Born in Bordeaux in the vineyards of founder Mathilde Thomas’s family estate Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Caudalie is the French brand behind cult favourite beauty products like the Beauty Elixir. Since launching in 1995, Mathilde has focused on the antioxidant-rich grape seed polyphenols, which play a starring role in all the brand’s products. Mathilde’s mission to introduce Caudalie to the rest of the world led her to move to New York where she launched the brand in the Americas, and then Hong Kong, which served as her base for two years as she grew her business in Asia.
Now living in Paris with her husband and kids, Mathilde continues to expand her grape-based skincare empire. The jet-setting founder chats about her jam-packed itinerary and her travel essentials.
How often do you travel?
I never count, but I would say twice a month. Too much.
What are your travel plans until the end of the year?
I spent my summer in the Hamptons, going to New York a few times for work. Then to Paris where I live with my husband and my three kids. Then, I have a trip to Portugal to launch my book there. I have two other trips in New York. I have one other trip to Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong. And I will go to Germany, Italy and London. And Bordeaux, of course. I’m spending Christmas with my family in my parent’s beautiful chalet, which is in Méribel in the French Alps. There we gather with my sister and husband and their two kids. They’re ski champions, my entire family. My parents met on a French ski team – they’re super good skiers.
What are some reasons you travel?
I meet my team at the office, I see what they’re working on and how they’re going to launch products in the year to come, I check all the artistic direction, I get inspired by products from the respective regions, I tour the stores, I do presentations for my team, I teach the newcomers my vision and philosophy, I promote my books when I go to Asia and go meet my readers.
What do you love about travel and what do you hate about it?
I love to discover new people, new cultures. It opens my chakra. New food, new colours, new inspiration for the brand, women who have a different perspective on life and on skincare. What do I hate? Airports. I hate waiting.
Is there anything you do to come prepared at the airport in case of flight delays?
Good books, my iPhone, the Caudalie playlist on Spotify, which I love because it relaxes me.
What’s your beauty routine for a long haul flight to Asia?
I notice that when I moisturize deeply, it’s easier to recover from jet lag. I usually wear my moisturizing mask instead of a moisturizer on my face and neck. I pack a sheet mask, some Beauty Elixir, Grape Water and Lip Conditioner. Then I sleep. If I’m going to Asia and the flight is flight is 12 hours, I’ll sleep for 11 hours. I’m a big sleeper.
Do you fall asleep easily? If so, do you take anything for it?
I take a glass of red wine. Sometimes, I take melatonin. If I know I’m taking the plane, I won’t take any caffeine during the day so that I will sleep well on the plane.
You skip airplane meals. Why is that?
I’d rather have some fruits, vegetables and water. I’m not a fan of processed food. When I’m hungry, I’ll ask if they can give me fruit. Usually, I like to eat at home with my kids before leaving so I don’t eat on the plane.
Do you have any beauty rituals on the plane?
I try to drink a lot of water. If I go to Asia, I’ll drink a litre and a half of water. I will put on a sheet mask when I arrive. We have some professional sheet masks that we use in our treatment rooms in our spa so I stock a few. Then I arrive and put on some Premier Cru moisturizer, some eye cream, a little bit of bronzer and away I go.
What are your travel essentials?
I take my deluxe samples of the Premier Cru. I use the eye masks they provide on the plane. I like to wear it with my lashes up because I like using it as a eyelash curler. When I wake up, I have curled lashes. I take mascara from ILIA Beauty. I take RMS Living Luminizer. I like the pink blush and bronzer from this natural brand called Kjaer Weis. I like to stock some Sulwhasoo sheet masks from Korea.
What’s your advice to anyone who’s traveling on a long haul flight?
Drink a lot of water, moisturize a lot and try not to eat. Take melatonin, take a good glass of red wine and go to sleep.