Friday, 25 February 2011

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

I Heard It Through The Grapevine..

It was an early start today, I was booked in to attend the blogger brunch for Caudalie's new Premier Cru Eye Cream (on the London Eye no less). Given my fondness for writing at night (it's quieter), I'm not always bright eyed and bushy tailed first thing in the morning. But I was up at 7am sharp today. Apparently it took at least £10,000 to get the 90's supermodels out of bed in the morning (according to Linda Evangelista). However, I'm not so greedy, I was perfectly content with the prospect of getting my paws on Caudalie's latest anti-ageing wonder product (some things are just worth waking up for).

I've been a huge fan of this quintessentially French brand since my days as a style & beauty editor. Leaders in the field of natural luxury skincare (hence the attraction), the entire range is built around the miraculous anti-ageing properties of grapes and vines.

Many an A-List glamazon turns to Caudalie to enhance and preserve their beauty (which gives the impression that their products must be pretty fabulous):

Supermodel Helena Christensen

Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow

Pop princess Kylie Minogue

The uber-luxurious Caudalie spas across the globe are frequented by some of the world's most discerning clientele (leading beauty editors included). I once had the pleasure of having a guided tour of their spa in Spain's Rioja region. Ostensibly, I was in Spain as a guest of a leading Spanish fashion brand, but given the fact the trip's schedule included lunch at a Caudalie spa, I couldn't help but be curious. I wasn't disappointed. The staff were beyond courteous and took the time to show me around (actually having a treatment at a Caudalie Spa is most certainly on my list of things to do before I die). Caudalie's Vinotherapie spa in France's Bordeaux wine region recently won Runner Up (Favourite Overseas Spa Retreat) in the Conde Nast Traveller 2011 Reader's Spa Awards, which only serves to deepen my longing to visit and indulge myself.

Pictured above, a shot of the Vinotherapie Spa in Bordeaux. How idyllic does it look?




So off I went to the London Eye to see what all the fuss was about.

Stepping onto the pod was like something out of a James Bond film. I couldn't believe it was my first time on the London Eye (but then again, what a fabulous way to celebrate one's maiden voyage).

Brunch was a healthy continental affair consisting of bagels, granola bars, fresh fruit and beverages. I love that beauty brands (unlike fashion ones) actually consider the dietary needs of their guests (fashion party attendees invariably survive on nothing more than champagne and oxygen).

Here comes the science (Part 1)

Here comes the science (Part 2)

Even the sun came out of hiding for the event

The views were spectacular. I actually loathe heights, but it's amazing how much safer one feels in a pod (it's the only way to travel darling).

I was drawn to leading make-up artist Emma White Turle ( like a moth to a flame. We looked like the two resident rockers, her bedecked in All Saints and me rocking my £18 vintage black leather biker jacket from Portobello Market (loving that it's mild enough to wear it again - roll on summer). I was obsessing over her Monica Vinader labradorite cocktail ring and Miu Miu bag.

This girl stopped me in my tracks with her patent brick print Chanel bag (tres chic). The minimal lines of her navy mohair coat complimented the bag to perfection. The epitome of stylish restraint. After all, Chanel said; "elegance is refusal".

Love this girl's take on Marianne Faithfull's 60's style. The leopard print faux fur coat and edgy black leather lace up boots with studded strap detail were a fabulous combo, especially when combined with minimal make-up and hair.

This girl was clearly channelling Kate Hudson in Almost Famous with this fur-trimmed mustard suede coat, tumbling blonde waves and oversized tinted shades. Rachel Zoe would "die" for this slice of 70's rock chick fabulousness.

This girl is cute as a button. The Julie Christie-esque fur hat, shearling coat, pussybow blouse, trophy bag and shoo-boot combo is a definite win. From Russia with love!

"Le Swag" consisted of not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE luxury skincare products (merci beaucoup Caudalie, vous etes tres gentil).

First we have the product the entire event was created in honour of, Caudalie's Premier Cru Eye Cream. Having read heaps about this in all the January press, I was so excited to finally try it. When it launched (two days early) at Space NK in January, Caudalie had to send more stock, as Space NK's customers literally bought their entire launch stock (as if we needed further proof that it's a new season must have). The range launched with the anti-ageing miracle that is Caudalie's Premier Cru The Cream, which (after seven years of clinical research) was so good, it went on to win French Marie Claire's Prix de Excellence Award 2010.

Once safely in our pod on the London Eye, with our morning appetites satiated, we were treated to a mini quiz and informative discussion about the brand's ethos and products. We were told that the number 3 is representative of Caudalie. Signifying 1/3 grapes, 1/3 science and 1/3 glamour = 100% Caudalie (I love them already, that's my kind of maths). We all had a play with the eye cream and I have to say, the first thing that hits you (apart from the astoundingly luxurious gold and silver bottle), is the divine texture. It literally feels like velvet on the skin. The sort of sensual, tactile sensation you'd get from stroking a peach (and let's face it, who doesn't want peachy-soft skin).

