Biologique Recherche opens up about the hard-to-find miracle product.
Picture this: A biologist, physiotherapist, and doctor walk into a lab and come out with one of the most sought-after products in the beauty space.
No, this isn’t the setup to a joke. Instead, it’s the beginning of the story of one of France’s premiere beauty brands, Biologique Recherche. Founded over 40 years ago, the brand has become known for its clinical-meets-holistic approach to skin care. Dr. Philippe Allouche, the co-owner and head of creation for the brand, says the idea behind the company is to “rebuild a fully functional epidermis in order to protect yourself” from free radicals, aging, dark spots, and whatever other problematic skin conditions you might have. The ingredients used are raw, concentrated, and pure; the packaging simple; the marketing, basically, non-existent. And yet the brand can be found right next to Sunday Riley and Glossier on nearly every influencer’s top shelf, largely due to its star product: the P50 lotion.
The P50 lotion goes by many names: holy grail, Jesus in a bottle, the Hermès of skin-care products. It’s a chemical exfoliating toner (it includes acids like lactic, malic, salicylic, and others) and meant to fade hyperpigmentation, shrink pores, clear acne, and balance out the complexion. People obsess over it because it does all those things. Unlike other so-called miracle products, the P50 lotion isn’t one-size-fits-all; there are actually seven versions of it on the market, meaning that there’s an option for every skin type. The original, the P50 1970, is the most intense and includes the controversial ingredient, phenol, which has been banned in Europe (but not the U.S). Dr. Allouche tells me that he reformulated the original in the 2000s (though it’s still available) because it proved to be too harsh for the skin. “The skin has changed over the decades, it’s more sensitive and thinner,” he says. The other options include the P50V, which is moderately strong; P50W, which is meant for sensitive skin; and P50 PIGM 400, which is specifically for combatting hyperpigmentation.
When you have a product that works, people talk about it. And post about it. And tweet about it. And that’s exactly what’s happened with the P50 lotion, a fact that has greatly benefitted Dr. Allouche and his team. The P50 lotion has always been popular, but, lately (at least in the U.S.), it’s graduated to cult status, even spawning a couple of copy-cats. When I meet with Dr. Allouche last week, though, it isn’t to discuss the lotion; they already know people love it. What the brand is focused on now is making sure customers know the magic potion also extends to body products and even a scalp treatment. “It’s not hair on one side and scalp on the other,” Dr. Allouche says. “They work together. The scalp is like the soil—it’s the temple for all of the hair products.” (We know this already, right? We’ve written about the importance of scalp care several times on this very website.) However, in the same way that the P50 works wonders, its scalp treatment, Biologique Recherche wants you to know, will do the same.
One thing that makes this brand unique, though, is how exclusive it still seems. With the kind of growth the company has experienced, most brands would understandably expand their distribution—but not Biologique. Right now, U.S. customers can only find the products online on Paul Labrecque and Shop Rescue Spa’s websites, and Dr. Allouche plans to keep it that way. “We partner with people who we deeply believe can give the best to our clientele,” he says. “We love aestheticians. We love spas. All of these people are educated about the skin, and we think they’re the best ambassadors.” When I ask him if he plans on making the products more readily available in the future, he shakes his head. “It’s just not the core of the brand,” he stresses.
Cue a sigh of relief from beauty lovers of all things elite.
There’s a hair salon, nail studio, and 14 treatment rooms where you can get an array of treatments from high-tech facials (the Oxylight Facial is an over-the-top combination of micro-current, ultrasound, oxygen therapy, and more to lift, tighten, and smooth) and pore-shrinking laser therapies to life-affirming massages and detox body wraps (you’re slathered in antioxidant-packed sea mud, which leaves skin insanely silky). The two-floor space is posh—and sprawling—and we can’t recommend enough their Bio Seaweed Gel manicure, which uses 5-free polish, LED light to set the pigment (as opposed to potentially harmful UV light), and lasts about a month. A facial with founder/skin-whisperer Danuta Mieloch is transformative—her touch is exquisite and you emerge looking totally glowy.
