Dry skin needs a cream cleanser, agreed? In actuality, all skin types can benefit from a well-made creamy or milky cleanser because such cleansers get right to task with grime and makeup. That old saying about books and their covers? Biologique Recherche Lait VIP 02 is a creamy cleanser touted as being among the best in its class, yet when you look at the container it comes in, there’s no bling or sleek design lines. More than forty years ago in France, Yvan and Josette Allouche, a biochemist and physiotherapist respectively, created a skincare company with the intention of offering powerful formulas using the best ingredients. I began dabbling in the brand some years ago, starting with the notorious skin balancing exfoliator called Lotion P50, which happens to come in four different formulas in the US.
Eventually, I found myself at the altar of Lait VIP 02, a creamy, anti-pollution cleanser that breaks down makeup and grime, and offers instant brightening to the skin especially when left on for a few extra minutes. The cleanser is also a great precursor to using Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant, a stinky smelling but skin-loving, effective mask which showed up in an empties post that you can check out here. The formula for Lait VIP 02 includes cucumber extract, mimosa bark extract, silk extract and lactic acid, so it does an excellent job of lifting away whatever may have landed on your face that day. To use, I apply it to a dry face whether I’m wearing makeup or not and get right to massaging it into my skin. Cleansers with this kind of formula offer the chance to incorporate massage into your routine, something I always advocate for. The benefits of massage provide an easy way to do a little pampering and more importantly, to stimulate circulation which is so important for overall skin health. I then remove it with a warm, damp muslin and then repeat. If time is short, which is more likely in the morning, I work it into my skin quickly and then remove it.
One of the things we’re not often told or reminded about is the fact that creamy or milky cleansers are actually more valuable for our skin than foaming or gel cleansers. This is because formulating a creamy or milky cleanser requires ingredients that our skin ‘recognises’, as such ingredients hydrate, balance and calm the skin. Acne-prone and oily skin can also benefit from using creamy or milky cleansers, whereas surfactants used in foaming and gel formulas have a tendency to strip the skin, which puts skin on the defensive.
Biologique Recherche Lait VIP 02 also contains a patented oxygenating complex that helps to rebalance the skin. Lately, anti-pollution skincare has begun to increase in numbers in the market, with more than a third of such products streaming from the Asian markets thereby influencing other markets. The impact of pollution on the skin is a very real occurrence with the sun counted among the culprits. But as I said to someone on Twitter not long ago, we truly should not villainise the sun, because we would not exist without it. Too much sun exposure is damaging to the skin, yet the painful or uncomfortable effects of certain skin conditions are actually helped by being in the sun. It’s such a fine line between too much and just enough to tight-walk on isn’t it? But apart from the sun, cold, dry air, pollutants, car and bus emissions and smog are all culprits that battle our skin. Even the air in our homes can work against our skin, which is why it’s important to ensure that your cleansing routine is well thought out and as effective as possible. That also means dedicating sufficient time to ensure that you do a thorough clean.
Lait VIP 02 is a medium-thick, white cream with a faint yoghurt scent. When left on the skin, it tingles a bit and makes my skin feel tighter. It rinses away easily with warm or tepid water but I truly prefer using a dampened muslin cloth as that offers a bit of extra exfoliation as well, especially since I rarely use scrubs. A huge plus for this cleanser is that it offers some exfoliation as salicylic acid is among the ingredients. It’s very good at emulsifying makeup and sunscreen and when applying to my skin I bring it down the length of my neck, around to the back of the neck and on my décolleté as well. In general, it’s good to bring your cleanser, serums and creams etc. to the ears and the back of the neck too. I also like to massage some of the cleanser onto the back of my hands and leave it for a few minutes because your hands require as much attention as the other areas I mentioned. Especially since your hands are a huge giveaway of your age. In the past, I’ve mentioned the fact that I like my facial cleansers to have the ability to act as a mask as well and so this cleanser is no different at all. In fact, it was because of this cleanser that I started to look for double-duty cleansers which to me increases value.
In the US, Biologique Recherche products can only be purchased via a handful of websites or in spas authorised to carry the product. I’d bet money that this is a brand that is unlikely to show up in the chain beauty emporiums, thereby adding to its cachet. Biologique Recherche has its stunning flagship headquarters on the Champs-Élysées in Paris where you can go for bespoke treatments. Yvan and Josette Allouche are now deceased but their son, Dr. Philippe Allouche, a physician, now spearheads the company and continues with his parents’ approaches to looking after skin’s health. Many of the ingredients used in Biologique Recherche’s products are raw and processed using cold methods, which is important in maximising effectiveness. I’ll finish up by saying this is a brand that I would label as a ‘rabbit hole’ of sorts. Whether you dip your toes in with the cleanser, which happens to come in three sizes so you can begin with the smallest one, or you make a bee-line for the cultish Lotion P50, it’s a brand unto itself. You may not like everything, but once you dip in, you start to develop a bit of ‘Hotel California’ syndrome. Google is your friend:)