Empty Bottle Review: Biologique Recherche P50 1970

I didn’t want to wait too long to introduce my favorite product of the past two years: Biologique Recherche P50 1970. Also known as “The Original” it’s the OG toner of French skincare brand Biologique Recherche and trust me, the hype is REAL.

I kept seeing this toner mentioned on my favorite blogs, but with its limited availability in the U.S., there wasn’t a ton of info out there about it other than “it’s amazing” and “it smells awful.”

Both are true.

I know toners are a divisive subject when it comes to skincare. I’ve always been pro toner, but there have certainly been hits and misses in my product testing. What makes the P50 line (there are several versions) so effective is the blend of exfoliants and moisturizers they put it and the extra shit they leave out (i.e. perfumes and colors). In short, the folks at BR (who I suspect all look like the devotees of Lisle Von Rhuman in Death Becomes Her) did not come to play.

AHAs, BHAs, herbals like myrrh as well as onion — yes, onion — are what make the product effective but also mean it’s not so easy on the nose. The 1970 formula takes it up another notch thanks to the addition of phenol, an acid that encourages rapid cellular turnover so your skin purges the bad stuff faster. You may experience some additional breakouts at the beginning as your skin adjusts, but I didn’t experience anything I wouldn’t expect from a new exfoliant.

You’re supposed to work your way up to 1970. I decided to start with a bottle of Lotion P50. Since my skin tolerated it well (no peeling, dryness or irritation), I moved up to the baddest bitch they had. I was admittedly nervous about the phenol addition but didn’t experience any unpleasant side effects. It does take some getting used to, though. When you first apply the product, your face will flush and tingle a bit, it may even feel numb for a moment or two. Do not be alarmed, this is normal and quickly clears up.

The way you apply this toner is also unique. To summarize: No swiping. After moistening (ugh, that word) a cotton pad with P50 1970, you start at the neck and work your way up, pressing the product into the skin. It certainly takes longer than swiping, but you get more of the product into your skin this way instead of throwing it away. After it dries, you can follow with a mask or head right into your other products. I find it wakes up my complexion no matter how little sleep I get and has helped keep acne at bay.

For my birthday last year, I booked one of Rescue Spa‘s famous facials, which features the Biologique Recherche line. My facialist spent a significant amount of time applying P50 1970 to my skin, using pressure but also pushing the skin upward. She did half of my face first so I could see how plump it looked after. For this and a million other reasons, it was the best facial I’ve ever had so keep an eye out for a separate post about my experience.

P50 1970 has radically changed the texture of my skin since I started using it. My skin is more even toned and smooth and I find I can use less of each product I apply after since hydrated skin absorbs serums and creams better. I use it every day as part of my morning skincare routine.

This product has developed a cultlike following without the help of a lot of advertising. Just results and word of mouth. I drank the Kool-Aid and now I’ll never go back.

See what else I’ve used up here.

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