Of Grapes, Kosm’ethics and strong Women: Interview with Caudalíe-Founder Mathilde Thomas


For years, I was out on the search for a beauty brand like Caudalíe, only I didn’t know it. Before I luckily got to meet Caudalíe, I used to constantly change my skincare products. I jumped from one brand to the next, from natural cosmetics to medical skincare to the mass market and back, but I never quite found what I was looking for. Something was always missing…

French cult brand Caudalíe

Perhaps, Mathilde Thomas felt the same from time to time, before she decided to found the brand Caudalíe* together with her husband Bertrand over 20 years ago.
For them, it all started at their family’s vineyard close to Bordeaux. With their knowledge of grapes, a philosophy evolved that was all about natural beauty from the best of the grapes with real efficiency and of course, that French glamour.

„Never having to decide between natural beauty, efficiency and glamour.” #cleanbeauty

My love story with Caudalíe also started in Bordeaux, by the way. Around 2 years ago, Max and I visited Les Sources de Caudalíe, where we really fell in love with the brand. The old vineyards, the Spa Vinothérapie and the gardens have impressed us immensely. We are still talking about this place as if it was heaven. And do you remember the movie we created back there? If not, do have a look at it again:

There, at the source of Caudalíe’s creation, I began to truly understand Mathilde’s idea behind the brand. A brand that is so much more than just skincare. Caudalíe stands for a way of living, for natural beauty and the love to ourselves and to the world we are living in. And it also stands for products that, thanks to great scientific work, are actually efficien – in a very natural way.

After all, ever since the founding of Caudalíe, Mathilde and Bertrand have been working with leading universities. Among them is the University of Montpellier and the Harvard Medical School. Thanks to their scientific work, Caudalíe had the possibilities to grow beyond a small, natural beauty brand. They developed highly efficient formulas made from natural products and the range of these formulas grew strongly over the past years.

Next to efficiency, using natural products is one of the most important aspects for Mathilde. At Caudalíe, active ingredients from natural sources are preferred. Those are not only better for us, but also for our environment. Thus, Caudalíe is also a sustainable brand that commits itself to a better future for the planet.

„I trust in green and reasonable cosmetics. I wanted to offer a new kind of cosmetic range with the right balance between efficiency, naturalness and an experience for all senses.“ Mathilde Thomas

For today’s International Womens’ Day, I spoke to Caudalíe founder Mathilde to find out how she manages her life so well. Perhaps, we can learn one or the other thing from her, yet…

Interview with Caudalíe-Founder Mathilde Thomas

Ricarda Schernus: Mathilde Thomas, what kind of advice would you give young (female) founders as a source of inspiration and advice?

Mathilde Thomas: Focus. Work hard. Do something you strongly believe in and you are passionate about. And do it well. Always keep in mind that creating a business is a marathon, not a sprint.

R: By now, Caudalie has turned into a true cult brand in the French cosmetic sector. Not only in France, but all over the world, the brand is known and loved. How did you manage to successfully grow your sales outside of France in a relatively short time span of just a few years?

M: I lived 5 years in NYC with my husband and our kids and 2 in Hong Kong to understand those markets, the women habits and to be inspired.

R: And how do you evaluate our German market for your brand Caudalie? Are women in Germany interested in beauty « à la française » at all?

M: More than French beauty, German women are savy about natural and clean beauty. They are eco conscious and they want brands who use biodegradable ingredients and use recycled plastic in their packs. They use apps like toxfox to make sure there are no endocrine disruptors in the formulas they use. They can read an ingredient list.

R: Where would you position Caudalie in the market of natural cosmetics? What are the fundamental standards of your brand? How does it define itself?

M: At Caudalie we have always been aware of ecology. We believe in a cosmetic which can be both efficient, glamour and still very natural and ethical.
Our brand is based on those values since the creation. We were the first effective skincare brand to remove some nasties like parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, mineral oils, vaseline, parafine, sodium laureth sulfates, and of course ingredients from animal origins.

Since 2012, we wanted to go even further in our ecological commitment by becoming a member of 1% for the Planet, and by donating 1% of our turnover to associations for the protection of the environment and the preservation of plant species and animal.

R: With your brand Caudalie, did you have to overcome some obstacles in the past years? Can you name some?

M: There are more and more cosmetic brands coming on the market that claim that they are CLEAN. And if you read their ingredient list, you find potential endocrine disruptors (phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, EDTA…). They make our job complicated as they confuse the final customer.

R: How did you manage to successfully coordinate your business and your family-life in the past years? Do you have some good tips for us?

M: The key to me is to balance my life between my family, my better half, my job and always keeping time just for myself. I eat healthy, I do a lot of sports: yoga, running alongside the Seine, bicycle to go to Caudalie headquarter and everywhere else in Paris. I sleep 8 hours a night, I have breakfast with my husband & kids and go to work early so that I can enjoy my family on the early evening and have some time to cook, read or to watch TV series.

R: Is a strong woman allowed to show some weaknesses from time to time ?

M: It’s more difficult to be a woman than to be a man when you’re working. You have lot of things to do and organize every day in addition to the work (women are still primarily responsible for children and their homes). I think that showing some weaknesses just proves that we are human.

R: What do the words passion mean to you, according to your business, your career and your private life?

M: I am passionate about my job.
I love passionately my husband and kids.

I am more than happy to do the job I love and always happy to give advices to young struggling entrepreneurs.

R: Thank you very much for this interesting interview, Mathilde!

*Advertisement: This article is supported by Caudalíe.

Photography: Ricarda Schernus | Pictures of Mathilde Thomas: (c) Caudalíe




2 Comments on Of Grapes, Kosm’ethics and strong Women: Interview with Caudalíe-Founder Mathilde Thomas

  1. Janina
    Friday March 8th, 2019 at 11:48 AM (2 years ago)

    Ich habe mir wirklich Zeit genommen, diesen ausführlichen Artikel und das Interview bis zum Ende zu lesen. Mathilde ist eine sehr inspirierende Frau und ich freue mich, durch dich von ihr erfahren zu haben.

    Liebe Grüße und ein schönes Wochenende,


  2. Regina
    Tuesday April 30th, 2019 at 12:59 PM (1 year ago)

    Danke für die Einblicke in diese tolle Kosmetikmarke mit einer großartigen Gründerin. :) Ich kannte Caudalíe bisher noch nicht. Ich habe die Traube aber für ihre gesundheitlichen und kosmetischen Eigenschaften auch schon lieben gelernt. Ich nehme regelmäßig Traubenkernextrakt von Vitaminexpress zu mir. Ein großartiges Antioxidanz, das mein Immunsystem fördert und viele Vitamine für meine Haut bereitstellt. :) Ich werde die Marke auf jeden Fall mal ausprobieren und bin gespannt auf die Wirkung. :)