Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

by Sarah

You know that ‘guaranteed to appear at the worst time possible & in the most visible place on your face’ type of pesky blemish/zit/pimple? And how you stare at it in frustration but don’t know how to make it disappear…

Well, today’s post is about to give you a glimmer of light at the end of that blemish tunnel. I’m talking about Mario Badescu Drying Lotion which is the brand’s best selling product. I’ve been putting it to the test for the past few months so here are my findings…

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion


The lotion is in a tiny 1fl.oz (29ml) bottle but don’t let the size fool you as it packs a punch in terms of ingredients and it’s more than enough for the purpose of spot treating blemishes. I must warn you that it doesn’t smell very pleasant. It has a strong medicated scent but for the sake of the results it provides, it’s bearable.

Mario Badescu Drying LotionThe formula itself separates into 2 parts – the top section is a clear liquid containing alcohol and water.

The pink part which settles to the bottom of the bottle is where all the goodness is. The main ingredient here is calamine, which some of you may remember from your childhood (if you had chicken pox) as it’s the go-to treatment for drying up the spots and prevent itching.

Remainder of the ingredients are just as strong in their own right. With sulphur, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and salycylic acid which are all drying components when it comes to blemishes, it’s easy to understand why this lotion works when they’re all combined together.


I must admit to making a mistake when I first used this lotion, as my impatient beauty junkie tendencies kicked in, I shook the bottle until the lotion turned into strawberry milkshake. Well, let me warn you in case you too would rather try the product before reading the instructions first but it says: DO NOT SHAKE THE BOTTLE.

Going against all split-level products which we’re told to ‘shake well before use’, this product is supposed to be left as is. It’s also recommended you use the lotion before bedtime so it has enough time to work its magic overnight.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

1. Cleanse, tone, moisturize your skin as you normally would.

2. Using a Q-tip, gently dip it through the clear portion of the lotion until you reach the pink mixture resting on the bottom.

3. Coat the Q-tip with the pink mixture and dab on individual blemishes until they’re fully covered.

*The mixture dries up to a chalky finish within seconds

4. Leave on overnight and wash off with warm water in the morning.




Long story short: Yes it does. As I mentioned earlier, all the ingredients contained in this bottle are used to dry out blemishes and depending on the size and severity of the blemish, I found the lotion dried it up within 1-2 days. If you suffer from the odd blemish/pimple/zit, then I think this product would be worth trying. For cases of cystic or hormonal acne, I don’t believe this product would be the best treatment option.


My only issue with this product is the scar/mark it leaves behind. Before I get into the details however, let me include a disclaimer that majority of the blemish drying products I’ve used all had the same effect on my skin.

thumbs_45129-cfakepathpimple.jpg.660x0_q80_crop-scale_upscaleI’ve always been a ‘popper’ when it comes to dealing with blemishes – not the violent squeeze type where I bruise the skin and make it worse but more so the extraction techniques the professionals use, which helps release all the gunk, followed by disinfecting.

I find this always helps release the pressure, cleanses out the pore completely and helps heal the area of the blemish without leaving any marks behind. What I find with drying products is that the blemish dries out on the surface but the root of the problem which is usually a blocked pore still remains within the skin.

Not sure if it’s for this reason, that even though the blemish completely disappears, the scar of it remains much longer than if I were to pop it. I hope that makes sense.


Let me know if any of you have similar problems with blemish drying products.

Mario Badescu skincare line in general gets amazing reviews so whether you’re interested in the Drying Lotion or would like to try other products within the range, you can check out the link HERE . The Drying Lotion retails at $17

How do you deal with blemishes? Share your tips in the comments below :)


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Stella August 30, 2018 - 7:08 am

I spilled the clear stuff at the top but there is still a little bit remaining (about the same or a little less than the pink stuff) will it still work? Or should I buy a new one and what do I do when the clear stuff runs out?

Sarah August 30, 2018 - 9:53 am

Hi Stella, it should still work as long as you have some of the clear part still in the bottle. I think once that part runs out, the pink part will start to dry out. When that happens, you’re probably better off getting a new bottle as the formula may lose its potency. Hope that helps :)

Chaya Baitz July 17, 2018 - 2:48 am

Hi! I had a quick question. I noticed in your post you mentioned you shook the bottle. I just received my bottle and didn’t read the instructions before (silly me!) and shook it. Is the bottle done now and I need to get a new one?

Sarah July 17, 2018 - 3:33 am

Hi Chaya, so many people do the same with this product but it’s OK. Just let the product sit for a while and all the components will settle back into place. You can then go in with a Q-tip as instructed :)

Gab April 4, 2018 - 3:15 pm

i use mario badescu and the alcohol part is almost done but the pink solution is still a lot, what can i do?:(

Sarah April 6, 2018 - 11:00 pm

Hi Gab, I haven’t had such a problem but given the active ingredients are in the pink section, I’m thinking it would still be OK to use. Maybe contact Mario Badescu customer service and check with them.

Karoline June 21, 2017 - 9:31 pm

I just started to use it, as one part of my face tends to get breakouts quite easly, and so far i feel like its working!

And i didnt even relize that one of the ingridients was the same as in the thing for chicken pox :’)

Sarah June 22, 2017 - 5:54 pm

Hi Karoline! glad to hear the lotion is working for you. They basically put in all the blemish fighting ingredients they could think of. Small bottle but very powerful indeed :)

Annie August 10, 2016 - 3:39 pm

I love this product and I have normal acne, hormonal (pms and/or pregnancy related) and cystic acne. To supplement your review with my thoughts- yes, popping zits or other extraction methods are the fastest way to clear them up. Steam your face (hot), and take a sterilized needed and simply pop, drain them. I use tea tree oil on them to clear out any bacteria. Apple Cider Vinegar is a great toner. Then I use this MB product. After the spots seem dry, 1-2 days later, I use a different thing to relieve the dark spots. Personally, I blend essential oils that are known to do that, but look for products that contain anti-redness, anti-inflammatory, etc. For cystic acne, the fastest thing you can do is take Pantothenic Acid. I don’t during pregnancy. It takes days to clear them up vs what was months of pain and large bumps. I hope this helps.

Sarah August 11, 2016 - 3:28 am

Hi Annie, thank you so much for sharing your tips and tricks. Your method sounds similar to what I do except I disinfect with an alcohol solution instead of tea tree oil. For some reason, no matter how well I extract, as soon as I apply anything oil based onto it, it comes right back. I’m very sensitive to oils and creams so that’s probably the reason. Thank you again for your suggestions, I’m sure it’ll be great help for those wanting to try different alternatives :)

Tracy Manning March 1, 2016 - 4:30 am

I heard so much about this lotion but never tried it. $17 isn’t too bad for spot treating minor blemishes. Great post.

Sarah March 1, 2016 - 6:49 am

well worth a try ;)


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