Mario Badescu skin care review

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

Everyone knows The Statue of Liberty, Times Square and The Empire State Building. But are you familiar with another famous New York landmark, Mario Badescu? I tell you, it will do you a lot more good than milling around with a bunch of tourists!

Mario Badescu opened his skin care salon in 1967, and 40+ years later it stands in the same spot today. It can be said that the approach to skincare has remained the same as well, personalized skin care treatments and products with a direct, no nonsense style. The packaging may be minimalistic, but the products are anything but. I’ll admit, I’m a lover of fancy packaging. But I can appreciate that if a company spends a bit less on it (no velvet lined boxes or lucite bottles that look like sculptures) and concentrates on the ingredients instead, they can bring you a high quality yet affordable product.

Whether you visit the salon, their site or one of the high end retailers who carry them (Henri Bendel, Kitson, Blue Mercury, among others), you’ll find a large array of skin care treatments for anti-aging and acne. But they also have specifically targeted products for areas often overlooked by other companies (like the dreaded back acne) and skin conditions that require special treatment, like rosecea and couperose.

It’s also worth noting that every product on their site has an easy to follow key letting you know which skin type it is appropriate for. I’m constantly surprised by how hard it is to find this critical information on some huge name company’s websites. It should be instantly apparent, on Mario Badescu it is.

We received three of their best sellers and one new product for review…

When I (and many others) think of Mario Badescu, I think of their Drying Lotion, their genius pimple healer. It’s a blend of Calamine and Salicylic Acid that soothes and fights whiteheads while you sleep. Personally, I haven’t been without a bottle of this since I first tried it about 5 years ago.

Their most popular daily cleanser is the Enzyme Cleansing Gel. It’s non foaming, so you lather addicts will have to work through that. What is does have in place of bubbles is papaya and grapefruit extracts, natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids that gently exfoliate without drying your skin.

Their Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs And Rosewater was featured on a little indie TV show called Martha as one of her favorite items (I’ve never seen it, but I hear she has real potential). Filled with Herbal Extracts and Rosewater, it’s a hydrating pick-me-up mist.

And the newest product to their line up, a Vitamin C Serum targets everything a serum should. The Vitamin C reduces discoloration and brightens skin, Hyaluronic Acid helps you to keep your skin’s natural moisture and Collagen aids in improved firmness and elasticity.

Review Team, let us know which product you received and your thoughts on this iconic NY line.


  • Stef Andrews

    Stef is a plethora of things. Amongst them: co-founder of we heart this, photographer, condiment connoisseur, Philly girl in the California desert, borderline hoarder and a hardcore beauty junkie. She also has a touch of wanderlust and, arguably, the cutest dog in the whole world... skin tone: NC 25/30 skin type: oily with a fear of rosacea favorite beauty product: high end skincare and lip products

    View all posts


  1. I got the Enzyme Cleansing Gel to try. It’s got a lot of really great things going for it. It smells wonderful, really light and fresh! It feels light as well, it’s perfect for summer. Despite all lightness, it cleans your skin rather deeply. The enzymes really get into your pores and you just feel totally clean afterward, with absolutely no traces of anything left on your skin.

    But as I mentioned, it doesn’t lather. And that was kind of tough for me to get used to. And I found I couldn’t use it with my Clarisonic. The cleanser didn’t hold up to all the revolutions and I found I was pretty much just using water by the end of the cycle.

    I have been using this on lazy nights when I don’t want to commit to my 2 minute with my Clarisonic. And I have been happy to have this during the last hot few weeks when I haven’t felt like putting ANYTHING on my face.

    I think these results are worth a try to get over your bubble addiction. And if you’re a cream cleanser user (and are not a slave to the lather already) I think this is a great choice. But I’m not sure this was the perfect product for Clarisonic using me.
    .-= stef´s last blog ..Red Alert – MAC Cockney =-.

