduction in brown spots at the Bazaar Lab test (via Harper's Bazaar).

According to YTTP, it has 7% lactic acid and 3% glycolic acid to help you achieve a smoother and more radiant complexion, and black tea kombucha helps prevent premature signs of aging. This fragrance-free peel is Clean + Planet Positive.

A happy reviewer on Sephora said, "My skin feels smoother, the tone is slightly more even, and those pesky blackheads (right around the mask line) seem to be a bit smaller."

K-Beauty brand Peach & Lily is known for its cult-favorite Glass Skin Resurfacing Serum. It looks like their newer lactic acid serum might claim a permanent spot in our vanities after seeing how it can instantly transform our skin.

Peach & Lily Power Cocktail Lactic Acid Repair Serum beautifully blends the benefits of 10% lactic acid, red algae, and ginseng in one powerful serum. Peach & Lily's founder Alicia Yoon told Byrdie, "Red algae is great at helping to fill in fine lines and wrinkles from the inside out, and it helps firm up skin." Yoon added that ginseng is a popular ingredient in Korea for its skin-rejuvenating properties. Together with lactic acid, it's one cocktail our skin has been thirsty for.

A super-impressed reviewer on Ulta said, "I was using a much more expensive lactic acid serum from Sunday Riley. I decided to try this one, and I am SOOOOOOO glad I did!!! This one is just as effective and costs less, which is a HUGE bonus right now with how crazy inflation has gotten."

If you want super soft and luminous skin, you must try Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum. New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Elyse Love loves this lactic acid serum because it has 10% lactic acid and squalane, which are the two main ingredients of Sunday Riley Good Genes, per Bustle. Dr. Jenny Liu added that it has the same texture as Good Genes and will give you equally good results as Sunday Riley's cult classic serum.

This gentle lactic acid will give you super smooth and more radiant skin in the AM, and sugarcane-derived squalane provides long-lasting moisture. Clover is one of its star ingredients, which helps restore and rejuvenate the skin.

With over 67,000 likes on Sephora, one reviewer said, "I have used Sunday Riley Good Genes for many years, but I switched to this because it faded spots Good Genes left behind. The squalene in the serum prevents the "burn" that can occur with strong exfoliation, so it's a great buy for folks concerned about discoloration and age spots."


bottom of page