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Fight Acne with Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser!

It’s Mario Badescu Week here on Temptalia!! 🙂 I’m finally reviewing the products that have taken my skin from omg-total-pizza-face to minimal acne/near clear. In just a week, I saw a noticeable difference; within two and a half weeks, it was 80% cleared. After a full four weeks, it was at 90% clear. I’d say I’m around 93% clear these days, with some minor flesh-colored bumps (still figuring those out, sigh!). But I think we can chalk the residual acne up to diet, hormones, or stress (or a combination thereof) for now.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser ($15.00)

This acne cleanser is designed to help prevent and heal your existing acne by using a salicylic acid-based formula. The product also contains aloe vera and chamomile to help reduce acne inflammation. First, I have to comment on the overall cost effectiveness of Mario Badescu products. This cleanser goes for $15 for 6 oz., but I can tell you right now that I fully expect my bottle of cleanser to last me at least three months (used both AM and PM), if not five or six, but I’ll be conservative. $5 a month? I can swing that for the sake of my skin!

It’s kind of a gel-based cleanser, but it isn’t super thick or anything. It is better for combination and oily skin (as recommended by the website), but I have normal-to-dry skin (drier after using acne products, surprise, surprise!). My skin does, however, get normal-to-oily towards the end of the day most of the time. It’s clear, and you only need a pea-sized drop to cleanse your face.

The cleanser doesn’t smell medicinal, but it doesn’t really smell medicinal. I think you can scent some of the chamomile from it at best. I don’t particularly look for a cleanser that smells good or bad, I just need it to do its job (I’d prefer no perfume in a cleanser, actually!).

I do find it removes makeup quite well, especially when used in conjunction with my Clarisonic. Whenever I wear heavy eye or lip makeup, I do make a point to remove makeup in those areas with a makeup remover wipe or Lancome Bi-Facil (on a cotton round). This helps ensure I don’t smear a bunch of eyeshadow and mascara all over the rest of my face, which is what would happen if you just did an all-over-cleansing, you know?

This cleanser does not foam up very much. In fact, I might even call it non-foaming, actually. One thing I notice is my skin is clean after using it, but I don’t get any residual tightness of skin. (You can always test a cleanser’s efficacy by taking a makeup remover wipe or toner on a cotton round and going over your skin — either will pick up dirt and makeup leftover.)

How do I use it? I run warm water, then splash my face to dampen it. I apply a pea-sized amount into my fingers, then apply it to my face. I use my fingers to gently massage the cleanser all over my face for about ten seconds or so. I run my Clarisonic through water for half a second, and then I use the Clarisonic over my face for two minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat my face dry.

My Mario Badescu skincare routine revolves around:

1) Cleansing with Acne Facial Cleanser
2) Toning with Special Cucumber Lotion
3) Oil-Free Moisturizer in AM/Hydrating Serum in PM
4) Buffering Lotion/Drying Lotion/Drying Cream (I pick one) as spot treatment as needed
5) Drying Mask 1-2x a week as needed

I will be reviewing the entire Mario Badescu skincare system I used to help restore my skin over the next week, and I will be reviewing in the order that I use the products! Stay tuned 🙂


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Sofia Avatar

Thanks for the review. Ive been currently into Mario Badescu products aswell since Ive been breaking out horribly due to probably stress. And they are helping my skin clear up. I use the Cleansing Milk with Carnation and rice oil and I love that. It hydrates my skin without feeling greasy afterwards and I have oily-normal sensitive skin. I also use the Glycolic cleanser which takes off makeup really well but leaves my skin tight after. I also like the rose hip mask for post acne marks.
Have you tried the Strawberry tonic mask? Ive been really wanting to try that one but the store near me is sold out.

Christine Avatar

Hi Sofia,

I haven’t tried any of the products you mentioned, LOL! I recently got their Vitamin C Brightening Serum, but I haven’t tried the mask yet. I like the Drying Mask though!

So far I’ve been pretty happy with everything I’ve tried 🙂

Janet Avatar

Hi Christine,
I recently had a problem with those flesh-colored bumps, as well. They’re called comedones, and there were a bunch of them along the tops of my cheeks. They were really bothering me, so I went to the dermatologist. I learned that once they surface, they have to be physically removed (they won’t disappear with topical/oral medication). I had to get extractions every few weeks for a few months, where they used a medical extracting tool to basically take out the gunk in the bumps. I also got prescriptions for a pill called Doryx and a topical gel called Atralin (tretinoin gel 0.05%). I was initially prescribed Differin (w/ adapalene), but it was too harsh for my skin. It was also recommended that I use a cleanser with salicylic acid AND glycolic acid in it, so I alternated between that and Cetaphil (because my skin was so sensitive). I’m happy to say that all the comedones are gone now!
I hope this information helps you. Good luck!

