In conversation with Biologique Recherche´s Pierre-Louis Delapalme
In conversation with Biologique Recherche´s Pierre-Louis Delapalme by Wout Philippo
It was in the late 70s when Yvan and Josette Allouche founded Biologique Recherche: the award-winning skincare brand that’s become famous for both its groundbreaking results, and its unique system of made-to-measure routines. Before purchasing any product from the brand, one first has to make an appointment at an official Biologique Recherche salon for a skin consult. Trained dermatologists will then perform a full scan of your skin to exactly determine your skins troubles and needs. Based on this you will be ‘prescribed’ a custom skincare routine for the best results.
A system like this seems almost unthinkable in an age where ordering anything to your doorstep is only a couple clicks away, but with the astonishing results clients of the brand see, the extra step seems like a small effort. Co-Chairman of Biologique Recherche, Pierre-Louis Delapalme, explains it further: “It is about doing a deep diagnosis of the skin above all. If you want a suit that perfectly fits you, you go to a tailor, who takes your sizes first before he can alter it to your body. The same goes for skincare: You can have the best medicine in the world, but if it’s not the medicine for your specific ailment, it won’t do anything. The skin is such a complex living organ, so not only is everyone’s skin different, but it also changes over time. So the more you understand how someone’s skin is working, the closer you will get to finding answers to someone’s very specific skin problems.
Goodmorning Pierre-Louis, thank you so much for joining me for this interview. Let’s go back to the beginning: Where did it all start?
Biologique Recherche was founded by a French family of passionate skin care experts. Yvan Allouche, a biologist, carried out extensive research on ingredients during his lifetime, in order to formulate products concentrated enough to deliver instantly visible and lasting results. Josette Allouche, a licensed physiotherapist and Yvan’s wife, designed unique skin-sculpting massage movements for skin care professionals that drastically enhance the benefits of the brand’s skin care formulas. Later, Doctor Philippe Allouche, the couple’s son, spearheaded the company’s pre- and post-surgery research, and the development of medical-grade skin care products beginning in the early 1990s.
Your collection of products is only purchasable after an in-salon skin evaluation and/or treatment. Could you elaborate on this?
Biologique Recherche methodology, starting with the diagnosis, has a very strict sequence of steps, following the physiology of the skin. But within each of the 7 steps, the Biologique Recherche professionals are trained to analyze and advise the client on the treatment that is best suited to their skin. Every professional can select the right targeted mix of formulas between the over 150 options we offer. This is what makes every treatment and skincare recommendation unique and personalized. The creator of Biologique Recherche, Yvan Allouche, discovered the Skin Instant©, which is the condition of the skin at any given time. His idea was to encapsulate his clinical observation of the complexity of the skin condition, which can change and evolve continuously, as it’s a living organ that renews itself every 25 days. The artificial categorization of skin as either normal, dry or oily provides a poor physiological definition of a skin’s state, and only gives a shallow image of the epidermal’s surface-level imbalances.
When Biologique Recherche was founded in the late 70’s, your line consisted of a select group of products. Now, 40 years later, your line consists of around 150 products. How does that feel?
The brand entirely is a dedication to excellence with highly customized and result driven treatments, focused on re-conditioning the skin for the best result to every Skin Instant©. Each product we launch answers to a specific problem, and contributes to build a better skin.
Biologique Recherche’s methodology stands on three pillars: the assessment stage, the initialization stage, and the treatment stage. Could you tell us more about that?
Biologique Recherche’s original methodology is based on the following three fundamental stages:
Using a specific physiological, behavioral and tactile approach, each person’s Skin Instant© (the condition of the skin at any given time), is assessed so that the most appropriate tailored beauty treatment can be recommended.
Like many skin specialists, Doctor Allouche believes that the epidermis is central to skin care. It is the skin’s outer layer and the ultimate barrier that protects the integrity of our inner world. The epidermis should receive customized treatments applied according to a precise and rigorous ritual. At Biologique Recherche, we believe this stage is essential.
During this stage, products containing the highest concentrations of active ingredients are applied to “re-condition” the epidermis and help activate both its regenerative properties, and those of the skin’s deeper structures. The skin is a complex organ designed for protection and communication that regenerates miraculously every month throughout our entire lives. The unique benefits of these cutting edge, customized skin care treatments are both immediate and lasting, even for particularly imbalanced Skin Instants©.
Why is your line of products so extensive?
The promise is simple. To take care of the skin of our clients in a totally personalized way for a visible result for several days, or even weeks. All without injections and without intervention! Biologique Recherche has more than 150 products, all with their own gestures, all responding to the skin’s needs in a specific area of the face and body. In fact, Biologique Recherche is simply helping our bodies to build better and more beautiful skin that can withstand the assaults of our lives: stress, pollution, and the passing years. Finally, taking time to take care of ourselves has benefits that go far beyond external beauty. And this is perhaps the most important.
You also offer a vast array of treatments in your Biologique Recherche salons. I was fortunate enough to experience one last december, executed by one of your global trainers, and the immediate results were astounding. Where did you find the inspiration behind these treatments, and how did your first educators learn them?
Biologique Recherche’s manual techniques are directly inspired by the expertise of our Founder Madame Josette Allouche: deep tissue facial stimulation, drainage and muscle stimulation. Biologique Recherche has discovered that excellent skin care results come from combining the best techniques and products with the best professionals. For this reason, the company launches new products for at home care, along with new techniques and products for its professionals. Treatments are customized for each client and structured to address specific skin concerns. All Biologique Recherche treatments include professional cleansing, toning, exfoliation, purification, stimulation, nourishment, hydration, and oxygenation.
