Since I am so fortunate to be living in France, I think it would be a shame—-nay, a crime! if I, as a beauty blogger, didn’t bother to try out at least some of the popular French beauty brands out there and review them for you.
Caudalie is among the most popular French beauty brands. Just like Avène, you can find this brand in every pharmacy and parapharmacy in France. You might remember me griping about how, in the pharmacies here, it’s so much easier to find vitamins for stronger hair and nails than it is to find a bottle of aspirin!
French pharmacies are well-known for their impressive collection of skincare and beauty products. And visitors from all over the world come in order to buy some of the popular beauty brands that they carry, like Caudalie.
So what makes Caudalie so special?
If you like to drink wine, then you may be in the regular habit of reminding yourself how wine is good for you because it is rich in anti-oxidants.
Caudalie’s origins is based in Bordeaux, a region famous for its vineyards and wine. The wife and husband team who founded Caudalie took the grape and used it for its powerful cosmetic properties.
Caudalie revolves around the active ingredients derived from grapes, which contain potent anti-oxidants and other beauty benefits.
There are many scientific studies that show the myriad beauty benefits that can be extracted from the humble grape plant. The grape seed contains polyphenols which help protect the skin against free radicals, which may come from our environment and our lifestyle habits and can accelerate the aging process of our skin. The grape vine contains reserveratrol, which helps to stimulate collagen production and preserve the skin’s firmness. And the grapevine sap contains viniferine, a molecule that reduces and fights against the formation of dark spots.
Caudalie makes use of every part of the grape (the seed, the vine, the sap, the water, the oil and even the wine yeast used to make wine) to create products that not only help preserve the skin’s youthfulness but also respect the environment.
Although this brand is not certified organic, a lot of their ingredients are plant-based and are supposedly sourced from organic fair-trade plants. Their products also boast of being free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, phtalates, mineral oils, gmo’s, artificial coloring, etc. And they are against animal-based ingredients and animal testing.
So brand marketing gibberish aside…. when it comes to using their products and assessing their effectiveness, the question is… are they actually any good?
Well, I’ve been using two products by Caudalie: The Beauty Elixir & The Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream.
Let’s have a look…
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
The purpose of the Beauty Elixir is to smooth lines, tighten pores and give skin a glowing complexion. It is a product that many bloggers from around the world have raved about. So I got the small version of it just to see what all this hype is about.
How to use it: As you can see from the photos above, the elixir is water that you spray on your face. There are these tiny globules that float and hang out at the top so you have to shake the bottle first before you use it. I find that three full sprays six-inches away from the face usually suffices for me.
Ingredients: Water, alcohol (plant derived), flower orange, perfume (fragrance), rosemary leaf oil, potassium alum, peppermint oil, styrax tonkinensis resin extract, commiphora myrrha resin extract, balm mint leaf oil, rosa damascena flower oil, grape fruit extract, tocopherol, citral, limonene, linalool, citronellol, geraniol, farnesol, benzyl benzoate, eugenol.
The first ingredient in the ingredient list is water. And the second ingredient listed is alcohol. Usually the first couple of ingredients are the ones which constitute the highest percentage of the product. So this already had me going “Hmmm… why would people rave so much about a product whose first two ingredients are water and alcohol?” Yes it’s a plant-derived alcohol, but any type of alcohol can be too drying for the skin.
What I like about it: After I spray the elixir, I get a tingly sensation which gives me the impression that my skin is refreshed. I do see a difference in the radiance of my complexion. I get a bit of a glow after I spray the elixir on my skin.
What I don’t like about it: The smell is weird–I mean it’s neither bad nor good. But the elixir’s scent is just not its strong point. Although my skin feels refreshed, afterwards it starts to feel uncomfortably dry. And that’s probably from all the drying astringent ingredients.
Fortunately, my skin does not react negatively to the elixir. But I have read instances where people’s skin had a bad reaction to the elixir. And that’s probably because there are a lot of essential oils here that can cause irritations and allergies. So if your skin is sensitive and reacts badly to fragrances and essential oils, be careful with this one.
