Founded on a vineyard in the south of France, Caudalie is proof that it's always five o'clock somewhere. After discovering the amazing antioxidant powers of grapes and grapevine polyphenols during the grape harvest in their family vineyard of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas launched every beauty fanatic's and oenophile's dream in 1995. "The grape seed polyphenol helps protect your skin from free radicals which is huge. We also use resveratrol, which is from the stalk of the vine and is the number one anti-aging molecule. Then we also use viniferine, that comes from the sap of the vine, to brighten, lighten, and even the skin and eliminate dark spots," says Régine Berthelot, treatment manager at Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa, of the brand's signature ingredients. "So you have protecting and hydrating properties with the grape seed polyphenol, you have firming properties with the resveratrol, and brightening with the viniferine."
"Grapes and grape polyphenols have antioxidant properties," confirms Elizabeth L. Tanzi, M.D. FAAD, director of Capital Laser and Skin Care in Chevy Chase, Maryland. "Antioxidants are compounds that help reduce the damage to skin cells caused by unstable molecules, or free radicals, found in the environment—usually sun, pollution, and stress." With product formulas free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oils, sulfates, synthetic coloring, and animal ingredients, Caudalie extracts unique substances from the vine, such as the soothing organic grape water, full of vitamins and minerals, anti-oxidant and nourishing grape seed oil, rich in vitamin E and omega-6, purifying grape marc that protects skin against free radicals, and moisturizing Vinolevure, that strengthens, protects, and hydrates the skin. "We love these ingredients because they’re natural, but they’re effective. You don’t have to go through chemicals to find great results in the skin," says Berthelot.
I began my Caudalie regimen with the Vinoperfect collection. Promising to brighten, lighten dark spots, and even my skin tone, I tested the Radiance Serum and Cell Renewal Night Cream. The serum comes in the most lightweight formula, full of viniferine, and can be applied under or over makeup. I used it religiously day and night underneath my regular moisturizers, within days noticing an overall improvement in the appearance of my skin. The night cream seemed to have worked overtime too, contributing to my almost-acceptable morning aesthetic by reducing the appearance of my pores and adding an "I slept eight hours last night" radiance to my face before makeup was even applied.
The Vinosourse line, featuring four hydrating products, invites you to take a "bite into a grape packed with water and sweetness." Made of organic grape water and created to moisturize, soothe, and nourish parched skin, the formulas are lightweight and luxurious, emitting heavenly scent, like all Caudalie products I have ever tried. "The scents are based on the natural ingredients," explains Berthelot. "It’s the natural plant extracts, instead of perfumes so they work into your skin instead of sitting on it."
The biggest surprise for me came from Caudalie's Grape Water which I didn't know I needed in my life prior to testing the product—and which I most likely won't be able to live without going forward. Spraying it over makeup throughout the day, I used the bottle to touch-up and refresh my skin between work and events. The mist formula has a barely there scent and serves double-duty to hydrate my skin on the go and awaken my spirits."The grape seed water hydrates and soothes the skin, so it’s a really great way to treat it in a very gentle way," says Berthelot. "Because sugar, from the grape, bonds with water, it’s going to help to hold the water in. All the other sprays, when you spray the water on your skin, when the water dries, it evaporates, and it pulls the moisture that’s in your skin, so it actually dehydrates your skin. Here, the grape water holds the water in and prevents it from evaporating."
Pictured: Caudalie Grape Water, $13, available at Sephora; Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, $79, available at Sephora; Caudalie Vinoperfect Cell Renewal Night Cream, $59, available at Sephora; Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet, $39, available at Sephora; Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Matifying Fluid, $39, available at Sephora; Caudalie Vinosource Moisture Recovery Cream, $39, available at Caudalie; Caudalie Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream, $39, available at Sephora.