Premier Cru The Elixir is a facial oil (Caudalie describes it as half oil, half serum but it has a distinctly oil-like texture) that feels silky and has a smooth, non-greasy finish that feels moisturizing but not slick. This also contains some excellent non-fragrant plant oils and antioxidants, a combination that’s great for dry skin but can also benefit other skin types.
With the praise above, why did this earn a low rating? It wasn’t due to the price, which is assuredly on the needlessly high side; instead, it’s due to the presence of potentially irritating fragrant oils and a highly fragrant formula whose scent lingers (and lingers) and poses a serious risk of causing chronic irritation—a risk that’s compounded if you’re layering this with other highly fragranced products from Caudalie’s Premier Cru line—which is what the brand suggests. See More Info to learn how daily use of highly fragrant products can be a problem for skin.
As for the claim that this lifts skin, it cannot do that. Lifting sagging skin, especially if the sagging is more pronounced, is beyond the capability of any skincare product, no matter its cost or ingredients. We wish that weren’t the case, but it’s better to know this limitation (and what does work, which we discuss in More Info) rather than spend money time and time again hoping one of these lifting products will really work. For best results on sagging, it’s a combination of great skincare and cosmetic corrective and/or surgical procedures that pick up where skincare leaves off.
Highly Fragrant Products: 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: Dermatitis, November-December 2013, pages 283–290; 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).
Lifting Sagging Skin: Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn’t possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that’s exciting! To gain these youthful benefits, you must protect your skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. Remember, no single product can do it all; it’s the combination of products that has extensive research showing they can significantly improve many of the signs of aging, such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You’ll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
Premier Cru The Elixir lifts, firms, smoothes, nourishes, and brightens with a proven blend of Caudalie's three signature patents—resveratrol, viniferine, and polyphenols—plus five exceptional plant oils. This half-oil, half-serum prepares and complements the action of Premier Cru The Cream for a proven restructuring effect. It's a perfect blend of efficacy and luxury with the classic, delicate Premier Cru scent of rose and oak.
Coco-Caprylate, Isoamyl Cocoate, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Seed Oil, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Fragrance, Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract, Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Coumarin.
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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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