there’s a fungus among us : biologique recherche masque vivant

Okay. I so badly wanted to find an image of the devil or some monster covered in snot or slime to start this post. While I am amused by the fact that Googling “Satan” returns images of Obama in a red robe, I am dismayed by the lack of realistic yet gory devil pictures. I then Googled “mucus”, but was inundated with colonoscopy photos of mucus-y poop riding in a colon. My last shot was “fungus ball”, which is a highly unfortunate medical condition in which an aggregate of mold grows within a body cavity. The resulting goopy mix of fungus and mucus is said to resemble, appetizingly, peanut butter. (Doctors, and especially pathologists, are notorious for ruining appetites with creative terms such as “chocolate cysts”, “nutmeg liver”, and “cottage cheese discharge”. Add peanut butter to the list. Go, team!) The fungus ball images are so vile I can’t even begin to comprehend using one in a blog post voluntarily. (If you’re feeling masochistic or need to kill your appetite, be my guest.)

So why the need to find said image? Because today I want to talk about Biologique Recherché Masque Vivant, the “balancing mask par excellence”, which purportedly “Purifies, Brightens, Tones, and Refreshes the complexion”, benefiting those unfortunate souls with “oily, combination, dull and/or less toned skin”. The Internet is bursting forth with love and appreciation for this product as well as its sidekick P50 1970. So if the P50 1970 smells like pickled biology class frogs, this smells (and looks) like a fungus ball. How ironic, SINCE IT’S GOT YEAST SHIT IN IT.

I’d read the descriptions online. Someone thinks it smells like that funky spread Vegemite that I avoided all over Europe. It certainly looks just like it. Someone else said it smells like trash. Here I was, innocently thinking yeast? So, it smells like bread dough? Like a brewery? How bad can it be?



Hence my need to locate an image of the devil covered in snot. Because if Satan himself had a horrible fungus ball removed from his maxillary paranasal sinus, THIS IS WHAT IT WOULD LOOK AND SMELL LIKE.

It’s thick, viscous, and sticky, close to the color of poop or bloody mucus. The odor has a disturbing peanut butter side to it, but otherwise smells rank and organic and fascinating in the most vile way. Not in a farmer’s market way, but in a compost-heap-in-summer way. Have you ever smelled something decomposing? That scent hits you in the most primitive part of your brain that is on high alert and screams GET AWAY NOW because the instinct to avoid things that you make you sick is why you’re alive today. I’m not going to go so far as to say this product smells like a rotting corpse, but it does make those primitive instincts twinge just a tiny bit. When I put it on, I literally cannot wait to wash it off, until I remember that getting it wet reinvigorates the odor — it mercifully diminishes as the mask dries. I let the cats smell it, thinking they’d be skeeved out; one of them ignored me and the other one tried to lick it right off my face. I, bravely, let my SO smell it. He has a shitty sense of smell so it was no surprise when he sniffed and said, “Mmmmmm…… Chocolate?”

So, yeah. I consider this purchase as taking one for the team. I’ve tried it straight up, I’ve tried it mixed with a little baking soda as some suggest. Adding the baking soda adds a new dimension, because now you have not just a smelly sticky disgusting product, you have a FROTHING smelly sticky disgusting product. I actually prefer it with the baking soda and just a couple drops of water — it thins the whole mess out. This is preferable because a) it is expensive; anything to make it go further helps; and b) I would probably pass out if I gooped it on full strength. (My SO now can look at me through the window as he gets home from work and recognize instantly if I have it on based on my facial expression.)

The stoic face of a brave soldier.

By now you’re all wondering why the fuck I’m not talking about its effects, and here I am worried that I’ll need to turn in my skincare whore card if I admit anything less than elation. To be fair, I’ve only been using it for a couple weeks since I got my BR haul in from Rescue Spa. I’ve been using it at night, after removing makeup with the Lait VIP O2 cleanser and a nice burning swipe of P50. Its immediate effects (besides total relief from being able to wash it off) are similar to the Sunday Riley mask made of Good Genes + Ceramic Slip. You do get glowy, smooth, and radiant skin, minus the skin-burning-off sensation and tears of pain, with a few more dollars left over in your wallet (at $64, Masque Vivant is a bargain, comparatively) and a nice dose of the smug satisfaction that typically accompanies the use of cult products.

 said BR haul

The “good” news is that, thankfully, the smell is less of a punch in the face over time. It still doesn’t smell good, but now after a few weeks I can use it without being overtly grossed out. I’m going to commit to using this 3-4 times a week until that entire 3.4 oz of sticky poop is gone; updates to follow.

3 thoughts on “there’s a fungus among us : biologique recherche masque vivant

  1. Hi, hope you don’t mind I wanted to ask you about the micro-needling you had done a few months ago. I wondered if you’ve tried it again and whether you feel you’ve seen results over time? I’ve just recently tried it after reading a lot of reviews about it. I used a 1.0 roller on my face and neck and have done it twice now 1 week apart. I may use a 2.0 larger roller on my legs for a few light stretch marks. Do you think it could work on stretch marks, mine are not very bad but they are white? Also I had very little bleeding which I know you mentioned was important. I read In to the Gloss and enjoyed your interview there,

    Abi :)


    1. Aw, thanks Abi! I have done the microneedling procedure twice, but both times were performed by a professional. The results are definitely subtle, and they happen very slowly over time (months) during the healing process. Honestly – the treatments weren’t cheap and I’m on the fence as to wether I will do them again.

      First – it’s not something I would try at home. The shape of the needles, the angle and way they penetrate the epidermis, and the depth of penetration probably all have a role in how well the skin heals. Any product you’re buying online – who knows where it was made and to what manufacturing specifications. I will try all kinds of craziness at home, but dermarolling/microneedling is not on the list.

      Second – as you noted, I have said that if you’re not bleeding, you’re not likely to be causing enough injury to the skin to have a noticeable effect in the future.

      Last – stretch marks, in my mind, are like cellulite. There’s things you can do to minimize their appearance, but nothing that will make them go away. If they’re white, they are as healed and small as they are going to get. While I don’t know for sure, I would doubt that microneedling would have much of an effect. You theoretically could microneedle the area to build collagen and make the depression less noticeable, but that’s not going to help the white-ness. :(


  2. Thank you for your reply. I think I’ll continue trying it but will be careful. As I’ve got a bit more confident I am bleeding a little now. It’s funny though my stretch marks never were red I think they’ve always been white, probably from doing a lot of sports.


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