If you spend any time on Byrdie—or, at this point, any site dedicated to beauty—you’ve heard skincare enthusiasts speak of Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 ($101) with sparkling enthusiasm. The reviews read like poetry. And it’s no surprise, as the brand ticks every buzzy box (it’s French, offers minimalistic packaging, and yields an air of mystery). Until recently, it was more difficult to get your hands on a bottle, but the formally under-the-radar toner has gained popularity in spades. Everyone from editors, models, celebrities, and the active readers in our secret Facebook group, The Beauty Line have spoken of P50’s paradigm-shifting, skin-perfecting abilities. But, here’s the thing: It’s not exactly cheap. And while I feel strongly that skincare is worth the investment, there are plenty of formulas with good, clean ingredients and science-backed results that won’t drain your bank account.
Because exfoliating toners, like Lotion P50, have become a mainstay in our arsenals, many brands have come out with their own formulas—for far less coin than Biologique Recherche. For me, P50 will always reign supreme. I practically sing its gospel every morning as I swab it on my face. But, for the sake of paying my rent on time, I tested and reviewed many others that are worth their salt. Hero ingredients AHAs, BHAs, and tons of hydration, exist in many other, less expensive formulas that’ll keep your skin bright, glowy, and clear. Below, find my thoughts on each.