Written by Chloe Burcham
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It’s the cult French skincare brand that’s harder to get your hands on than a Willy Wonka golden ticket. I tried Biologique Recherche to see what all the fuss is really about…
If you’re into your skincare, chances are you’ll have heard of Biologique Recherche. It’s the French skincare brand that’s lauded by beauty editors, make-up artists and skincare buffs globally. Fans have previously had to stock up on trips to France or the US (I know many a beauty editor who’s come back from fashion week with a suitcase fit to burst with the stuff), but until recently it was difficult to get your hands on in the UK.
In fact, Biologique Recherche was harder to purchase than some prescription skincare and buying in store was equally troublesome – with customers having to fill out forms before going through their purchases with a Biologique Recherche expert. But why? With skincare consumers more clued-up than ever, the brand’s unavailability has been put down to a level of mystique, rather than a necessary barrier put in place to protect the customer.
Thankfully, Liberty is now stocking the infamous skincare line both in its London beauty hall but also online – making it easier to shop the brand without the rigmarole that comes with it.
I tried out some of the bestselling Biologique Recherche skincare products, in order to give you the low-down on the world-famous skincare brand. Here’s everything you need to know…
Why is Biologique Recherche famous?
Founded in Paris over 40 years ago, Biologique Recherche was originally formulated for skin care professionals. Each product was developed with a purely clinical approach. Their products don’t look particularly pretty and some of the formulas actually smell a bit gross, but each one has been developed with impressive results. Every formula is powerful, effective and innovative, containing high concentrations of botanical, marine and biological extract – which is exactly why it’s lauded by skincare experts and enthusiasts globally.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50
If there’s one stand-out product from the brand, it’s Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. Dubbed as the gold standard of acid exfoliators, Lotion P50 renews the skin over 50 days – gently peeling the skin, revealing the brighter, clearer skin beneath.
It’s formulated with exfoliating agents: PHAs, AHAs and BHAs – plus cider vinegar (hence the smell), phytic acid and sulphur. While it’s not for everyone (the original formula is way too harsh for my dehydrated, reactive skin), it’s a really great product for those with oily and blemish-prone skin. Plus, the brand has since developed different strengths and formulas, so that there’s now a P50 for everyone. Hallelujah.
Shop Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 at Liberty, £69
Biologique Recherche: first impressions and review
I’ve worked in the beauty industry for 10 years and (until recently) had never tried Biologique Recherche. Of course I was familiar with the brand – with countless skincare experts, celebrities and models having waxed-lyrical about the stuff – but due to the aforementioned lengthy ordering process, I never really bothered trying to get my hands on the stuff. Now that Biologique Recherche is much easier to buy online at Liberty, I gave some of the bestselling formulas a go to see if they truly lived up to the hype.
Biologique Recherche Lait U Botanical Milk Cleanser
This gentle cleansing milk contains squalane, sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil and vitamin E. It cleans the skin without stripping it – leaving your complexion feeling soft and nourished, without leaving behind a greasy residue. While it’s definitely on the expensive side for a product that mainly washes down the plughole, it’s a really gentle and nourishing everyday cleanser that leaves your skin looking plumped and smooth.
Shop Biologique Recherche Lait U Botanical Milk Cleanser at Liberty, £69
Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2
This clarifying mask really works to brighten the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple, with a matte finish. It’s packed with ingredients that neutralise pollutants, preventing them from reaching the skin and is perfect for dehydrated, dull or stressed-out combination skin types.
For me, it’s definitely a once-a-week kind of mask. It leaves your skin feeling ultra clean and refreshed, without leaving behind that drying or tight feeling – but it’s not as nourishing as I’d like. Think of it as an at-home clinical facial – too strong for every day but definitely one to have in your locker.
Shop Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2 at Liberty, £112
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W
You know when a brand is truly cult when it has you lusting after a product that you know isn’t right for your skin. That’s how I felt about Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. “The gold standard of exfoliating acids” – my skin doesn’t react well to acids but hey, I still want to try that one!
Luckily for me, P50W is a gentler formulation of the OG offering – developed for those with skin like mine: sensitised, thinner, dehydrated – that’s still in search of a glow. It’s formulated with arnica, known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, so it soothes while purifying, regenerating and maintaining the pH of the epidermis.
Full results are seen over 50 days (hence P50: ‘peeling’ in 50 days), and while I’m not there yet, I’ve definitely noticed a glow that rivals my favourite professional facial.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W, £106
Biologique Recherche Sérum Colostrum
The product that’s made the biggest difference to my skin? Sérum Colostrum. An SOS hydrating serum for dehydrated skin types, it’s formulated with extracts of colostrum (as in, the nutrient-rich milk produced by female mammals immediately after giving birth). The milk colostrum extract is rich in secretory immunoglobulin – an antibody that helps boost the immune function of mucous membranes. In skincare, this helps strengthen the barrier function, reduce surface dryness and deeply hydrate skin.
After just one use, my skin was left feeling plumped, supple and soft. All signs of dryness were gone – but there’s no greasy or heavy feeling either. It’s like a souped-up hyaluronic acid serum (which is best locked in with a moisturiser) and leaves your skin feeling nourished and soft all day long.
Shop Biologique Recherche Sérum Colostrum at Liberty, £109
While Biologique Recherche products are expensive, funny-smelling and fairly clinical-looking, they really do work – and while I’m not at day 50 yet, I’m already impressed with the results.
How to choose the best Biologique Recherche products for you?
There’s no sugarcoating it: Biologique Recherche products are expensive – so you’ll want to make sure you’re buying the products that are best for you. Luckily, experts are on hand to give you one-to-one advice. Simply email [email protected], call +44 (0)20 8159 6532, or visit the counter in-store at Liberty London and have your Biologique Recherche Skin Instant® determined by an expert.
Main image: brands, @chloeburcham
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