The English Post

The Natural choice: Mathilde Thomas

© Mathilde-Thomas- CAUDALIE
Written by Veronica Lavenia

Ingredients always make the difference: this is one of my mantras. They determine the success or failure of a product and not just in the food field.

Selecting natural and environmentally friendly ingredients is a choice that improves the quality of life and well-being.

Mathilde Thomas, Caudalie co-founder, bet on this issue in the early Nineties and now collects the fruits of a challenge that has become a solid International company of natural cosmetics.  Stories of women who make the natural philosophy also a professional choice.

Everything started with the family Vineyard in Bordeaux (France). In 1993, during the grape harvest, Mathilde met Professeur Vercauteren. “Do you know that you are throwing away treasures?”- he said-referring to the potential of grapes, not only in the wine sector. Two years later, in 1995, with her husband, Mathilde created the Caudalie (Kodali) brand. The name was not chosen randomly: “Caudalie is a unit measuring the duration of the wine’s flavour on the palate. For each second the flavour remains this is a caudalie. A quality wine will contain many caudalies.”


The choice to devote to natural cosmetics, more than twenty years ago, was bold at the time. Today, that challenge has been widely rewarded.What does it mean for you live in a natural way?

It all comes from my education. My parents are making a great growth wine one of the top 20 Bordeaux win- in a completely organic way. They hand pick the grape, they horse plough the wine, they create their own compost…

During my entire childhood, my grandparents, with whom I used to spend two months during my summer holidays, taught me to recognize plants, animals and to love nature during our long walks around the Alpes de Haute Provence. I made my passion for plants my vocation with Caudalie. Since our beginnings in 1995, we have created products that are plant-based and made of vine extracts. My products are as natural as possible, with a strong “cosm’ethics” and without parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, sulphates, mineral oils, and animal ingredients. As a mom, I want to leave a better world for my children. Bertrand and I are crazy about nature and hikes. When we were living in New York, we spoke with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia and of the 1% For The Planet association (we loved his book “Let my people go surfing”. His story inspired us and we decided to join the 1% For The Planet.).

We come from nature. We really want to protect it and give back to the earth some of what it gives us every day.

I believe that people and consumers are more and more aware of the environmental issues. In terms of cosmetics women want to have more natural formulas for their skin but also companies that do not hurt the planet. We try to combine the 2 sides. I create formulas that are the most natural possible but luxurious and efficient at the same time, it’s a challenge everyday with my team of researchers.

At Caudalie we were among the first ones to remove parabens phenoxyethanol, mineral ils, SLS, phtalates, animal ingredients and hopefully with time all laboraties remove them.

I use a maximum of plants in my formulas, but I want above all effective formulas, and I would not hesitate to use biotechnological ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, or soft focus pigments that are powerfull anti wrinkles.


Natural food, often catalogued in vegetarianism and veganism, is getting more and more supporters. As far as cosmetics are concerned, little is still said about the damage that certain substances present in creams, detergents and soaps cause to the body. What is good to avoid for the health of our skin?

My main advice is to avoid those ingredients that I hate and that you will never find in my products: parabens, all mineral oils, vaseline, parafine, phtalates, sodium laureth sulfates, phenoxyethanol and ingredients from animal origins (except honey and bee wax).

But also stay away from the sun.

Resveratrol, naturally present in grape berries, is one of Caudalie’s key ingredients. Is the precious grape also present in your cuisine? And what other ingredient can’t miss in your kitchen?

In my kitchen, you will find a lot of organic vegetables and fruit. Almond milk, homemade granola, green genmaicha teas from Japan, red family wine, quinoa, lentils, nuts, soups. My kids complain a lot!

Grapevine is the absolute fruit. It is rich in various polyphenols (resveratrol, viniferine, flavonoids..), vitamins and trace elements. The vine produces natural substances to protect itself against daily traumatism that are very powerful. A grapevine can live up to 100 years. With my team of researchers from Harvard Medical School, we file major worldwide patents on the latest state of the art anti aging technology inspired from medicine to create the most effective skincare products.