In a world of fast everything – fashion, food, and skincare – Biologique Recherche represents taking a slower, more thorough approach. How would you define this?
Since years we offer customization. Understanding how your skin works cannot be done quickly in a shop or a supermarket by an app or quick test! Our purpose is not to blindly follow the mainstream. We do not want to incline ourselves to something that changes so often. What we are looking for is to detect real skin needs of our clients and to find a best solution to them. For this reason, our R&D team is permanently looking at all recent scientific, dermatological and biological studies.
Biologique Recherche is all about scientific, expert-approved skincare specifically designed on an individual level. Why is this approach better suited for skincare?
Biologique Recherche is solely driven by Science and Passion to offer Beauty to each and every one of our guests. The only way is to consider each guest as unique and to offer a complete, customized cure which includes treatments and home care. Our best assets are our methodology of combining powerful products and effective treatment procedures with a constant respect of skin structure and physiology. It is the scientific and medical approach we adapted in our work that makes all the difference. There are no secrets or “Magic formulas”. We create products based on our complex research work, followed by the assessment of the Skin Instant© and an adaptation of the treatment to every different need.
Biologique seems to have a set of criteria that the products have to meet. What are they and why are they important to you?
All Biologique Recherche products work to gently bring the skin to a balanced, hydrated, nourished and protected state. Products contain high concentrations of active ingredients, are perfume-free and are micro-brewed at the Biologique Recherche laboratories in Paris.
If you had to pick one favourite product from your line, which would it be?
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is a do-all skincare product that delivers undeniable results. The exfoliating, vitamin-enriched formula gently purifies, hydrates, tones, controls sebum and balances skin, while visibly improving many common skin conditions including whiteheads and blackheads. It even prevents and treats ingrown hairs. Lotion P50 is referred to as a “facial in a bottle.” Think of it as a PH balancing magic lotion that does it all. It allows all of the products that follow for better penetration and builds healthy skin. It’s essential, and works on any skin type. And while the name of the product is “Lotion P50”, it’s actually not what you think of for a standard lotion, it has a liquid consistency. This product is unique because of the formula, which is a combination of hydroxyl acids in different percentages – the percentages vary based on the version of P50 you’re using. There are several versions of Lotion P50 that address a variety of needs, such as dark spots and mature skin.
In a world of TikTok and Google, there are a lot of skincare misconceptions out there. What is one skincare misconception you would like to bury?
With the flow of new products each month, it is hard to choose, and it is easy to observe crazy consumer behavior: piling up products from different brands, with no structure for their beauty regimen. One of the strongest “myths” today is that only one “magic ingredient” used in a cosmetic product will immediately solve all skin problems. Our philosophy is completely different. We think that we should not look for the best product that will fit everybody. On the contrary, each product should reply to a complex skin problem. What we are really proud of is to share the true Passion of Beauty with the BEST doctors and therapists all around the world.
A couple years back your iconic P50 lotion went viral on influencer social media. How did you balance your in-store, post-consult-only availability with a global demand for your product(s)?
Biologique Recherche is the partner of choice in over 85 countries for exclusive medical and day spas, in addition to the world’s premiere luxury hotel spas. Loyalty and results are our main values. Loyalty to our beauticians and doctors and their own customers. Biologique Recherche’s extensive range of skincare products are highly concentrated in botanical, marine and biological active ingredients and are formulated with no artificial fragrance. All our products are developed in and distributed from our own laboratory in France, which we recently expended to carry on serving our worldwide partners.
How do you balance being a global business and skincare phenomenon with sustainability?
Sustainability is thankfully now on top of everybody’s agenda, and sustainability is about not doing today what will harm us tomorrow. First of all, having skincare products specifically tailored to your skin, results in the elimination of wasteful practices like buying a product that you stop using halfway through. And when you look at our packaging, our packaging is made from material that is sustainable and recyclable wherever we can. We also make sure we never overpack. Transportation is a big issue when you are exporting to so many countries, so we are looking at alternatives to make sure we have the lowest impact possible when we export. Also the ingredients, and where we manufacture is important, because a part of sustainability also means caring for the people that you work with. We are very active in Wellness. Biologique Recherche was the first cosmetic company to join the Global Compact program of the UN. We also were the first -with the help of Wellness For Cancer, an American NGO,- to adapt all our treatments to people who have cancer. We offer all our centers around the world the knowledge and the training to welcome those who need it the most. This also includes taking care of our teams within the company, for example we offer them -even if we work a lot- the possibility to take time to be active in an NGO for example.
Finally, “Reinventing yourself without losing sight of your roots” – this seems to be Biologique Recherche’s brand philosophy. Could you go into detail as to what this means for the brand and for her customers?
The strength of Biologique Recherche is based on our DNA, which has not changed over time. Authenticity and balance remain at the soul of Biologique Recherche, building better skin without compromising. The brand is an entire dedication to excellence with highly customized and result driven treatments, focused on re-conditioning the skin for the best result to every Skin Instant©.
Selected salons carry Biologique Recherche in the Netherlands: in Amsterdam (Dany Diop), Haarlem (Rob Peetoom), Den Haag (Tour of Beauty) and Simpelveld (Famke Gilliam). More are set to open during the course of 2022.