I’ve been hearing great things about Good Molecules skincare over the past few months. The colorful packaging is so uplifting, and the very affordable pricing is a big plus. So I was thrilled when the brand sent me some products to try. Spoiler: I liked the products so much that I ordered more. So today, I will share my experience with Good Molecules in this Good Molecules skincare review.
About Good Molecules
Beauty industry veterans at the online retailer Beautylish created Good Molecules to offer effective skincare products at a fair and reasonable price. Good Molecules products are formulated with ingredients backed by science and research, plus they are safe for you and the planet. The Good Molecules team works with top labs to address various skincare concerns such as acne, the signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and redness.
The best part is that the products don’t have the traditional skincare retail markup. This means that you can try multiple Good Molecules products for the price of one luxury skincare product. Good Molecules follows in the footsteps of other affordable skincare brands like The Ordinary and The Inkey List, both brands that offer targeted skincare products at very low prices.
A standout characteristic of these products is the transparency in the formulas. By transparency, I mean that some Good Molecules products offer a Nothing to Hide Ingredient List, which discloses the percentages of ingredients in the products in a table from highest concentration to lowest concentration. This is very rare in the beauty and skincare world, so this transparency is a strength.
NOTE: Good Molecules LISTENS to their customers! They have updated several products and note what version the product is on their website. Some of the product packaging even notes the ingredient changes that were made with the current version. I know of few other skincare companies that quickly reformulate multiple products based on customer feedback.
This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information. Good Molecules gifted me some products. These products are marked as “(gifted)”.
Good Molecules Review: Cleanser, Toner, Serums, Moisturizer, and More
I tried multiple Good Molecules products. They generously sent me some, and then I purchased the rest. My main skin concerns for my combination skin focus around the signs of aging, including wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, hyperpigmentation, and dark circles.
Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm is formulated with sea buckthorn oil, camellia oil, and shea butter to remove makeup, dirt, oil, and other impurities. Solid at room temperature, its smooth texture melts and turns into an oil when it comes in contact with your skin. It emulsifies and turns milky once water is added. The cleanser removes makeup, dirt, and oil easily and leaves your face feeling clean but not tight or dry.
The balm is formulated to remove waterproof makeup without leaving residue or a film behind. While the balm should not irritate your eyes, Good Molecules always recommends patch testing for this and every new product that you try.
This cleansing balm is the perfect product to remove makeup, sunscreen, and oil accumulated after a long day. It’s the ideal first step oil-based cleanse of a two-step double cleanse. Good Molecules has another cleanser that I have not tried, which would be the perfect water-based cleanser for step two of a double cleanse: Good Molecules Rosewater Daily Cleansing Gel.
Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm is fragrance-free in this version 1.1, which sensitive skin types should appreciate. It comes in a cute tin, and a small scoop is included. Although this is not Good Molecules’ most inexpensive product (it’s $15 for 2.5 oz), it is an effective cleansing balm and does a good job of removing makeup and sunscreen.
Would I repurchase? Probably not, since I have another favorite cleansing balm that is slightly more affordable ounce for ounce.
Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner (gifted) is an alcohol-free toner formulated with ingredients that work to brighten the skin and reduce the look of dullness, uneven skin tone, and pores. This toner is slightly thicker than a typical watery toner, thanks to the effective active ingredients in the formula.
It is filled with brightening actives in addition to multi-benefit niacinamide, including the antioxidant and vitamin C derivative 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, arbutin, and licorice root extract. Sodium hyaluronate attracts moisture while glycerin and saccharomyces ferment filtrate soothes and moisturizes. Astragalus membranaceous root extract offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Toner has always been a bland step of my skincare routine because I felt like the only thing it did was balance my skin’s pH in preparation for the next step of my skincare routine. This toner is different. I don’t know if I’ve ever tried a toner that has this many actives in it. Yet, it doesn’t feel heavy or sticky.
This is one of my favorite products from Good Molecules. It has been my go-to toner every night. I think it would be beneficial for those who experience post-acne scarring, redness, and hyperpigmentation.
Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid Serum (gifted) is a lightweight serum formulated with sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid), glycerin, and vitamin E. It helps replenish your skin’s moisture and provides hydration that lasts while making your skin look smoother and plumper.
This fragrance-free Good Molecules’ version 1.1 serum is formulated at a pH of 5.59. It contains three different types of hyaluronic acid that have different molecular weights. This allows the serum to work on multiple layers of your skin for enhanced hydration.
Since it is so lightweight, I like to add a few drops of this serum to other Good Molecules serums to amp up the hydration factor. You should apply it before heavier serums, oils, creams, and moisturizers. It’s non-comedogenic and good for all skin types.
The serum sinks in quickly and doesn’t interfere with other skincare and makeup products. Although this doesn’t feel like the most hydrating hyaluronic acid serum that I’ve ever tried, it’s has a great texture and skin feel. It isn’t sticky or tacky. Plus, it’s only $6 for 1 oz.
Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum (gifted) contains 2% cetyl tranexamate mesylate (a form of tranexamic acid) and 4% niacinamide to help improve the look of hyperpigmentation, age spots, acne scars, sun damage, uneven skin tone, and other discoloration.
This lightweight serum offers brightening benefits and can also help prevent inflammation from turning into hyperpigmentation and discoloration.
Why is this product formulated with cetyl tranexamate mesylate instead of tranexamic acid, a popular brightening ingredient? The structure of each ingredient is different. Tranexamic acid doesn’t penetrate the skin barrier, while cetyl tranexamate mesylate can pass through the skin barrier since it is similar in composition to skin lipids. Cetyl tranexamate mesylate can then provide a steady release of its active compounds to prevent and improve discoloration.
This lightweight serum sinks in easily and works well on top of Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid. I have yet to see specific brightening results with this serum after using it for a few weeks, but the secret is patience when it comes to this product and other brightening products. It may take several weeks to see results.
NOTE: Good Molecules does not recommend using this serum with direct acids and Vitamin C.
Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum contains 10% niacinamide for a brighter complexion, refined skin texture, and minimized pore size. It’s also helpful for acne and breakouts and for those who have clogged pores. While this serum contains a few other skin-soothing ingredients like glycerin and vitamin E, niacinamide is the star of the show.
Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, offers many benefits for the skin in addition to brightening benefits. It regulates oil production, which is helpful for oily skin types. Niacinamide also has anti-aging benefits and can help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- This study in the British Journal of Dermatology determined that niacinamide can decrease transepidermal water loss and increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in the top layer of the skin.
- This study in the International Journal of Dermatology showed the anti-inflammatory benefits of Niacinamide can benefit those with acne similar to acne treatment clindamycin.
The serum is lightweight and layers well, especially over hyaluronic acid. You can use this both morning and night. I like to use it during the day to control oil production and in the evening when using retinoids. I definitely notice a difference in oiliness during the day when using this serum and appreciate the anti-aging benefits as well.
Niacinamide and Vitamin C
Good Molecules notes that niacinamide should not be used with products containing ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C. Using niacinamide and vitamin C together is a highly debated topic. Some sources say it’s okay to use these two ingredients together since the research (done in the 1960s) showed a decrease in the effectiveness of both ingredients/skin irritation occurred only when tested at very high temperatures.
Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment combines 8.05% glycolic, 1.04% lactic acid, and 0.10% salicylic acid. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that exfoliate the skin’s surface by sweeping away dead skin cells. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates deep into pores to unclog them, helping to reduce blemishes.
The result is smoother skin with a more even skin tone and improved clarity. Glycolic acid is the smallest of alpha-hydroxy acids, so it penetrates better than other AHAs, but those with sensitive skin may find glycolic acid irritating. If you have sensitive skin, Good Molecules recommends starting at once a week until your tolerance level increases. Otherwise, Good Molecules recommends using this no more than 3 nights a week.
I’ve always been sensitive to glycolic acid, so I prepared myself for irritation. While this did cause some irritation upon application, it only lasted a few minutes. After every application, I wake up with brighter, smoother skin with improved clarity.
NOTE: Good Molecules does not recommend using this serum with other direct acids, retinol, or vitamin C.
Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches are formulated with caffeine, niacinamide, green tea, and other actives to help you look more awake, depuff, and brighten the under-eye area.
Niacinamide is included in this formula to help brighten, soothe and protect your eye area. Caffeine, an antioxidant, improves microcirculation. Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5, a four amino acid peptide, is included in the formula to help reduce eye bags.
Astragalus membranaceous root extract and camellia sinensis leaf extract provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits while aloe vera soothes and sodium hyaluronate hydrates. (Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid with a smaller molecule size, which helps it penetrate the skin better.)
The jar comes with 30 sets for a total of 60 under-eye patches. Apply the patches for 10-15 minutes. A spatula is included to remove the patches. If you really wanted to, I imagine that you could apply them to other areas of your face, such as the laugh lines around your mouth, for a hydrating and plumping effect.
The gels themselves are thin and flexible, and covered with a good amount of product. They stick easily to your under-eye area without sliding down your face, which is a big plus. As a result, you can actually move around without them falling off your face.
While you can use these patches morning or evening, they really seem to help puffiness under my eyes when applied in the morning before skincare and makeup. They are very cooling upon application and leave my eye area soft and smooth.
Good Molecules Yerba Mate Wake Up Eye Gel (gifted) is formulated to soothe and brighten puffy eyes with yerba mate extract, which provides antioxidant benefits and protects against oxidative damage from UV light.
This 100% vegan gel also contains three different kinds of hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump fine lines. Caffeine & acetyl tetrapeptide-5 work to depuff and reduce fluid accumulation.
