The idea for clean beauty brand Caudalie was born on a vineyard in Bordeaux, France. In this picturesque vineyard, Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas discovered that the vines and grapes had the potential to provide amazing benefits to the skin.
Working with Professor Joseph Vercauteren, a world-renowned polyphenols specialist, Mathilde began extracting these superior benefits from the vines, advancing to create a patent for this process, and officially forming the Caudalie brand. Interestingly, Caudalie was the first brand to use grape seed extract in a cosmetic formulation.
Caudalie has expanded since then and now offers a range of natural skin care products featuring extracts from the grape vine as key ingredients.
So does the secret to healthy, beautiful skin really lie in the swirling vines and tiny seeds of grapes? To answer that question, we’ll have to evaluate the Caudalie skincare products through a scientific lens.
We’ll cover the formulation details, including the key ingredients in Caudalie skincare products and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare. We’ll also share some Caudalie reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
What Are The Top 10 Most Popular Caudalie Skincare Products?
Caudalie offers a variety of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, facial mists, serums, masks, scrubs, moisturizers, night treatments, eye care, lip care, and even beauty supplements. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 most popular Caudalie skincare products.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum
The brand’s most buzzed-about product is Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, a dark spot correcting serum that promises to visibly reduce the appearance of existing dark spots and even the complexion, making it brighter.
The key ingredient in this serum is called Viniferine (palmitoyl grapevine shoot extract). After being absorbed into the skin, Viniferine controls tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin. Ultimately, this helps to reduce the appearance of dark spots and prevent them from reoccurring.
Unfortunately, since Viniferine is exclusive to the Caudalie brand, there isn’t any independent research to support Caudalie’s claims. Plus, there aren’t any other skin-lightening ingredients in this formula.
Even though the serum doesn’t contain any other skin-lightening ingredients, it does include the emollient squalane, the antioxidant vitamin E, and skin-soothing bisabolol.
Of note, this Caudalie serum includes fragrance, which certainly gives the product a pleasant smell — but it’s not doing your skin any good!
Bottom Line: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum features the brand’s proprietary ingredient Viniferine to fade dark spots and brighten the complexion, but there isn’t any independent research to support these benefits.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Inspired by the Youth Elixir of the Queen of Hungary in the 16th century, Caudalie Beauty Elixir is a multi-purpose mist that is said to set make-up, tone the skin, and reveal the skin’s natural radiance.
Unfortunately, the highest concentration ingredient in this mist (after water) is alcohol. The problem with using an alcohol-based product is that, at first, it seems like it’s benefitting the skin. Initially, alcohol gives products a quick-drying finish, immediately degreases the skin, and imparts a weightless feel.
However, alcohol is problematic for all skin types because it’s well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier, especially when used in high concentrations.
Another problem with Caudalie Beauty Elixir is the very high concentrations of essential oils and fragrances, such as bitter orange flower oil, parfum (fragrance), peppermint oil, citral, citronellol, geraniol, limonene, linalool, and many more. These fragrance ingredients have the potential to cause allergic reactions and skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin.
Based on the Caudalie reviews for this product, we noticed that many customers do not like the fragrance in this product. For example, one review says, “This product is so insanely fragranced with essential oils it kinda burns my skin when I apply. I can’t believe so many people like this product!!!!!!! If you have sensitive skin AT ALL, steer clear!”
Bottom Line: Even though Caudalie Beauty Elixir is popular, we don’t recommend this product based on the high concentration of alcohol, essential oils, and fragrance.
Caudalie Grape Water
Caudalie Grape Water is a facial mist made from 100% organic grape fruit water. The fragrance-free, alcohol-free formula moisturizes, soothes, and refreshes the skin, while also reducing sensitivity.
While we appreciate the brand’s dedication to using grape-derived ingredients, we typically like to see a combination of hydrating humectants and soothing botanicals in a facial mist.
One example that comes to mind is Averr Aglow Clarifying Hydration Dew, a facial mist that’s infused with rose water, cucumber water, chamomile extract, glycerin, and many more hydrating, soothing extracts.
Bottom Line: A facial mist made from 100% organic grape fruit water that moisturizes and soothes skin.
Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream
This Caudalie eye cream has a thick, rich texture thanks to a blend of several different emollients, including coco-caprylate/caprate, hydrogenated avocado oil, and grape seed oil.
And like most eye care products, the formula includes caffeine. As a natural stimulant, caffeine causes constriction of the blood vessels when applied to the skin. This aids in reducing the amount of blood that accumulates under the eyes (a major factor that contributes to dark circles).
Additionally, vasoconstriction can firm the skin due to the removal of excess fluids and possible stimulation of the lymphatic drainage system.
The Caudalie eye cream also includes a couple of peptides, which help to reduce signs of aging by signaling cells to produce more collagen.
And you can thank mica and titanium dioxide for the instant dose of radiance created by this eye cream. Mica and titanium dioxide are minerals that add a shimmering effect and reflect light from the face, creating the illusion of a smoother, softer, and more radiant skin tone
Bottom Line: A thick, rich eye cream with caffeine, peptides, and light-reflecting minerals.
