April 22, 2015

My Holy Grail Products: Biologique Recherche Review

Biologique Recherche Review

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.


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!


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.


If you’re ordering online, I listed two places above: Vicki Morav and Rescue Spa.

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



  • comfortablycasey.com

    Do you think it is okay to use p50 before a serum with acid?

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi! Depends on the percentage of acid in the serum. If it's strong, I'd probably use the P50 without the serum as you don't want to over exfoliate your skin. If it's a super mild serum, then I think it's okay.

  • Sasa Zoe

    Great information! Thanks for sharing!

    Shall We Sasa

  • Colleen

    I don't care of the mask stinks if you tell me I'll never age if I wear it!


  • Wishes & Reality

    I've been looking for a new line to try, as my skin has really changed over the past year. I'll definitely check these products out. I have a great giveaway up on my blog, I hope you'll check it out!

    Wishes & Reality

  • Adriana

    Nice tips!

  • Claudia Baskerville

    How does the P50 compare to Alpha H Liquid Gold?

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi Claudia, I actually LOVE the Alpha H as well. The Alpha H is more glycolic based (higher percentage) and I use that about 2x a week, at night, on days that I DON'T use P50. I was going to include that in, but didn't want to give too much information at once. Like with all beauty products, it's always good to switch it up and the Alpha H is a favorite in my routine.

  • Vera

    Thank you for sharing.

    Blonde in Cashmere

  • Madeleine

    LOVE BR, I have all three of these they have made a dramatic difference in the texture/brightness of my skin and I have only been using for a month! Did you experience any purging when you 1st started use? Also would you share what cleanser and moisturizer you use? And do you have any secrets for hormonal acne spot treatment? Thx!!!

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi Madeleine! Personally, I didn't experience purging, but that's because my skin was already pretty used to chemical exfoliators.. I know that some of my friends have experienced some purging, so it's definitely normal with this type of product. For my cleanser, I love the Emma Hardie Cleansing balm when I need to remove makeup or sunscreen and I'm also using the Biologique Lait 02 cleanser. For a moisturizer, I've been loving Tata Harper! No recommendation for acne spot treatment, but I'll definitely update if I find one.

      Hope that helps!

  • My Linh

    Hi Helena, thanks so much for taking the time to write this informative post. I will exploring into this line and pass along to my family member who has break out problem.

    My Linh

  • Vanessa Ciliberto

    Sounds like some great products!


  • Sara Morais | The Citified

    I've been wanting to get my hands on P50 since forever but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Also, I can't order from thoso two online stores because I'm from Europe. So, if you know any european online store where I can get P50, please let me know.

    xx Sara

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi Sara, I'm sorry about that! I'm going to look into this and get back to you. Check back tomorrow!

  • Patricia dodero fernandez

    Hola! Os invito a conocer mi blog. Cosas muy interesante a cerca de alimentación, deporte, dietas, trucos, remedios caseros…


  • Anonymous

    I, too, would love to know what moisturizer you use, Helena. Thanks to your advice, I've started using the Emma Hardie cleansing balm and P50 to great effect. However, after I apply the P50, it leaves my skin just a tiny bit sticky so that even with moisturizer and primer, my make-up doesn't go on smoothly. Do you have any suggestions?

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi! Are you giving the P50 a few minutes to absorb after you apply your moisturizer? Typically, I apply and let it sink in for a few minutes and then use a serum (been loving Sunday Riley's Juno) mixed in with my moisturizer, which lately, has been from Tata Harper. My makeup always goes on smoothly as long as I let the products properly absorb.

  • tailoredandtrue

    Caroline Hirons is a hero among men, and I absolutely love her for what she has done for my skin. I haven't taken the plunge for P50 yet, but I think I will soon. Thank you so much for sharing!


    • Brandy

      Yes, she is. She has completely changed my skin for the better. I am already a P50 disciple because of her. Can’t wait to try other 2 items.

  • Krizia

    I never heard of this brand, so thanks for sharing!

    x Krizia

    Shark Attack – Fashion Blog

  • otroyansky

    The entire line is also sold at Glamvie Salon on Ocean Ave in Brooklyn – http://www.glamvie.com/. If you mention a
    "nails to inspire" group on Facebook they might be able to give you a discount. Just an FYI. Can't wait to try the line and thank you for the info!!!!

  • The Office Stylist

    I've always wanted to try these products but never got to it! It sounds like they really take care of your skin. You have me convinced, haha.

    The Office Stylist

  • Jennifer Lai

    Helena did your face have scars before using this product? I have pimple scars and I thought about doing a chemical peel, but I am afraid of the results. Is this product just as good? I am willing to do anything. Please help.

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi Jennifer,
      I definitely had some mild acne scars that eventually, got lighter over time. Unfortunately, when the scars are very deep – there's only so much chemical exfoliators can do and a chemical peel and/or lasers might be very beneficial for deep scarring. I know this is probably obvious, but make sure you research someone who is good! But the P50 helped lighten and control new breakouts. Good luck! I know how frustrating it can be:(

  • Nicole Sioui

    Very informative post! Thanks! Aware that the p50 lotion might be out-of-range for some people; may I kindly suggest a less expensive, yet very effective formula, also mentioned by Caroline Hirons in her video – Clarins Gentile Exfoliater. (use only 1-3 times a week). After one use, I woke up the next morning with dramatically clearer, refined and brightened skin. I’ve only recently started this regimen so I'm anxious to see he accumulated effects after a moths use.

