Caudalie co-Founder Mathilde Thomas has been counting her caudalies since well before she and her high school boyfriend (now husband) created the rejuvenating skincare brand in 1993.  Did she know that she’d be developing luxe lines of anti-oxidant rich products?  Not exactly.  But she was tasting a lot of wine at her family’s vineyard in France, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.

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“A caudalie is the unit of measurement that allows you to count how long the taste of wine remains on your palette,” explained the youthful European entrepreneur.  “The more caudalie [in wine], the better.”  And one could argue the same for Caudalie’s products and stores.

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Thomas was on hand to open the brand’s latest boutique and spa concept in Washington, DC this week, with more stores on the way throughout the U.S.  (So did she taste the local, Northern Virginia wine?  “Yes, and it was not bad!” she told us.)

The skincare brand has its own very unique focus on vinotherapy; It’s cornerstone is a base of grapes, grapeseed, grapevines, and their accompanying anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties.

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Take Caudalie’s cult favorite for example, Beauty Elixir, a one-of-a-kind product that Thomas boasts is in “all the top models’ make-up bags.”  The part-toner, part-serum mist of essential oils and plant active ingredients is formulated to smooth the skin, tighten the pores, and provide an instant burst of radiance as it stimulates microcirculation.

Sound like Thomas is bottling up her brand from the fountain of youth? Well, if not, she’s at least sharing French women’s skin secrets.  And she’s about to release a tell-all ‘tome to spread them around!  “The French Beauty Solution” is Thomas’ upcoming guide to looking and feeling beautiful inside and out.  She’s releasing — on Bastille Day, July 14th — some time-tested secrets, advice, DIY recipes, and even a 3 day grape cleanse that she swears will improve your life.

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“To do a masterpiece, you first need a great canvas.  What amazes me most about Americans,” says Thomas, “is their emphasis on quick fixes and instant gratification.  Treat before you cover — that is the ancestral beauty tradition.”

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According to Thomas, the French approach beauty — and wine — as an essential and pleasurable part of the day.  Both should merit a lifelong and active investment… and as many caudalies as possible!