Caudalie Instant Detox Mask
The natural clays kaolin and bentonite form the base of Caudalie Instant Detox Mask. Both of these clays have excellent absorption properties, which means they can absorb excess oil from the pores and help to reduce shine. And there’s even research to back up the oil-absorbing and detoxifying effects of these clays.
According to a publication in the journal International Geology Review, “The high adsorption and absorption capacities, cation exchange capacity, as well as the extremely fine particle size of certain clays, e.g. smectites (expandable clay minerals) and kaolin group minerals are important reasons why these minerals are used to remove oils, secretions, toxins, and contaminants from the skin.”
Furthermore, kaolin and bentonite can help to exfoliate the skin. These clays do not completely dissolve in water, but instead form a paste with very fine particles. These particles serve as a gentle abrasive that can exfoliate the top layers of skin, removing dead skin cells, makeup, excess oil, dirt, and other impurities that may have accumulated during the day.
Unfortunately, the rest of the “key” ingredients in this mask — like papaya enzyme and grape fruit extract — are used in very low concentrations (less than 1%).
We know this because these ingredients are found after xanthan gum on the ingredient list, which is in order of descending concentrations. Xanthan gum is a thickener that is generally used at a concentration of 1%, but as little as 0.1% can be used in many applications.
Bottom Line: Caudalie Instant Detox Mask includes two clays, kaolin and bentonite, to reduce excess oil, detoxify, and exfoliate skin.
Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil
Tired of harsh cleansers leaving your skin dry, tight, and uncomfortable? If so, the Caudalie Cleansing Oil may be for you. This lightweight oil effectively removes makeup and excess oil – without stripping essential lipids from the skin.
Some of the oils in this formula include sunflower seed oil, castor seed oil, and sweet almond oil. When you use oils to remove oily makeup and sebum, you’re employing the chemical principle called “like dissolves like.” Basically, oils will dissolve other materials that have a similar chemical structure.
But keep in mind that you could simply purchase a bottle of jojoba oil or sweet almond oil, for example, and use that as the first step of your cleansing routine — for a fraction of the cost!
Bottom Line: A cleansing oil with a blend of plant-derived oils that helps to remove makeup and excess oil without stripping the skin.
Caudalie Divine Oil
Caudalie Divine Oil is a dry oil that includes grape seed oil as the highest concentration ingredient. Grape seed oil has a high affinity with the structure of skin cells, and therefore is absorbed easily without leaving a greasy feeling on the skin. This property also enables grape seed oil to deliver other active ingredients deeper into the skin.
The formula also contains a high concentration of sesame seed oil and the emollients isoamyl cocoate and coco-caprylate.
Unfortunately, Caudalie Divine Oil contains a very high concentration of fragrance. The brand proudly announces that the fragrance was created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier. But keep in mind that fragrance is not beneficial to your skin in any way, and it could actually be causing skin damage.
That’s because all fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic, impart scent through a volatile reaction, and this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin. Even if you don’t have a full blown reaction to the ingredient, the damage may still be occurring every day. Ultimately, this can cause mild problems for your skin in the short term and worse problems in the long term.
Let’s keep the fragrance out of skincare products and leave it in our perfumes!
Bottom Line: Caudalie Divine Oil primarily consists of grape seed oil and a high concentration of fragrance.
Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Instant Firming Serum
One of the key ingredients in this Caudalie serum is the emollient squalane. Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that mimics squalene (note the e), a natural compound in your skin that plays an important role in lubrication and protection. Squalane helps to replenish and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier.
Additional key ingredients include Viniferine, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid. While these are beneficial ingredients, we noticed that the formula lacks ingredients that would provide an “instant firming” effect as the name suggests.
Bottom Line: This Caudalie serum includes squalane, Viniferine, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid, which together help to hydrate, soften, and brighten skin.
Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet
Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet is a gel-to-water moisturizer that melts into the skin upon contact, leaving it soothed and moisturized. It’s non-comedogenic (it won’t clog your pores) and absorbs quickly without feeling greasy or heavy.
The formula is infused with grape water, as well as several different humectants and emollients. Together, these ingredients help restore and maintain a normal moisture level while also softening skin.
Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet is claimed to be designed for sensitive skin, but unfortunately the use of fragrance in this moisturizer is problematic for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin!
Bottom Line: This gel-to-water moisturizer absorbs quickly to soften and moisturize, but the inclusion of fragrance in this formula could lead to skin irritation and sensitivity.
Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Peel Mask
This rinse-off mask can be used twice weekly to help you achieve glowing skin. Just as the name suggests, the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) glycolic acid is the star ingredient.
Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin by targeting corneocytes (dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum) in a process called corneocyte desquamation. By enhancing their breakdown and increasing the separation of skin cells, the rate of cell turnover is increased, leading to smoother, brighter skin and a more even complexion.
