Skin Instants. Initialization. Lotion P50, the unicorn-status exfoliating toner.
In the pantheon of “if you know, you know” spa skincare brands, none looms larger than Biologique Recherche. And now, the 40-plus year-old, family-founded French enterprise is planting its flag in the U.S., opening the first-ever American version of the stunning Biologique Recherche Ambassade on the Champs-Elysées. Parked on Melrose Place in the heart of bustling downtown Los Angeles, it’s 5,000 square feet of treatment and retail space dedicated to an altogether codified method of coaxing-out stellar skin.
“Ambassades are the place where our expertise and our brand are expressed at their highest level,” says Dr. Philippe Allouche, the brand’s head of creation and son of founders Josette and Yvan Allouche. “It’s the Biologique Recherche home away from home.”
Joining the 32 Ambassades worldwide, mostly in Europe and Asia, the two-story space features six treatment rooms; a diagnostic space housing its proprietary Skin Instant Lab, VisioLab, and My Beauty DNA tools; a special zone for scalp treatments; a store and a VIP suite with a private entrance to service the elite brand’s growing roster of celebrity clients.
Why opt for Los Angeles for the first U.S. Ambassade over, say, the equally star-studded Manhattan? “We chose LA because we wanted to grow our presence in southern California,” Allouche concedes. “Our presence in New York spans two decades and is strong. We thought that having our own flagship in LA would benefit the growing demand, as well as our entire network of spas and medi-spas, by boosting the exposure and awareness of the brand.”
“Ambassades are the place where our expertise and our brand are expressed at their highest level.”
In a major nod to the Paris Ambassade, the brand tapped the same visionary for the interior architecture—French designer Joanne de Lépinay. While specially designed to accommodate Biologique Recherche’s ultra high-tech treatment protocols, the brand was after a “cozy, elegant” vibe splashed with touches of its signature blue, white, and gold palette, alongside custom millwork and furniture imported from Europe. While Lotion P50, a straight-up juggernaut, is often the initial “way in” to the brand for many skincare obsessives, Biologique Recherche is vastly more complex than a single hero product. And on the spa end, the training can be daunting.
But despite the rigor required, Allouche says he’s found American estheticians to be more than up to the challenge. “Professionals and customers in this country are more eager than anywhere else to learn, and I understood that education would be the key to access and success here,” he notes. “My first move was formatting the medical training structure—the scientific conferences and workshops—for the esthetician’s needs.”
The Three Stages of “Building Better Skin”
As the cornerstone of Biologique Recherche, Lotion P50 turns the standard idea of skin exfoliation inside out. Rather than peel and abrade via chemical or manual methods, Lotion P50 gets the job done gently, and is part of a daily protocol aimed at “building better skin” over time. There are six variations of Lotion P50, each aimed at a particular Skin Instant, the brand’s terminology for condition. Lotion P50 Pigm 400, for example, is recommended for Skin Instants with uneven pigmentation, while Lotion P50 V is for complexions in need of a vitality boost.
One’s Skin Instant is determined during the first of three stages: Assessment. Also in this stage, clients can choose to dig deeper into their genetics via the aforementioned My Beauty DNA testing process. This has the ability to detect 14 skin characteristics linked to aging, sensitivity, sun, and other environmental exposure.
Following Assessment is the Initialization Stage, which blends a thorough cleansing with facial massage and prepping the skin with the pre-selected, client-specific Lotion P50.
Stage 3, Treatment, is the time for what Biologique Recherche calls “reconditioning” the skin through customized treatments. To name just a few, there’s Biosensible, for soothing touchy, reactive skin on the face, neck, and décolleté; Triple Lift Treatment With Remodeling Face, “for sagging Skin Instants that lack texture and tone”; and Sebum Rebalancing for the blemish-prone.
And that’s just for the face: Clients visiting the Ambassade can also dive into a menu of treatments for the scalp and body, too. The five-session Fortifying Oxygenating Treatment Bundle With Micro-Puncture Lab, for example, was crafted to perk up a “tired” scalp and dull hair. Further south, the Reharmonizing and Draining Treatment begins with a deep massage of the stomach and body, with the goal of restoring balance and a sense of wellbeing.
Although he fully expects Biologique Recherche’s star to rise in the U.S. once word gets out about the glorious new Melrose Place outpost, Allouche says it’s first and foremost a place to showcase the brand’s unique, just-for-you ethos.
“We’ve never been interested in quick growth,” he says. “We’re dedicated to offering the very best, hyper-personalized treatment to our customers, who have always shown passion and dedication for taking care of their skin. The Ambassade is a natural extension of this mission.”