Good Molecules Review: Can Cheap Skincare Be Effective?

Good Molecules Review: Can Cheap Skincare Be Effective?

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Good Molecules is a popular and extremely affordable skincare brand. The company claims their products can help you “see a difference in your skin,” and their cosmetics are sold at a fraction of the price of similar retailers? 

But does a lower price mean lower quality, or is Good Molecules just a great deal? Does the brand use research-backed ingredients for improving skin quality? Are there any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Good Molecules?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in two of the most popular Good Molecules products (Discoloration Correcting Serum and Niacinamide Serum) based on medical studies to give our take on whether the products are likely to be effective or if they’re a waste of money.

We’ll also provide a cost comparison featuring which retailer sells Good Molecules for the best price, and highlight customer reviews of the brand.

Discoloration Correcting Serum Ingredient Analysis

Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum ingredients

The ingredients in Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum are shown above.

This is the first cosmetic product we’ve ever reviewed on Illuminate Health that includes the concentration percentage of each ingredient, and this transparency is a sign of a high-quality brand.

This product does contain some research-backed ingredients for improving skin quality and reducing discoloration.

Glycerin can improve skin hydration and facilitate skin barrier repair according to a 1999 clinical trial.

Niacinamide is clinically shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin hydration as we documented in our review of another brand containing this ingredient called itk Skincare.

Cetyl tranexamate mesylate was shown in a clinical trial published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology to successfully treat hyperpigmentation at a very similar concentration as exists in Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum.

The study authors found that after two weeks, 79% of trial participants experienced an improvement in skin tone, 79% reported a reduction in dark spots and 77% experienced a reduction in facial redness.

Ceratonia siliqua (carob) gum was described as having “depigmentation properties” in a 2015 clinical trial, suggesting that this is another effective ingredient for a discoloration product.

Tamarindus indica seed gum was described as having potential anti-aging effects in a medical review published in the Advances in Dermatology and Allergology journal.

Based on the available research, we consider Discoloration Correcting Serum highly likely to treat discoloration and potentially likely to improve skin hydration and provide anti-aging effects.

This is arguably the best-formulated hyperpigmentation product we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health, and it’s entirely free of inactive ingredients we consider questionable from a health perspective. We would recommend this product.

But before analyzing the ingredients in Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum (the brand’s skin quality promoter), we’ll feature some unsponsored Good Molecules user reviews.

Real People Try Good Molecules

A YouTube creator named “the krys cam” used Good Molecules products for a full year and shared her experience:

A YouTube creator named Keyshana Dupuy shared before-and-after images from her use of Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum:

Niacinamide Serum Ingredient Analysis

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum ingredients

The ingredients in Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum are shown above.

Glycerin and niacinamide were already established to be effective ingredients for skin hydration and wrinkles in the previous ingredient analysis section.

Betaine may be effective for skin lightening according to a clinical trial published in the Food Science and Biotechnology journal. In our opinion, this makes it a strange ingredient inclusion for a product that’s not used for skin lightening but for promoting smooth skin.

While there are some effective ingredients in this formulation, there is one we consider questionable from a health perspective.

1,2-hexanediol was clinically shown to be toxic to humans as we documented in our article on is Function of Beauty good, which analyzed another cosmetic brand that uses this ingredient.

Overall, we consider Niacinamide Serum likely to improve skin quality and appearance given some of the research-backed active ingredients, but we don’t recommend this due to the potential skin-lightening agent and the inclusion of 1,2-hexanediol, and we consider this product inferior from a formulation perspective compared to Discoloration Correcting Serum.

But what do medical experts like dermatologists have to say about Good Molecules? We’ll review in the next section:

Medical Experts Discuss Good Molecules

A dermatologist and popular skincare influencer named “Dr Dray” reviewed Good Molecules in an unsponsored YouTube review:

A doctor named Vanita Rattan reviewed Good Molecules and shares her thoughts on whether the brand’s formulations are likely to be effective in black and brown skin:

Where to Get the Best Price

Here’s a price breakdown for the two Good Molecules products we’ve reviewed in this article at the time of publishing:

Discoloration Correcting Serum (75 mL)

Ulta: $25 (plus shipping, link)

Brand website: $25 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $25 (free shipping, link to Amazon listing)

Niacinamide Serum (30 mL)

Walmart: $13.98 (third-party seller, link)

Ulta: $6 (plus shipping, link)

Brand website: $6 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $6 (free shipping depending on plan – link to official Amazon listing)

At the time of publishing this article, Good Molecules products are nearly 100% more expensive on Walmart than on the brand’s website because they’re listed by third-party sellers.

Real Customers Review Good Molecules

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.

Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum has been reviewed over 1,400 times on Amazon with an average review rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Leandra N.” who claims the product successfully treated hyperpigmentation:

“I honestly wish that I took before and after photos. I deal with hyperpigmentation on my chin and I started seeing results after 2-3 days. I’ve read reviews that it doesn’t work for some but I definitely wanted to try it for myself. I’m impressed with the product so far. I’m gonna try their other products as well soon”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Jimmybean21” who claims the product has a foul odor:

“Unfortunately as soon as I went to open the Amazon package there was a strong smell that was extremely potent. It smelled like the calamine lotion used for to treat poison ivy. This smell was just not something I could get over, so I processed a return on it right away, and did not try it.”

Our Clean Skincare Picks

Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.

It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.

Momentous Collagen Powder is our top anti-aging skin supplement.

Collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to reduce visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.

HYDRAGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top moisturizer pick.

It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects." 

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy.

Pros and Cons of Good Molecules

Here are the pros and cons of Good Molecules in our opinion:


  • Very affordable
  • Brand publishes ingredient concentrations
  • Both products reviewed contain research-backed active ingredients
  • Should improve skin quality
  • Skin discoloration product is best we’ve reviewed for an OTC product
  • Mostly positive Amazon customer reviews
  • Products we reviewed are free of fragrance and harsh preservatives


  • Niacinamide serum contains ingredient clinically shown to be toxic
  • Shipping costs may double price for single orders
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Good Molecules is a unique cosmetics brand and we applaud the brand for its transparency in publishing concentrations for every ingredient in every product. This helps consumers (and researchers like us) make informed decisions about the potential efficacy and safety of their formulations, and we’ve never before seen a cosmetics brand do this.

Both Good Molecules products we reviewed contain research-backed ingredients, and we consider Discoloration Correcting Serum to be likely effective. It’s a product we would recommend given that it’s free of any questionable ingredients.

We do not currently recommend Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum due to the inclusion of an ingredient clinically shown to be toxic in at least one trial.

At the time of publishing this article, the brand’s website and Amazon have the best prices on the Good Molecules products we’ve reviewed, while Walmart has the worst prices.

Good Molecules is one of the most affordable skincare brands we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health, and may be a good option for consumers on a budget.