Is Mario Badescu Good? Some Think It's Overhyped After Experiencing Concerning Skin Issues


Dec. 14 2023, Published 12:49 p.m. ET

Table featuring Mario Badescu products under a tent outside
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The Gist:

  • Mario Badescu is a well-known skincare brand that has been around for decades.
  • The brand has faced lawsuits for allegedly using steroids in older products, without disclosing this to customers.
  • There are various pros and cons to using Mario Badescu's skincare products, but the company does use some ingredients known to cause adverse effects.
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Trying new skincare products is a fun self-care adventure. While the products should solve your skincare challenges while fitting your budget, many people stumble across ingredients that aren’t good for the environment or their bodies. It’s one reason some people worry if longstanding brand Mario Badescu is actually good for their skin.

Some beauty bloggers and professional reviewers have had adverse experiences with Mario Badescu products, while others are diehard fans of the company's skincare range.

It's important to always protect your skin’s health and well-being by reading about any brand before trying it, so that you know everything you need to make an informed decision that supports your self care routine. Keep reading to learn more about how Mario Badescu affects the skin.

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Pile of Mario Badescu lip balms
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Is Mario Badescu good?

Mario Badescu is a longstanding beauty brand. The company has been around since 1967, and it built a well-recognized reputation for itself, receiving generational endorsements from numerous celebrities.

People also started buying Mario Badescu because it was more affordable than other leading skincare companies. According to Statista, 1.68 million Americans spend over $500 on skincare products each year. Every penny saved makes a difference, so the mid-range prices of Mario Badescu products attract consumers.

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It's clear that people still use the brand after all these years, and the products obviously have certain benefits for these consumers. For instance, Mario Badescu is known for its soothing moisturizers, body soaps, and sunburn repair gel.

One hero product for the company has long been the pink drying lotion. "Say what you will, but it works like a charm. Haven’t found anything as effective on the market," one reviewer stated on the reviews website Thingtesting.

That said, like with any other brand, Mario Badescu gets mixed reviews. On Thingtesting, Mario Badescu has an overall rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars, based on 66 reviews, as of December 2023.

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The brand has a few clear good attributes: it's cruelty-free and does not engage in animal testing, offers vegan products, and some of its products are free of sulfates, synthetic fragrance, parabens, and pthalates. (You'll have to check ingredient lists for individual products to learn more, since some products do contain these ingredients.)

Ten bottles of Mario Badescu facial spray in five varieties
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Is Mario Badescu bad for your skin?

Many consumers have found that Mario Badescu is bad for their skin due to the products' ingredients, especially compared to other leading brands.

In a 2017 article for The Observer, beauty blogger Jackie Danicki wrote: "The number of panicked messages I get from readers reporting dry, itchy, red, irritated, broken out skin after using Mario Badescu is significant enough to constitute a trend."

Additionally, one reviewer on Thingtesting pointed out that ingredients known to irritate skin are in many Mario Badescu products, and that the brand's acne treatment products "dried out my skin like crazy."

For instance, ingredients connected to various health concerns in Mario Badescu's Acne Facial Cleanser include: sodium laureth sulfate, triethanolamine, methylparaben, and propylparaben.

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One Thingtesting user surmised that Mario Badescu's "product range was more impressive back in the day."

If you are thinking of trying any Mario Badescu products, make sure to do your research, and check in with your dermatologist first.

Four smiling women sitting at a table with a Mario Badescu product bag perched on the tabletop
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Mario Badescu was the subject of a lawsuit for using steroids in its products.

In 2013, a class action lawsuit filed against the Mario Badescu company accused the brand of including steroids in two of its products, without disclosing this on the label. The products caused various skin health issues to consumers, as steroids can be harmful to your skin when not prescribed by a doctor.

Researchers with the Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists found topical steroids caused hyperpigmentation and skin atrophy. Atrophied skin is thinner, making cuts, blisters and infections more likely, according to Practical Dermatopathology.

In the end, the suit led to a settlement, and Mario Badescu eliminated off-label steroids from its product formulas.

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Is Mario Badescu cruelty-free and vegan?

Yes, Mario Badescu is a cruelty-free company, according to Ethical Elephant, which means the brand doesn’t test its formulas on animals.

Not all of the brand's products are vegan, but the company does offer "some products that are considered vegan friendly," according to the website. You'll need to refer to ingredient lists to determine which ones are vegan.

Two women wearing Mario Badescu skincare products sitting at a table and holding alcoholic beverages
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Is Mario Badescu eco-friendly?

Mario Badescu keeps its products budget-friendly by mainly using plastic containers and minimal glass packaging. In fact, for some products, customers can choose whether they'd like to buy it in glass or plastic bottles, with no price difference.

Additionally, Mario Badescu does not use organic product ingredients, and some of its products include synthetic additives, so eco-conscious consumers may not choose Mario Badescu as their first choice for sustainable skincare. That said, we do applaud MB for being proudly cruelty-free, and hope to see more eco-friendly and healthier changes from the brand in the future.

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