As for the active ingredients, it's another case of "good things comes in 3's":

Grapevine Resveratrol has been clinically proven (Harvard University) to extend the life of mice and fruit flies. It prolongs the life of cells, and this is exactly the function it performs in the eye cream, helping to ensure the skin remains healthier for longer. If the fountain of youth truly exists, Resveratrol is surely it.

Vineferine from Vine Sap is renowned for its efficacy in treating age spots and pigmentation marks (there's nothing more aesthetically ageing than liver spots). Twice as effective as Kojic Acid and 17 times more effective than Vitamin C, Caudalie cottoned on to its complexion enhancing properties when they came across research from the last century. Legend has it that the women who used to harvest the grapes in France's vine fields had truly beautiful, ageless skin. It seems they were able to turn back time by massaging the sap from the grape vines into their necks and faces. Natural beauty doesn't get much more natural than that.

Grape-seed Polyphenols are the most powerful antioxidants in the plant kingdom (say goodbye to your blueberries, goji berries and acai). Not only do they block 100% of free radicals (environmental aggressors that cause cell deterioration and dysfunction), they are 10,000 times more effective as a cosmetic antioxidant than Vitamin E.

Hyaluronic acid (another key ingredient) is without doubt one of the hottest "of the moment" cosmetic ingredients on the market right now. It holds more than 1000 times its own weight in water, making it an unparalleled source of hydration for the skin.

Iridescent pearl, silver and copper particles instantly correct dark circles, making it an ideal base for eye make-up. If you are feeling particularly scandalous, you could even use it as a primer. The silky texture would make it the perfect base for foundation (how decadent).

If all these facts and figures weren't enough of an incentive to invest in this pioneering skincare brand, they also have fabulously green credentials (a huge thumbs up from me). I try and avoid skin nasties such as parabens and SLS where possible. Plastering one's skin in potential carcinogens is never a good thing. I'm pleased to report that Caudalie is proudly free of them all. So not only is this product resolutely green, it firms the skin, banishes fine lines and wrinkles and eradicates pigmentation marks (is there anything it can't do).

If your eyes tend to be sore or puffy in the mornings, keep the eye cream in the fridge, the cold temperature on contact with the skin will shrink the capillaries, helping to soothe and tighten in a flash. I suggest applying with the tip of the ring finger, massaging in circular motions around the eye with the softest touch. To aid lymphatic drainage (the drainage of toxins) and to tighten the under eye area, I suggest gently tapping around the orbital bone. Do this twice daily and you will soon reap the rewards.

"Le Swag" also contained the glow-enhancing Beauty Elixir, inspired by the ancient "elixir of youth" created especially for Queen Isabelle of Hungary (this centuries old recipe also inspired Hungary's Omorovicza luxury skincare line). Queen Isabelle was no spring chicken, but legend has it that her elixir had men a fraction of her age banging at her door. I'm not sure what the implications of this are for a chap who's going to hit 30 this year (perhaps it would be safer to re-gift this one to someone slightly more advanced in years, I'd rather not get arrested). Come Summer, I shall be keeping this in the fridge, which will only enhance its inherent skin-soothing properties.

The Anti-Wrinkle Fluid is best applied after the elixir. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles whilst nourishing and protecting. These last two products would be especially great in Summer (especially when refrigerated), when heavier serums and creams are just too rich. Packed full of vitamins, this should definitely be part of your "five a day" (my kind of diet).

The Vine Body Butter came in a super-handy 25ml travel size tube. Ostensibly designed for softening the skin on your body, I shall be toting this around in my Chris & Tibor man bag. I know it's going to double as a superb hand and nail treatment (even with weekly manicures, my hands need extra care at this time of year. I'm obsessed with body butters and body oils throughout Winter and Spring. They're the only things rich enough to keep my skin soft and supple during London's never ending cold front. If you suffer from dry skin, I suggest massaging this in after a bath or shower, while your skin is still slightly damp, then pat dry. This will seal in essential moisture. It's also worth investing in Caudalie's divine body scrub, there's nothing better for keeping rough skin at bay.

The Hand and Nail Cream is going to be another essential for my man bag. There's nothing like a great hand cream for prolonging the life of your manicure and ensuring your skin and cuticles are in tip top condition. It's also worth noting that the neck and hands are two areas that so many people seem to gloss over when taking care of their skin. Nothing screams "granny" more than a turkey neck and gnarled hands peppered with liver spots. For the neck I suggest massaging in Caudalie's award-winning Premier Cru Cream, while this Hand and Nail Cream will be indispensable in your battle to keep your mitts baby soft. I've always been a firm believer in the old adage "prevention is better than the cure". Invest in your skin from a young age and you will reap the rewards later in life. Fine wines get better with age, and so should you.

Why have sour grapes when you can have Caudalie?

Premier Cru Eye Cream - £49
Beauty Elixir - £32
Anti-Wrinkle Fluid - £35
Vine Body Butter - £19
Hand and Nail Cream - £11.50

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