Caudalie Beauty Elixir


When Liv Tyler calls a beauty product her “favorite thing in the universe,” you pay attention. In her Top Shelf, she told us she's so “hooked" on Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir that she stocks them in two sizes, regular and “travel-size, to take on the plane.” Tyler is the latest in a long line of Beauty Elixir devotees, who stash the potent spray in their medicine cabinets, bags, and dopp kits. And with good reason: the grape-seed-extract-infused mist has numerous suggested uses, including as a toner, serum, midday refresher, and makeup setter (not to mention the ways it’s employed by our Top Shelf-ers). It's a single spray that helps you immediately look better and physically feel better.

But we think the true magic lies in its ability to give you a slept-in, slightly un-perfect edge—stylist Julia von Beohm sprays it on top of her makeup, for a “lived in” look—or as an instant pick-me-up (Paris transplant Jessica Noghes-Menio utilizes the mist “to add a sort of freshness during the day.”) While Caudalie claims its cult product, inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary’s 'elixir of youth,' "visibly smoothes features" and "tightens the appearance of pores," ITG’s Nick and Emily can promise that it “delivers a boost of radiance after your computer’s all but drained the life from your face.” Thankfully for us, you can now procure it stateside, though this fact doesn't stop Karlie Kloss and actress Roxane Mesquida from stocking up while in France, at the cheaper Paris-drugstore price. Why? Kloss calls it, simply, “amazing.”

Photos by Mathea Millman.

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  • Nomadic D.

    Sounds magical, but over at beautypedia Paula gives it a big thumbs down for the high alcohol content. Maybe we could use some other spritzy toner to scruff up our makeup or something? I'm intrigued by the idea, but managing to resist the cult status of the product.

    • Cat

      I am a frequent reader of Paula's reviews and really really appreciate that site, not least for giving us complete ingredient lists of products, which are often near impossible to find before purchasing. While I am not the biggest fan of Caudalie's elixir, I do think that Paula can be a bit over the top with her judgement sometimes. Don't get me wrong, that is something I kind of like, sometimes I really do want to hear what the worst case scenario would be when considering a product. But I don't always follow her advice. For example, she automatically puts down products for containing ANY fragrant essential oils, which I guess is understandable since some skin types can get irritated by them. I have tested such products on myself with caution and have never ever been even mildly irritated, so I don't think IN MY CASE, it is justified to rule out/throw away a product just because it contains some at the end of the ingredient list. In the particular case of alcohol, I am ok with it as long as it is not the main ingredient or I am not using the product every day.

      I think it is important to know what we are putting on our face, but as with everything, it's always good to hear different (well informed) opinions, and moderation is key :)

    • Nina R.

      Paula Begoun is a little dictatorial about the alcohol thing. Unless you have a reaction (like overdrying), there is nothing wrong with a little alcohol on your face. She also confuses emollient, quick-evaporating, cosmetic cetyl alcohols with regular "rubbing" alcohols. I like the fact that Paula advocates being gentle with your skin, but she goes a bit overboard sometimes. Love your blog nomadicd!

      • Cat

        Totally with you Nina.

      • murt

        I'm not a Paula Begoun fan, but according to her page on alcohol in cosmetics, she definitely doesn't confuse cetyl alcohols with grain alcohols. To the contrary, she specifies cetyl alcohols as being beneficial for skin. Here is the link:

        • Nina R.

          Yes, on the page you cite she does discriminate between alcohols, but often when she does product reviews, she will say that something is bad because of the alcohol content, but then it turns out that the product actually contains cetyl alcohols, or very little alcohol at all. This is probably because of the size of the staff and that they aren't always checking the actual product contents as stated on packaging.

  • Pink Elephant

    It's great for those day's when you've went a bit crazy with the powder. It has the magical ability to un-cake my face :) and it smells lovely!

  • sashi

    eau thermale avene has a spray which is simply water, but has a similar effect with obviously no scent.

  • Jessica

    I really dislike the smell, which lingers all day unfortunately.

    • disqus_kHkQi7Wx5N

      Me too.

  • Bolly

    Jurlique Rose Mist is also great. I can't even describe what it does, it just makes your skin look badass.

  • BlurredVision

    Love love love this product! It's a dry skin girl's life saver!

  • borborygmus 5000

    I don't get the hype either. Bought a bottle to try, but the heavy fragrance is hardly therapeutic, and alcohol is the second ingredient listed. Avene's thermal spray did more for my skin. My skin is so sensitive I get nasty red splotches from heavy sun exposure, and I spray Avene to get rid of that. And I found out that it works just as well to set makeup.

    • murt

      Definitely agree.... I bought it without looking at the ingredients, which was stupid - it dried out and irritated my skin, and looking at all of the irritating ingredients (high percentage of alcohol plus citrus essential oils), that wasn't surprising. There are way better toners out there.

      ETA: If you have oily skin this might work for you, but on my dry skin, it wasn't good.

      • Laura

        Agree...I bought it because of the hype, and on my oily skin it also did so much damage. I broke out really bad. I assume it's because of the oils and the alcohol. It probably "works" if your skin is already flawless.

  • Lera

    I bought it a few years ago. It stings the skin on my face, and it could really irritate the eyes if it gets there. I was really shocked, I didn't know that, and I had my eyes wide open. No one talks about that. I just use regular thermal water now.

  • Alexa

    Completely agree that it's good for de-techning the face after a full day of comp use; have been totally addicted to this spray for years.

  • Carly

    been using this stuff for two years. i have dry acne prone skin and it is my #1 product for keeping my skin looking its best. i went a few months without and my skin flared up and it was then i realized how essential it is. i also keep both the full size on hand as well as the travel size. in addition, i try to keep one on hand as a back up.

  • Lisa

    I use Fresh Rose Floral Toner. It doesn't have an overbearing scent and feels refreshing. I have also use Mario Badescu Facial Mist which is a mere $7.

  • Chloe

    I love this stuff! The alcohol and essential oils doesn't bother me too much since they're originate from plants, I am sure all my other natural beauty products have similar ingredients anyway. But the scent is definitely not for everyone!

  • petal and plume

    i'm devoted to this stuff!

  • disqus_kHkQi7Wx5N

    From all the post about this elixir I thought I had to give it a try during my last visit to Sephora but the smell is so strong I couldn't try it. I see that many seem to love the scent but I don't use products that have scents that I don't care for.

  • Designer Binary

    This is amazing. I love it. Have never ran out since I was gifted my first one from my sister a couple years back. It refreshes and hydrates whilst sitting at a computer, great pick me up, brilliant to set make up and travel with especially on flights. Smells divine and I find it relaxing. I have various bottles knocking around in most of my bags. Only ever bought travel size.

  • Claire McCormack

    I am approaching my 10 year anniversary with this product- I never leave home without it. It is hard to find a non-aerosol spray with a super-fine mist. This has that. That's why it's so great as a makeup setter. I also spray it on my part if I have a lot if flyaways and it works well. That being said- I had a friend who, if I sprayed this within 6 feet of him he would have a total sneezing fit! I did this to him twice before getting it through my thick skull. So there are definitely things in there that can irritate some people. The only mist I ever found to come close was the one by Super by Perricone, but that line dropped off the face of the earth.

  • Dbakeca Italia

    I absolutely love it!

  • Katherine

    I might be one of the minority who absolutely loves the smell. Actually, that's why I'm here - does anyone know a perfume or body spray that smells similar to Beauty Elixir? I've tried Crabtree & Evelyn's Hungary Water cologne but found it too musky and not herbal enough. Any help would be SO appreciated!