When a skin care product is reported as being ‘the Starbucks coffee of the skin’ the beauty world tends to take note. With the harsh winter in full force our skin may be in need of a little pick-me-up to banish dull looking skin (and the cold weather blues with it!). Here at Beauty by the Geeks we’ve put the Caudalie Beauty Elixir under the spotlight to see whether it’s just the wake up we need, or a coffee stain on your beauty regime.

The Claims

This product is a part-toner, part-serum mist inspired by the “elixir of youth” (sounds snazzy right?!). The elixir claims to smooth features, tighten pores and provide an instant burst of radiance by stimulating microcirculation. It seems there is no specific skin type it is most suited to, just for any complexion lacking radiance. But what’s actually in the modern day elixir of youth and, more importantly, what do these ingredients do for our skin?

The Science behind the Bottle

The first ingredient offering science-savvy benefits is Vitis Vinifera (grape!) extract. Grapes are a common ingredient in a whole host of DIY skincare recipes where they give the products a fresh-feeling and cleansing touch! Like many fruit extracts, grape extract is known to contain a number of antioxidants. Grape skin contains the molecule resveratrol, which is pretty much the crème de la crème of antioxidants (although we’re not sure exactly how much of it will have made it into the extract included in this product!).

Antioxidants (including resveratrol) act as free-radical eliminators to help relieve oxidative stress. Free radicals cause cell damage (not what we need if we are aiming for a good complexion!), and antioxidants help keep cell damage at bay. If allowed to run rampant, this kind of damage can otherwise manifest as premature ageing in the skin!
Sounds good so far, right? But will this extract have a big effect in the small quantities used? Well grape extract isn’t the only antioxidant in the formula! Extracts of Commiphora Myrrha (that’s myrhh!) also included in the formula have been shown to have both antioxidant (good bye free radicals!) and anti-microbial activity. Rosa Damascena (more commonly known as the Damask rose) and a few other ingredients are all joining the antioxidant rescue party and working together to achieve better protection for your skin.

Another of these famous antioxidants is Melissa Officinalis leaf oil, (more commonly known as lemon balm or mint balm to you and me). We already know that antioxidants act as our daily beauty helpers, but why else should we care about this pricey essential oil? Lemon balm has been around for centuries from the ancient Greeks to the Romans to now and rightly so. It’s thought to combat the stings of scorpions, and, more importantly, (depending on how often you battle scorpions), it’s a great astringent cleanser, perfect for any skin care product.

The plant of origin for this balm has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. These antibacterial properties are at least partially a result of molecules called tannins, and fortunately for us lemon balm is full of them! This will help to eliminate bacteria and cleanse your pores all at the same time. Some believe that lemon balm could even help with any pesky cold sores by decreasing the healing time of inflamed sores through its anti-inflammatory action. In the precious amounts in the elixir we aren’t so sure of this last point but the balm will definitely leave your skin feeling fresher and cleaner!

Our main and only issue with what we hoped would be the holy grail of skin care toners is that it contains denatured alcohol; alcohol that has been made specifically for non-consumption through the use of additives. Although this adds to the astringent properties of the formula to clean the skin and constrict the pores it also has its disadvantages. Alcohol is a drying agent and a mixture of strong winds, frosty mornings and even dryer skin might leave you feeling less than fabulous. So for those of you with dry skin this product is probably not for you.

But if you don’t have dry skin? You may have noticed a trend for alcohol-free products recently. This is at least partly because many believe that prolongues exposure of the skin to alcohol may be damaging. One study found that (even in small amounts) alcohol induced apoptosis (a kind of cell death) in lab-grown skin cells by enhancing the effects of a pro-inflammatory molecule called TNF-α (this can signal cells to hit the self-destruct button). This may lead to a dull complexion and give your skin its very own version of that hangover feeling. However, with the plethora of anti-oxidants present is this such an issue? We’re not sure exactly how we feel on the alcohol-in-cosmetics subject – it’s used in such a huge range of products that cutting it out completely may be nearly impossible, but The Geeks are BIG fans of natural ingredients. We’d prefer alcohol-free alternatives, but without clear-cut evidence on alcohol’s long-term effects on the skin, we’re not banning ourselves from them yet!

The Verdict?

So what’s the verdict? It’s known that this elixir is a favourite of Victoria Beckham but what about us mere mortals? Well the elixir definitely meets a lot of its claims and can be the perfect refresher for any dull complexions. One thing we couldn’t find any solid evidence for is its microcirculation-boosting properties. There were some hints of this around the web, but nothing to live up to The Geeks’ science-savvy standards which we found a little disappointing! (Maybe we missed something? Do get in touch if you think we have!).

To get your hands on this elixir, click HERE!

For dry skin sufferers (or alcohol-wary beauty users), this elixir may be a little harsh for you. But for the rest this elixir might be the early spring clean to your beauty regime! If you’re still on the fence, check out one of our favourite beauty bloggers and see why she loves this elixir!