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CAUDALIE Vinopure: The Acne Range We've Been Asking For?

caudalie vinopure clear skin purifying toner mattifying fluid blemish control serum


Caudalie has been one of my favourite skincare brands for the longest time, ever since the start of my blog in 2012 (sweet lord, has it been that long??)
Among my favourites are the Vinosource Sorbet Cream, Recovery Oil & SOS Serum, the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum & Brightening Essence and, to be quite honest, all their masks are the bomb.

But I was always surprised they never had a proper range for oily and acne-prone skin types.
This was recently explained to me when I went to their launch event ⎼ since the brand prides itself in coming out with products that are mostly made with natural ingredients (usually upwards of 95%) and they hadn't, until now, come up with a natural way to produce/extract salicylic acid (which they wanted to be the star ingredient) they just put it on hold. They researched and studied but never launched anything.
Makes sense. Kind of. I mean, there are so many ways to go around salycilic acid that still help acne. But I get the rationale.

Finally, they managed to extract salycilic acid from a plant called wintergreen in high dosages and they plowed through, creating a 3-step range of products that are, in theory, all we've ever asked from the brand.
But the reality is quite different...

It breaks my heart to write this post but it has to be done and I'm sure I'm burning some bridges here, but I want you to fully understand why these are not the best products.

First of all, let's start with the fact that this is a 3-step routine that does not include a cleanser.


Which is fine in a way because you can buy the cleanser separately, for sure. But it also induces less informed people to believe these are the only 3 products you need in your routine and, even though the first step (the Clear Skin Purifying Toner*) clearly states the word "TONER" and never "cleansing" or "makeup removing" or whatever it could potentially say, I know some people are using this as they would a micellar water. I don't even fully support micellar waters as it is, but this is even worse.

I shit you not, even some "influencers" are recommending this toner as a cleansing step. Which is sad, horrendous and I fear for the unknowing reader that just wants some skincare advice. But I diverse...

Trusting Caudalie deeply with my skin for years, I was so beyond excited for this range (given my acne propensity) that I didn't even go through the ingredient list. I read the panphlet, I knew the active ingredients, but I didn't go through the trouble of making sure I knew the full ingredient list (which I always do because I know I react badly to some things, even if they are naturally sourced).

So I got home and went ham on my face with these products. Of course I used a separate cleanser or two and introduced a facial oil because, no joke, my face would've cracked with only these three. And I also used the Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid* only during daytime and applied something a little heavier at night.
I felt that fresh feeling you get after using a minty product, which is not ideal or necessary to me, but I actually had two other products I used that had the same feeling and were not harmful to my skin (the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser and the Skyn Iceland Antidote Cooling Lotion). So I didn't fret and kept on using them for about a week.

My skin was breaking out but I had been travelling back and forth from London to Algarve, to Spain, back to London, to Porto, to Lisbon and I lived out of a suitcase (and necessaire) for about a month. I knew my skincare game was not strong and sometimes my brushes weren't as hygenic as they should be (ew, I know).
So I kept on using the products hoping they would save me from my stressed skin.

Until I got to London, got back into my routine and my skin was worse than EVER. Like I hadn't had this type of texture and as many whiteheads together in such a long time. It was weird. I was even breaking out in my forehead, which I never do.

There was this one morning I was applying the toner and my eyes, being extra sensitive that day, started watering. I instinctively sniffed the cotton disk and the alcohol smell was so strong I coughed for like five seconds. How come I didn't feel this before? Have I just been piling on my skin with alcohol ⎼ the worst possible ingredient for sensitive and acne-prone skin??
Yes, ladies and gents. Yes, I had. Stupid, dummie, trusting old me did not check the ingredient list and had dug a whole for her skin (or several in her skin if you will) so deep!

I panicked and checked the ingredient list for the Purifying Toner*: YES! There it was, in all its full glory ⎼ ALCOHOL DENAT (aka the worst type of alcohol) as the second ingredient. SECOND! I was enraged but thought to myself... Surely, only the toner has alcohol because, even though that's such an old school thing to do, they wouldn't put it elsewhere. Right? WRONG.

Alcohol is the third ingredient in both their Blemish Control Infusion Serum* and Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid*. The third only after water and rose water. I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

All three products were loaded alcohol!
I felt so sad. So betrayed. So dismayed. And if you can believe it, it's been about 3 weeks since I've stopped using this range and the damage is still here.