The formula also contains the brand’s patented ingredient Viniferine to help fade dark spots, as well as very low concentrations of natural AHAs (lactic, tartaric, citric acid obtained directly from or through fermentation of corn, sugar cane, beets, wheat and grapes).
Bottom Line: Caudalie Glycolic Peel is a rinse-off mask that combines glycolic acid with Viniferine to promote a brighter, more even complexion.
Which Caudalie Serum is Right For You?
This brand currently offers seven different facial serums, which may leave you wondering which Caudalie serum is right for you. Based on our evaluation of the formula and the customer reviews, we think the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum is the best serum by this brand.
- Key ingredients? Viniferine, squalane, vitamin E, bisabolol
- Skin type? Recommended for all skin types
- Texture? Lightweight serum
- Fragrance? Yes
- Cruelty free? No
- Cost? $79 USD for 1 fl oz
- EWG Rating? 4
What Are The Key Ingredients in Caudalie Skincare Products?
Like we mentioned above, the inspiration for Caudalie came from the beneficial components found in the grapevine. The brand uses grape seed polyphenols, grape water, vine resveratrol, and Viniferine from grapevine sap throughout their line of skincare products.
While there isn’t independent research on Caudalie’s patented ingredients, we at least know that the grape extracts are abundant sources of antioxidants. In fact, according to a publication in the journal Cosmetics, grapes are one of the richest fruit sources of polyphenols (plant compounds with antioxidant properties).
The way antioxidants work is by donating electrons to free radicals. Free radicals only have one unpaired electron, which makes the free radical unstable and highly reactive. In an attempt to become more stable, free radicals will either donate their single electron to another molecule or accept an electron from another molecule.
Ultimately, this leads to a chain of events that rips electrons off all nearby molecules. This is problematic because free radicals can rip electrons off our important cellular structures, like DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, or the cell membrane, which damages the cell and may even lead to cell death.
The International Dermal Institute explains, “Antioxidants help prevent such damage by giving free radicals what they want before they attack your cells.”
By protecting your skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, antioxidant-rich skincare products can help to promote brighter, more youthful-looking skin.
It’s also important to note what the brand does not use in their products. Caudalie does not use any mineral oils, paraffin, synthetic dyes, parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, or sodium laureth sulfate.
While it’s great that the brand leaves out these harmful ingredients, keep in mind that nearly all Caudalie skincare products contain fragrance.
How Much Do Caudalie Skincare Products Cost?
Caudalie is a luxury skincare brand and their products are priced accordingly. For example, the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum costs $79 USD for 1 fl oz, and the Caudalie Eye Cream costs $99 USD for just a half ounce.
Where to Buy Caudalie Skincare Products?
Caudalie skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as several third party online retailers such as Dermstore.com, Sephora.com, Skinstore.com, and more.
What is The Caudalie Return Policy?
The Caudalie return policy states, “Don’t worry, if all or part of the order is not what you expected, you have 14 days to return your items. Products must be presented in their original packaging without having been used, along with the gifts sent with the order, if applicable. Refunds will be made on the products to the credit card used for the order. Shipping costs incurred for product returned will not be refunded.”
Is Caudalie Cruelty Free?
Caudalie is not cruelty free because the Caudalie skincare products are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law.
Is Caudalie Vegan?
Some Caudalie products may be suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand because some of the formulations contain honey and beeswax.
Caudalie reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. The product with the most reviews is the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, which has received over 600 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum mention how well it works to brighten and even out skin tone, leaving behind a healthy glow.
For example, one review says, “I have a lot of blemishes and acne scars and I think this is the perfect serum for my skin. I used to use Vitamin C to try to even the dark spots but I switched to this serum now. I love the clean ingredient formula, the super lightweight texture and how it’s not grease at all and very hydrating at the same time. I use this twice daily (morning and night) and I feel my skin tone is more even and brighter. I also felt my skin a little firmer, which to me was an added bonus. I’m already in my second bottle.”
And another 5-star review says, “This serum makes my skin feel rich. It gives me a very healthy looking glow. It’s a must have.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, mostly from customers who saw no difference in the appearance of their dark spots.
For example, one review says, “I had great hopes that this product would help with my dark spots but there was absolutely no fading after using the whole expensive bottle.”
And a similar review says, “I used the entire bottle but didn’t see any effect in reducing my dark spots. Additionally, I have acne prone skin and this product made my skin very greasy.”
Overall, we cannot recommend Caudalie skincare products for several reasons, primarily due to the inclusion of fragrance in nearly all of their products.
- Formulas contain beneficial extracts from the grape vine
- Many positive Caudalie reviews
- Caudalie is not cruelty free
- High cost
- Most products contain fragrance
What Are Some Alternatives to Caudalie Skincare Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
For example, Formulyst’s Nourishing Oil is made with 100% pure ingredients and helps to preserve, restore, and hydrate while visibly refining your complexion. The formula is enriched with an abundance of omega-rich oils – including amaranth, olive, macadamia and avocado – which all help to restore and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier function.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.