Hi, everyone! We all know my love of skin care knows no bounds and, as a new mom, keeping up with my skin care routine over the past months has been a primary source of self-care and self-love (and alone time, which is invaluable!). The brands that tempt me most are often those with a cult status and generally fall into one of two camps: a) green beauty brands using super clean and natural ingredients or b) clinical brands with ultra effective, cutting-edge scientific ingredients.
There are always a few brands that I've yet to try that constantly tempt me, and Biologique Recherche had been one of them- a brand that actually straddles my two favourite categories (nature and science) amazingly well. Biologique Recherche is a decades-old French brand touting clinical results and potent active ingredients. Most of their ingredients are organic in nature (plant and animal extracts), but they don't take the route of many natural brands. While the world of green beauty is generally much about the sensory experience of fragrant essential oils, Biologique Recherche is all about using ingredients in their most potent raw forms without the perfume. So, on the downside, many of the products smell quite raw and, well,
wretchedly stinky ripe(?); on the upside, however, the formulas are not watered down by any sort of fragrance, artificial or otherwise. As much as I enjoy a product with an intoxicating aroma, my sensitive skin doesn't always love essential oils and extra perfume. So I appreciate the ethos! And, although the brand does use animal extracts in many of their formulations (such as their famous Placenta range), they tout a longstanding cruelty-free commitment as well as eco-friendly sourcing practices. So, although the brand isn't vegan, it does promise to be animal friendly in all of its steps of creation and testing. (I've emailed the company to ask about this, so will update the info if I learn anything different!).
My curiosity about the brand had been spiking, but I previously didn't think that Biologique Recherche was available in Toronto. About a month ago, however, a couple lovely bloggers on Instagram let me know that a local salon did carry the line- and I was excited! The brand is carried at One-One Studio (pronounced "one to one"; website here) up on Eglinton West and I'd heard great things about the selection and service. I contacted the spa and they suggested that I book a skin care consultation with one of their trained Biologique Recherche aestheticians for the most thorough and accurate recommendations. The consult was $45, but that fee is waived if you buy any product. I was happy to do so, so I booked my appointment!
When I arrived at the salon, I instantly took in the beautiful selection of products near the entrance way, including a luxe display of the full Biologique Recherche line. I was quickly greeted by my lovely aesthetician, Angela, and taken downstairs to a private assessment room and treated to a cappuccino.
I found the skin care consultation to be delightfully interactive and thorough. I first was able to give my own account and description about my skin care history and current concerns. I outlined to Angela how my skin used to experience more notable acne and, after years of acting aggressively with harsh products, I realized that my skin was also sensitive and I decided to take a gentler route (no more products with alcohol or benzoyl peroxide, for instance). I described to her that my skin is currently mildly acne-prone (breaks out easily, but not extensively), is prone to sensitivity and redness and occasional mild perioral dermatitis, tends to get dehydrated in the colder months (and is certainly not as oily as it used to be), and is experiencing the first signs of aging, primarily fine lines around my eyes and burgeoning wrinkles on my forehead.
Then we delved into the signature Biologique Recherche Skin Instant assessment process. The brand believes in Skin Instants rather than skin types- that is, that we don't have one permanent, static skin condition, but rather our skin issues are constantly evolving with factors such as age, stress, environment, etc. The assessment involved probes that are applied to the skin (totally painlessly) to assess for 5 different factors: 1) hydration, 2) sebum levels, 3) pigmentation, 4) elasticity, and 5) skin's lipid barrier. For each issue, my results were instantly displayed on a computer screen and we were able to discuss the findings.
The results of the assessment showed that my skin is quite healthy overall (yay!) with good elasticity, an intact lipid barrier, and minimal issues with pigmentation. It suggested some mild dehydration and some mild excesses in sebum on some areas of my face (which was totally in line with my perception of my skin as truly combination). I really appreciated how accurate the results seemed to be and that there was no exaggeration of skin issues for the purpose of selling product.
After reviewing my results, Angela went to work on the Biologique Recherche product brochure, making note of the products that would best suit my skin. We agreed to focus on products that would reduce dehydration (especially in the coming colder months), keep redness and reactivity at bay, treat any mild breakouts that arise, and prevent against further aging and environmental damage. She shared with me her recommendations, outlining the rationale for each, then gave me ample time to comb through all of the products on the shelves.
I had lots of fun perusing the shelves, especially as it was my first time interacting with their products in person. Biologique Recherche offers 100+ products (!), which I actually really enjoy. While I can appreciate the minimalist approach taken by other brands, I truly prefer brands that offer solutions for a wide range of skin issues (and combinations of skin issues). I don't believe in one size fits all skin care and brands that offer specific products for my oft-tricky skin type (sensitive and acne-prone and dehydrated, for example) always get my vote.
