February 22, 2018

Breaking it Down: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50


I’ve raved about Biologique P50 for years and by now, I always assume that everyone knows about this cult favorite. Wrong! I’ve quickly realized that this is far from the case and that an updated post is long overdue. I initially wrote about it in a post from three years ago and whenever I mention it on in my instastories, I get a ton of questions. What is it? Where can you get? Which one to buy? How do I incorporate it into my routine? So hopefully this post will break it all down for you.

What is Lotion P50?

It’s actually not a lotion at all, but rather a “French waterweight exfoliating toner.” I apply it to my face every other evening with a cotton pad. Please advise: The smell of it is far from delightful; think Formaldehyde mixed with horseradish and vinegar. Yuck. But the results of its use have been both life and skin-changing! So despite its less than pleasant aroma, the benefits of using it far exceeds anything I’ve ever used for my skin. It’s a favorite product among celebrities, estheticians, facialists, and many beauty bloggers – for good reason.

What are the benefits & How Do You Use?

P50 exfoliates, helps to get rid of dark spots and acne, regulates sebum (the oil in your skin), enhances the skin’s natural glow, balances skin pH, shrinks pore size, and evens out skin tone. Although my skin feels tingly and my face turns red for 5 minutes after each application (which is to be expected), it’s all part of the process to achieve those beneficial factors. I’ve been using P50 for about 5 years now and I started seeing results within 1 month of use.

After cleansing, I take a flat cotton round to absorb some of the product. I then PRESS (not rub) P50 into my face. This video demonstrates the technique perfectly. Your face will likely turn red and you will feel a tingle – this is normal! After a few minutes, I proceed with the rest of my routine. I prefer to use this only at night.

How Do I Incorporate into My Routine?

I know some that use P50 morning and night, but I prefer to just use at night. I also don’t use it every single day, but rather, 3-4x a week. On the nights that I use it, I will cleanse, apply P50 and then follow up either Augustinus Bader Rich Cream, Vintner’s Daughter Serum or if I’m really in need for some extra exfoliation, something a bit more gentle like Sunday Riley Good Genes. I typically do not use P50 on nights I use retinol, which I apply the other 2-3x a week when I am not pregnant or nursing. On retinol nights, I’ll use a milder toner like Pixi Glow Tonic or something like the one from Indie Lee.

Does P50 work for all skin types?

There are several versions of P50 and P50 The Original 1970 that come in 3 different strengths – Regular, P50V for moderate skin, and P50W for sensitive skin. Each variation is targeted to the specific needs of each skin type.

The Original 1970, which is tougher and tends to burn more (normal) due to the Phenol. The New Formula, which replaces the Phenol with extra acids, more vinegar, onions, and horseradish.

The Original 1970 strengths:

  • Lotion P50 1970 – for acne normal/thick skin
  • Lotion P50V 1970 – for acne dehydrated/dry skin
  • Lotion P50W 1970 – for acne sensitive/rosacea skin

I’ve tried and liked them all but found that my skin reacts best with the regular P50 (especially when pregnant and/or nursing) and the Original P50 1970. I’ve used and rotated both and am still not 100% sure which one I prefer. I know that many industry insiders and skincare gurus tend to prefer the 1970 formula. If you’re new to the product, I tend to suggest getting either the regular P50 or the 1970, unless you’re incredibly sensitive. If so, P50W or P50V might be a better choice for you.

*Again, you should not use the P50 1970 formula if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant.

If you’re still confused about which one to get, I strongly recommend calling Rescue Spa and speaking to one of their customer service agents. It’s one of my favorite places to order from and they’re quite knowledgeable and so helpful.

P50 is an expensive product at around $100+ for a larger bottle. It’s an investment, but one I’d make time and time again. One bottle lasts me for several months!

Where to get?

If you’re ordering online, I love Rescue Spa and Vicky Morav. If you’re in the NYC area, you can get Rescue Spathe Peninsula Spa in midtown or from DAPHNE in Nolita.

I hope this post was slightly helpful! If there’s anything I missed, let me know in the comment section below. If you happen to already be using p50, which one do you use?



  • Rachelle

    P50 1970 has seriously changed my life. All this time it was the main product I needed the most in my skincare regimen

  • Victoria

    I looked everywhere for this lotion after reading about it on your blog. Finally was able to track down the P50T lotion and am excited to start using it. I live in Canada and it seems like the only version they have here. I was also wondering if you’ve ever used any products from DECIEM – The Ordinary.

    • Helena

      Hi Victoria!
      I’m so glad you were able to track it down!
      I actually have not tried The Ordinary, but I certainly want to after seeing and hearing everybody rave about it.

    • Vanessa

      Hi Victoria,

      I’m also in Canada and can’t find it locally. Where did you end up getting it? I live in Burlington, ON

      Thanks so much!

  • Mireia

    Absolutely love it!

    Mireia from TGL

  • Briana

    I love my P50 lotion and find that it makes my skin so glowy and fresh. My only qualm is that, when I use it, it gives my skin a really weird texture (only to the touch, not in appearance). It feels bumpy all over even though there are no visible bumps!

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

    • Helena

      Hi Briana,
      Hmm.. that definitely shouldn’t happen! I recommend calling Rescue Spa, telling them about it and maybe they’ll have some answers for you. They’re wonderful!

