Full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight disease and aging, grapes are the ultimate superfood. (Photo: bbc.co.uk)
As beauty writers, sometimes it seems like a new miracle-working exotic fruit drifts over from the tropics every season. While it’s exciting to be learning about things like acai berries, goji berries, and pitaya, there’s no need to journey through the rainforest to find an anti-aging miracle. One of the best ingredients for anti-aging is already here, and its home-grown! It’s time to get reacquainted with the humble grape.
You’ve probably thrown them in your salads and set them out with cheese for cocktail parties without even pausing to think about how incredible these tiny fruits are. Unlike finicky tropical fruits, grapes can be found pretty much anywhere on earth (except Antarctica) and are absolutely stuffed full of phytonutrients (aka plant-based nutrients) and antioxidants.
Resveratrol, one of the most buzzed-about phytonutrients, plays a powerful role in increasing longevity on every biological level, from promoting cell survival to protecting against cancer and other age-related disorders. Polyphenols, another often-highlighted feature of grapes, are extremely powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits. When applied directly to the skin, these compounds delay skin aging and improve elasticity while also protecting against oxidative and environmental stress.
The one caveat to the wonders of the grape is the fact that these compounds are mostly concentrated in the skins and seeds of the fruit. This, incidentally, is the reason why red wine is more healthful than white (the skins are removed for the fermentation of the latter). Sadly, this means if you’re spitting out your seeds or munching on the seedless kind, you’re missing out on a good chunk of antioxidants and nutrients.
Don’t write off grapes just yet, though. A number of winemakers who realized the potential health benefits of the raw materials they were tossing away quickly diverted these resources into creating beauty and skincare products with a focus on anti-aging. A few of our favorites are below:
Founded by Lydia Mondavi (whose husband is part of the famous Californian wine family), 29 infuses all of its products with an antioxidant grape seed extract that is processed right alongside Mondavi wine. Focusing on color cosmetics as well as skincare, 29 is a straight-up love letter to California wine country. The name 29 comes from the highway that runs through Napa Valley and many product names are also inspired by the area.
Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas founded Caudalie after meeting a polyphenol specialist at the family’s vineyards at Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux. Caudalie’s formulas include portions of the grape seed, the grapevine, and grape sap in its products. In addition to polyphenols and resveratrol, Caudalie skincare products include the skin-brightening viniferine, extracted from the sap released from grapevine stalks. Always committed to the environment, Caudalie donates 1% of proceeds to environmental associations around the world.
Formulated with a polyphenol base harvested from Vitis vinifera tempranillo grapes from the Ribera del Duero vineyards of Castile and León, ESDOR skincare products focus on the antioxidant powers and skin-saving benefits of grape skins and seeds. All ESDOR product formulas are at least 85% natural and feature many other botanical extracts and essential oils.
But why invest in grape-derived cosmetics instead of just consuming grapes and wine instead? Keep in mind that the important parts of the grape often go unconsumed or are filtered out. And according to Caudalie, 50 kg of grape seeds are required to make 1 kg of grapeseed oil. That’s a lot of anti-aging power harnessed right there! Whether you’re into Californian, French, or Spanish wine, there’s a skincare product for every oenophile. This weekend we encourage you to grab a bottle of red, some cheese, and grapes, and pamper yourself with 29 Preserves Night Moisture or Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum.
Did you know Caudalie just recently opened two boutiques in New York City? See what our editor Meredith had to say about the opening of the West Village Caudalie boutique (spoiler: free facials!)