I Replaced My Beloved P50 With a Cheaper Alternative—and It Worked Just as Well

Updated 04/28/19

As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life). Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we’ve tried. Whether it’s a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you’ll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!

I say, on record, all the time how much Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50 has changed my skin and subsequently my life. It's a skin-clearing, balancing, toning, evening elixir that has more positive attributes than any product I've used thus far. It's a pungent blend of lactic acid, salicylic acid, and citric acid combined with skin-soothing botanicals to exfoliate your skin in the most effective of ways. See, I have combination skin, which means I need both intense moisture for the dry parts and exfoliating and congestion-busting formulas for the rest. I suffer from some discoloration and sun damage (I was not kind to my skin during my teenage years), and I'm obsessed with keeping my skin bright and glowy at all times. P50 checks off every single box. I use it twice daily and notice an immediate deviation in the brightness of my skin when I skip a day. All of that was fine and good until I ran out one morning. When I went to buy another bottle online, it was on back order. Part of the allure of Biologique Recherche's products is how elusive they are—only sold in a few brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and even fewer online. I panicked. How long would it be until I could replenish my stash? What would my skin do in the meantime?

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970 $101
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Once I got to the office, I scoured our beauty closet (and my overflowing desk drawers) for another sample, keeping an eye out for any other exfoliating treatment that may be comparable in the meantime. There, right in front of me, was Moon Juice's latest offering, an exfoliating acid potion with the same claims: to resurface and restore your skin, making it appear tighter, brighter, and smoother. I remembered our wellness editor and resident Moon Juice connoisseur, Victoria, had sung its praises. "I've seen huge changes in my skin just after a week of use," she wrote. She added, "For example, I've been battling some lingering acne scars and discoloration after several weeks of travel, and they've virtually disappeared thanks to the Exfoliating Acid Potion, a 'magic' blend of AHA and BHA acids. I also love that it's gentle enough that I don't feel any stinging or tingling sensation when I slather it all over my face at night. Have I mentioned my blackheads are now nonexistent, too? This shit works."

Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Exfoliating Acid Potion
Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Exfoliating Acid Potion $39
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With her words in mind, I decided to give it a go and took it home with me that night. The next morning, I soaked a cotton pad with the formula and swiped it around my face like I would P50. After completing the rest of my routine, I noticed my skin looked good. Not convinced it had anything to do with this particular product, I went on my way. 

Cut to a month later, and my skin looks exactly the same as it always had when I was using P50. It was bright, dewy, and even. I hadn't had a single breakout the entire time—even when my period came, which is a feat. The product's potent AHA and BHA five-acid complex features glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid (just like P50), and it helps to encourage natural cellular turnover, unclog and minimize the appearance of pores, and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Then, vitamin B3 comes in paired with adaptogenic reishi and tocotrienols to help boost hydration, combat the signs of oxidative stress, and fortify your skin’s natural barrier. I was in shock. Did I just discover a new holy-grail product? Was P50's reign as my number one offering done, making way for Moon Juice's to quickly climb the ranks? I wasn't convinced. So I continued to use it for another month. 

moon juice beauty shroom exfoliating acid potion review
Hallie Gould

Four full weeks later, the results were still as radical and I had officially made up my mind. I wasn't going to stop using P50 since it's my ride-or-die, but I was able to admit this product was a perfectly suitable, just-as-effective alternative. Plus, it's less expensive. I'm officially sold.

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