Christine Avatar

When I saw the dermatologist, she said they were comedones as well, though she said nothing about them having to be physically removed. She just told me to stop wearing so much makeup, to be honest. She prescribed Differin and Duvac, but since my insurance won’t cover either, I skipped (it would have been $200 each). The comedones are coming/going and just cropping up in different spots, so I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. When I have more time, I might look for another dermatologist to see 🙂

cish Avatar

Btw, my dermatologist said the same thing about comedones that Janet already did – they need to be physically removed. For me it took two times to get all the gunk out from every little one – after that it was clean. She also prescribed Duac (is Duac and Duvac two different things? Duac definately didn’t cost much). Duac basically exfoliates skin above the comedones so they can come out more easily. When another comedone rises it’s head I just use Duac and right now my face is clean 🙂
Hope you find some solution that works for as well!

Cish Avatar

that’s really weird as Duac cost me $10-20 maximum (when converted as I live in Europe) and I don’t think my dermatologist gave me some sort of discount.

AshBash Avatar

thank you so much for this review. ive gotten samples of this line b4 and i liked them but ive always wondered would i like them long-term. i look forward to the rest of your reviews.

Angie Avatar

Good to know its working for you! I started on their drying lotion and buffering lotion 2 weeks ago too, and i’m proud to say that it has really helped the spots to go away. I had too many sweets (read: organic sweets that contain cane sugar) last week and it resulted in a cystic bump on my chin. After using the buffering lotion for a few nights, it has now surfaced into a nice whitehead 🙂 i’m using drying lotion on it now. cystic acne always result HUGE scars for me but now I know it isn’t gonna happen. i’m so so happy!

IZzySA Avatar

I am soooo glad for you Christine. I have used MB prods for years and my skin has retained a very good texture and is in good shape. As to prices – I looked at some L’Oreal skingenesis products yesterday, and found them to be HIGHER than MB and other Dept. store lines. So, knowing MB and how great it is, I find it cheap! I have their whole line, and although I am not acne prone, I live in a warm climate and hate pot hole pores — so I stick with anything salicylic and thorough cleansing, light moisturizer during the day, and night time eye and face cream. So far so good — for an old lady, my kid says I rock!!:D

TT Avatar


I tried the Mario Badescu stuff last year and it broke me out like you won’t believe. I can say that I use the Lush “Coalface” along with Seabreeze “Actives” as a Toner and Lush “Vanishing Cream” as a moisturizer and my skin has improved so much that I don’t even need foundation. I don’t know, I think Mario Badescu products are full of alcohol, just like that Proactiv stuff. These companies should be ashamed of themselves for the false adverstising. But your skin may be different from mine, but just a word of caution…..

PB Avatar

Great review! I have the Acne Facial Cleanser and the Special Cucumber Lotion as well. I’ve been using the acne facial cleanser twice a day, for the past two weeks and I absolutely love it! I’ve seen a drastic improvement on my face! I would definitely repurchase this when it runs out! But I can’t say the same for the Special Cucumber Lotion. It hasn’t done anything for me, so I’ve been using Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 instead.

SusyLovesMac Avatar

Hi Christine! First of all I want to thank you SO MUCH for all of the reviews you do! Your site is wonderful and I am a daily reader! 🙂 After reading your review on MB skincare and Ulta now supplies the product line (right down the street from me vs. 25 mins to the mall) I went out and purchased a kit to help fight acne. I believe it was $46 and came with the Drying Lotion, Drying Cream, & Buffering Lotion. I have been a hugh fan of MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid for a very long time now. Unfortunately I find that it’s the number one cause of my breakouts! 🙁 I now have switched my foundation to Revlon’s Color Stay Foundation after hearing great comparisons to MAC’s SFF. I haven’t had any problems with the makeup and my new skincare product! I absolutely LOVE MB skincare line and will soon be going back to pick up the remaining of missing items I must have. I’m going to try the acne facial cleaner, cucumber toner and drying mask 🙂 I did experience very LITTLE NORMAL drying but will be picking up the herbal hydrating serum to take care of that. I must say in just 3 days this stuff cleared up my face in no time, even my boyfriend was surprised! I totally recommend this for the ladies/ gentleman who suffer with blemishes.

FYI: My shade…..MAC = NW15 / Revlon = #220

Christine Avatar

Hey Susy,

I am so happy to hear that Mario Badescu is working out for you! One of the huge things I love about the brand is that they’re AFFORDABLE. I find their no-frills packaging just really functional and the line feels like it is for *you*. Hope your skin has made a full recovery!

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