I'm much less sensitive and red but the bumps on my chin are worse than they've ever been somehow. I fucked up. They fucked up. And they fucked me up.

Now, I want to talk about alcohol in general now and why I'm bashing it so hard.
So let's see: there are good types of alcohol (fatty alcohols that are actually really nice for skin and highly hydrating ⎼ such as cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol); and bad types of alcohol (drying types, more commonly found in acne-fighting and deep cleansing products ⎼ they appear as alcohol, alcohol denat, SD alcohol and isopropyl alcohol). In case of doubt, just google the ingredient and it will come up as either good or bad.

So why do people continue to formulate products with bad alcohols?
Well, there are a few reasons... If the alcohol is listed way down the ingredient list it might not be too harmful; it can be there to preserve other ingredients, to activate them, it can be part of the fragrance, among other things.

If it is, like in this case, on the very first line of the list - the whole product is based in alcohol: it becomes an active ingredient in itself. So why is it still done?
Well, alcohol evaporates quickly so products sink faster and it may actually help ingredients penetrate deeper in some cases; and it is also ultra drying so, when used in oily skin types, it leaves a (debatably) "nice" deeply cleansed feeling on the skin, removes all types of oils (even good ones) so skin feels and looks ultra matte. So the look of it and instant feel of it can be nice, but longterm it's just no good. Because removing your own natural oils only makes your skin produce more oil (your glandules get tricked into thinking you're not producing enough and go "here's a shit ton of oil for you") and, because it dries up your skin so much, you eventually feel it being tight, itchy, uncomfortable, sensitive, red and flaky even.

On the other (still unsettling) hand, alcohol is also very known for its bacteria-killing properties. So, theoretically, it's good for acne-prone skin as it will rid you of your acne-related bacteria. But it will also get rid of your good, non-acne-related bacteria which could actually help your skin heal better and faster. And it will also leave your skin so stripped and exposed to outside aggressors that new bacteria can get in and set place faster and spread much more easily, therefore creating more acne in the long run.

So, to sum up, alcohol is like a quick bandaid you put on ⎼ it will cover up the problem real nice for a little while but then you'll realise you didn't address the problem to begin with so it's just gotten worse and worse over time.


Really, I don't recommend any product that has alcohol so early in the ingredient list (there may be a few exceptions, but for sensitive skin especially, don't go there).
I hope I didn't ramble too much and that made some kind of sense. And I realise this post might sound a bit bitter and angry. But, fuck it! I'm bitter and angry. My skin is a mess! It's not entirely Caudalie's fault, it's also my own. But still...

I am extremely disappointed that Caudalie chose to go this way because this is usually the traditional way to go for quick and foolish marketing, appealing to the people who recommend things on first impressions and the influencers who just need to get the word out to get paid when really they don't understand a thing about skincare. People who, unknowingly, think that matte and fresh skin equals no acne. I'm disappointed because Caudalie has always known better.

Now, is it possible this has worked for some people and I'm being too harsh? Yes.
Is it possible this could work for you? Yes.
Nevertheless will there be better options out there? YES.

Jesus, we have made such stride and have come so far in skincare, specially as we now cater to adult acne so much more as well, where we can't have products that are this drying (since adult skin just does not bounce back as fast). So I simply cannot understand how anyone with half a mind thought this would be a good idea.

In conclusion, this did not work for me. It effectively ruined my skin and I'm not saying this lightly ⎼ these were PR samples I was gifted for review. I have had an ongoing relationship with the brand and I was offered potential ads to promote these. So I'm losing out on all of that to be really brutally honest with you.
These products are not for sensitive skin. They may break you out further. They may cause other issues, such as redness, itchiness, dryness and hypersensitivity. And they will most likely not fix your acne. Unless you have extremely thick oily skin and your spots are just random. (And even then...)

I want to offer up some alternative products for acne-fighting on all budget tiers but this post has come off way longer than expected so I will be back soon with some of my favourite (and decent) acne-products for normal and sensitive skin types alike. Is that something you'd like to see from me?

Let me know your thoughts. I want to know everything!
Have you tried this range or were you thinking about it?
Do you flat out disagree with me?
Comment down below please, I really want to hear from more people who have tried the Vinopure range :)

* PR Samples