We have discovered the Vine Resvératrol, from grapevine stalks, which naturally increase the firmness and youthful appearance of the skin. We patented this molecule with Harvard Medical School. This molecule has been the topic of many scientific publications.

Viniferine, has also a great story, extracted from vine sap: women would rub the sap on their face to erase freckles; we say that when the vine was crying, women face was smiling! This active ingredient is 62 times more effective than vitamin C to brighten, lighten and even the skin.

 For me the 3 best skin-foods are the following ones:

  1. You can find it in a glass of young red wine (no more than two glasses per day), proven to improve the life span of your cells.
  2. Grape is a superfood. We call it the vegetal milk, as it’s rich in vitamins, trace elements and antioxidants. And it’s draining.
  3. Ideally, a balanced diet full of anti-oxidant-loaded vegetables, fruits and nuts, with NO processed or junk food, will give you the healthiest possible skin

Of course, I eat grapes everyday! Grapes are so rich of amazing vitamins, trace elements, and potassium rich in sugar. And time-to-time a glass of Smith Haut Lafitte red wine is excellent for the body and health as it contains polyphenols. It is the concept of our French Paradox! 

Each year I also do a grape cure, eating only grapes for 3 days. It allows your body to detoxify and to eliminate toxins – it is great. After that your skin is also radiant.

I suggest a glass of red wine at dinner every night (when it’s possible). Red wine is rich in Resveratrol that provides so many health benefits. It’s a natural substance produced by grapevines and proven to improve the health and life span of your cells.

We live in an age that pursues eternal youth, even through plastic surgery. What is beauty for you and what are your natural daily habits to keep in harmony with your body?

Exercise, take resveratrol as a dietary supplement each day, eat healthy and be in love.
Credits: © Mathilde-Thomas- CAUDALIE

The key for me is keeping it simple (I promise, what follows looks complicated & long but it’s not!), with an emphasis on the best skincare rather than makeup. In the morning, I double-cleanse my skin blending Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil, with Instant Foaming Cleanser. Right after, I always like to spray my Beauty Elixir before using a serum that changes depending on the year, and which can be hydrating, brightening or firming. For my eyes, I use Premier Cru The Eye Cream. It’s the best.

For daytime, Premier Cru The Cream that is the perfect three-in-one product to hydrate, brighten, firm, and smooth. 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, this is like a true herbal tea for my skin.

For me, you have to live by the pleasure principle, all it means is that your beauty routine should make you feel good at the same time it makes you look good. Your beauty routine shouldn’t be all about hurting to be effective, it should be about treating yourself inside and out. It should make you feel good and look good.

What is also important for your skin is to have balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit and nuts to bring vitamins and minerals to the skin. Drink a lot of green tea all day and a glass or 2 of red wine loaded with antioxidants during diner.

Treat yourself good. Meaning start a good skincare regime when you are young, moisturize daily, fight oxidants, cleanse morning and night, never fail to use sunscreen, and educate yourself about ingredients that are truly effective and what works best for your skin type.


Don’t miss:

How to become agricultural entrepreneur: Enrico Adragna

About the author

Veronica Lavenia

Veronica, PhD, is an Italian based food writer. Born and raised in Italy, surrounded by the thriving culture and spirit of Sicily, Veronica was a University academic before becoming a food writer. In the context of academic research, she has published essays on the Spanish-American narrative in national and international Academic Journals. As freelance journalist, she wrote about book reviews and tennis. Food was the subject she thought about most so, inspired by family recipes, and valuable Italian culinary heritage, she moved into writing her experiences and studies on the subject.
Sustainability, seasonality and selection of raw materials (as much as possible local, organic and unrefined) are the basis of Veronica’s natural food philosophy.
Cookery author, "Gluten Free Heaven" magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in "Vegetarian Living", "Veggie Magazine", "Lifestyle FOOD", "Australian Good Food & Travel Guide" and "Chickpea", among others.