Caudalíe is the little French “vinotherapy” skin-care line that could. The rapidly expanding brand based on the power of grape seed extract has just opened it’s 4th stand-alone store in the U.S that shelves must-have items like their Premier Cru Eye Cream, Vinexpert firming serums, glycolic masks, tinted moisturizers with SPF, and their famous Grape Water facial spray. The brand’s co-founder Bertrand Thomas was on hand for the opening last week to talk about the brand’s history, and how they remain on the cutting-edge of modern skin care.
Thomas told the story of the brand’s inception over a glass of Haute Lafitte, the family-owned vineyard in Bordeaux where everything started. “20 years ago, we met this doctor, Dr. Vercauteren who came to visit the chateau. He was with a team of researchers from the medical school of Bordeaux.” At the end of his tour they had the usual wine tasting, but, instead of getting praise for the wine as they had come to expect, Thomas got something else. “The doctor said ‘the wine is good, but you’re not using the best part of the grape—the grape seeds. You’re throwing them away!’ We were shocked. We learned from him that grape seeds contain polyphenols, which have the post effective antioxidants you can find.”
Needless to say, after that fortuitous meeting, Bertrand and his wife, Mathilde Thomas, got to work on an anti-aging skincare line that was using “the best part of the grape.” The line started with three original products in 1995, that was sold in French pharmacies and prescribed by dermatologists. Now the line has grown to include a wide array of serums, creams, and body products big enough to fill their own Caudalíe-branded store in Aventura. It’s also sold in more than 15,000 pharmacies across Europe and is in the top ten lines sold at Sephora.
There are only 12 stand-alone Caudalíe shops in the world, and Aventura is the 4th in the U.S. It has a vineyard-chic design that includes an island made in the same style as a wine barrel and drawers are made from wine creates from which wine is traditionally sold. A photo of the estate’s vineyard’s lights the way to the treatment room in the back where they offer a range of facials, which take you completely out of the mall and into bliss by incorporating relaxing massage techniques. “Our therapists were trained at The Plaza in New York,” adds Thomas
Natural as the line is, it gets results. In terms ingredients, it lands somewhere between organic line and hard-core cosmeceutical lines. “The molecules we use come from the medical world,” explains Thomas who was a pioneer with Reservatrol.”We don’t use traditional vendors and the usual molecules used by the cosmetics industry. We have partnered with Harvard Medical School and Dr. Vercauteren from the Medical School of Bordeaux, and file patents. We adapt them to our use and my wife spends days, months, weeks, years to formulate the products. She is the only one who is able to reach that perfect balance between effective formulas, natural ingredients, and a sensual [user] experience.” Whatever she is doing—it works and we are in love with the line that represents the best of all things French from la vin to la beaute.