    • Dione Davis

      The fine bumps may be a mild reaction. I would try wetting your cotton pad with water first before adding the p50 to the pad or use it every other day.

  • Claire

    I am 3 months postpartum and I would love to know which formula you used while breastfeeding? XO!

    • Helena

      Hi Claire,
      Congrats on the baby! Use the one without phenol (not the 1970 but the regular P50).

  • Francine

    I’m so glad you posted an update. I have been using P50 1970 for 3 weeks. ( I purchased the smallest bottle just in case.). It does smell as bad as you say. Though I have gotten used to it and it doesn’t bother me at all. I actually now use it Morning and night, along with my RetinA, anti oxidants, etc. Along with cleansing with a balm and a cloth, I can definitely notice a difference. Glowy and smooth! I just ordered the larger bottle. Very worth it!

    Next week, I’m set to get the first of two micro needling treatments…it’s also called vampire facial. Have you experienced that treatment?

    • Helena

      Hi Francine!
      I’m so glad to hear that!
      I’ve had microneedling (and loved it), but never a vampire facial. I believe mine was a little less aggressive, but I’ve heard great things. Please keep me posted!

  • Glory of the Snow

    I have not used this product before, I have to try it! Thanks for sharing!


  • Julia

    Can you use the classic p50 while pregnant or only the new formula?

  • Rita

    Hi Helena. First of all, I must say i love your blog, it’s part of my daily routine to come here and see what you have to say! I’m portuguese and I live in a small town in the south of Portugal. I’m in love with NYC since I can remember but i’ve been there just once, 17 years ago! Now i’m 40 and I can’t wait to take my husband and daughter to meet my favorite city, hope we can make it soon. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I first read about P50 in Caroline Hirons blog. She is amazing, she gives great advice. And then I read your opinion on P50 and I decided to buy it. I’m currently using P50 PIGM 400 and my skin is so much better! I’ve always had pigmentation issues and some acne scars , and P50 made a huge difference in my skin. When I finih this bottle I will probably try a stronger formula, as my skin has reacted really well to the one I’m using. Kisses from Portugal!

  • alexandra

    Recently discovered that Paul Lebrecque salon has free shipping no minimums. I received my order in under 2 days. It’s a must when you only run out of one BR product!


  • Shloka

    I have really sensitive skin but this sounds amazing so i think i need to try it!


  • Anne

    Are there any other Biologique Recherche products that you use? What about a night time moisturizer? I started using the P50 lotion because of your old article about it and love it.

    • Mandy smith

      Ive just started using the lotion P 50 pig 400
      Apply it after washing my face im the evening.
      1)Am I to apply moisturizer over this or not?
      Thank you

  • Brandi

    Thank you for such an informative beauty post! You are my favorite blogger, not only for your impeccable style but also your beauty recommendations. You were the first person I ever saw mention BR Lotion P50 1970 and upon further research I decided to purchase it and check it out for myself. I will say, the first month I used it I really didn’t see any results and was ready to throw in the towel, but I’m glad I didn’t. During the second month is when I started to notice a significant improvement in my skins texture and a lighting of my acne scars. Have you tried any other products from the BR product line? If so, what are your thoughts? Thnx!

  • Helen martin

    Hi Brooklyn Blonde,
    Thanks for your informative blog, I love it. I hope you don’t mind me asking why you use retinol, is it to help with acne prone skin? I get acne breakouts so if there’s any advice regarding skin care I would gladly take it,
    Kind regards
    Helen (Cork, Ireland) xx

  • The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products. - The Stripe

    […] The next step is your essence. (If you use it – you can read about my love of SK-II in this post.) I apply my essence (SK-II) in the morning after cleansing, and my beloved P50 in the evening. I’m going to do a longer review of P50 at some point (so many skincare requests!) but in the meantime Helena did a great review of it! […]

  • Dana

    What moisturizer do you typically use with this product?

  • Nancy Fiore

    Do you rinse the P50 off after you apply it with a cotton pad?

  • Carla -Amor Manzor


    Do you recommed to use the p50 1970 in summer also ?

  • Sara Jacobson

    what should you be putting on your skin after applying the p50…more for a nighttime routine

  • Ali

    Hello! Can yoy use the P50 and then later use it with an active ingredient product, like prescription strength retinol or Drunk Elephant Framboos glycolic serum?? Or is it too harsh to use with things like that?

  • gmail login

    very good. Thank you for sharing!

  • Emily

    Just wanted to say thank you for posting about the 1970 and breastfeeding! I recently purchased this after an amazing facial, and they gave me the 1970 (despite knowing I was breastfeeding). I read your post and immediately went back and exchanged it for the regular P50 version. Thank you so much for the information! I’m loving it so far!

  • Maricela

    I love the P501975, which i started using after you recommended it a couple of years back. This product is magic and I cannot live without it!

  • Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, 1970 - Maricela Torres

    […] of my favorite bloggers, Brooklyn Blonde, published a great post on the benefits of Lotion P50, I had planned on writing a longer post, but she did such an amazing […]

  • Kara

    Hi Helena! I started using the P50 1970 after I read this post and I am so happy I did. My skin is completely changed and while I think it is expensive I don’t think it’s too much money for a skincare product that actually works as well as it does. I love all your recommendations, thank you for sharing!

  • bulk-bill psychology perth

    I personally don’t think I could handle the smell

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