I’ve been glued to The French Beauty Solution, the newly released book by Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalíe (the French beauty line that includes one of all-time favs, the Caudalíe Beauty Elixir). The book is filled to the brim with unique French beauty tips, but there was one in particular that caught my eye: The 3-day grape cleanse. Apparently, every year since 1998 (except, of course, when she was pregnant), Mathilde takes three days to survive solely on grapes. And she loves it. Who would have thought?
I was definitely intrigued and even a little skeptical, but it’s a well-known fact that the French just know what’s up when it comes to beauty, so I thought I would give it some thought. I mean right? After all, if the creator of Caudalíe is giving you beauty advice, you listen. Determined to learn more, I took a field trip to Mathilde’s New York City office. The French beauty queen and I covered just about everything – her beauty secrets, her incredible line Caudalíe and, of course, this grape cleanse – the benefits, the how-to’s, and the after effects.
Annie: You were born in the French Alps. How would you define French beauty and what makes it different from American beauty?
Mathilde: I discovered there was truly a difference between the French and Americans when I first moved to New York from Paris in 2010. For the French, our beauty routine is founded on prevention and upkeep and is regarded as an essential, on-going investment. We believe beauty is something that can give you pleasure and that will make you look and feel good. For the past two decades I’ve dedicated my life to beauty and wellness and I’m excited to package it up into The French Beauty Solution.
Annie: How and why did Caudalíe get started, and what is its current mission?
Mathilde: Caudalíe was created twenty years ago when my husband Bertand and I met Professor Vercauteren on my family’s vineyard, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. He introduced us to the power of the grape and the grapevines. He asked us if we were aware that we were throwing away treasures during the distillery process after the harvest. This lead us to learn of all the amazing benefits of the grapes and the grapevines. Our mission is to continue to discover the power of the grape and to continue creating natural, effective and indulgent skincare products.
Annie: What is your best beauty advice for retaining youthful skin?
Mathilde: Wear a moisturizer containing antioxidants. I consider these to be the best ingredients in beauty. Also, always wear SPF 50 when you’re out in the sun!
Annie: We are all familiar with the saying, “French women don’t get fat.” What is your secret?
Mathilde: The key is to eat in a well-balanced way and to vary the ingredients. I eat lots of vegetables and fish. I always have a full breakfast. If I am hungry during the day I snack on fruits, usually apples. I love apples. I don’t eat too much for dinner because I don’t have an opportunity to burn those calories off. The most important thing is exercise and drinking at least 1.5 Liters of water a day.
Annie: I would love to hear your #1 beauty secret.
Mathilde: A glass of red wine a day! It’s beneficial in the antioxidant polyphenols and has a very high resveratrol content. The darker the wine, the more polyphenols it contains! It’s not only good for your health but your skin too!
Annie: What is your favorite chapter in your new book The French Beauty Solution?
Mathilde: I think the most important part of the book is when we discuss the Pleasure Principle. The main objective of the book is for women to understand that beauty is something that should make you feel good, because when you feel good, you look good.
Annie: Explain your yearly “Grape Cleanse” – what you do and how this work?
Mathilde: It’s actually very simple. All you eat are grapes. Lots of grapes! I’ve been doing the three day grape cleanse every fall since 1998, except when I’ve been pregnant. It’s a good cleanse to improve your skin, to help you feel less fatigued and stressed, to help you get better sleep, promote waste elimination, improve your senses of taste and smell, and to improve your eating habits.
Mathilde’s 3-Day Grape Cleanse:
Improvement in your skin, less fatigue and stress, better sleep, waste elimination, an improved sense of taste and smell, improved eating habits.
BEFORE THE CLEANSE
Eat a diet as clean as possible for at least a week or more, primarily fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Do your best to avoid red meat, heavy meals, alcohol, coffee, or any other caffeinated drinks, and chocolate.
Stock up on plenty of grapes; over the next three days you should expect to eat anywhere from two to over five pounds of them! Relax!
Eat only grapes – the skins AND the seeds. Drink only water, green or rooibos tea. Note that it is better to eat small “meals” of grapes throughout the day in three-hour intervals rather than sticking to the typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Start the day with two large glasses of water. Go to bed earlier than usual.
Don’t panic if you wake up with a headache, feeling cold, or with a few spots on your skin; this is a sign that the detox is working, and they’ll soon go away. Follow the same schedule as day one. Note that black and dark-red grapes have the most nutrients, but if your stomach begins to hurt, eat seeded green grapes, which are easier to digest. Take a long walk.
Follow the same schedule.
AFTER THE CLEANSE
Keep drinking fresh, unsweetened grape juice on an empty stomach, approximately twenty minutes before breakfast, for three days to help reinforce benefits of the cleanse.
Ease yourself back into eating regular foods, sticking mainly to fresh and unprocessed items such as unsweetened greek yogurt, small amounts of whole grains, and light protein such as chicken or fish.
What are your thoughts? Would you try the grape cleanse? Sounds pretty interesting to me! Shop my 6 favorite Caudalié products below, for that real French-girl glow. These are seriously damn wonderful products.