An Ode to Lotion P50

Why I love the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 and why it is the only game-changing skin product you’ll ever need.

While I was in Milan last month, I dragged my unfortunate friend to some odd part of town to hunt for this cult-status, holy grail magic potion – Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. In my sort of defense, I was almost running out of my first bottle, and this stuff is notoriously hard to find. And if there is a single skin product that I cannot live without, it is this holy grail product.

I first got introduced to the world of acid toning from Caroline Hirons (I love her no-nonsense nagging). Acid toning sounds terrifying but in reality it is one of the gentlest and best ways to exfoliate your skin. As in, any form of scrub, even in its ‘gentlest’ form, is your skin’s number one enemy because it is screwing up your acid mantle. Acid mantle is a layer of protective film across skin, and its main job is to protect skin from bacteria. The Lotion P50 aims to bring back the acidity of your skin to healthier levels and keep your skin pH levels balanced.

As an almost-year-long user of this toner, I proclaim this the best thing I’ve ever put to my skin.

What is this?

The Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is described as a gentle balancing exfoliator. The lotion is made up of active ingredients that exfoliate, moisturises and regulates, namely: Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids, Poly-Hydroxy-Acids and Beta-Hydroxy-Acids.

P50 is recommended for normal to oily skin. I usually have combination skin, but I’ve used this on extra dry, flaky days, especially during traveling, and this magic bottle helped to un-dry my skin.

Why I love this?

I change up my daily skincare routine based on what I think I need that day, but I would never skip acid toning. It is the single thing that has completely changed my skin. Not that I have perfect skin, but coming from where I was – “sensitive” skin that was prone to breakouts – I consider this a good leap.

I just don’t breakout anymore. My skin hasn’t behaved this well in a realllyyyy looonnggg tiiimmme. Of course, I still get the occasional odd hormonal pimple, but I don’t get congested, clogged breakouts anymore. You know, those weird tiny bumps on the face that does NOTHING at least fill with pus and make something of your life don’t just sit there.

I’m a brown girl who unfortunately likes to brown. It doesn’t help that I love being out in the sun A LOT and a skipper-of-sunscreen in my youth. So hyperpigmentation is a given. P50 however, has helped to control it significantly. I find that my acne scarring and discolourations are improving – dark marks have mostly faded to faint red marks on my skin that’s easily covered up by foundation. Also yes, yes, not skipping sunscreen helps a great deal too.

I have combination to oily skin, and I was expecting this to dry out the skin to some degree. It does not, though I do find it controls oil a teeny bit due to its balancing properties. I’m perfectly fine with this, as I much prefer the oilier, or as I’d like to refer it from hereon, dewy, skin.

I tend to be dryer on my cheeks, and this does not dry it out even more. I initially thought the P50 might have hydrating qualities too, but I figured that it simply helped boost my hydrating products that I pile on after. Since the P50 gently exfoliates the skin, it helps to prep the skin to receive the skincare products and improves its efficacy.

This can apparently decrease pore size, but in my one year of use, I cannot confidently attest to any change in pore size.

This also gave me a ~glow~. I never realized this, because oily girls are always glowing anyway right. But this was a different glow – a noticeably healthy one. I only noticed this when I stopped using the P50 for a couple of weeks and my skin was just dull. As soon as I continued with the P50, I immediately regained that brightness.

It does lend itself as a anti-aging skincare product, since it gently sloughs off dead skin to reveal smoother skin. It contains niacinamide, which is a collagen-boosting ingredient.

This is a definite staple in my travel beauty kit. Outside of it being a prep step, I find that it’s the best travel skincare remedy for when skin gets cranky when flying across continents. In addition, my skin can benefit from it no matter its condition or climate for when I’m travelling.

Cons? Sort of? 

The price tag might be an issue. This ish be expensive. This ish be liquid gold. That said, you really don’t use a lot at one go, so a bottle can go a long way. I’ve been using my P50T for almost a year, and I still have a few more uses from it.

If I have to force another con, some have reported a sting. Sting is a harsh word for me; personally I would go with a tingle that goes away within 10 seconds. I only experienced this with the Lotion p50, and not with the gentler P50T or P50 PIGM 400.

Speaking of sting, P50 has a… stink haaaa :D. If you’re used to fancy smelling skincare, you might repulse at first sniff. It smells like vinegar – because vinegar is used to preserve the product. I have no issues with vinegar, and stinky skincare satisfies me. You know, the “this smells so bad, so that means it works” mentality.

The PIXI glow tonic is supposedly a dupe of the P50; it is not. I tried the glow tonic when I was in London because I heard it was an excellent dupe at a more affordable price point, and I was sorely disappointed. PIXI was harsh on my skin. It uses glycolic acid, which would probably work better on younger, oilier skin. I’ve been using my remaining PIXI glow on my Brazilian area though. Great for ingrown hairs. TMI?

How to Use

The name refers to it as a lotion, but it really works more as a toner. Use this right after cleansing, before layering on serums, oils, moisturisers, sunscreen, what-have-yous. Using this in the daytime requires a good sunscreen on top.

I decant this in smaller travel-friendly spray bottles. I don’t just bring this for travel, I use the lotion from the spray bottles on the daily. It helps to control the amount of product that comes out. Like I said, this stuff is expensive. #saveeverydrop

I like to spray a couple of pumps on my hands, and pat them on the décolletage, neck and face. Last few taps go gently on the eye area.

Some days when I feel like my skin could use with less exfoliating, I like to saturate a cotton pad with water and a few sprays of the toner. This dilutes the strength of the toner.

I use this twice a day. For acid toning virgins, I highly recommend you ease your skin when first using P50. Use it a couple of times a week, before gradually working your way to a daily or every-two-day application.

To Summarise || TLDR 

P50 is love because no breakouts, glowy healthy dewy skin, fades out scars, evens the skintone, anti-aging. This is probably the most efficient AND effective skincare product in your arsenal.

Basically, if you have oily skin, use P50.

If you have dry skin, use P50.

If you have normal skin, use P50.

If you have cranky skin, all the more use P50.

You’d be hard-pressed to find such a multitasker in your routine. Go on, I’ll wait.


Note: To read a mini review on the different types of P50 lotions I have and where I purchased them from, read the follow up post here


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