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French Connection

by Jenny

“I grew up in the French village of Grenoble, at the foot of the French Alps. I was an outdoorsy girl raised on hiking, exploring nature and being amongst the mountains. Along with my parents and sister, I would explore what the earth offered, which is where I began discovering my love for beauty secrets. We had access to some of the very best ingredients in our own backyard, far from the city life of Paris. As I grew older, my grandmother and mother taught me the importance of a beauty ritual and the importance of natural skin care. They taught me recipes that used ingredients such as honey, thyme, rose and mint. I fell in love with all the fragrances. My mom and grandma would do blind tastings of different herbs, and I could differentiate between them, even at a young age.


WINE COUNTRY: The Caudalie beauty concept came to life at Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a vineyard in Bordeaux owned by Thomas’s parents.

In 1990, my parents purchased Château Smith Haut Lafitte, a nearly 200-acre vineyard in Bordeaux. It was here where my early lessons in beauty turned into my future career. In 1993, my then-boyfriend, Bertrand (who became my husband), was giving a tour of the vineyard to a group of scientists from the University of Bordeaux. I was 22 and very curious about the science of the grapes. On the tour, the head of the university’s pharmacognosy laboratory, Professor Joseph Vercauteren, asked us if we knew we had such treasures in our vineyard. This question was the turning point in my future. He explained to us the discovery of grape seed polyphenols and the potent natural antioxidants they contain. He went on to tell us about resveratrol, the polyphenol found in grape skins, seeds and stalks, and how it was a revolutionary antioxidant that could potentially enhance the life span of cells. He was on a quest to share this with the world, and we became his partners.


NAME GAME: Thomas and her husband called their company after the unit of measurement that tests how long the flavor of a wine lingers on the palate.

In 1995, Bertrand and I founded our skin care company, Caudalie. The word ‘caudalie’ is actually a unit of measurement to test how long the flavors of a wine linger in the mouth (the more caudalies, the better the wine). We felt this was an appropriate name for our business. The grape inspires Caudalie products, and the grapevines and our ingredients come from the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions.

This is also where I discovered the ‘pleasure principle,’ and learned that the products I use not only need to be effective, but they need to make me feel good. To me, this is really the essence of French beauty. It’s an attitude that looking good and feeling good should go hand in hand.


PURIFY & PROTECT: Employing scientific studies, Caudalie’s proud heritage includes its strong belief in plant-based beauty solutions.

From those humble roots at Château Smith Haut Lafitte to today’s Caudalie boutiques and spas (including our current store in Aventura Mall and the upcoming boutique in Brickell, which opens in November), I am very proud of what we’ve created and remain committed to sharing my French attitude toward beauty with the world.”


CARRYING ON: After the release of her book “The French Beauty Solution,” Thomas continues to spread her beauty secrets, which includes plans to open a second South Florida Caudalie boutique in November in Brickell.

Originally appeared in the Summer 2016 issue.

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