Sometimes there’s just a little buzz at the edge of your perception, a little noise alerting you to the prospect of something important slightly beyond. That’s how it was for me and Biologique Recherché. A casual mention of “BR P50” on a website, piquing interest in the form of an informal acronym that basically implies if you’re anyone, you’ll know what this is, DUH. Thank you, Google, for saving me from my own ineptitude.
So once I learned it’s only available from, like, two websites, smells atrocious, and makes your face numb after using it, of course I HAD TO HAVE IT. Wait, you’re saying, what is “it”? (Name that tune!) Turns out it’s some “acid toner”, basically a chemical exfoliant, which comes in multiple formulas since the original was banned in the UK or some nonsense. One website actually referred to it as “Jesus in a bottle”. Okay, then. SOLD. I ordered a big bottle of it, making sure it was the original, most carcinogenic formula (the P50 1970) and waited with baited breath for its arrival.
I knew this version was (in)famous for having phenol in it. I couldn’t remember what phenol smelled like, until I cracked open the bottle and took a whiff. Have you ever taken high school biology?
Holy. crap. This magic fluid smells like goddamn HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY. I can’t imagine being immediately transported back in time by a smell more profoundly than this besides, like, the cologne your first boyfriend wore. I was instantly surrounded by pickled small animals of lesser taxonomic class than ours pinned into wax-lined trays, crudely dissected by a bunch of disinterested teenagers. (I am totally pouring some out now for the various creatures that had to suffer in the name of my education. Sorry, little dudes.) So here I am, awash in pickled frog memories, about to
wipe pat this noxious shit on my face. I brace myself for the burn. Oh yes, it burns. Yes, your face goes numb. It smells to high holy hell, and the fumes waft upwards to irritate your eyes. At this point, you can’t help but wonder what the fuck is wrong with you to make you think this was a wise decision.
Because I am a trooper, I stick with it. Twice a day, after cleansing, with the recommended 10-minute window of nothing to allow the acids to neutralize or some shit. My bathroom garbage can, with its P50-soaked cotton pads, becomes the biggest fire hazard in the house. After a few weeks, my skin looks… nice. Not like the second coming of Jesus, they-just-trimmed-my-umbilical-cord-before-I-climbed-this-yacht-in-Cannes amazing, but good. I feel like my skin is a little brighter, more smooth, more luminous. I never suffer from retaliatory pimples, rashes, redness, or dryness. It’s sort of like post-Good Genes, slightly less amazing, but for a lot less moolah.
So is this mysterious BR P50 1970 worth the hype? I’m not sure I buy the hooey about “pH balancing”, but no doubt it is an excellent exfoliant; it contains lactic acid, just like Good Genes does. The addition of sulphur makes it excellent for acne-prone skin. Comparatively, it’s not going to break the bank; you can get a little travel size to try out for less than thirty bucks. There’s nothing else just like it on the market that I’m aware of. What do you have to lose. Come on. All the cool kids are doing it.
I washed my face about eight hours ago. No makeup. No filters. Just a quick selfie while writing this so you can see I am not totally full of shit.