  2. I got to try the Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs And Rosewater. And I was really happy with it. I have recently picked up biking and I took this little gem with me on trips. The wind from the bike ride really dries my skin out and it was nice to spray on my face and hair to give me a nice smell as well as refresh my face after a ride.

    I used it at night too when my face started to feel dry after a long day and I instantly felt the hydration came back into my skin. And a major plus, it didn’t make my make-up run at all!

    It says you can use it on dry hair too, to make it look and feel more refreshed and soft. I haven’t tried that yet as my hair isn’t on the dry side. I just sprayed it in my hair to help me smell better after a bike ride. :)

    I’m taking this baby to Chicago with this weekend and I’m looking forward to using it! The Windy City won’t damage my skin with the Facial Spray in my hands!

  3. I love Mario Badescu’s line of products, and I have that women’s intuition that this company actually cares about my skin. I was thrilled to test out the newest edition called, Vitamin C Serum. I’m turning 46 soon (in one month to the day) and have been noticing that my skin is just not like it used to be! Sniff sniff! As we get older, we really have to be cognoscente that our precious skin will definitely have needs to be met! Say good-bye to the good old days when you just didn’t even think about it. I am convinced that if you take care of your skin on your face by giving it the nourishment it needs you will be better off down the road, as age waits for no man! I must admit that I have a bad habit of falling asleep without cleaning my face. Gasp! I know that’s just ridiculous, but I am trying not do that too. On a positive note, I have noticed when I am a good girl and wash my face and prepare to enter the slumber world, I have been using Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum. You guys, it’s so easy, just 2-3 drops on clean skin, (just stay away from your eyes or you will be sorry and not be able to see like I was) I try to use this every other night. I have read a lot about its ingredients and am impressed that it has such a punch in the antioxidant department. You know that Vitamin C protects your facial skin from all those nasty free radicals but this also has an abundance of Hyaluronic Acid to keep hold of our skin’s natural moisture and Collagen. Which equals better looking skin! I can see my skin is not so blah anymore.. It’s definitely a lot more even in tone and brighter.. I use this at night and it soaks into my skin nicely. I also add a touch of moisturizer on top.. I want to lock in all that good stuff while I sleep! I also have sensitive skin, and this has soothing cucumber and aloe vera in it, plus it has lavender oil in there.. so is smells nice to boot

  4. I’ve known about Mario Badescu for years. I used to work two blocks away from the store on Park Avenue, but i never used any of their products. A few years back someone was singing their praises to me and how incredible the drying lotion is. I bought it because i do break out from time to time. This person was totally right. Its a miracle worker! Its really weird too because you don’t shake it,you let it seperate. Then one day something really sad happened, i dropped it and the whole bottle broke. I was devastated, but i bought another one. I just thought i’d add that. I also tried the enzyme face wash, but it actually made me break out, but i think i bought it for the wrong skin type. I gave that to a friend of mine, who totally loved it and worked great for her.

  5. I was so happy to receive the Drying Potion. I’ve been eying this product for many years, but hadn’t tried it yet. I suffer from hormonal acne during that time of the month and lately have been getting the really hard under the skin kind (so not fair at my age either). I love this little magic potion. Like others have said, you don’t shake up this product. You let it settle and stick a q-tip into the lovely pink stuff at the bottom of the bottle. Dab a little bit on top of a pimple and like magic it is significantly reduced in the morning. Granted it won’t go completely away overnight, but you can really see a difference in the morning. Usually after two nights of use, my pimple is eliminated enough that the product is no longer needed. I’m not sure how I lived without this for so long. I give this 5 stars because it works that well!

  6. It’s true; the Drying Potion does live up to the hype. I’ve had a bottle of the distinctive pink lotion in my medicine cabinet for years. Whenever a whitehead starts to rear it’s ugly little head, I make sure to use my DryingPotion before bed. A quick q-tip into the bottle and dabbed right on the spot (it’s thick enough to leave a nice layer and dries quickly so there’s no smearing onto clothes, pillow etc) and off to bed. By morning there is a visible difference in the size, redness and rawness of the pimp le. Yet somehow, it doesn’t dry out the area too much either (i.e.: I don’t get lots of flakey dry skin). This is a classic, must have for any beauty maven – it’s always used to the end of the bottle and you never know just when it may come in handy.
    .-= tyna´s last blog ..Imju Fiberwig Mascara and Tiny Sniper review =-.

