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I have had the same night-time cleansing routine for a couple of decades. You know how it is - if you find something which really suits your skin you tend to stick with it. Only boredom or a very tempting special offer can coax me away from my familiar old favourites. My morning routine, however, is a different story. I used to use the same cleansing and toning lotions in the morning as I did in the evening but I really missed the refreshing, awakening feeling of water on my face and tried a series of rinse off gels, lotions, washes and creams over the years. You name the brand, I've probably tried it - budget range, premium range, brands bought overseas - I've had a go at dozens of them! How surprised I was two years ago to find something which suited me to perfection. The cosmetics department in one of my local department stores (Fenwicks) had started to stock a brand I had only vaguely heard of previously - Caudalie.
I have friends and relatives who have problems with allergies and others who are very keen to search out products which are "natural" and use as few "artificial" ingredients as possible. It occurred to me that this range may interest them so I gave the products a good look. I picked up a leaflet and read about the company. It was founded more than fifteen years ago by a French couple, Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas in collaboration with Doctor Vercauteren (now a Professor of Pharmacy) when they had been working together on the family wine estate in the Bordeaux region. The concept of this company is to harness the properties contained in the vine - the grape, the seeds, the sap and the vine-stalks. (Grape seeds are a rich source of polyphenols which are said to have an anti-oxidant effect and therefore can help to fight skin ageing.)
Those who have a problem with paraben allergy will be pleased to know that Caudalie removed parabens from all of their products in 2005. The products are also free from sodium laureth sulphate, artificial colourings and animal ingredients. The company operate what they term an "eco-friendly" policy by using as much recycled paper as possible and strive to reduce CO2 emissions and to reduce waste. Now all of this may conjure up an image of a somewhat austere product but the makers state their belief that "...it is possible to formulate ultra effective and Natural beauty products with refined, luxurious textures inspired by the vine." By the way, the word "caudalie" is a French term for the length of time the flavour of wine lingers in your mouth.
The item I decided to try was the Instant Foaming Cleanser (Mousse Nettoyante Fleur de Vigne). It comes in a translucent, colourless plastic bottle containing 150 ml of the cleanser. Remove the cap to reveal a press down dispenser which is easy to use and therefore makes it easy to control the amount flowing out. The plain, green lettering is functional rather than attractive. The ingredient list on the rear of the bottle is clear and informative. Two logos are printed on the bottle; one indicating that the bottle may be recycled and the other which, along with the cipher "18M" explains that the product will remain in good condition for up to eighteen months after opening.
The foam which emerges from the dispenser is light, airy and smooth and has a slightly "botanic" smell which does remind me of the aroma of crushed grape seeds. The cleanser, while still in liquid form, has a very pale yellowish colour. Now I must be totally honest here. For the first few times I tried this product I was disappointed. I found my skin felt quite tight and a little dry after use. It was certainly refreshing and cleansing but just a little severe for my skin. I was so disappointed I mentioned this to a member of staff the next occasion I visited the store where I had bought it. She asked me a question. Was I following the instructions properly? Had I been applying the foam to dry skin? My attention was drawn to the instructions on the rear of the bottle: "use...on damp skin". Oops. (The lettering may be clear but it's only useful if the consumer bothers to read it!) So I tried again. I splashed my face with warm water, then applied a thin layer of foam and then removed it with a wet, warm face-cloth. Problem solved. I never looked back. I found the cleanser to be effective and yet gentle. My skin felt extremely refreshed and clean and not in the least tight, dry, irritated or uncomfortable. Over the next few weeks of use I noticed an improvement in my pores - they were less blocked, never became inflamed and even appeared a little smaller. The texture and condition of my skin was excellent and very healthy looking.
My search for a morning cleanser is over - this is the one for me. In time I intend to try out more products in this range - maybe when a further supply of Amazon vouchers arrive! I can find no negative feature of this cleanser. If I was pushed to think of something I suppose I may say that the packaging is a little uninspiring, more "up-market-health-food-shop" than "premium-cosmetic-house" in style. But the contents work - so that is hardly a valid complaint.
At first I thought it was going to be really uneconomical as I seemed to be going through the bottle so quickly but I tried using a lot less and found the result to be just as effective. The bottle I am using is coming up to its first anniversary since it was started. It's almost finished now, but I think that indicates that although the initial purchase price is undoubtedly high, the value in day-to-day use is good. The recommended price is £14.50 per 150ml bottle and you can probably expect to pay this full price at John Lewis, Fenwick and Boots Online. It may be possible to get it for a little less at Amazon or other online retailers.
Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser is a generous and airy foam that offers you gentle cleansing for your skin / '