After perusing the products, Angela and I had a frank conversation about which skin care products I would actually use given my ample skin care collection, my budget, and what my skin was most in need of at the moment. We honed in on four different products to create a comprehensive regimen (cleanser, exfoliant, serum, and cream) and they were packed lovingly in a chic bag (see below for what I bought!).
The afternoon at One-One was a true treat for this new mama and I was thrilled to cap things off with some brunch. I found a cute little restaurant down the street called Hotel Gelato, where I savoured a perfect martini and eggs florentine. The pamper was complete!
So here are the four Biologique Recherche products I ended up choosing:
I've been using these products for about a week now, so I'll give you some information on each as well as my first impressions.
Lait VIP O2 ($69.25 CAD for 5.1oz/150mL). The brand is famous for their cleansing milks and this is the top of the line option. The whole VIP O2 range is designed to oxygenate the skin and thoroughly cleanse and protect against pollution and other hazards of city life. This milk also promises to gently exfoliate and brighten while calming and hydrating.
I am really enjoying this cleanser so far! I find it does everything that it promises- it cleanses thoroughly without stripping the skin and leaves my face looking bright and feeling super soft. I may try one of their more basic cleansing milks next time because the price on this one is quite steep, but for now, this really is the only cleanser I feel like using!
Lotion P50T ($68.25 CAD for 5.1oz/150mL). P50 is Biologique Recherche's #1 cult product and is what gave the brand true cult status. It is the grandmother of all acid toners and is super popular for a reason! It promises to exfoliate, brighten, soothe, balance pH, and moisturize simultaneously. It contains alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids (AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs) and is also known for its strong vinegar scent. There are several versions of this formula, but only two are sold in Canada due to ingredient restrictions- P50T and P50 PIGM 400. The latter is specifically designed for address pigmentation issues and, since that isn't a main concern of mine, I opted for the former.
I'd known about P50 for some time, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is alcohol-free (unexpected for such an old school product). I have to say that I'm really liking it so far! I've been using about 8 drops of it on a dampened cotton pad (how I was instructed to begin use; I can use it on a dry pad in another week or two once my face has adjusted) and I only experience a very mild tingling/prickling sensation with no other redness or discomfort. My skin has been looking very bright and smooth and I have not had any of the purging that some have warned against. I'm happy to finally be testing this product and I think the 150mL bottle will last a very long time.
Serum A-Glyca ($57 CAD for 0.3oz/9mL). I chose this serum because it is a good all-around anti-aging option. It is designed to prevent glycation (a cellular process stimulated by glucose that breaks down collagen and elastin), which can both repair existing signs of aging and prevent future damage. As a result, this serum promotes brightness and firmness of the skin.
I have to say that I'm loving this too! Patted into my face, it immediately makes my skin look more calm and plump. The only downside is that it is quite watery in texture (think Niod CAIS, if you've used that), which leads me to use several drops to coat the entire face. As a result, I'm already 1/3 done the bottle after a week, which makes this an expensive serum habit. I've gone down to using this only once per day and using different application techniques so that I down drain the serum (and my wallet) so quickly. But I can see this being an essential in my routine!
Creme Verte Espoir ($90.75 for 1.7oz/50mL). I opted for this face cream because it is designed to be soothing, but not too heavy (perfect for my sensitive, but breakout-prone skin!). It is supposed to help with redness and hydration and to balance and unify the complexion overall.
Angela initially warned me that this was one of the brand's "brown creams", which is so because it contains yeast, and thus has a very yeasty smell (think an active distillery, if you've smelled that). The smell is potent, but I actually don't mind it that much. Plus, I don't find it to linger on the skin. I am quite enjoying this cream so far and haven't had any issues with breakouts. It does feel comfortable and soothing and a perfect weight for Fall. It might not be quite hydrating enough for Winter, but that's nothing that some hydrating serum underneath won't cure!
It would definitely be an understatement to say that I am now fully hooked on Biologique Recherche. The products are so unique and specifically targeted and there are so many to choose from that it really feels that you can fully customize your routine! I'd be lying if I said I don't already have a shopping cart ready to go for my next BR order. While I don't want to ditch the beautiful green beauty products already in my collection, I'm definitely curious to see whether using fewer essential oils and fragranced products makes a positive change in my sensitive skin. I will certainly keep you posted about how I'm liking these products and what I buy next!
And if you're in Toronto, I fully recommend going to the One-One Studio for a skin care consultation if you're at all interested in the brand. It was a thorough and informative experience with lots of information and recommendations but very little sales pressure and no rushing at all. My aesthetician Angela was fabulous! The spa also has an online shop if you're not in the city (here).
Have you ever tried Biologique Recherche? Have I tempted you?
Thanks so much for stopping by! xo