The Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is such a classic cult product with celebrities like Madonna, Brad Pitt and Sharon Stone and many beauty editors professing their love for it. However, it’s such a notoriously difficult product to find, not to mention buying. It’s traditionally only sold in spas and you need a personal consultation to purchase it. I don’t even think that they put any money into traditional marketing means such as advertisements etc. Anyway I became obsessed with this product and I finally got my paws on it in early March this year! Muahahaha! *My precious*
*Ahem* Anyway, so what exactly is this magical potion which has everybody so enthralled? Lotion P50 is an all-in-one toner and exfoliating lotion. It helps to speed up the epidermis’ natural exfoliating process and the reconstruction of the epidermal shield. Lotion P50 also gently exfoliates, regulates excess sebum secretion, moisturises and helps maintain a balanced acid PH, visibly improving many common skin conditions including white-heads, blackheads and symptoms of rosacea. Basically, it’s an acid toner but it’s so much more than it! Let’s take a look at its ingredients, shall we?
Water, glycerin, phenol, niacinamide, vinegar, magnesium chloride, lactic acid, arctium lappa root extract, salicylic acid, sodium benzoate sulfur
It has BHA, AHA and niacinamide (all of my favourite actives!).
How does the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Original “1970” fare?
Before we begin, you need to note that the version which I’ve gotten is the one with the phenol ingredient. Biologique Recherche do have many different versions, including phenol-free versions, of this Lotion P50. You can click here to see the different versions it has.
Anyway, the reason I’m highlighting the inclusion of phenol in this product is because phenol is a rather controversial ingredient. In EU and UK, this ingredient is banned in skincare due to some concerns that repeated or prolonged skin contact with phenol may cause dermatitis, or even second and third-degree burns. Inhalation of phenol vapour may cause lung oedema. The substance may cause harmful effects on the central nervous system and heart, resulting in arrhythmia, seizures, and coma. The kidneys may also be affected as well. However these effects usually occur if the phenol present is in high concentrations, which this product doesn’t have. With that said, what is the use of phenol in this skincare lotion? I did some slight research and think that the presence of phenol in this formulae might be used to remove dead skin cells from the skin surface since that’s what this lotion is supposed to do. I wanted to try the original “1970” formulae because that’s said to have the best effects. I took my own risk and you’ll need to gauge your own risk appetite as well. Alright, now let’s go into the review proper, shall we?
When I first opened the bottle and pour some onto a cotton pad, my husband asked me if there was a dead rat in the house. I’m serious! It smells really really horrible! I had read reviews on this product before and also knew that this product literally stinks but I was unprepared for just how smelly it is. After I applied it on my face, I do notice a stinging sensation and also a curious numbness to the skin (which I presume is due to the presence of phenol). However my skin didn’t turn red and the stinging sensation was quite tolerable. I was using the PIXI Glow Tonic before trying this product so I think that my skin might have gotten used to acids. I usually use this product at night since it’s supposed to be stronger. Waking up the next morning, my skin looked quite calm instead of being angry or irritated which is what I had feared. However the results of this product really kicks in after around 2 weeks of use. I was noticing that my skin was literally glowing even without makeup and most importantly, the usual hormonal acne which plague me didn’t surface at all! Other skincare products such serums and moisturisers also sink in better and I didn’t have any flakiness from the use of retinol. Now that I’ve been using it for around 2.5 months, my skin doesn’t have the tingling feeling anymore when I use it. I can confidently say that this product will stay in my skincare arsenal. In fact I’m thinking of buying the phenol-free version just to compare its effects against the bottle that I have.
Just a note if you are curious about the percentage of acids and pH in this product. Even though Biologique Recherche had never made official statements about them, a quick search led me to this website with a user claiming that the P50 lotion in all formulations is quite strong, ranging from 12.85% acid for P50 to 9.3% for P50W with a consistent pH of 2.5-3.0. This means that the Lotion P50 is definitely a strong exfoliant and not just a pH adjusting toner (unlike the Mizon AHA BHA Toner).
Here’s how I use this product in my skincare routine: Cleansing Oil/ Balm => Cleanser => Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 => wait 10 minutes => hydrating mist/ toner => hydrating serum => Retinol oil (such as the Pestle & Mortar Superstar) => night cream. Note that I do not use this product on nights when I use the prescriptive Differin as I do not want to risk over-exfoliation.
Where can you find it?
I bought the product from Rescue Spa. It retails for US$98 (8.5 fl. oz/ 250ml size), US$65 (5.1 fl. oz/ 150ml size) and US$27 (1.7 fl. oz/ 50ml size).
In Singapore, you can refer to their Facebook Page on the list of available salons which sell this product.
Side Note: As stated on the Facebook Page of Biologique Recherche Singapore, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore (which regulates cosmetic products) have restricted the import of Lotion P50, P50 V & P50 W due to the low pH. The regulations in some countries such as Singapore does not allow the sale of cosmetics whose pH is below 3.5. Therefore the Biologique Recherche HQ in Paris had modified the P50 lotion sold in Singapore to be P50 T. The pH of the P50 T is slightly higher than the Lotion P50 (about 3.5 instead of about 3).
Thank you for reading!