French Beauty Secrets With Founder of Caudalie, Mathilde Thomas

On the importance of clean beauty, and a 'maskne' cleansing routine.
Reading time 6 minutes

Today, the term ‘clean beauty’ has become ubiquitous in the beauty world. But way before it was a trend, Mathilde Thomas was quietly spearheading this movement. 

It all started in 1993, when she was studying to become a perfume ‘Nose’ in Nice. “"Do you know that you are throwing away treasures?” This was the sentence that changed my life,” she said, upon her meeting with Dr. Joseph Vercauteren, a professor from the University of Pharmacy at Bordeaux, where she discovered the amazing antioxidant powers of grape seed Polyphenols and grapevines. Two years later, she launched Caudalie, a luxury skincare brand centered around the power of plants. Together with her husband Bertrand, they were pioneers in clean beauty - removing sodium laurel sulfates, phthalates, colouring, parabens and animal ingredients as early as 2005.

Ahead, we speak to the French founder of Caudalie, Mathilde Thomas, on the importance of clean, sustainable beauty, her beauty tips and secrets, and a ‘maskne’ cleansing routine.

Why is the clean beauty conversation still of relevance today?

The clean-beauty movement is a no-brainer. I believe customers shouldn’t choose between natural & effective products, effective should not be aggressive and irritating, and people should not feel bad about the planet when indulging themselves with beauty products because of packaging & waste. 

I created Caudalie to be the most effective of the natural clean skincare products and the most sustainable of the beauty brands. So, we do everything we can to honour this mission, we avoid all the nasty ingredients that are not safe, irritating, non-biodegradable and harmful to the environment. We produce and present our products in the most eco-conscious and sustainable way.

Sustainability has been a strong pillar to Caudalie since its inception. Could you share some of your sustainable initiatives and/or milestones? 

My husband Bertrand and I are really committed to sustainability. We believe that we must act to leave a better planet for our kids. This is why we joined the 1% for the Planet 8 years ago. Each year, Caudalie also commits to giving back 1% of its worldwide sales to plant trees and we remain as the biggest European contributor today. We have planted almost 8 million trees in the world and counting including 300,000 in Chiang Mai region. By funding associations that work for reforestation and tree protection, we want to give back to nature a little of what it gives us every day.

We pledge to be a ZERO-WASTE brand by the end of 2022. We Reduce, Recycle and Reuse our packs. Our packaging will be recycled by the end of 2022.  Finally, last year Caudalie started a new project, ‘100% PLASTIC COLLECT’ where we collect and recycle the equivalent of our yearly plastic consumption, in the Krabi region in Thailand. 646 tons of plastic have been collected and recycled in 2020 which is 100% of Caudalie’s 2019 plastic usage.

Why is cleansing such an important part of our skincare routine? 

The first step in your beauty ritual should always start with cleansing. Our dermis is exposed to different environmental factors such as pollution and air conditioning, all of which contribute to irritate our skin and clog our pores. Choosing a suitable cleanser for your skin is not only about removing your makeup, dead cells, dirt and oil, it is the key to healthy, luminous, clean skin. 

You can use our duo Vinoclean’s Make-up Removing Cleansing Oil and the Instant Foaming Cleanser -  a light, airy, soap-free foam which respects the natural PH balance of the skin while cleansing it, to treat your skin with a silky lather that’s especially recommended for sensitive skin.

Best way to combat ‘maskne’ and keep skin clean?

The Caudalie Vinopure collection is very effective in treating maskne. It is highly natural and uses powerful active ingredients to restore beautiful and balanced skin.

Step 1: Purify with the Clear Skin Purifying Toner (99% natural origin ingredients) and prepare it for the next stages of the skincare routine.

Step 2: Use the Blemish Control Infusion Serum (98% natural origin ingredients). It is ultra-concentrated in natural origin active ingredients, it has an exfoliating effect and unclogging action to reduce blemishes thanks to the salicylic acid. It also hydrates the skin thanks to hyaluronic acid.

Step 3: Use the Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid which contains silica powders to immediately mattify the skin. In addition to the serum, the fluid moisturises the skin and gives it all the comfort it needs.

Step 4: Use the Purifying Mask and the Instant Detox Mask on a weekly basis to eliminate impurities, leave the skin refined and clear of imperfections.

A beauty secret you’d like to share.

The key for me is keeping it simple, with an emphasis on cleansing your skin thoroughly and using the best skincare rather than makeup. In the morning, I double-cleanse my skin blending Vinoclean’s Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil, with Instant Foaming Cleanser. Right after, I always like to spray my Beauty Elixir before using my Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence, then a serum that changes depending on the year, and which can be hydrating or brightening for my eyes, I use Premier Cru Eye Cream. It's the best! At night, I always remove my make-up and clean my skin blending my products. Then I go to sleep with the Resveratrol Lift Night Infusion Cream. Et voila.

What music do you listen to, to unwind?

We built the Caudalie boutique’s playlist from our personal favourites, tracks from different genres across the ages that relaxes and make you feel good - you can check us out by searching for caudaliemusic on spotify. I also enjoy a bit of jazz by Stan Getz.

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