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Over two decades later, Caudalie continues to innovate with its mission of clean and sustainable skincare

What happens when an iconic French skincare brand doubles down on its roots in nature?

It’s been 25 years since Caudalie launched, born in the lush vineyards of Bordeaux. It began with a chance meeting between co-founders Mathilde Thomas and now-husband Bertrand and Dr. Joseph Vercauteren—a renowned professor studying polyphenols, which is a powerful natural antioxidant found in grapes—who was visiting her family vineyard, Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Vercauteren was the one who introduced the pair to the many skincare benefits of the grapes growing in their own backyard.

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The Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift line of firming products uses a new patented combination of resveratrol, hyaluronic acid and vegan collagen booster to lift, smooth and moisturize the skin.Dani Reynolds

Grapes, as it turns out, are a treasure trove of skin-loving ingredients: antioxidant-rich polyphenols in grape seeds, brightening grapevine sap, firming resveratrol in grapevine stalks, and soothing and hydrating grape water. These harvested ingredients form the basis for Caudalie’s skincare products and the brand’s nature-loving ethos.

Ever since that serendipitous encounter, Caudalie has become known for cult favourite products like the Beauty Elixir and Premier Cru Eye Cream. The French skincare brand has spent the last two decades continuing to innovate: It was the first to introduce resveratrol in skincare, previously limited to dietary uses, and also opened the world’s first vinotherapy spa.

As clean beauty and sustainability become big buzzwords in the beauty industry—in turn giving rise to greenwashing, where brands hide behind a façade of eco-consciousness—Caudalie wants to take its commitments to innovation and environmentalism a step further. “We shouldn’t have to choose between effective skincare, clean and natural formulas, and a sustainable brand with eco-friendly packaging. I want Caudalie to be all of that,” Mathilde Thomas explains. Thomas’ goal is to make Caudalie a zero-waste brand by 2022 without compromising on the science or sensory experience of the products along the way. “It’s the beginning of what I like to call the new Caudalie era,” says Thomas.

A history of sustainable innovation

Despite being a major undertaking, this commitment to sustainability isn’t an entirely new path for Caudalie. It’s been more than 15 years since the French skincare company removed ingredients like parabens, phthalates, sulfates and mineral oils from its products. In 2018, Caudalie opened the Natural Formulation Research Laboratory in Gidy, France, dedicated to studying and creating natural formulas. The lab is home to a raw materials library with over one thousand active ingredients. This year, Caudalie will be removing two main ingredients from its products: silicone (which is not biodegradable and can clog pores) and polypropylene glycol (also known as PPG, which is known to be a skin irritant).

At the same time, Caudalie is focused on honing the effectiveness of its formulas. A partnership with Dr. David Sinclair, a leading genetics professor at the Harvard Medical School, has given the brand access to innovations in skincare, along with exclusive patents.

On the sustainability front, Caudalie has been a member of the organization 1% for the Planet since 2012, giving back one per cent of its annual sales to a variety of environmental causes. When it comes to its own products, the brand’s checklist includes improved packaging using materials that are recycled or recyclable. The company also wants to continue reducing its carbon footprint to be carbon negative, and has enlisted the help of green packaging engineers to help realize its mission of becoming a zero-waste brand.

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Dani Reynolds

The new Caudalie era starts with one beloved line

This month, the launch of the new Resveratrol-Lift collection kicks off a new chapter of Caudalie. The line boasts a whole new look and feel with a minimalist logo, a soft vineyard-inspired colour palette and completely recyclable packaging, not to mention a new, more natural formula without silicone or PPG. The products now feature a potent combination of resveratrol, hyaluronic acid and vegan collagen sustainably sourced from mahogany tree bark, created and patented in collaboration with Harvard.

Made up of five products, the collection aims to lift, firm, smooth and moisturize. The Instant Firming Serum features the highest concentration of the patented formula, making it twice as effective as retinol for firming the skin. The Firming Cashmere Cream is a velvety moisturizer that uses mineral pearlizers to give skin a radiant glow, while the Lightweight Cashmere Cream is a great alternative for those who prefer a lighter texture. The Eye Firming Gel-Cream depuffs tired eyes, and the Night Cream harnesses the aromatherapy benefits of linden, verbena and orange blossom to soothe and relax while it moisturizes. The upgraded collection will serve as a blueprint for the rest of the French skincare brand’s offerings, which will all be redesigned with sustainable formulas in recyclable packaging.

From the very beginning, the brand ensured that discarded grape seeds from the harvest never went to waste. Now, Caudalie is sowing the seeds for a brighter, more sustainable future, one skincare product at a time.

A slice of Bordeaux at home

You don’t need to book a flight to feel like you’re in Caudalie’s hometown of Bordeaux, thanks to the brand’s spas and boutiques all over the world. Here in Canada, there are two locations: the Caudalie Hazelton House in Toronto, Ont. and at Quartier DIX30 in Brossard, Que. From the grape-inspired treatments to the decor, it’s the perfect French escape. Call 416-551-9455 and mention The Globe and Mail to book a Resveratrol-Lift Facial and receive a complimentary add-on service with your treatment. Once the spas reopen and pandemic-restrictions permit, Caudalie will contact you to schedule your treatment.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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