Why You Should Try the Cult-Favorite Skincare Line, Biologique Recherche
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
The French skincare line practices beauty with a conscience.
There is only one "problem" with the luxury skincare line Biologique Recherche: The exclusive French products are hard to find stateside. The brand is nearly impossible shop outside of a professional spa setting — and believe me, I have looked.
While living in New York, I used to trek all the way to the Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa on the Upper East Side to get my bottles of Lotion P50 V, the gentler version of their cult-favorite toner, Lotion P50. I continued to do so long after I stopped getting facials at the location simply because it is that hard to locate. Although you might be able to shop the brand online, this raises concerns about freshness, storage conditions, and the risk of purchasing counterfeit products.
The process just got easier for Los Angeles residents, who can thank the beauty gods for their new shop in Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills. Stop by to peruse the line, or book one of signature treatments (which I have been receiving in France and highly recommend).
Here in Paris, Biologique Recherche is considerably easier to shop. They have an Institute and Spa on the Champs Elysées, and it is used in the spa at my gym. My esthetician at Klay Paris has helped clear up some stubborn congestion and inflammation, while leaving me with serious glow courtesy of the highly lauded Masque Vivant. She notes that the products are effective, but natural, and protect the integrity of the skin. Like many others — myself included — she swears by the Lotion P50, the "magical" product I have relied on most throughout my adult life.
There is one more important reason why I adore this brand: their commitment to inclusive wellness. Back in 2017, Biologique Recherche partnered with the non-profit Wellness for Cancer to adapt safe products and treatments for cancer patients globally. As the only beauty brand to make their products and treatments accessible to all cancer patients, they deserve serious recognition for this step.
"It is important to see individuals beyond diagnosis or situation," says Julie Bach, Executive Director of Wellness for Cancer. "This partnership is a crucial step for those dealing with cancer and [its] physical and psychosocial side effects. Wellness for Cancer and Biologique Recherche are dedicated to quality training, products, and personalized care."
Bach is a real-life beauty innovator whose non-profit works tirelessly with spas to train their estheticians and staff in providing beauty and wellness services for cancer patients. Many of the luxury hotels and their spas — such as locations of the Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, and Six Senses properties — have benefited from the training and advocacy work of this non-profit in support of their inclusive and customized offerings for cancer patients.
I often talk about the beauty industry's failures — like the lack of label transparency, the need for more stringent ingredient regulations, or the morally reprehensible practice of animal testing. But the fact that top spas within the wellness and hospitality industries are able to legally discriminate against cancer patients is hypocritical, and one of the industry's biggest failings yet.
Spas regularly turn patients away unless they are in remission, a policy that is as insensitive as it is discriminatory. This is especially cruel because remission is something that every cancer patient hopes to achieve, but as we all know, not all do. For some types of cancer, remission is not even a possible prognosis — as is the case with a friend of mine, Becca.
In 2017 — the same year that Biologique Recherche partnered with Wellness for Cancer — one of my closest friends received a terrifying diagnosis. At the age of 29, her husband returned home from work to find her suffering from a grand mal seizure. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, where the doctors discovered a massive brain tumor and scheduled her for surgery. In the weeks following brain surgery, they biopsied the tumor and gave her a cancer diagnosis, and she started months of chemo and radiation treatments.
Brain cancer is one of the unfortunate types that never goes into remission. As she has explained to me, this is because the tumors have microscopic "legs" that can never be removed completely. Even with an incredible medical team and her badass warrior spirit (she told jokes to her brain surgeon!), she will unfortunately never go into remission and will have to continue returning to the hospital for MRIs to monitor any potential regrowth for the rest of her life.
With remission off the table, brain cancer has become a regular part of her daily life — a stress from which she gets absolutely no breaks and no days off. Each and every time she goes in for an MRI, her stress levels spike ("scanxiety") and I can only imagine that she relives a bit of the trauma.
Frankly, I can't think of a single person — or couple — my age that is living with such an imminent source of chronic stress. As a result, I can't think of anyone more deserving of some R&R than my friend Becca. Yet she was actually turned away for a massage at a 4-star hotel in London that prides itself on hospitality.
"I was not only frustrated, but surprised at the lack of knowledge [demonstrated by] the spa," Becca explains. "If you are going to have a policy that cancer patients or survivors cannot receive treatments without being in remission for a year, you need to be able to provide legitimate reasons... This spa had no explanation — they simply told me they couldn't [give me a massage] because I wasn't in remission."
Becca was turned down for the massage at the cause of her disease — publicly and in front of other spa-goers — highlighting a need for industry-wide sensitivity training when it comes to interacting with cancer patients. But the proposed solution from management revealed something worse: A dangerous lack in understanding of the underlying safety issues concerning patients with cancer.
Their response was to deny providing her massage, offering a manicure and pedicure instead. But while Becca's doctor had cleared her for facials and massages throughout the course of her treatment, she had been expressly forbidden from receiving manis and pedis due to a heightened risk of infection due to her suppressed immune function. "The irony is that when management heard my complaints, they offered me a manicure and pedicure instead," Becca continues. "If they had any knowledge on the subject, they would know that a manicure or pedicure is actually not recommended for patients undergoing chemotherapy because it exposes you to the risk of infection."
It unfortunately happens daily that patients that are the most deserving of stress-reducing, wellness-promoting treatments must go out of their way — even out of the country — to find practitioners from whom they can seek relief. When battling cancer, the last thing anyone needs is to feel stigmatized or singled out for their life-changing diagnosis; in fact, this only creates more stress for the individual. Wellness for Cancer has conducted trainings in over 50 countries, but depending on where you live, the denial of treatments for patients impacted by a cancer diagnosis could still be an everyday reality.
Of the luxury hotels worldwide that specialize in treatments for patients with cancer, the exquisite Cell Vitality Recovery & Rehabilitation treatment program makes inclusive wellness a priority. It takes place at the five-star Chiva-Som resort, Thailand's world-renowned wellness destination thag has been voted "The World's Best Destination Spa" three times by Conde Nast Traveler. But, a ten-day stay and regimen of hand-picked treatments for those who have undergone cancer treatment costs in the ballpark of $12,000+ — a dream to be sure, but not exactly inclusive. This is simply less feasible than a single treatment, which costs only a fraction of the total, highlighting the importance of making cancer-safe wellness more readily available globally... not just a luxury perk for the five-star wellness traveler.
If you believe that wellness should be for all, it is important that you know how the vast majority of spa locations completely neglects this population of friends, family members, and loved ones whose lives have been changed forever by cancer. This is exactly why I am thankful to Biologique Recherche, for leading the industry by example in taking steps to remedy this form of “systemic wellness discrimination" alongside the non-profit whose work with spas has been revolutionizing the beauty industry.
Cosmetically speaking, Biologique Recherche is transformative for the skin — beloved by a long list of beauty editors and skincare devotees alike. As mentioned, I personally used the line's beloved toner throughout my 20's with excellent results, and am back — more loyal than ever — in my 30’s. I have even added a serum and moisturizer from the brand into the mix, I am considering purchasing their glow-inducing Masque Vivant — a product so popular it’s know to be waitlisted.
In terms of practicing beauty with a conscience, the cult-favorite skincare line Biologique Recherche is a standard-setting trailblazer within the industry (whose Lotion P50 and Masque Vivant belong firmly on your beauty bucket lists).
Know what I love pairing with Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50? CBD.