Trust the French to build a beauty brand from wine waste. Wine is – literally – in their blood, and as a half French Parisian-raised beauty expert and wine guzzler I totally fell for Caudalie’s story when I first came across its iconic Vinoperfect range in – where else – a French parapharmacy (more of which you’ll find in my pharmacy skincare post). It all sounds so idyllic: originating in the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyards in Bordeaux, husband and wife duo Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas discovered, with the help of a pharmacy laboratory director, that they could recycle the grape seed oil usually thrown away during harvesting to produce natural formulas high in antioxidants. To stay on theme the founders chose a brand name that reflected their wine-making roots: ‘Caudalie is a wine term that refers to the unit of measurement for the time the flavours of a wine linger on the palate after tasting it.’ After over 10 years since first discovering this brand I re-connect with some of its new and long-standing products.
When I received an invitation to trial this new anti-ageing cream I jumped at the chance to re-introduce Caudalie into my skincare routine. Unfortunately I don’t feel that the name does it any favours: pretty unpronounceable and featuring weird brackets, that’s one product name that won’t be sticking in my mind. Imagine trying to ask for this at your local Space NK. So why the odd name? Well it turns out that grape vines are sturdy little things, like olive trees they can live for hundreds of years and that’s thanks to the naturally produced resveratrol that helps the vine’s ability to regenerate. Extracted from grapevine stalks, this natural active ingredient boasts firming and anti-ageing properties. Now available in a travel-friendly 25ml size, this frosted glass pot is perfect for my weekend trips to Paris. I don’t particularly feel the need to target any fine lines or wrinkles for now so can’t speak to its anti-ageing benefits, but this nourishing face cream feels great on my skin, tackling the dry patches although maybe a tad heavy for my oilier t-zone. It doesn’t stop me from applying it every morning after cleansing followed by foundation and loose powder, and I’m set for the day. 25ml RRP £23.00
Any beauty product that includes the words ‘anti-taches’ or dark spot correcting on the packaging and I’m like a moth to a flame. Summer has always been my favourite season, but with it comes hayfever and those brown skin patches that darken the more I expose my face to the sun. My dermatologist has repeatedly urged me to stay out of direct sunlight wherever possible, like I’m some sort of uneven skin toned vampire, but I just can’t resist the urge to feel the summer’s warmth on my face. Enter Caudalie’s cult Vinoperfect Radiance Serum which contains viniferine, the vine stalk sap supposedly able to fade dark spots and deliver radiance to your skin. This seems like a big ask, but in the last 3 weeks of using this serum post cleansing and pre moisturising religiously every night, my complexion does look even, with acne scars and sun pigmentation looking less prominent. Its light and fresh fragrance is worth mentioning too, featuring notes of citrus blossom, orange tree leaves, watermelon and mint – sounds like the perfectly refreshing summer cocktail. The formula claims to be non photo-sensitising (some dark spot treatments mustn’t be used if you’re exposing your skin in the sun) however to be on the safe side I’ve been using this serum in the evening only. 30ml RRP £46.00
This dark spot correcting night cream is the perfect companion to the Radiance Serum, applied straight after for an extra shot of radiance-inducing viniferine. The consistency of this cream is super thick, it’s probably one of the thickest face creams I’ve come across and feels similar in texture to some body butters. Which I actually quite like for a night cream as it feels really nourishing, and surprisingly is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t block your pores. As for its dark spot-correcting action, combined with the serum some of my lighter acne scars do seem to have faded, but unless I can force myself to stay out of the sun come summer, the work will be all undone until next winter. 50ml RRP £34.00
Natural and sustainable credentials
When it comes to natural and sustainable credentials Caudalie perform better than many beauty brands: the formulas tend to contain more than 90% ingredients of natural origin and the brand is the largest global cosmetic industry member of 1% For The Planet. This means they donate 1% of their global sales (as opposed to profit which would mean a smaller contribution) to non-profit organisations that protect the environment. With my husband working in packaging and supplying key beauty brands, our evening conversations can end up taking a geeky turn as we debate the latest innovations in sustainable packaging. Caudalie’s choice of FSC certified paper for their boxes, use of vegetable inks and call for customers to bring back empty containers to their stores for recycling are great initiatives, but I’d love to see them take a step further by tackling their over-packaging. Outer boxes that are bigger than the product, extra cardboard structure built in to support jars that are heavier and thicker than they need to be: there are some adjustments that Caudalie could make without having to compromise on their effective formulas or beautiful design.
Have you tried Caudalie? What do you look for first and foremost in your skincare products? Leave a comment below to let me know.
Features gifted products.