Caudalie Beauty Elixir is The Beauty Equivalent of a Glass of Chilled Rosé
I practically drain a bottle every few weeks to cool off after riding my bike around in peak humidity, my face perspiring like Billy’s in Stranger Things.
I like wine, but the memes and hashtags about drinking it make me cringe, especially the ones related to motherhood. But when I saw the limited edition rose-hued glass bottle that houses my favourite facial mist, Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, suddenly Rosé All Day didn’t sound so lame.
Since meeting the brand’s co-founder Mathilde Thomas nearly ten years ago, I’ve become a fan of the French brand known for its skincare infused with antioxidant-rich polyphenols and resveratrol from the grapevine cast-offs of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, her parents’ winery in Bordeaux. But the fragrant mist featuring essential oils like rosemary, orange blossom and mint is what I reach for the most. I spritz in the morning before I apply my skincare, and use it as a setting spray after makeup. I keep a bottle at my office desk and, come summer, I practically drain a bottle every few weeks to cool off after riding my bike around in peak humidity, my face perspiring like Billy’s in Stranger Things. (It’s extra refreshing when you store it in the fridge.)
I also love a good origin story, and Beauty Elixir has a magical one: while strolling along the Seine, Thomas ducked into an old book shop and stumbled upon a small book of beauty and wellness recipes, including one for an anti-aging elixir used by the Queen of Hungary in the 17th century. The story goes that this tonic not only made the Queen’s skin glow, but her youthful appearance attracted the attention of the King of Poland, who was almost half her age. Thomas gave the recipe to her chemists and asked them to reproduce it to the letter, with the exception of one new ingredient: the brand’s signature grape extract.
Because it’s made with 100 percent natural ingredients, “it’s like a bottle of wine,” says Thomas on the phone from Paris. In fact, the formula can differ slightly depending on when plant ingredients were harvested, and the product’s vintage. It also changes over time: newly bottled Beauty Elixirs smell more of the mint, rosemary and [lemon-scented herb] melissa, while myrrh and benzoin grow stronger with age.
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This cult favorite mist and make-up artist must-have all began with "Once upon a time, there was a book of ancient beauty secrets…" 📖👸 —— À l'origine de ce produit culte, indispensable des make-up artists, un conte de fées qui commence comme ça : "Il était une fois un grimoire chiné sur les quais de Seine à Paris…" 📖👸 #BeautyElixir #TalesFromTheVineyard
When it debuted in 1997, Thomas wasn’t expecting it to become a cult favourite. “It was a very bizarre product, with orange essential oil floating at the surface, and you had to shake it because I didn’t want to use an emulsifier,” says Thomas. “It would never have been born in a big cosmetic company. It would never have made it through the [focus groups]. It’s too strange.” Indeed, even in Thomas’ native France, where French thermal waters dominate pharmacy shelves, it’s not the brand’s top seller, because many “people don’t understand a multi-tasking mist.”
Meanwhile in North America and the UK, fashion designers like Jason Wu (he designed a previous limited edition bottle), makeup artists and celebrities like Caudalie spokesmodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, have helped Beauty Elixir rise in popularity. Legend has it that while en route to the airport, Liv Tyler turned her car around when she realized she had forgotten her bottle at home. It’s a carry-on hero for the gen pop too, with the added bonus of being both a shield from airplane germs thanks to antibacterial rosemary essential oil, and just generally making the cabin smell more pleasant.
You can also spritz it on your bed linens, or use it when you need a pick-me-up or to quiet your mind. (Thomas sprays it on the back of her neck, or on her fingertips before massaging her temples.) And while it’s a genius way to deal with Three O’Clock Face, or keep cool by the pool this summer (if you’re feeling extra, put it on ice like they do at the brand’s in-store events) you don’t need to wait for a special occasion. After all, it’s Rosé o’clock somewhere.