Product Review: Lotion P50 PIGM 400


As someone with a slight addiction to all things beauty and skincare, I sometimes feel like I’m Tom Hanks searching for the Holy Grail in “The Da Vinci Code”. In the vast majority of movies of this kind, however, the Holy Grail is never found.

This changes today. It exists. And all this time it was – drumrolls – in my bathroom cupboard.

Alright, alright, that may have been a bit dramatic, but hear me out: I don’t really believe the hype about most products, and I never believed that a toner could actually make that much of a difference. That was, until I got my hands on a Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 PIGM 400.

In This Post

What is Lotion P50 PIGM 400?

Despite what the name sounds like, Lotion P50 is not a highly corrosive industrial solvent. PIGM 400 and the other versions of this product are toners and meant to be used as the first step after cleansing. What distinguishes PIGM 400 is that it was specially formulated to brighten, fade dark spots and hyper-pigmentation as well as inhibit melanin-production (the pigment that’s responsible for making skin, hair and eyes their colour. A higher concentration of melanin means darker skin). It doesn’t contain phenol like the original version, so you don’t need to think about patting an ingredient that’s commonly used to preserve dead bodies onto your skin.

I know, gross.


Biologique Recherne Lotion P50 toners aren’t just regular toners, they’re meant to do stuff like exfoliating the skin to get rid of dead skin cells and impurities and reveal glowy, even-toned skin as well as enhance epidermal renewal.

Lotion P50 PIGM 400 ingredients:

Let’s have a look at the ingredients and dive into some of the noteworthy ones:

Complete list of ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Niacinamide, Sodium Gluconate, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Lactobacillus/​Wasabia Japonica Root Ferment Extract, Magnesium Chloride, Mandelic Acid, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Gluconolactone, Magnesium Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Levulinic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Salicylate, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Vinegar (Acetum), Sodium Levulinate, Phenoxyethanol, Alcohol Denat., Microcitrus Australasica Fruit Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ascorbic Acid, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract 

Notable Ingredients:

This ingredient seems to be in almost every skincare product out there, and there’s a good reason why. It’s a humectant that hydrates, strengthens the skin barrier and accelerates wound-healing. A humectant means it pulls moisture from the air or deeper levels of the skin and delivers it to the outer layer. Another commonly found humectant is hyaluronic acid. Because it naturally occurs in skin, it’s pretty safe and doesn’t normally cause any irritation.

Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is probably one of the VIPs of skincare. It not only brightens and evens-out skin tone, but also diminishes the appearance of pores and fights fine lines. It also helps build the lipid barrier (or ceramide barrier) on the skin, which in turns enables skin to retain more moisture and look plumper.

Lactobacillus/Wasabia Japonica Root Ferment Extract:
Yepp, that’s wasabi. Not in it’s delicious thick, spicy-green-paste-form you’d use on your sushi though. In this toner, the fermented wasabi extract acts as an antioxidant, meaning it protects skin from free radicals that accelerate aging and damage. Burn free radicals, burn! 

Lactic Acid:
A form of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) derived from milk. It’s a potent exfoliant that mainly acts on the surface cells of the skin, helping it to shed old skin and revealing the smooth, luminous skin underneath. It’s effective for treating dullness and getting rid of whiteheads.

Mandelic Acid:
A gentler form of AHA, mandelic acid is derived from almonds. Because the size of the molecules in mandelic acid are larger compared to other AHA’s, it penetrates the skin more slowly and is therefore considered more gentle. However, it can also potentially increase the skins oil production, so people with oily skin should bear that in mind. On the other hand, it could be beneficial for people with sensitive, dry skin or who are just getting started with acids and want to try a gentler form of chemical exfoliation first.

An antioxidant that belongs to the polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), an increasingly popular type of acid. It exfoliates the top cells of the skin and has anti-ageing benefits such as increasing skin thickness and diminishing fine lines, while also protecting the barrier and keeping skin hydrated.

Microcitrus Australasica Fruit Extract:
When I first Google-image-searched this, I thought I was looking at caviar. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, because this fruit is also known as “caviar lime”. There isn’t much information about its function in skincare, but it’s supposedly an AHA and as such, exfoliates and brightens the skin.