Many people say the elixir is great for “priming” their skin before putting on makeup, and although I’ve tried it for this purpose, I don’t see much of a difference between when I do and when I don’t use this before putting on makeup.
How much: Around 8€ for the 30 ml bottle and 24€ for the 100 ml bottle.
Would I buy it again: Maybe. But’s it’s not high on my re-purchase list. It’s good that they had a small version of this so you could try it out first before you committed to the 24 euro size bottle.
Caudalie Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream
The Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream is a hydrating cream formulated with grape polyphenol anti-oxidants to protect the skin against free radicals. It’s suited for all skin types, but mainly recommended for youthful skin, which I suppose is what the term “Premières Vendanges” (winespeak for “harvest of the first crop of grapes”) refers to.
How to use it: You apply a quarter-coin sized amount on your face and another quarter-coin sized amount on your neck. This cream can be used both day and night.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin* , Stearyl Heptanoate*, Ethylhexyl Cocoate*, Ethylhexyl Palmitate*, Polysorbate 40*, Sorbitan Palmitate*, Vitis Vinifera Grapeseed Oil*, Tripalmitin*, Tristearin*, Polymethylmethacrylate, Ceteareth-20*, Oleyl Alcohol*, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Stearyl Olive Esters*, Perfume (fragrance), Caprylyl Glycol, Palmityol Grapeseed Extract*, Potassium Sorbate, SodiumHydroxide, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylatecrosspolymer, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geranoil, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool.
* Asterisk indicates ingredient is derived from plant sources
I actually spent a good hour and a half looking up each and every one of these ingredients!! I wanted to know what they are, what cosmetic purpose they serve and any potential toxicity they may pose.
So basically, the first couple of ingredients are emollients with hydrating properties, and then you have antioxidants and then later on the fragrances which are derived from essential oils. Most of the ingredients are low in toxicity but the fragrances from the essential oils can be irritants and cause unwanted reactions (a usual risk with essential oils).
If you want my notes on these ingredients, let me know and I can send them to you. It was just waaay tooo looong to post on here.
What I like about it: This is a cream that is really good at what it’s supposed to do!! It’s truly hydrating and it has a high concentration of anti-oxidants. I like the subtlety of the scent and I like the way the cream feels on my skin. It’s very soothing. After I use it, my skin feels really smooth and has this undeniable glow. The moisture lasts all day. And it doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. I can see how this would be good even for people with oily and pimple-prone skin. And of course, I’m pretty happy with the price in relation to how well the product works and how much of it you get.
What I don’t like about it: I’m actually pretty satisfied with this product. Of course I could be a little happier if I got more in terms of quantity but that seems to always be the case with cosmetic products that I like. Also, it’s not rich enough for cold, dry winter days. So if you have dry skin, or dry/combination skin then this might not be your ideal winter moisturizer.
How much: Around 15 € for a 40 ml tube.
Would I buy it again: Yes! In fact, this is the second time around that I’ve purchased this product. It’s an excellent moisturizer with a list of good, reliable ingredients.
Personally, Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir was a great example of a much-hyped product that really didn’t do much for me. It does feel nice on my skin and I do get a nice glow from it. But the dry, uncomfortable feeling that I get afterwards is just not worth it. For people who like toners and whose skin takes well to astringents toners, I can see how this products would work for them.
The Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream provided the saving grace. It is a product that I am really happy with. And one that I would recommend to people to try if they’re looking for a good moisturizer.
As for the brand Caudalie itself, one of the main critiques out there against them is that their products are too expensive and do not contain enough of the active ingredients which they boast of. However, their serums have received many positive reviews. And if I were to ever encounter one of their serums during a BIG sale, I would be very happy to try them!
Phew. So that wraps up my review of Caudalie and two of their products!
Now over to you…
Have you tried any Caudalie products? And if so, what were your impressions?