  7. Did everyone see that Ulta just started carrying Mario Badescu? Gotta love that, Ulta’s are everywhere!

  8. Hi!
    I recently started using Mario Products (enzyme cleansing gel, AHA botanical soap, seaweed cleansing soap, drying cream, special lotion O)
    –> so far so good!!

    I have back acne problem, and i’m really really hoping my mario products will help me!

    TO STEF: i recently purchased clarisonic as well.. do you think the enzyme gel doesn’t work with it?

  9. Hi Anika,

    The Enzyme Gel DOES work the Clarisonic. But it doesn’t create any lather. For me, part of the fun of the Clarisonic is that it creates even more bubbles in lathering cleansers. So I opt to use the Enzyme Gel w/out it. I keep it in the shower and use it there when I want fresh skin quickly.

  10. Hi Stef,

    Thanks for your response!
    I recently jumped into the bandwagon of Clarisonic & Mario Badescu users, and i’m really happy so far!

    I’m getting married in 7 months, and I really want to have the best skin for that day!

    Hope these products work!!!

  11. Kim Hartley says:

    This is my first time hearing about mario products…sounds great looking forward to trying them. I also found that spa facials are a great plus to healthier, wrinkle free skin!
    .-= Kim Hartley´s last blog ..Facts About Propecia (finasteride) For Hair Loss =-.

  12. Terraprima says:

    The Pink Drying Lotion is amazing! It really does work. The only downside, is the obvious fact that you cannot put it on during the day, unless you can stay at home and hide from the world. It is a Pepto Bismol pink that it very noticeable and think….not the kind of thing that you can hide under makeup. One looks so odd when you have these pink dots on your face at night before you got to bed that I must admit that I am embarrassed to have my husband see me with this stuff on my face…..And believe me…..we are waaayyyy beyond the honeymoon phase of our marriage. This product is definitely one of those things that you should have in your beauty first aid arsenal. All of Mario Badescu’s products work rather well.

  13. Hi Terraprima,

    Thanks so much for your comment! The Drying Lotion is great, isn’t it? But yes, even for us long married couples-it’s not particularly a good look. I always try to wait to put on my pimple cream till after my Hub falls asleep. And usually, by the time I get to it, he is. My night time routine is about 27 steps!
    .-= stef´s last blog ..We heart Illamasqua, a review… =-.

  14. Katherine says:

    Can’t even begin to tell you how much I love MB products! You won’t get fancy bells and whistles in terms of the packaging, but the products within these minimalistic bottles and jars are absolutely incredible. My skin has never looked better, and at 46 that’s saying something.

    Mornings I use the orange cleansing soap, grapefruit toner and celufirm drops under the honey moisturizer(which is beyond fab!). Evenings I use the carnation and rice oil cleanser, grapefruit toner and protein night cream. Twice a week I use the strawberry scrub followed by the whitening cream. GORGEOUS results! I’m a fan for life!

  15. I recently started using Mario Badescu products, I started with the Botanical face wash, the glycolic foaming cleanser, cucumber cleansing lotion, special mask for oily skin and moisturizer for oily skin. I have been using these for 3 weeks now, and I have never had real “problem” skin, just very oily, about 6 months ago I started having more break outs which was really frustrating, I tried lots, which just made me over dry, tight and peel in places, found this by chance online one day, thought, why not. I love it and will continue to use this. No tightness, my skin feels so clean after using it. And normally I couldnt wear lotion, made me more oily, this one doesnt, and I know without moisturizer, oily skin produces more oil. I also use the olive eye cream at night, I love these products.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *