“Good skincare is better than hiding behind a mask of makeup.”
Wise words, from Mathilde Thomas, founder of French skincare brand, Caudalie, when asked for her approach to beauty. I had the privilege of meeting this tall, elegant lady in the beautiful setting of Flutes, at the National Museum of Singapore, during her visit to the region, and it was insightful and inspiring.
I was there, with another 2 members of Malaysian media, to speak to her and to gain a little insight into some new and upcoming products from Caudalie, and to learn a little more about the brand, and the person behind the brand, and her approach to beauty and skincare. So join me as I speak to Mathilde Thomas 🙂
… on how to pronounce “Caudalie” and what it means
An approximation of how to pronounce it, as the French do, is thus – “ko-da-lee” and what “Caudalie” means is the unit of measure of how long it takes for the flavour of a wine to linger in your mouth. 1 Caudalie is approximately 1 second. This word was chosen, for Caudalie has its origins in the vineyards of Mathilde Thomas’s family, which also still produces wines to this day (Château Smith Haut Lafitte – I had the privilege of an impromptu wine lesson, and a taste of the white wine, and it was superb!)
In 1993, Mathilde and her husband Bertrand Thomas met Professor Vercauteren from the Bordeaux Faculty of Pharmacy at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, and he told them that the grape seeds they were throwing away, were treasure troves of anti-aging and from there, a new brand was born. Caudalie holds patents for the molecules from their grape derivative extracts, and next year in 2018, we can expect a brand new molecule that was developed at Harvard Medical School, to be included in a new skincare product (or range). She was rather hush-hush about it, so I guess we’ll have to wait for it 🙂
… on what Caudalie products to try for newbies to the brand
Mathilde’s first answer was that this would depend on the person’s skin type and age. For her, this is important information. But for general purposes, here are 3 Caudalie products she recommends for everyone to try, which are incidentally, bestsellers of the brand:-
- Grape Water Spray – This is for everyone, even those with sensitive skin because there is nothing in there except grape water, grape juice and some nitrogen for the aerosol. I personally vouch for this one as a must try!
- Beauty Elixir – Mathilde suggests that aside from using this to refresh the skin, you can use it to set make up. I personally am not a big fan of this product, but I was taught to use this to set makeup about a year back, and I will vouch for it!
- Vinoperfect serum – This is what Mathilde calls a transgenerational product because it works for everyone, all skin types and all ages. This serum works on scars, brightens skin, gives skin radiance and even helps with anyone suffering from a pregnancy mask. Personally, I don’t experience much change in my skin while using this, but it is one of their bestsellers.
… on skincare for those in their 50’s
I received a query from someone on Instagram, who wanted to know how to tailor a skincare regiment for someone in their 50’s. I posed the question to Mathilde who said that when you’re in your 50’s, you basically need everything – hydration, anti-aging, lifting, firming, brightening (I was paying attention – 50 isn’t far away! LOL)
Mathilde’s suggested product was her personal favourite that she personally asked to be formulated for this purpose – the Premier Cru The Cream. She calls this the Rolls Royce of Caudalie and this is her desert island product! This cream covers all aspects of skin treatment needs – hydrating, antioxidant, plumping, anti-dark spot, firming and lifting.
Her recommended regimen is to cleanse and tone, then apply a serum (Premier Cru The Elixir), moisturiser and then sunscreen of SPF50 and eye cream. Do this morning and night (sans sunscreen at night of course) For her, this is sufficient, and if you use the Premier Cru The Cream as she does, everywhere she goes, then it is sufficient.
This is one cream that literally does it all, and it is one she is never without. Incidentally, I had tried a little sample of this a few years back and it left an impression on me, because I really liked it and how it felt, even if I wasn’t yet anywhere near 50 at the time LOL! I am a big fan of the Premier Cru Elixir oil-serum though!
… on the importance of sunscreen and SPF50
Mathilde is a lady with a skincare philosophy after my own heart, for when asked when one should tackle anti-aging and when to start skincare, her answer was simply this – use sunscreen. Use sunscreen basically, from the first time you see the sun! That’s when you’re babies. Protect your children with sunscreen (even if they don’t like it – they’ll thank you when they’re 30) and hats when they’re out.
Exposure to the sun will age and damage your skin and this is what she does for her 3 children. Slap on lots of sunscreen, and Caudalie will be introducing a new SPF50 sunscreen in Europe in 2018. We may unfortunately not get it here, due to different governmental regulations, but that’s something I’d look out for.
… on how living in Asia has influenced the growth of Caudalie skincare
For the past few years, Mathilde and her family have been living in the city state of Hong Kong, having moved there from New York before that. What she found was that the air in Hong Kong and Asia was more polluted, and especially in cities in China, where she would visit often for business. Recognising this worrying new trend of city pollution and how it can affect our skin, Caudalie has developed a new range of skincare to address this pollution.
Caudalie Vine[Activ] range expected in Asia in September 2017. Already available in Europe and N. America
This is the Vine[Activ] range of skincare which is already available in Europe and N. America but which is coming to Asia in September 2017. It replaces the existing Polyphenol C15 range. The Vine[Activ] range is infused with antioxidant polyphenols, which help protect skin from external aggressors while soothing skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, and restoring a glow to the skin. I’d actually been quite interested in this range ever since I saw it pop up on my radar earlier this year, but I’d have to wait a few more months. If you’ve tried this, I’d be interested to know your thoughts. I tested the serum at the table, and it felt lovely and lightweight.
The other thing that Caudalie has developed since her stint in Asia, is the Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence. This was only just recently launched here in Malaysia, and was strongly inspired by the Asian (or Korean) skincare routine, which is strong on its use of watery essences. It’s supposed to pair with the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, to boost its efficacy.
The Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence is a very liquid lotion in a glass bottle, that contains glycolic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells while White Peony revitalizes skin. It also contains grape water (of course) to hydrate and soothe the skin. You can use this either with a cotton pad, wiped across your face, or patted in with your palms and fingers.
I asked just how strong the glycolic acid is in the Vinoperfect Essence, and was told that it was about 2-3% as Mathilde did not want anything too strong. Caudalie skincare is not about being harsh on skin, but meant to be even suitable for sensitive skin and she wanted that. I was interested primarily because I am big on glycolic acid toners, and I am also a big fan of the Caudalie Glycolic Acid Peel mask.
The other product that has been tweaked and inspired by Korean skincare is the Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet, which has a light, watery texture, similar to that in Korean skincare. Light layers, to allow you to layer your products more comfortably.
… on whether that means we will see a sheet mask in the near future
Yes we will! But in Europe to start, in September 2017. Caudalie will be testing the market with the release of a sheet mask with firming and hydrating properties, infused with resveratrol, an antioxidant to slow down aging. Sheet masks are already used in the Caudalie spas worldwide, and it is an extension of their spa treatments. I wonder if we’ll see it pop up in Asia some time!
…on one aspect of skincare that everyone should practice
Proper cleansing of your skin. Products cannot penetrate your skin if it is not properly cleansed. Mathilde does an oil cleanser followed by a foaming cleanser, both of which are available in Caudalie, to ensure a proper cleanse. However, she also said that she sometimes mixes them so she gets it done in one step! I’m not sure how that works, but it works for her.
… on French women beauty secrets
To be honest, this is what we all want to know don’t we? How do the French women do it?
- Live by the pleasure principle – Beauty should be about pleasure. “No pain, no gain” is not a concept she would live by, for life should be full of pleasure
- Good skincare is better than hiding behind a mask of makeup – skincare first, makeup second for the French women go for the no-makeup makeup look
- Be in love – Ah that’s sound advice!
- Enjoy life – When you’re happy, it shows
- Drink a glass of red wine a day – Why not eh? But a glass of red please, for that contains resveratrols that are good for health
- Change the way you eat – No diets, no processed food, no sugars, no soda. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat more fish, eat less red meats, and eat healthy oils as they do in the Mediterranean diet.
- Be comfortable in your own skin – Find your own style and age gracefully and age stylishly. Don’t go chasing youth (whew!)
You know what’s great? I’m already halfway to being French myself! Haha 😀 I knew there was a reason I’m “PARIS B” LOL! 😀 These are life tenets I try to live by (well, sans the wine coz good wine is expensive here) and even if you can’t tick all the boxes, try to tick some of them. For the rest, it’s all about your skincare 😉
Incidentally, Mathilde has written a book “The French Beauty Solution”, where she shares beauty and lifestyle tips in a practical, easy to read manner. She talks about the pleasure principle, the foods we should eat, what types of skincare we should use (she doesn’t mention the brands) and what ingredients to avoid. There are also recipes for DIY masks, which she says are fun although not necessarily effective in the long term.
… on what one should associate with the brand Caudalie
For Mathilde, she wants us, when we think of Caudalie, to think of it as a problem solver for skin, with a green formula that is eco-friendly. The brand uses natural ingredients wherever possible, but they aren’t averse to including ingredients sourced from bio-technology, for the paramount importance is that the products should be effective.
She wants people to think of the company having great values where they contribute to the planting of trees and the 1% For the Planet movement, where the company contribues 1% of its global sales to bodies that work to protect the environment. She was passionate about the fact that their products are NOT formulated with parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oils, paraffin, sodium laureth sulfate, phatalates and animal derived raw materials.
Yet, Caudalie is a brand that is luxurious, and refined, with fantastic textures in their products and beautiful spas around the world. This is the world of Caudalie, and we are all invited to be a part of it 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little condensed interview.
I have always enjoyed meeting and talking to the owners of brands and to understand their approach to beauty, and their enthusiasm and love for their brand is always infectious! Thank you to the kind folks at Ken’s Apothecary (local distributors of Caudalie) for making this possible, and to the other lovely media friends for being absolutely lovely peeps! 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I did compiling the information 🙂