It was hard scrolling through any beauty-related articles or someones Instagram without being blasted by the mention of this French gem. Especially their exfoliating toner, the P50 lotion. If you haven’t heard of it, you must’ve been living under a rock!
What it is?
Does it truly need an introduction?
Well, it’s an acid pH-balancing, AHA/BHA/PHA exfoliator, and brightening toner. Although it’s a toner, I think it should be seen more
I went with the version of P50 lotion for mature/drier skin types, as I wouldn’t say my skin is particularly oily. There’s one for sensitive skin, P50W, but it contains arnica; from my research, that’s not really a sensitive skin-friendly ingredient. So that’s why I ended up choosing P50V. But the strength between versions differs only 1-3%, the highest being 12.5
But whatever works for you, right?
My Experience with the P50 V Lotion
I’m just going to get straight into the chase. My experience with the P50V lotion has been a rollercoaster ride. There’s no other way to describe it.
I wish I could love it like any other blogger who’s ever mentioned this product, but my experience has been sort of a struggle to say the least.
Biologique Recherche states on their website that these lotions are “gentle”. But compared to my other arsenal of exfoliants – even those who are at the same or higher concentration of AHA’s – the P50V has been far from gentle.
Throughout the year that I’ve been using this toner, it’s lead me to over-exfoliate more times than one, trying to build up my tolerance.
Now, I will admit that half of those times were because of my own stupidity; experimenting with the use of milder exfoliants in-between uses and my stubbornness to involve retinol in my routine. Which, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to work greatly
A Love-Hate Relationship
I started off weaning into it, applying it on a damp cotton pad before I fancily pressed it on to my skin. This ritual was kept 3 times a week for about a month’s time. But I wasn’t seeing or feeling any positive results from that. My skin just didn’t seem to want to adjust. Even diluted it appeared to aggravate my skin or do nothing
Eventually, one day I just said f*ck it, I’m going all in.
Applied it on a dry cotton pad, swiped it, and woke up the next morning feeling the hype surrounding it.
My skin felt super soft and looked radiant and even calm!
Why there was such a huge difference between
However, two days after, small bumps started to appear a little all over. Nothing huge, just annoying. It seemed like a purge if you believe in that sort of thing. I laid off using it until my skin rebalanced. But the the vicious cycle kept on
The summer was probably the only time I felt like I got the hype. Perhaps it was the high humidity, as well as my skin producing more oil during this time, that made it a better fit? But it somehow actually felt balancing to the skin. Whereas before it felt like it made the skin more out of whack.
My skin behaved shockingly nice throughout the summer, despite it being one of the sunniest and hottest in decades! At the time I felt like it must be due to the P50V lotion keeping my skin balanced. I tried the COSRX AHA/BHA toner, but it didn’t seem as helpful as this guy.
But then, in late August, after 1 week in Tenerife, my skin started to act up again. Like really bad and cystic. As soon as we landed I did the stupidest thing, I went 3 nights in a row with this bad-boy! Thinking I could handle it and that it would help, but oh how my skin wasn’t taking it!
Note that, by this time I was using the P50V lotion as my only active regularly 1-2 a week.
Going on Rehab
After the mishap, I had to discontinue the use of any actives for three whole weeks. That’s seriously how long it took my skin to recover from the over-exfoliation and cystic breakouts!
Like an addict, I was in total perplexity. I knew I had to take a break, but I was in utter disbelief that my skin could get better without acids.
But oh was I in for a shocker!
The thing is, throughout my use of the P50V lotion, my skin never got as smooth and soft as those who swear by it. It did help tremendously with post-inflammatory pigment to fade. However, I still was having trouble with skin texture, my forehead, cheeks, and neck had tiny bumps and my jawline was irritated. Like honestly, when thinking back, this toner never really managed to transform my skin to this smooth glowing filter that everyone who raves about it has. I always thought I had to amp it up, build my tolerance. I always seemed to have an excuse for it but never considered it could’ve been just wrong for my skin.
Being acid-free taught me something. When you start off using chemical exfoliants you don’t realize the fine line where doing less actually becomes more. Especially when a lot of brands push for daily use of their exfoliating products! After three weeks of healing, my skin actually transformed into everything I hoped this acid toner would do for my skin!
It was soft and all those little bumps on my forehead, cheeks, and jawline (that I expected the P50V to remove) suddenly vanished! My skin got in the best shape that it’s ever been!
The irony of using products that are supposed to help with skin texture, when the solution was to not use them at all?!
The summery is that I did not find this to be more
My favorites being Elizabeth Arden Pro Perfection Serum and Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos. My skin adjusted beautifully to these two! I’ve barely had the same problem as I’ve had with the P50V lotion.
However, I did like how it seemed to brighten the skin faster than any other OTC chemical exfoliant I’ve tried so far. I believe the blend of different types of acids definitely makes a difference. So I’ll be looking for something similar in the future.
It is all that, but also not. The truth is that my skin got better without this in my routine and has continued improving without it. I’ve occasionally come back to it, but the vicious cycle just keeps repeating. I’ve tried it as a spot treatment, but with my type of acne and skin, that’s always resulted in adding more gas to the flame.
And I think it’s important to realize that surrounding a hyped up product like this one; it’s easy to push yourself to like it and try to use it more often when, in fact, it does more harm than good.
With that said, this product will last you a long long time, especially if you’re using it as a treatment 1-2 a week. I got the sample bottle at the end of 2017, and I still got about 1/5 of product left since August 2018! Haven’t touched it much since my acid-mishap because the drama keeps repeating itself despite recovered skin.
Now, I agree, I should probably try some of the other versions. But I’ve pretty much concluded that this isn’t the product for me. My theory is that my skin doesn’t like vinegar. It didn’t even like simple DIY raw ACV toner back in the days when I tried desperately to cure my acne naturally – and yes, I did experiment using low concentrations and my acne just got worse from it.
I can’t speak for anyone else and their results, but I’ve seen a common thread with those who love this product and that is that they have oily skin. The same goes for those who swear by ACV toners.
And that’s my thoughts on it guys. Kudos for anyone reading through all of this!