Make up and beauty

Mario Badescu’s Award Winning Drying Lotion {Review}

It feels like ages since I’ve heard the tapping of the keyboard as I draft posts for the blog. I took a bit of a break, and if you’re reading this, then I’ve obviously found a little bit of mojo stashed away and I’m back. Not necessarily back 3 times a week as I was, but back! Let’s get to this post…Have you heard of Mario Badescu? I think I first spotted this on Pink Peonies Blog. I was intrigued, but it was available overseas only and I was not into online shopping, especially overseas online shopping back then. Oh how far I’ve come right?

When I realised the brand was actually available in South Africa….I did what I always do, I follow on social media, start adding to cart and hoping for a sale! When no sale happens within 7 minutes of me discovering the site, I take it as a sign to make a full priced purchase. Because… #InstantGratification right? I picked up the infamous drying lotion and then received 2 samples that I will also review briefly.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

What is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

Our best-selling Drying Lotion is an excellent spot treatment made with a blend of Calamine and Salicylic Acid to clear up and soothe unsightly whiteheads overnight. A dab of this lotion will heal and dry pimples quickly.

The idea of this containing Salicylic Acid to zap zits, as well as the calming properties of Calamine really excited me. It sounds like the perfect combination for quickly getting rid of zits. This drying lotion has won various beauty awards, including one of Teen Vogue’s ‘Best Acne Treatment Products’ for 2017. Kylie Jenner swears by it…and so do many many others. This is one HYPED up product, so I was really excited to get my hands on this.

Packaging and Cost

This comes in a glass bottle and for R440, you get 29mls of product. 

Application and my experience

When I got this, I was just waiting for a zit. Gross I know! Once I had a target in sight, I shook the bottle and then decided to read the instructions that said: DO NOT SHAKE THE BOTTLE. Why do I never read instructions??? *sigh* So I could not use it, as I had to wait for the 2 layers to seperate. Also, you need an ear bud…..which I also didn’t have. I thought I could use cotton pads. Again…read instructions. 

Once the 2 layers are seperated, you stick the earbud in to touch the pink product and you dab that onto the face offender. You do this after cleansing, toning and moisturising, at night. Also, you don’t rub it in, just dab onto the spot, as you would with calamine lotion and chicken pox I guess.

So the next morning I woke up, expecting to be ZIT-FREE. I was not. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. This stuff is pricey, award-winning stuff…I needed results! Somebody DM’d me and said they had a similar experience to me, that the zit still went through the full process, but they found it healed faster. Look, that was not what I wanted for this product, BUT that is exactly what it did. Not only did the pimple heal faster, but comparing it to a non-Mario Badescu medicated pimple, there is also way less scarring. I scar immediately with a pimple. It goes dark and will stay there forever. Using this solution, my pimple marks are pink and seem to be fading better.

In addition to this, some spot treatments will dry the crap out of your skin. This does not do that on my skin, there’s no crusty dryness. Also it does soothe the pimple when you’re experiencing that painful throbbing that can come from the worst of them. Lastly….I have the occasions where a pimple can heal, then out of nowhere pop up again in the same spot. This prevents that situation. It dries it out and that’s the end of it.

Would I recommend it?

If you can afford it, and you’re looking for a product like this, then yes. This is a good product, but it is not a miracle worker. Do not expect a spot to be dried up and dead overnight. To have a pimple not leave me with scarring though, is something I will HAPPILY pay for. This is only 29mls of product, so it is damn expensive (have I said that already?). I’ll see how long this bottle lasts me and update this post down the line. If it lasts for ages, then the R440 is not such a hard spend, BUT I will look out for a promotion of sorts next time.

Now on to the samples that I received:

Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – RSP R499

Say goodbye to build-up and banish dullness with the newest addition to the Mario Badescu line of skin care products. This scrub is formulated to refine and perfect your complexion with a unique combination of finely ground Ecuadorian Ivory Palm seeds and nourishing botanicals, including Ginger, Ginkgo, Green Tea, Aloe, and Coconut. This gentle, gel-based formula sloughs off the dulling dead skin cells that can lead to breakouts or cause skin to look lifeless and aged, helping you to achieve clearer, younger-looking, more radiant skin. Paraben free formulation.

I LOVE this scrub! It leaves my skin looking clearer, brighter and feeling so polished and does not strip my skin at all.  

Healing & Soothing Mask – RSP R475

Control irritation and redness caused by acne. Non-hardening and effective for very sensitive or dry skin types with acne. Contains soothing Balsam Peru, a natural, anti-inflammatory ingredient.

This was also a really good product to test out. I’ve used this sample twice already and I think I have enough for at least another 2 or 3 mask sessions. Hardening masks are fun….but not so fun when you need to rinse it off sometimes. I love that this stays soft on the skin, it feels so soothing and calming…as the name suggests. The scent though, I am not a fan of. I can’t explain it…it’s not gross or smelly, but it’s something. This is however definitely something that I would also purchase.

Mario Badescu products are not cheap, so to test the waters I’d purchase something and maybe ask for specific samples (depending on availability) of items you’re interested in. It’s difficult as it is an online store, but I’ve seen from other bloggers purchases, they have been lucky enough to buy on promotion and they get really generous travel sized samples to try out. So if you’re wanting to try their products, look out for promotions. Also you can probably contact an agent in your city (PE has one!) and you should be able to sample the products that way. The PE agent has invited me to come for a mini facial of sorts to test out the products, so I am sure you are able to do the same. 

They have a really extensive range of skin care products and one item I am dying to try out, is one of their facial sprays! It’s another raved about product from the brand! Have you tried anything from Mario Badescu?

I’m Simone, a mom of 3, a wife...obsessed with my family, makeup and books!


  • Nisa

    Aunt Flo came to visit this weekend and brought with her 2 volcanoes to my jawline. I dont have any spot treatments in my arsenal at the moment so I thought of buying this product this morning so your review could not have come at a better time. I’m a bit hesitant to try it now cos I know of others that do do a great job

    • Simone

      That’s the thing, I also don’t have spot zapping products, so I was keen on this one. It’s much cheaper overseas, so if you can get somebody to bring it directly, saves you a bit of cash. I want to pick up something from Clicks and do a sort of comparison.

      Have you tried acne patches?

  • Venean

    I love your honesty – and that one can know what to expect before spending the hard earned cash by just reading up on your blog about it! Thanks for a great review! xx

  • Megan Smith

    Really glad I read your (honest) review before purchasing this, because I would have expected a miracle-worker too! But the other items sound pretty damn good. Definitely need to try MB.

  • Carmen

    This product is very similar to the drying lotion or a copycat 🙂 I have been using it for years and now Alyssa too for her pimples.
    It is not a miracle worker that works overnight, but it does dry up the pimple.!
    Natural EssenceTM Clearing Lotion
    This spot-control treatment provides fast-acting relief from break-outs and is a must for acne-prone teenagers.
    Size: 30ml; Price: R189

Leave a Reply

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

Weekly Newsletter
Get the latest content first.
I respect your privacy.
Please visit SA Corona Virus for updated information on COVID-19, symptoms, preventative measures and