RESCUE SPA PHILADELPHIA WILL BE CLOSED THURSDAY 02/08 IN CELEBRATION OF THE EAGLES 2018 SUPERBOWL PARADE
Healthy fats: the good fats we need and love. Think avocado, almonds, coconut oil. We crave comfort foods during wintertime, says Danuta Mieloch, a skincare goddess, master esthetician, and owner of Rescue Spa in NYC and Philadelphia. She encourages us to increase our healthy fat intake to keep skin supple and looking its best. A cooking classic, we love extra virgin olive oil because it’s also loaded with vitamin E and let’s face it, if it’s cold out, we are eating pasta. Dressed over noodles, salads, etc., this healthy fat packs a serious punch and moisturizes our skin from the inside out. Easy skin solution and oh, so good.
Vitamin D: contributes to skin cell growth and repair. Healthy skin normally means hydrated skin and vitamin D helps destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging. The body produces vitamin D on its own through sun exposure, so it’s very easy to become deficient especially during the cooler winter months when we’re stuck indoors with Netflix. Danuta Mieloch (owner of Rescue Spa) encourages her clients and herself to take a higher dose of vitamin D during the winter months to make sure skin is kept in tip-top shape and healthy for optimum hydration. Bonus: she drinks hot lemon water with ginger to keep colds away (we love her).
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We will be offering complimentary strawberries & champagne with our Signature Pedicures Feb 10-18th.
In 2004, aesthetician Danuta Mieloch left NYC, where she’d spent a decade tending to the pores of fashionistas all over the city, to open a place in Philadelphia. She was looking for a change of pace.
What she got was a steady stream of New Yorkers who would make the hour-and-fifteen-minute commute to Philly just for her pampering facials at Rescue Spa.
“We had constant requests to open in [NYC],” says Mieloch, 51, who was born in Poland and trained in Paris.
So, this past winter, Mieloch opened up a Rescue Spa in the Flatiron District, conveniently across from chic veggie-forward restaurant abcV, with which she shares many customers. The serene spa offers manicures, blowouts, massages and body treatments, but most come for Rescue’s lifting, massage-centered facials, completed with products from cult-favorite French skin-care brand Biologique Recherche.
The results-driven line is beloved by well-to-do skin-care junkies, who shell out for items such a milk cleanser ($33), brewer’s yeast mask ($70) and P50 1970 ($67 for 5.1 oz), a holy-grail product that exfoliates, tones and brightens the skin. For a while, ordering through Rescue Spa’s Web site was the only way to purchase the products in the US, although the supply source has since expanded.
A few months into her return, Mieloch says she’s found a handful of differences between New Yorkers and Philadelphians. While Rescue’s Bio-Lift facial (1 hour, from $200) is the most-requested service in the smaller city, Gothamites are more likely to ask for the Fix It All facial (90 minutes, from $300), which includes mild microdermabrasion, gentle peels, massage and a finale of microcurrent and brightening light therapy.
“I think New Yorkers are sort of like, ‘I’m getting in, I want everything done,’ ” says Mieloch. And while those in Philly often needed Mieloch’s guidance with developing a skin-care regimen, she says, “The New York client is really educated with what is out there, what they should be doing.”
Still, Mieloch says she has a few lessons for locals.
First and foremost, lay off the facial oils. “People use too many oils — especially young people with breakouts,” says Mieloch. She worries that without any stabilizers, the lipids can break down and clog pores. “Oil oxidizes on your skin . . . it turns rancid really quickly.”
Those who do use oils need to exfoliate carefully, she says, “so you’re not just putting more oil and [balms] on the skin that already has buildup,” she says.
New Yorkers should also watch out for the city’s grime. “Pollution is a big deal,” says Mieloch. “Different kinds of environments can have an effect on your skin — you get a buildup, you get blackheads, you get rough skin.”
She recommends double-cleansing for the purest clean (either with two different cleansers, or the same one twice), removing the first with water and the second with a washcloth for a gentle manual exfoliation, and finishing it off with chemical exfoliation via upward swipes of P50 toner on a cotton pad.
Written by Molly Shea for New York Post