If you’ve ever walked down the beauty aisle of an Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters or scrolled through millennial and Gen Z Instagram beauty accounts, there’s a good chance you’ve come across Mario Badescu before. The European-inspired skincare brand is renowned for its simple, classic packaging and high-quality formulas that are shockingly affordable given their effects. Want to know more? Keep reading for everything there is to know about the skincare brand that’s been making cult-favorite products for over 50 years.
Mario Badescu Skin Care
Founded: Mario Badescu, 1967
Based In: New York City
Pricing: $$ (most products are $16 to $40)
Best Known For: Providing high-quality, botanical-infused, European-inspired products at affordable prices.
Most Popular Product: Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater, Drying Lotion, Mint Lip Balm
Fun Fact: Mario Badescu created his brand inside his two-bedroom Manhattan apartment back in the ’60s.
Other Brands You’ll Love: Pixi, Cosrx, Blume
The whole goal of Mario Badescu skincare is to provide shoppers with a European-quality facial from the comfort of their own home—and without the insanely high price tag to match.
“For over half a century, we’ve been a prestige brand name that transcends generations and spans the entire lifecycle of skin,” says Mario Badescu executive vice president Joseph Cabasso. “From powerful acne solutions to potent anti-aging treatments, we customize entire regimens for every skin type and concern imaginable at an affordable price point.”
Beyond the affordable price point is the fact that Mario Badescu is accessible for all—men and women of every age. While their tagline is "skincare for all," Gen Z and millennial shoppers tend to post the most about the brand on social media. That said, Cabasso says that Mario Badescu shoppers range from teens to mature adults.
As with all skincare brands, no matter how beloved Mario Badescu is, the brand gets plenty of flack for its packaging and formulations. Part of what makes the skincare so affordable is likely how low-key the packaging is. Think: lightweight plastic jars and spritzers and the occasional glass jar or dropper bottle. As for the formulations, Observer points out that a considerable number of Mario Badescu users have reported rashes and other skin concerns tied to use of the products. And, back in 2012, the company even had to settle a class action lawsuit over including two harsh steroids in their products without disclosing them to shoppers. Yikes. Of course, that was nine years ago and times have changed—and the harmful ingredients were removed. As a result, the brand continues to be a source of adoration by thousands of skincare shoppers from near and far—including us.
Now that you’re up to speed, read on for our favorite Mario Badescu products.
It’s safe to understand why this pink facial spray is one of Mario Badescu’s leading product offerings. The rose spray is infused with aloe vera, gardenia, bladderwrack, and thyme, all of which work together to revitalize skin for a dewy, radiant allure. You can apply it after cleansing and before moisturizing to serve as a toner, before makeup to prep skin for a dewy end look, or midday to refresh on the go. Whichever way you use it, just be sure not to get it in your eyes—or immediately flush your eyes if you do.
If you have acne-prone skin, you should immediately make room in your routine for this cult-favorite drying lotion. What is a drying lotion, you might ask? It’s a product designed to absorb oil out of blemishes and effectively flatten them while reducing inflammation. This one is made with salicylic acid, sulfur, and calamine, so prepare yourself for quite the smell. For best results, dip a cotton swab into the solution, ensuring you get some of the pink sediment from the bottom on the tip. Dab it gently onto your spots for a fast-drying spot treatment that you can go to sleep in. By morning you’ll be amazed at how less noticeable your breakout has become. (Truly, I swear by this stuff.) Just remember that, as much as a separated product may entice you to shake it, this liquid is not meant to be shaken and mixed together.
Say hello to a minty fresh, ultra-hydrated pout with this smooth, never sticky, lip balm. Thanks to jojoba oil, avocado oil, sunflower seed wax, and cocoa butter, this cooling lip balm will keep chapped lips at bay. Plus, it comes in a squeeze tube, so you can easily use every ounce of product.
This purple-tinted toner might be labeled for all skin types, but thanks to its witch hazel and lavender formula, it’s especially beneficial for folks with oily, acne-prone skin types. Where witch hazel acts as an astringent to dry out breakouts and balance oil production, lavender soothes inflammation while ushering in a clear, radiant complexion. To reap the rewards of this fan-favorite toner, soak a cotton round and dab it onto your face after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Combination, oily, and sensitive skin types will swoon over this soothing facial moisturizer. Thanks to being infused with aloe, the green-tinted cream works to hydrate, balance, and soothe skin, making way for a calmer, clearer complexion in its wake. But, just remember, even though it's infused with SPF 15, it doesn't replace the need for actual sunscreen. After all, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, SPF 30 or higher is recommended each and every day.
Where Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion is ideal for noticeable whiteheads, the brand’s Buffering Lotion is a must for painful, under-the-skin cystic bumps. It’s made with healing niacinamide, anti-inflammatory zinc oxide, and soothing allantoin, which together help soothe cystic bumps so they appear less visible and feel less painful. It’s best used at night and should be applied to clean skin and not followed with any moisturizer or other products. Additionally, unlike the Drying Lotion, the Buffering Lotion is meant to be mixed, so shake it up!
All skin types can enjoy this intensely hydrating gel cream, though it’s particularly beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin types thanks to its ultra-lightweight, oil-free formula. It’s silky smooth to the touch and immediately sinks into skin upon application. Apply it after cleansing and toning and notice how your skin looks instantly refreshed.
This ultra-hydrating facial oil is a shoo-in for dry, combination, and sensitive skin types. It's made with rose hips, which are packed with essential fatty acids and work well to absorb excess oil and effectively balance skin. What's more, rose hips is a natural source of vitamin C, so this fast-drying oil will help to brighten skin, too. For best results, apply it after cleansing and before moisturizing, making sure not to get it in your eyes.
Let me begin by saying the texture of this neck cream is divine. It's like butter meets frosting in the richest, smoothest way. It's made with cocoa butter infused with a series of nourishing oils, not to mention hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. A little goes a long way, so complete your skincare routine by dabbing a touch on your neck and chest and gently rubbing it in.
Looking for a way to plump your under-eye area and look more awake? Allow us to introduce you to this stellar eye cream. Made with hyaluronic acid (which holds 1,000 times its weight in water and plumps skin as a result), safflower seed oil, and aloe vera, the cream not only plumps the skin but brightens it, too. Apply it with your ring finger, but don't be alarmed if it leaves a white cast at first, as it takes a few seconds to really sink in.