I usually prefer a creamy eye cream, as eye gels often aren’t hydrating enough under my eyes. This eye gel feels very hydrating compared to other eye gels that I’ve used in the past. I really like the thick texture. While you can also apply this at night under eye cream, I like to use it in the AM as it leaves my eye area smooth and plump. It also helps with redness around the inner corners of my eyes and wears well under makeup.
If you can believe it, this eye gel is only $6! You can’t beat that price for this excellent formula.
Good Molecules Silicone-Free Priming Moisturizer (gifted) preps the skin for makeup with its smoothing, hydrating and conditioning formula. If you don’t like the feel or the occlusive properties of silicone but want the smooth texture it creates, this moisturizer is a lovely alternative and a 2-in-1 product.
This Good Molecules cream is formulated with macadamia seed oil, shea butter, and a naturally derived silicone alternative to leave skin plumped, smooth, and ready for makeup. It’s very smoothing and nourishing, thanks to essential fatty acids from olive oil.
I am pretty picky when it comes to daytime moisturizers because I need a hydrating moisturizer but not too dewy, or else my face will become too greasy after several hours. This lightweight moisturizer leaves a beautiful finish and helps to keep makeup in place. I like this moisturizer so much that I included it in my best skincare of 2020 post!
Good Molecules Ultra-Hydrating Facial Oil contains only two ingredients: camellia oil and sea buckthorn oil. Camellia oil, also known as tea seed oil, hydrates and protects against free radical damage with anti-aging polyphenols and potent antioxidants. Sea buckthorn oil contains fatty acids to support the skin barrier and soothing vitamin E.
Good Molecules notes that high-quality sea buckthorn oil has a natural pigment, so it can leave a temporary yellow pigment on your skin. As a result, they recommend using this oil at night only.
This lightweight, non-comedogenic oil blend is a beautiful golden color and sinks into the skin easily without the slightest greasy feeling. Although it only comes in a small 0.44 oz bottle, it is rich, so you only need a few drops.
I use it on top of a moisturizer in the evenings when my skin is feeling extra dry. I don’t notice any skin discoloration, though. I’ve really enjoyed using this during the cold winter months to lock in moisture.
Good Molecules vs The Ordinary
Due to a few factors, Good Molecules is often compared to The Ordinary, another affordable skincare brand that offers similar skincare products.
Pricing & Formulas
The Ordinary has some of the least expensive skincare products across the board. Good Molecules does, too, although not as low as The Ordinary. Please keep in mind that The Ordinary often concentrates on one hero ingredient, while Good Molecules formulates some of their products with a hero ingredient plus multiple additional actives to enhance their formulas.
Transparency in ingredients is very important to both Good Molecules and The Ordinary. Good Molecules takes it a step further and discloses the exact percentages of ingredients in some of their products.
I think that Good Molecules and The Ordinary complement each other. While they have some similar products, like those formulated with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, in general, Good Molecules offers more complex formulas than The Ordinary, while The Ordinary’s catalog of products is much more extensive.
Good Molecules Glycolic Exfoliating Toner (gifted) is all about brightening and resurfacing the skin’s surface. It contains 3.5% glycolic acid to remove pore-clogging dead skin cells. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates dead skin cells to reveal brighter and smoother skin. It can also increase collagen production, which helps to improve skin firmness and elasticity.
The toner also contains galactomyces ferment filtrate, also known as pitera. It comes from fermented yeast and is rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that nourish the skin and support a healthy skin moisture barrier.
Salicylic acid gets deep into pores to clear away excess sebum (oil), while multi-benefit niacinamide brightens the skin, improves skin tone and texture, and supports a healthy skin barrier. Sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid hydrate and plump the skin. Aloe soothes the skin.
The toner is formulated at an acidic pH of 4.2 and is fragrance-free. After applying with a cotton pad, I can feel my face tingle for a few seconds. This goes away pretty quickly, though. I can see improved clarity in the morning after using this toner. Using it every other day is working well for my skin.
This is one of the only glycolic acid toners that my skin can tolerate, so I love the 3.5% concentration. I also love that you get all the benefits of a glycolic acid treatment plus niacinamide and hydrating ingredients. While I still love Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner, this is a great option to use a few times a week for gentle chemical exfoliation.
NOTE: When using glycolic acid or other AHAs, be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and for a week after.
Final Thoughts on Good Molecules Affordable Skincare
I really had no idea what to expect from Good Molecules products, but I can say that I am very impressed after trying a wide selection of their products. Good Molecules products are not only inexpensive but also work.
Good Molecules products are worth checking out if you enjoy other low-priced skincare brands like The Ordinary and The Inkey List. I absolutely love the transparency of ingredient percentages on select products, as well.
Thanks for reading and until next time…