This Cult-Favorite French Beauty Brand Is Pricey But Worth Every Penny
When it comes to French skincare, Biologique Recherche is a brand that’s up there with the best of them. Beauty editors and skincare experts alike sing its praises, and people all over the world have heard of the brand’s famed product: Lotion P50, which is an exfoliating treatment toner that brightens, tightens, and fights acne.
That being said, many people don’t know that the brand was first founded as a cosmetics research lab in 1977 by a biologist and physiotherapist duo, Yvan Allouche, and his wife, Josette. Before Biologique Recherche became a full-fledged skincare brand, it functioned as a lab that focused on developing formulas for professionals who were unhappy with the existing products on the market.
Today, the brand is largely overseen by the couple’s son, Philippe Allouche, a clinical doctor who became interested in skincare and his parents’ work at a young age. In the early 2000s, he took over the creative side of the business from his father as the brand’s Research & Creative Director. Over the years, Biologique Recherche has become renowned for its clinical approach to skincare and its customized methodology of treatments, which are performed at spas and skincare clinics in over 80 countries around the world. Product-wise, the brand offers 150-plus options for the face and body (including cleansers, serums, masks, toners, you name it), and they all contain 50% or more raw, active, and extremely concentrated ingredients, which makes them highly effective at treating a variety of skin concerns—from acne to wrinkles.
With regard to the brand’s target market, it’s safe to say Biologique Recherche definitely gears itself toward skincare connoisseurs seeing as its products are highly potent, zero-frills, and on the pricier side of the spectrum. (In other words, this is not a Gen Z skincare brand, y’all.) That said, the brand makes products for all different skin types including dry, oily, acne-prone, and sensitive. Prices range from $22 to $1000-plus, so it certainly runs the gamut.
As for its best-sellers, well, there’s no question that Lotion P50 is at the top of the list. Lauded for its ability to fade hyperpigmentation and stave off acne, it’s easily the most famous product in its entire line. The only caveat: the powerful exfoliant can be irritating for those with highly sensitive and reactive-prone skin types. For instance, I myself actually have a compromised skin barrier as a result of a rare genetic skin condition called Netherton Syndrome, and unfortunately, my epidermis just can’t handle the strong acids that are packed into P50. Still, that’s just one product in the brand’s massive range, so even if you do have sensitive skin like yours truly, that’s not to say other formulas won’t work amazingly well for you (especially the calming options).
Speaking of which, let’s review some of the best-known Biologique Recherche products on the market…
This cult-favorite chemical exfoliating toner is the brand’s “hero” product, and it now comes in several different versions, including an option for sensitive skin. The balancing formula contains a powerful blend of acids, including lactic, citric, salicylic, and malic, as well as niacinamide, which all help to resurface the skin and keep the pores clean and tight. On top of that, it also contains hydrating glycerin, which aids in moisture retention. While all skin types can use Lotion P50, it’s definitely best for folks with oily, congested, and acne-prone complexions who are looking to ward off breakouts and keep their complexions soft and clean.
Lait U is a hydrating cleanser and makeup remover in one that’s definitely most ideal for drier skin types (though all skin types can use it). It’s non-oily and cleans the skin without stripping it or leaving behind any unwanted residue. The cleansing milk contains various skin-nourishing ingredients, including squalane, sweet almond oil, hazel seed oil, and vitamin E, as well as antioxidant-rich wheat germ oil.
The brand says if you use this multipurpose face mask twice a week, you’ll never age. Made with a unique blend of live yeast extracts loaded with amino acids and vitamin B, it works to detox the skin while simultaneously deeply nourishing. In addition to yeast extract, it also contains soothing cucumber, purifying witch hazel, bentonite and kaolin clay, and lactic acid. It’s recommended for oily, combination, and dull skin types that desire toning.
This ultra-hydrating mask is ideal for dry, stressed-out skin as it contains the brand’s unique “oxygenating complex,” which helps to stimulate regeneration of the skin. It also contains nourishing ingredients like cottonseed oil and glycerin, which lock in moisture. The brand recommends keeping this mask in the fridge, as its soothing properties are even more intensified when it’s cold. While anyone can use this mask, it’s best suited for dry, dehydrated, and irritated skin.
This luxe anti-aging treatment contains a potent cocktail of ingredients that help the skin defend itself against environmental stressors like pollution. You’ll find unique ingredients like royal jelly extract and a variety of fruit extracts in this serum, along with a variety of acids that work to tone the skin. It’s recommended especially for anyone who’s looking to stave off premature signs of aging but works well on all skin types.
This no-frills balancing treatment is best for folks with oily, combination, and acne-prone skin, as it helps to regulate sebum production and tighten up pores. The unique formula contains under 10 ingredients and includes soothing agents like zinc PCA, as well as salicylic acid to aid in skin cell turnover.
This lightweight moisturizer does exactly what its name suggests: purifies the skin. On top of that, it helps tame redness and protects the skin from environmental stressors that cause premature aging. It features a host of skin-loving ingredients, including niacinamide, lavender extract, and hydrating glycerin. The brand recommends it for reactive and unbalanced skin types.
If you’re down to splurge, you can’t go wrong with this ultra-luxe brightening cream, which features powerful anti-aging ingredients including yam and soy extracts, antioxidant-rich vitamin E, and the brand’s unique oxygenating complex. It’s best for anyone with stressed, dry skin, and for mature complexions.