Over 7 years ago, I came across the iconic Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, and as luck would have it, a work event found me in Paris, where I hunted down their flagship store on Ave. Champs Elysees and picked up a bottle.
At the time, I was a Lotion P50 virgin, so they would only sell me Lotion P50W, the entry level version of this acid toner to the stars. I shared my thoughts about it then, and long story short, I loved it.
Thereafter, when I knew of friends travelling to Europe or the UK, I’d pop in my request to please bring me back a bottle of Lotion P50. Well, not any longer, because we now have our very own Ambassade Biologique Recherche at Starhill Gallery, that mirrors the flagship store in Paris!
Well, I’ve been there, so I can say that it does, on a much smaller scale. But it’s all there – the quiet elegance, the range of products available, and the luxurious treatments.
Having used Lotion P50 in various iterations over the years, I still find myself returning to the version without any alphabets. Just plain Lotion P50, and I always have a bottle on hand for when I want to use an acid toner. It’s opportune then to revisit this iconic product, and to share about it with a whole new generation who can now easily get it locally 🙂
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50
Lotion P50 is an exfoliating toner, or colloquially referred to as ‘acid toner’. What it does is to exfoliate, cleanse, and purify the epidermis, helping it maintain its acid pH balance. Our healthy skin is slightly acidic, so this helps to retain that pH level.
Lotion P50 comes in various iterations. The one I was recommended to start with was Lotion P50W, a milder version that is more suited to sensitive skin, or skin that isn’t used to the more harsh stinging effects of Lotion P50.
Lotion P50 has the highest level of BHAs and the lowest pH out of all of the formulas meaning it offers the skin a deeper exfoliation. It contains metabolising and refining properties of Poly, Alpha and Beta-Hydroxy-Acid Complexes, while Thyme and Myrrh alleviate toxicity and congestion.
What it is supposed to do is to clarify the skin and prevent breakouts by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and to balance the skins microbiome and pH levels. Lotion P50 is touted to improve skin clarity, texture, tone and vitality with nightly use.
Great for helping skin with breakouts
I had taken a break from using Lotion P50 for a while. However, a few months ago, I found myself experiencing breakouts of an unprecedented manner. This was around my cheek and chin area, and I can safely tell you that you do not stop breaking out even when you’re approaching half a decade in age! 😛
I attributed the breakouts to a few factors – poor sleep, poor diet and slacking in my skincare. Oh yes, it happens to the best of us!
The first thing I did when I had stopped feeling sorry for myself, was to dig around in my stash in the hopes of finding something to help my skin, and I came across a bottle of Lotion P50. I’d remembered how well my skin fared when I was using it regularly, so I decided to reincorporate it into my skincare routine.
Lotion P50 can sting!
The first night, I poured a few drops on a piece of cotton pad, and wiped it over my face.
The next moment, I experienced a stinging and redness all over my face that I’d never felt before! It was so odd, I thought. My skin was stinging and red and warm, but it was only for a little while, before it calmed down and the redness went away.
This happened for 2 days, before it stopped and never returned. However, if you do have any open wounds or broken skin, it will sting, and you will cry.
If you do have a problem with it stinging the skin, Biologique Recherche recommends that you start out by putting it on a wet piece of cotton pad, so the effects are watered down. After a week or so, you can use it full strength without diluting it, for best benefits.
Dries out spots quickly and decongests skin
What I love about using Lotion P50, is that any spots I have start to dry out within 2 days of using it. You’re only supposed to use it at night, because it’s so strong.
If I have a lot of clogged pores (which is wont to happen around my chin area due to mask wearing – still) then regular use of Lotion P50 helps to decongest and clear up my skin, so it stops feeling so bumpy. Over time, it actually does smoothen out your skin and returns it back to normal.
I have dry skin generally, and I use a swipe of it all over my face after cleansing every evening (except for nights when I’m using a retinol/retinoid serum. Do not mix them or risk your face falling off!). It does not feel drying, nor does it feel uncomfortable.
If anything, it makes my skin feel so clean and fresh!
Is Lotion P50 a ‘facial in a bottle’?
I’m back to using Lotion P50 every other day, and I can see the benefits to my skin. My skin is generally less problematic. If I do experience breakouts, they are small spots that go away quickly.
The best part is that I don’t experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, because the redness from spots go away very quickly, and my skin bounces back more quickly.
My skin is less congested and it feels like it absorbs skincare better. It looks a little brighter and clearer too. My pores do not look noticeably shrunken, but they aren’t gaping potholes either, for which I have to be thankful 😛
While there are claims that the exfoliating action helps reduce pigmentation, I don’t experience this. My pigmentation problem spots are the same as they were before, although I have not noticed them becoming very much worse. I have tried Lotion P50 PIGM 400 in the past, which claims to actively reduce pigmentation, but did not see this result, which is a pity.
If you expect cleaner, clearer skin after a facial, then yes, Lotion P50 gives you that with regular use over time. I’d say to give it at least 2-3 months of regular use before you expect results. This is because your skin takes at least 28 days to renew itself, so you really cannot expect to see significant results in any less time.
What about that Lotion P50 smell?
Erm, what smell? LOL
There is a slight vinegary smell, but it’s not offensive. I’ve read people describe it as the smell of garbage and old yogurt, and honestly, that’s just too harsh. It smells slightly of vinegar, and that’s about it. That said, I suppose everyone has different tolerances to scent, so make of that what you will.
IN A NUTSHELL
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 has been famously described as a ‘facial in a bottle’. It is an exfoliating toner, with a combination of ingredients to exfoliate and clarify skin while helping maintain it’s acidic pH balance. With regular use it can decongest skin, clear up spots, declog pores and help skin look clearer and brighter. I’m never going to be without it from now on.
Dries up spots and unclogs pores
Skin is clearer and cleaner
Hard to get
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who has congested skin who wants an easy to use one-product lotion that exfoliates skin, clears it up and balances it well
PRICE: RM416 for 150ml
WHERE TO BUY: Ambassade Biologique Recherche at Starhill Galley (MY), Biologique Recherche authorized distributors and salons
Have you tried Lotion P50 after all this time?
For some reason, my skin works very well with Lotion P50, but it doesn’t play as well with other Biologique Recherche products. Still, it might just be because my skin did not need it at the time, but it needs it more now? Who knows. It’s a pricey brand shrouded in much mystery, but this product is a miracle lotion that is worth biting the bullet and buying a bottle every few months 😛
5 comments ... Read or JOIN THE DISCUSSION
My heart dropped when I saw the price. Lol. But will keep this in mind. Searching for something similar for my skin.
Hi Victoria, if you are based in Malaysia, Lotion P50 is also available in 50ml bottles at RM166. As you only need a few drops at one time, 1 bottle can actually go a long way 🙂
thanks. will get this soon ?
I was particularly intrigued by the description of the Lotion P50 as a ‘facial in a bottle’. The idea of being able to achieve the same results as a professional facial from the comfort of my own home is certainly appealing.
There’s nothing better. I’ve been off it for a while and tried Paula’s Choice, Kiehl’s, and Youth To The People acid toners, but they don’t give me the results I get from P50. Since it only takes a few drops, the smallest size (US$33) lasts for a while.