Finally! As I promised in my last skincare post, today I’m sharing some of my top, holy grail, can’t-live-without, skincare products, all of which happen to be from the same French brand, Biologique Recherche. I can say with the utmost confidence that this line, along with properly cleansing my face, changed my skin around.
Now, I should warn that this line does not come cheap. In fact, it’s probably the most I’ve spent on any skincare products, but for me, I’d much rather give up some of my other more frivolous purchases than skimp on my skin.
A little background: I first found out about this brand after discovering the brands #1 product, the Lotion P50, which I’ll get to in a bit. After using the product for a few months and seeing what it was doing to my face, I was curious what else the brand had to offer. I did a ton of research and came across Aida Bicaj, the most incredible master technician facialist on the Upper East Side. I decided to book an appointment (hey, it’s research, right?!) and to see for myself what it was all about. During my 1.5 hour facial, I picked her brain about the Biologique line (she studied with them in Paris, over 20 years ago!) and asked what products were an absolute must for me to try. Basically, which products “should I NOT be living without?” I should also add that I can spot a sell-y, salesperson from a mile away. There’s nothing that will make me walk out quicker than being sold and there was absolutely zero of that going on. It was so obvious that she was speaking with such genuine and passion enthusiasm about the brand, that I knew she was not BS’ing me.
After giving me the breakdown, I went home with a shopping bag of products that probably cost more than my rent and started to use the entire range for the next couple of months. Now, I tried way more than the three products I’m talking about today, but if I could narrow it down to my top three from the brand, these would be it.
A mask that hydrates, tightens, reduces breakouts and leaves me with a beautiful glow. Mix with a pea size amount of baking soda and water, leave on for about 20-30 minutes and gently wipe away with a damp washcloth. I use this about 2x a week. As with all of Biologique Products (which is part of what makes them so incredible) this stuff is all natural with the main ingredient being yeast. Aida told me that it’s the yeast component that helps draw out all the gunk out of your pores, leaving you with a noticeably brighter complexion over time.
The owner of Rescue Spa, another place where Biologique is sold, says:
“If you do Masque Vivant at least twice a week, you’ll never age. This unique mask contains live yeast extracts which are packed with amino acids and famously nourishing vitamin B. There is no product like it to keep your skin purified, revitalized and bright. In my 20 years of experience with it, I have seen it drastically improve many people’s complexions.”
Now I should warn, this stuff STINKS. Like, really, really bad. Like a mixture of soy sauce mixed with yeast. And it gets worse as you wipe it off. Thankfully, after using this stuff for almost a year, I’m used to it, but it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give a proper warning. So, you’ve been warned. It’s foul… simply put.
I should probably be talking about this last, since it’s the last step to my routine, so I apologize for being a little all over the place. After cleansing, applying my P50 toner, serum and moisturizer (sometimes I mix a bit of serum/oil into my moisturizer), I finish off with the Fluide VIP 02. How Aida explained it to me was that this product essentially seals in moisture and protects your skin throughout the day from “urban aggressions.” I once read (or watched a video? I can’t remember!) where Caroline Hirons talks about going about your routine like a moisture sandwich. You wouldn’t want to eat a turkey and cheese without a bit of mayo or mustard and the same goes for your face. Applying a serum before and/or after your moisturizer, you help build and seal in that moisture so it lasts all day. The Fluide VIP is essentially the sealing agent, but more than that, it makes my face GLOW. There’s no other way to put it, but when I have it on, my face looks and feels happy. This is the most expensive product I own, so I use it very sparingly and on days where I feel like I need an extra pick-me-up. If I could, I would use it every single day and night, but it’s just too pricey (about $125 for 1 oz – I know, I know).
Last, but certainly not least, the brands #1, cult-following product. If you’re going to walk away from this post and choose to invest in only one of these products, there’s no doubt that it should be the P50.
WHAT IS THE LOTION P50
Technically, it’s not a lotion but more like a toner, even though that’s an incredibly old school term that makes me think of Sea Breeze (remember that?) P50 is a liquid that exfoliates and balances all skin types (if you haven’t already watched this video, watch it starting from 2:12!). Caroline does a brilliant job of explaining why using an exfoliating toner is CRUCIAL in prepping the skin for what you’re going to do afterwards. These products are designed to strengthen the epidermal shield, exfoliate the skin, regulate excessive sebum secretion, hydrate the skin and maintain the skin’s pH. To top it off, ever since I started cleansing my face properly and using this stuff, my breakouts have pretty much stopped. I’ll get an occasional pimple right before that time of the month, but that’s about it (*knock on wood*)
The Lotion P50 range consists of 6 different versions. There’s the Lotion P50, which is the full strength version, The P50V, a medium strength version and P50W, a mild version for mature, drier skin types. All 3 strengths are available in both the original formula and the newer, phenol-free formula.
I’ve tried several versions and have to say, the regular P50 (Phenol Free) is my favorite. This article (thanks for sending, Keiko!) does an excellent job at breaking the product and formulas down. Personally, I’m always inclined to recommend the regular P50, but since my skin was already used to both glycolic and lactic acid, I might have already had more of a tolerance to this type of product. And this might be obvious, but I have to warn, just in case: please don’t let the illustration above determine which version you get!
HOW I USE THE LOTION P50
After cleansing and drying my face, I use a cotton pad, which I prefer more than a cotton ball, and lightly wipe all over my face, neck and chest area. If your skin is ultra sensitive, start out with a barely damp cotton pad, but as your skin gets used to it, you can apply to a dry pad. I usually use this 2x a day, but if you’re starting out, I recommend starting with once a day. I then let the product absorb into my skin for a couple of minutes and then my face feels completely prepped for the next part of my routine, which is serum and then a moisturizer. In the mornings, I’ll finish off with the Fluid VIP 02.
On days that I use a mask, after I wash it off, I’ll follow with the same routine as above: P50, whatever serum or treatment I’m using and finish off with my moisturizer.
Additional Note: If you happen to use the Clarisonic, I wouldn’t use BOTH the Clarisonic and the P50 at the same time. It’s way too much exfoliation at once. For me, the Clarisonic is a bit too aggressive for my face and using a muslin cloth plus an exfoliating toner is enough. If you can’t give your Clarisonic up, alternate the days between that and the P50.
WHERE TO GET BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE
If you’re visiting or live in the NYC area, the spa at The Peninsula Hotel sells the entire range.
Any questions? Ask in the comment section below!
Illustration: Lilian Yang for Brooklyn Blonde