The Cult Skincare Company I Never Knew I Needed To Know
I never really understood the obsession with facials. First you get a good steam to open your pores, then a professional face picking session, and it's all topped off with some cream and a face massage. People swear by them, but I just never got into it myself. I just let Dr Z pick any blackheads that occasionally pop up.
But lately I've heard whisperings on the Upper East Side of New York City about this facial unlike anything I have ever experienced. Then I opened up the pages of my favorite magazines to see mentions of at home products from the same company - Biologique Recherche. What is is with the P50 lotion that everyone is talking about? Why does it have a cult following? I had to find out.
When the folks at the company offered to introduce the brand to me and Dr Z, I assumed I would get a sample of the creams, with a facial steam and some sort of mask. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Their facials do not use heat at all - no steam, no hot towels, no picking, no scrubbing. Two hours and 8 steps later, my skin was plumped, tightened, and brightened, and I was totally enlightened into a world of facials I really knew nothing about.
I am doing my best to recount what they actually did to me, and apologize to all if I got any of the steps mixed up!
Biologique Recherche is a French company that has been around for 40 years, despite my only hearing about it a few months ago (as if it were brand new on to the market). The company's philosophy is to combine high concentration of natural ingredients with a personalized skincare regimen. Available only in select spas (like Rescue Spa) or doctors' offices, you can get professional treatments along with at-home products to compliment them.
The first step of the facial is to diagnose your skin type. The "skin instant" machine measures skin hydration, skin elasticity, pigmentation and oil production. As my facialist examined my skin, I was happy to hear that she thought my face was in good shape (if I weren't I'd be in trouble, as my husband is a Dermatologist after all). But it was dry and reactive, and they noticed the pigment around my undereyes and temples that I have suffered from for years.
Then the treatment began.
Step 1: Cleansing. She used a double cleanse for me, using a gentle micellar water following by a cleansing milk.
Step 2: The infamous P50 Lotion. There actually are 6 different P50 variants, and I started with the most mild version. Each are formulated with slightly different ingredients and concentrations. (My skin was too sensitive for the original lotion with phenol in it.) The one I used contained gentle alpha, beta, poly hydroxacids like gluconolactone, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, phytic, and salicylic acids. She carefully applied the lotion in upwards motions. (Pulling the skin downwards, even in applying creams can contribute to sagging over time.)
Step 3: Booster. Their booster is different from the traditional boosters you can get at Sephora. Rather than a highly concentrated serum, this is a specialized skin treatment that may include peels or serums. Mine was called the Lissant treatment and was made up of milk protein powder and hyaluronic acid solution, to hydrate and calm my skin. She mixed the powder and milk and concentrated on areas of my face she felt needed it most.
Step 4: Cold Mask. Right on top of the booster she applied a white creamy mask called the VIP O2 mask to help hydrate and oxygenate the skin.
Step 5: Eye Treatment. Because my main issue is pigmentation around my eyes, she chose for me the Marine Oligo Protein Serum. She used a needle and syringe to try out this greenish liquid and put it on cotton pads which she placed over my eyes. She said marine algae will help brighten the pigmentation.
Step 6: Cold Mask #2. Here's where the treatment got freaky. Right over the mask I already had on the face, she covered my entire face with the mesh gauze. She had me close my eyes and then put gauze pads over them. So from this point on, I had no idea what was going on and I had to rely on Dr Z (who was taking these photos to find out what happened). I really tried to relax, but I have to admit that I felt a bit like I was doing a trust fall activity at a school retreat. She applied a thick, green mask with micro crystalline algae all over my entire face including over my protected eyes. The mask cooled into a rubery consistency and she use these cold metal Cryo Sticks to massage and cool the skin. I could not believe what I looked like when I saw the photos! After about 10 minute, she rolled the mask right off my face.
Step 7. Finishing serum which is the final layer to seal in and protect your skin from environment. I think I was so relieved to have the green mask removed from my face, that I don’t remember what was in the finishing serum!
Step 8. The last step was a microcurrent treatment that used three different frequencies at the same time. The high frequency has purifying properties and can help treat acne. The medium frequency was for muscle stimulation. She moved the two poles to each end of the facial muscles to specifically target different muscle groups in the face. Finally, the Galvanic frequency helped enhance penetration of the active ingredients and stimulated circulation in the face. They warned me that I may have a metallic taste in my mouth during the treatment, which I did, but that went away as soon as they turned the machine off.
So what was the verdict? This was the most intense and targeted facial I had ever experienced. (I just wish I could have been more relaxed when the green mask was all over my face.) As I left, my skin was definitely more hydrated, less red, and calmer than when I walked in. I noticed visible brightness, and specially around my temples and eyes where I was originally most bothered.
Now I just need to keep up with the regimen with the P50 lotion I took home with me!