Sunday Riley Good Genes vs. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

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Lactic Acid skincare which is better Sunday Riley Good Genes or The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HAaffiliate link

As I get older, I have reached a point where physical exfoliation in my skincare no longer cuts it.

Chemical exfoliation is a necessity.

In this review we are going to compare Sunday Riley Good Genes vs The Ordinary.

Who will take the top spot as the best Lactic Acid skincare products?

The experts were not kidding when they warned that cell turnover slows as we age.

I swear my skin became duller, less smooth, and I even started noticing some hyperpigmentation pretty much the night of my 40th birthday.

It was disheartening, to say the least.

But, I’m a fighter, y’all.

Helping me fight the good fight against time itself are Sunday Riley and The Ordinary.

Sunday Riley Vs. The Ordinary Review

Sunday Riley Good Genes and The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA consistency

You’ve probably heard about skincare brand Sunday Riley. And if you’re particularly savvy, you’ve heard of The Ordinary.

Both brands offer high performance skincare products that can help you achieve your best skin ever.

One of the best selling items from the former’s arsenal is Sunday Riley Good Genes ($105/1 oz, $158/1.7 oz). This is a lactic acid-based treatment that refines skin’s clarity and texture, as well as brightening.

If that price gives you pause, there’s The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA solution ($6.79/1 oz.).

No, that price is not typo…

These both contain lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid that refines, brightens and clarifies skin) and yet come with markedly different price tags, I decided to guinea pig myself and put them both to the test for you!

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% HA Review

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA bottle

Prior to this challenge, I’d only tried The Ordinary’s version of Lactic Acid.

The rosy pink liquid is extremely watery, so it’s dispensed via dropper.

There is no real smell to this, at least none that is obvious or that lingers.

I typically apply 3-4 drops to freshly cleansed skin, patted and pressed with my fingers onto my face and d├ęcolletage.

I have sensitive skin, so as expected, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

This is not an every night product for me. It stings a little every time I use it.

I can only get away with about 2-3 applications a week or my skin flakes and breaks out.

I also found that unless I chased this with a heavy-duty moisturizer it would actually cause my skin to feel dry and flake.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA pump dispenser

As with all acids, try to minimize use to nighttime and always remember a sunscreen during the day.

(Fact: acids cause sun sensitivity.)

After one application, this made my skin appear brighter the next morning. After one week, I noticed fewer breakouts. After one month I feel like my skin was looking pretty darn amazing!

Sunday Riley Good Genes vs The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

After trying The Ordinary, I decided to test Sunday Riley’s Good Genes…for science!

Sunday Riley Good Genes Review
Sunday Riley Good Genes pump bottle protects from air and light

This formulation is more of a creamy serum, as opposed to The Ordinary’s watery formula. One pump is all I need. I wash my face at night and then apply this all over my face, neck and chest.

Sunday Riley has one obvious thing in its favor: the delivery system.

Packaged in an opaque bottle with a pump, it’s not only easier to apply, the product isn’t exposed like The Ordinary is.

When you pay $100+ for a product, you don’t want air and light spoiling its effectiveness!

But here’s a turn off for me: I find the smell awful.

Some formulations of lactic acid possess a pungent odor. Sunday Riley masks that with a grandmotherly fragrance. It’s a little too perfume-y, just not my favorite.

Fortunately, it dissipates quickly.

There is no stinging with this product and it feels almost like a moisturizer.

So I’m able to skip applying additional skincare after this treatment if I want. After one night, my skin looks marginally better.

But it took me a full week of daily use of Good Genes to see the same results that I got from two applications of The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA.

However, as I have sensitive skin, I do feel my face tolerated Good Genes slightly better than The Ordinary’s lactic acid variation. 

Conclusion: Sunday Riley Good Genes vs The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% HA Review


Overall, I think both products are strong delivery systems of lactic acid.

The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA is extremely affordable and effective.

Sunday Riley’s Good Genes requires a hearty bank account for similar results.

I think if you have very dry or sensitive skin, you’ll probably have better luck with Good Genes. If you have oily or normal skin, then I highly recommend The Ordinary for your lactic acid needs.

Have you tried Sunday Riley’s Good Genes or The Ordinary?

Share your experience below!

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  • krista

    Lives in the middle of nowhere with her amazing hubby and two codependent dogs that love to hate each other. She enjoys dance parties of one and last minute road trips, prays for Angela Lansbury's immortality and can never own enough blush. She averages one "Silence of the Lambs" quote a week and feels no shame over this. Perhaps she should. skin tone: NW15 skin type: sensitive/oily favorite beauty product: Blush, lots and lots of blush


  1. The Sunday Riley one sounds great to me! I have very sensitive skin that dries out easily with anti-aging and acne treatments.

  2. Ally McBeagle says:

    I tried both also. I have very oily, sensitive skin – I can’t tolerate glycolic acid, so I looked to lactic acid for exfoliation (esp at my age when physical exfoliation isn’t the first exfoliation of choice). I purchased a Sunday Riley mini kit (with Ceramic Cleanser) and wow, the difference was noticeable. Before ordering full size, I tried Ordinary, and saw no difference in my skin after using the entire bottle of the Ordinary (no irritation either but my skin was acclimated to lactic acid and retinoids). I went back to Sunday Riley and saw overnight improvement. It may just be the Ordinary formulation, that my skin just doesn’t absorb it well – I’ve tried the Sub Qanti-aging serum, the granactive retinoid, and the naicinamide with zinc and haven’t observed any changes in my skin. I had the same issue with finding a Vit C serum that worked for me so I’m sure it is my particular skin.

  3. PSA: The Ordinary skincare line is back at Sephora! It disappeared for months, but it’s back again! Grab it while you can :D

    1. Have you heard about the brand Good Molecules? I got an eye serum in my Beautylish Lucky Bag that was “coming soon” and it said prices start at $6! Maybe there’s a new Ordinary on the rise.

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