photography by PHUONG NGUYEN
If you are familiar with cult status French brand Biologique Recherche, then you are probably familiar with one of the most popular and talked about products in skincare existence: Lotion P50. It’s not a lotion as the name implies, but more of an exfoliating toner with lactic and salicylic acids, which work to exfoliate, hydrate, and balance skin’s pH. And it’s got an infamous scent all in it’s own—kind of like day-old trash, or a rotten apple cider vinegar. But if you can get past the scent, it’ll give your skin a Snapchat filter-level glow, sans the app. There’s a reason it’s one of (if not the most) hyped beauty product in existence.
But, we’re here to talk about hair. Because Biologique also has a haircare line recreating that epic level of exfoliation, hydration, and pH balance, but for your scalp. And Paul Labrecque Salon in New York has a treatment dedicated entirely to the Biologique line, including P50.
I put my winter scalp in the hands of Frederic Moine, Paul Labrecque Salon’s long-time salon director. Within an hour, he took me through five P50 purifying hair treatment steps, and when I left, I was walking the New York streets with bouncy locks worthy of a hair commercial. But good news: There is an at-home DIY for those unable to hop over to the Labrecque salon, keep reading below.
The salon’s Lotion P50 Capillaire Purifying Hair & Scalp Treatment ($150 with blowout/$95 without) is meant to (brace yourself for this epic list of benefits): “balance pH, regulate sebum secretion, purify, moisturize, and lightly exfoliates for a healthy scalp and hair,” says Labrecque’s website. “This multi-purpose lotion also strengthens hair, increases hair fiber resistance, and improves texture, shine, and manageability for the perfect blowout.”
Basically your dream hair within an hour. Here's how to do it at home.
Step One: Lotion P50 Capillaire
The highly active ingredient list almost looks deceiving like a grocery shopping list: horseradish, lemon, sage, myrrh and burdock extracts, and witch hazel. This formulation is based on the same principles as the bestselling Lotion P50 for the face but is adapted to hair care. This treatment, as Moine describes it, is meant to restore hair vitality and “exfoliate and regulate sebum on the scalp, and a healthy scalp means healthy hair.” And yep, it's got that classic 'trash' scent that tells you immediately it's P50. And a slight tingle that tells you it's working hard at cleaning the scalp.
Direction for use for those DIYing at home: Apply a few drops of Lotion P50 Capillaire uniformly over the scalp. Massage gently with your fingertips and leave for 5 to 10 minutes. Looking for a P50 substitute? While this product is probably the most important step out of the five, you can probably sub in with an apple cider vinegar treatment for a similar deep exfoliation result. dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse, $35, uses ACV and argan oil for a deep, deep clean.
Step Two: Masque Biologique Capillaire
This mask is extraordinarily unique. It has the capability to actually reconstruct hair’s fiber and keratin—aka the bonds, “like the little bridges of the structure of the hair” says Moine. So, the mask is basically a little construction crew going into your hair and rebuilding the little bridges with tiny little hammers and screws.
When applying the mask, Moine applies from the mid-lengths to the ends of the hair, not the scalp. “Don’t come too close to the roots with any product (besides shampoo, of course) because it will add extra moisture and you’ll lose that natural lift,” says Moine.
Direction for use for those DIYing at home: Apply one or two teaspoon sized amounts of Masque Biologique Capillaire to the hair strands and ends smoothing over with the palms of your hands. Want a more cost efficient alternative? Amika Nourishing Mask, $28, is really hydrating and helps to mend damaged hair. Leave for 20 to 30 minutes, ideally under a hot towel to boost the effects. Lather with warm water, rinse and then shampoo as usual. For very dry hair, leave the mask on overnight. For overnight treatments, you can either lay a towel over your pillowcase or wrap hair in a shower cap.
Step Three: Shampooing Traitant VIP O2
This is an oxygenating shampoo, which is brilliant because it energizes dull hair, damaged hair. It also contains literal silk extracts, which is a fun fact to itself. Really scrub the shampoo into the scalp to remove the treatment and mask fully.
Direction for use for those DIYing at home: Use a hazelnut-sized amount of shampoo on wet hair, massaging into the scalp. An energizing shampoo alternative is Phyto Absolute Energizing Shampoo, $28, which invigorates and strengthens hair over time. The best part of any shampoo at a salon is the corresponding scalp massage, so don't be shy to recreate the deep massage at home, taking time to really work the shampoo in.
Step Four: Baume Capillaire
The Three Musketeers of healthy hair: protective, repairing and smoothing. This conditioner detangler repair treatment brings moisture and extra shine to hair ASAP. And what makes it really unique is the addition of Vitamin B5, actual silk, jicama (like what goes on your salad), and lemon extracts. It’s also uniquely formulated with a high concentration of 19 percent active ingredients.
Direction for use for those DIYing at home: After using the recommended shampoo, apply a dab of Baume Capillaire all over hair lengths. Christophe Robin Antioxidant Conditioner, $43, works beautifully at hydrating strands too. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes for an optimal penetration of active ingredients, then rinse well.
Step Five: Lotion Kéractive
Enriched with botanical extracts, this leave-in conditioning treatment is applied to wet hair. It strengthens and volumizes hair with a random assortment of specialized ingredients like nettle yeast (huh?), horsetail (what?), and birch bark extract (come again?). But all you need to know is it will leave hair shinier than shiny, and protects from damage during heat styling.
Direction for use for those DIYing at home: Apply to dry or wet hair strands and ends smoothing over with the palms of your hands. Do not rinse or apply to the scalp. A near identical dupe is Christophe Robin's Hibiscus Vinegar Regenerating Finish Lotion, $40, which removes impurities and provides heat protection. (Same vinegar scent too! Yuck/it's working!)
For those playing along at home, how often are you supposed to do this epic step-by-step treatment at home or Paul Labrecque? Well, it’s a long term solution to healthy hair. "You can do it once a month for 12 months, and you will have a routine that will assure you have a clean scalp for the year without any buildup,” says Moine.
The added bonus of regular treatments (besides just treating yourself)? “The shine. We judge healthy hair by the shine. The shine is an indicator of how good your hair is.”