We Investigate the Smelly, "Life-Changing" French Skincare Product Editors Love

Faith Xue

When you run through the long list of French beauty products we covet here overseas—from Bioderma to Biofine—they all have certain things in common: They’re chic and non-affronting, and they smell sort of like a freshly laundered T-shirt. They’re basically the essence of a French woman distilled to product form, and perhaps that’s why we yearn for them so strongly. But then there’s Biologique Recherche P50. If all the other French products were the Plastics from Mean Girls, Biologique Recherche P50 is Janis Ian. The off-white plastic bottle boasts purple accents and a computerized font that looks straight out of the early ’90s. It’s made with ingredients like onion extract, horseradish, and vinegar and smells like a mix between garbage and yogurt that’s been left out for too long. It is, quite clearly, a black sheep among its mild, understated peers.

Yet still, glowy-skinned women like Emily Weiss and Garance Doré all swear by its magic abilities—our very own CEO, Katherine Power, calls it “life-changing.” Devotees swear that it erases dark spots, shrinks pores, and balances your complexion so that the final effect is something akin to a cherub’s bottom. Curious about whether this under-the-radar product is truly as paradigm-shifting as its followers proclaim, I did some investigating that involved a one-on-one consultation with Philippe Allouche himself, the son of the founder of Biologique, who took over the company in the early 2000s. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about Biologique Recherche P50.

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