Divine Oil is divine in name only, because it contains a high amount of fragrance that puts skin at strong risk of irritation. See More Info to learn why daily use of highly fragrant products is a problem for skin.
We're doubly concerned about all the fragrance because Divine Oil also contains several synthetic sunscreen ingredients (likely chosen to keep the light-sensitive ingredients protected in the clear bottle packaging Caudalie chose, not for providing sun protection as this isn't SPF-rated). The problem is that if you apply this oil all over your face, the sunscreen ingredients combined with the fragrance can prove to be sensitizing, especially around the eye area.
On the upside, this does contain some remarkably good, lightweight plant oils, including main ingredient grape seed oil and the sesame oil. Rather than subject your skin to so much fragrance (remember, even if your skin isn't showing signs of irritation, the damage can silently take place below skin's surface where it's hidden, giving you a false sense of security), why not buy small bottles of both of these oils at your local grocery store and apply to dry skin as needed? You'll save money, gain the benefit of Divine Oil's best ingredients, and your skin won't endure any irritation!
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Concentrated with moisturizing active ingredients plus antioxidant grape polyphenols and draining ginkgo biloba, this lotion leaves the skin soft, firm, and radiant. Perfect as a post-sun product, its delicately perfumed texture is instantly absorbed.
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Isoamyl Cocoate, Coco-Caprylate, Fragrance, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone), Tocopherol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate (Octisalate), Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract, Citric Acid, Hydroxycitronellal, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone.
Caudalie Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Good cleansers; an excellent scrub for dry skin; air-tight packaging; a good lip balm and moisturizing mask; one truly state-of-the-art moisturizer for dry skin (one is better than none).
Weaknesses: Expensive; mundane to irritating serums, moisturizers, and eye creams; limited sun protection options; no AHA or BHA products; no products to lighten skin discolorations; several products contain irritating plant extracts.
Let's pour ourselves a glass of wine before we begin this review. Okay, now that we are adequately prepared we can, in effect, review this line without smirking. Why wine? Because Caudalie is a skin-care line whose ambience is intended to evoke the importance and value of grapes for your skin. Are you ready for this? Caudalie is in fact a term used in wine tasting; it is an actual measurement used to indicate how long the taste of a wine stays on your palate: 1 caudalie = 1 second. So, if you can still taste the wine in your mouth 1 second after swallowing it, that's 1 caudalie; 2 seconds after swallowing, that's 2 caudalie, and so on. And, supposedly, the more caudalie the wine has the more elegant and superior it is.
What does any of that have to do with skin care? From Caudalie Paris's perspective, everything, because clearly they think the grape is the cornerstone for formulating any skin-care product. After reading their information you could easily assume that Welch's Grape Juice could be used as a toner. But of course that's not what Caudalie has in mind, because it's their formulas they want you to count on, not Welch's juice.
It turns out that grape extract, grape oil, and other parts of the grape do have mounting research proving that they do have benefit for skin when applied topically. Red grapes (stem, seed, pulp, and especially the skin) contain proanthocyanidin and resveratrol, naturally occurring compounds that are considered very potent antioxidants. There is also impressive research showing how helpful these compounds are for reducing the sun's damaging effects, and that topical application plays a role in wound healing. (Sources: Photochemistry and Photobiology, March-April 2008, pages 415–421; Journal of Medicinal Food, December 2007, pages 636–642, and June 2007, pages 337–344; and Free Radical Biology and Medicine, October 2002, pages 1089–1092).
The research is significant, but (excuse me while we take another sip of wine) what's ludicrous—and disappointing—about the Caudalie products is that most of them don't contain a significant amount of grape extract, and resveratrol (the most potent compound in the grape) is entirely absent. Without question, Caudalie could have formulated products that included a larger amount of grapes and their beneficial compounds—at least it would have given more resonance to their story that the grapes in their products offer long-lasting antioxidant protection to every cell.
Getting back to the research on grapes, what's important to keep in mind is that while grapes are a great source of antioxidant protection, there are also hundreds of other plant extracts, vitamins, and minerals with potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties. No single ingredient has achieved the coveted status of "best" when it comes to skin (or health) care. Almost all antioxidants appear to have some benefit for skin, and while some are indeed more stable or more potent than others, there is still no reason to get wrapped up in any single ingredient, any more than your diet should have only one food group for adequate nutrition. Plus, skin needs more than one single antioxidant; thinking otherwise is like believing you can subsist on drinking wine or eating grapes and nothing else. For skin, cell-communicating ingredients, skin-identical ingredients, sun protection, and exfoliants are all fundamental to superior skin care, yet in Caudalie's narrow view, each comes up short.
Although almost all Caudalie products contain a small amount of grapes in one form or another, they don't offer much else for skin, and several of their products contain irritating plant extracts that not only hurt skin but also work against the beneficial compounds from the grapes. In addition, no antioxidant stands much chance of helping skin if you're not protecting your skin from sunlight.
As much as Caudalie would like you to believe that their botanical cocktails are the sought-after fountain of youth, for the most part, you'd be far better off spending your money on fresh grapes, grape juice, or a vintage bottle of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon!
For more information about Caudalie Paris, call (866) 826-1615 or visit www.caudalie.com.
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