When it comes to fine French skincare products, Biological Research Lotion P50 (which, uh, isn’t even a lotion, but we’ll get to that later) is the cream of the crop. For example, if you’re even * at a distance * in skin care, you’ve probably heard of this iconic product. The cult formula has won numerous awards and is featured by celebrities, editors, skincare gurus, estheticians and even dermatologists. But, like, is it really worth it? Because as anyone who’s spent five seconds on social media knows, just because someone ~ famous ~ is talking about it doesn’t mean it’s really good.
And as someone who has heard of the P50 for years but never really tried it (oops!), I decided now was a good time to take a look at it for myself. And to help me with all my main questions – like, uh, how do you even use it? – I contacted famous facialist Aida Bicaj for the important Biologique Recherche P50 information and created this guide for you. It covers all of the P50, including how it works, the benefits of using it, and the different versions you can try.
How does the P50 work?
Even though Biologique Recherche calls P50 a lotion, it really is an exfoliating toner that comes in six different liquid formulas for a mix of skin types and concerns (although they all work the same). All versions of P50 help break down dead skin cells, unclog pores, improve skin cell renewal, and hydrate and balance your skin barrier, depending on which formula you try. Also cool: P50 helps increase the effectiveness of any essences, serums, and creams you layer, Bicaj says. Basically, P50 is supposed to do it all, which is a bit of a mystery in the skin care world.
What are the different types of Biologique Recherche P50 lotions?
It is the OG Biologique Recherche P50 formula and also the strongest. It contains a cocktail of powerful exfoliants like phenol, vinegar (!), Lactic acid and salicylic acid to help resurface your skin. It’s a good option for “hard” skin used to using acids, or for anyone with very oily or acne-prone skin, Bicaj explains.
The formula is similar to the 1970 P50, but it does not contain phenol (phenol, for the record, is a compound with antiseptic qualities that is much debated in the skin care community, so the brand offers a P50 without it) . This one is also great for anyone with oily skin, blackheads, or acne who isn’t prone to redness or sensitivity.
P50V 1970 and P50V
These medium strength formulas are ideal for dry or dull skin. In addition to AHA, BHA and PHA, i.e. all smoothing and unclogging acids—they also contain vitamin B3 (aka niacinamide) to help minimize inflammation and lighten the skin. The P50V 1970 formula contains phenol, and the new P50V does not.
If you have sensitive skin or are new to exfoliating acids, P50W is for you. It’s the softest of the P50s and the best option for anyone who tends to experience redness or irritation, Bicaj says.
P50 Pigm 400
This version is specially designed for people with hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots or melasma. It’s milder than OG P50, but it still effectively exfoliates dead skin cells to even out your skin tone and also helps regulate melanin synthesis, Bicaj explains.
Where can I buy P50?
So you won’t find this stuff at Sephora, Ulta, or any other mass-market beauty retailer. P50 is only sold at authorized retailers and spas (like Aida Bicaj, Joanna Czech, Rescue spa, and Paul Labrecque to name a few), so you will need to go in person to make a purchase or order from any of these retailers’ sites.
How much does Biologique Recherche P50 cost?
Biologique Recherche does not allow retailers to disclose price information online, so you will need to log into each retailer not only to purchase a bottle, but also to see what it costs. Spoiler alert: Biologique Recherche P50 costs $ 31 for a 1.7 oz bottle, $ 70 for a 5.1 oz bottle and $ 106 for an 8.5 oz bottle. So yes, definitely not cheap.
Is there anyone you shouldn’t be using P50?
Anyone using retinol should avoid all versions of P50 because the two cannot be used at the same time, Bicaj says. (Too many active ingredients = a recipe for irritated and angry skin.) “You should too avoid using P50 for at least a week after a chemical peel or laser treatment,“She adds. Another reason to lay off the P50? If you spend a lot of time outdoors, because the acids in P50 can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.
How to use the P50?
The goal is to apply P50 twice a day all over your face, neck and chest after cleansing and before your serums and moisturizers, Bicaj says, but, very importantly, you will have to work up to this frequency, and not all skin types will be able to take it.
During your first week of using the P50, first pre-moisten a gauze pad or cotton ball with water (this will help dilute the P50 slightly to reduce any risk of initial irritation), then saturate the tampon of P50 and press it onto your skin using gentle upward motions, Bicaj says. After a few weeks of twice daily use, try skipping the pre-humidification and just saturate the pad with P50 and do your thing.
It is worth noting that a little temporary redness and tingling when you start using P50 is normal, but if your skin looks or feels itchy for a long time, you should stop using P50 as soon as possible. And be aware that if you are working with hypersensitive skin or rosacea, you may only be able to tolerate the milder version once a day, or once every two days at most.
Is the P50 worth it?
You want my opinion Biologique Recherche P50? My honest and sincere thoughts on whether this toner is worth it? Ok i tried a lot exfoliating toners in the past, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen results like I do with P50. After using P50 for about a month, my skin looked smoother, brighter, and noticeably less congested (my naturally oily skin is prone to blackheads). It’s one of those things that once you start using it you can’t really go back, hence the cult sequel.
And I totally understand that $ 100 and up is a lot to shell out for a toner, or any skin care product for that matter, but P50 is way more than that IMO. Think of it as a professional facial in a bottle – it does it all and leaves your skin glowing. That’s not to say that you can’t get somewhat similar results using a mix of other toners, but if you can afford it, I recommend trying this one out first.
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