  • Andrea W

    Thank you for this post! The one part that I wish more people would go into detail about is the time between steps. So I did my wash, and then my toner….now how long until I apply my serum (I use Hydraluron), and then how long until I moisturizer?! It would seem obvious, but I really don't know if you should immediately apply it or let it soak in. No one talks about that part. I keep hearing about the P50, but I hesitate because I've spent so much money on skincare lately, and while I love the products, I'm not seeing much of a difference in my issues. I have become cult-addicted to Caroline though after reading your first post when you discovered her. Thank you for that! I also love reading AModelRecommends.com (Ruth from a lot of Caroline's videos). She does more makeup video's but she's very good at explaining products, and giving you a close up of the results. My face is actively breaking out at 37, and I'm heading to the term to find out if the redness really is rosacea or some other form of joy. I'd love to go back to the teen years – where I never had a blemish, and I didn't even wash my face!

  • Anonymous

    Hello! Help….I use the P50 and can't get past the smell, sooooo I only use it at night! It smells very medicinal and the smell won't go away! Even stays on my fingers after several hand washings & putting on hand lotion! My son thinks it smells like old rubber and always comments that it stinks when I have applied it. Am I the only one that feels this way??? Do you just get use to the smell…??? THANKS!

  • Ashley

    Helena, I cannot thank you enough for this post and the previous where you introduced us to the great Lady Hirons. I have the same story that I'm sure that you've heard Countless times. Great skin until late 20s, tried everything, ready to jump off a cliff. I got the p50 without phenol on your recommendation here. How many drops do you use on your cotton pad? The directions on Rescue Spa say to pat, but I see that you wipe, which is what Caroline also recommends.

  • Lisa Anderson

    First of all, I would like to say a big thanks for sharing this article. It's not just teenagers who have oily skin, for many people of all ages it's a fact of life. I am regularly using Sakare's skincare products. I would like to recommend this to all.

  • Skin Thinks

    Hi!, Very interesting, thank you very much for the post.

  • Maria Wilson

    I have just visited your websites. I cannot hold myself for appreciating your blog.Thanks for sharing this info and please keep sharing.

    Herbal Beauty Salon in New York | Herbal Beauty Salon in Valley Stream

  • Madison

    Hi Helena,

    I know I'm a few months late here, but I am just now hopping on the Biologique Recherche train!

    I met with Kariné Kazarian 3 days ago at her spa in the Village. She assessed my skin and we settled on the P50V 1970 (havent read much on this particular version) as well as the Masque Vivant. I have been using the Masque AFTER the P50V as opposed to before which leads me to ask; Have you found that applying the toner after is more beneficial to your results?

    Also, I would love to know what cleanser you have been pairing with these products as I'm not in love with the BR cleansing milk. Im in my mid 20's with fair, combination skin that is pretty acne prone. If you have any recommendations for alternatives, Id' love to know!


  • Gabriela

    Great post! Love love Love Biologuique Recherche. I am obsessed with my p50!

  • Tammy


    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi Tammy, I totally understand! I recommend calling or emailing Rescue Spa and they could guide you in the right direction! They’re super helpful and know their products very well.

  • lois beck

    Can I use this product after C+E Ferulic acid?

  • Sandy

    Hi! Commenting on an old post. Thanks for the tip on this. I visited the Peninsula Spa last month during a trip to NY and picked up the Lotion P50. Now I want to try the other products! My question- what moisturizer do you use? You mention the mask and the serum- but what is the moisturizing product you use every day? Thanks for your help!

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Hi Sandy!

      I hope you’re liking the P50! For Moisturizer – I’ve been loving the ones from Kate Sommerville. I use the Goat One at night and the one in the teal jar, for day. They’re basic, but wonderful.

      Here’s a post on some of my favorites

      • Carolina m

        Hi! I was wondering if the price point for the VIP O2 Serum has increased from 125 to 227, or fi it was a typo and 227 is the actual price for this product? As checking VM website I noticed that and had to ask before purchasing :O

  • Sharon Shut

    I’m going to Paris in a few weeks. Where can I find this line in France?

  • Kamari Kids

    Trying these ASAP. Thank you for the info!

  • Kamari Kids

    Bought these products because of your article and I absolutely love them. Thank you so much!

  • Fernanda Oliveira

    Hello there, Thank you so much for your review – I am determined to include Biologique Recherche products in my new regime. I will order the three top products you mentioned here and wonder if you could say which 4th and 5th items you would get if you were buying the 5 top products in your opinion – worth the investment! Thank you!

    • Emily

      Wish the rating was on EWG 🙁

  • Elise Bearg

    Why don’t you use vitamin a and c with your products


    I don’t care of the mask stinks if you tell me I’ll never age if I wear it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • rumah gaplek

    I’ve been looking for a new line to try, as my skin has really changed over the past year. I’ll definitely check these products out. I have a great giveaway up on my blog, I hope you’ll check it out!


    Great information! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been looking for a new line to try, as my skin has really changed over the past year. I’ll definitely check these products out. I have a great giveaway up on my blog

    • Ihsan magazine

      hi nice to see your post. I will order the three top products you mentioned here and wonder if you could say which 4th and 5th items you would get if you were buying the 5 top products in your opinion – worth the investment! Thank you!

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