Salicylic Acid:
Did you think we were done with the acids already? The PIGM 400 toner also contains salicylic acid, a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) derived from willow bark. Salicylic acid (and BHAs in general) is able to penetrate deeper layers of the skin, which means it gets out dirt and decongests pores, therefore helping to eliminate blackheads. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also great at calming inflamed spots (those annoying, angry ones we try hard to cover up with concealer and that seem to take ages to go away) pimples.

Ascorbic Acid:
Also known as Vitamin C, ascorbic acid is pretty much the Batman of skincare ingredients. Its superpowers include stimulating skins own collagen production, fading acne scars and dark spots, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and obviously protecting Skin City.

That’s a whole lotta exfoliants, y’all.


It also contains some nice-to-have plant extracts such as Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract (raspberry), Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract (apple) and Spiraea Ulmaria Extract (meadowseed). 

How to use it? Application Methods

It’s clear that this toner is packed with ingredients designed to help shed old skin and clean out pores while at the same time brightening it and getting rid of unevenness. This being said, if you’re not used to those active ingredients, it’s best to start slow with this toner.

Biologique Recherche recommends using a cotton pad moistened with water to apply the toner durin the first week. After that a dry cotton pad can be used for application.

The skin may feel a bit tingly after usage during the first few days, but this goes away. Now, I just pour some of the toner on my palms and directly pat it into my skin. This way, no product gets wasted and I can make sure all the goodness gets absorbed. Because it’s pretty watery, it absorbs fast and doesn’t leave a sticky finish. I like to wait a few minutes before applying the next product to make sure I give it some time to do its magic.

Important: Whenever using products that contain actives (such as BHA’s, AHA’s, Vitamin C etc.) the skin becomes photosensitive, so make sure to always, always use sunscreen during the day.


My Impression and Review of Lotion P50 PIGM 400

I think I already expressed how much I love this product in the beginning, but let me say it again: I LOVE this product. It doesn’t look extravagant and it does smell kind of funky –  but man –  it just delivers. Regarding the smell, it’s said that the original version of the toner smells terrible, but I didn’t find that to be the case with PIGM 400. It sure doesn’t smell floral and pretty, but it also doesn’t make me consider chopping off my nose every time I use it. It just has a vinegar-y and slightly pungent scent which fades a few minutes after application. For me, it’s not a dealbreaker.

What I wasn’t expecting is that I would start seeing results after as little as 2 days. The first changes I noticed were that my pores seemed to be less visible and my skin just felt and looked smoother and more even. After a few weeks of continued use, it definitely gave me that polished and glowy look. It also does a great job at reducing the amount of blackheads, although it didn’t completely get rid of them on places like my nose. I also noticed that it helped reducing the amount of breakouts and their intensity. If I don’t use it for a few days, I notice the difference. It actually became the step in my skincare routine I enjoyed the most, despite the smell. I get the same feeling from it as when I’m eating a super healthy meal and I know what all those vitamins and minerals are going to do for me.

To me, Lotion P50 PIGM400 is one of those rare products that can completely replace several products I used to achieve the same effects. It’s that much of a hard worker.

Retailing for around $70 or 80 CHF where I live, this miracle vinegar water definitely isn’t cheap. Is it worth it though? In my opinion, absolutely.

Would I buy it again? Heck, I’ve already ordered the Lotion P50 and the Original 1970 versions, so stay tuned for comparison reviews!

Lotion P50 PIGM400 in a nutshell:

Pro’s Con’s
Effectively exfoliates, brigthens and evens-out skintone May take a while for skin to get used to
Reduces blackheads and stimulates quicker healing after breakouts Smells funky
Gives you that *glow* Expensive

Final Score: 4.7/5.0 👍 

Where to buy Lotion P50 PIGM400

Getting your hands on Biologique Recherche Products can actually be quite tricky. Some countries have regulations that limit the accesibility of some of the products due to their formulation. In Switzerland for example, I can’t buy the P50 Original 1970 version, but there are stores that sell Lotion PIGM400.

I bought mine in-store at Parfumerie Osswald.

Another option is to order online at RescueSpa. They’re based in the US and carry a lot of BR products. I ordered my other products there during a trip to Miami and the shipping was super fast and the products were very carefully packed.

Have you tried Biologique Recherce’s Lotion P50 PIGM 400? If so, what were your impressions? Let me know in the comments below 👇


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