Elisabeth Sigmund – Chapter 1 – A Young Girl

As a pioneer of natural cosmetics, Elisabeth Sigmund started to create her own skin care products from medicinal plants back in the mid-1930s. After WWII, she established herself with her own beauty salon in Stockholm using the products she had developed. She also used this as a base to develop a holistic skin care treatment. Her cooperation with WALA began after a one-year study trip to India, which in turn resulted in the creation of Dr. Hauschka Skin Care and Dr. Hauschka Esthetician Training.

Every month, we want to reveal more details of Elisabeth Sigmund’s colourful life: for example, of her search for medicinal plants for use in skin care, her development of a revolutionary skin care concept or her experiences in India.

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Christened Elisabeth Gabriela Anastasia, Elisabeth Sigmund was the second-born daughter of the Resch family. She came into the world in Vienna’s wealthy Heitzing district in an era characterised by the flair of gas lanterns, carriages and washerwomen, as well as the sound of songs from the many lavender sellers. However, it was also the time of the First World War. Although not an immediate threat to Vienna, this did cause a devastating supply crisis. Elisabeth Sigmund associated the period with her father having to go to the Italian front as a reserve officer.

Coming from a wealthy family, when the War came to an end, Elisabeth and her sister Albine, who was two years her senior, learned to enjoy the finer side of life. Beautiful clothing, cosmetics and long holidays in the country were as much a part of this as literature, music and frequent trips to the theatre. It was at this time that Elisabeth developed her great love of aesthetics and the theatre.

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Hamamelis facial toner and almond paste
At home in the Resch household, one place that held an ever fascinating draw for Elisabeth was her mother’s dressing table. The things to be discovered there were almost endless. For example, the Kaloderma rice powder, which both daughters were allowed to use to conceal minor skin imperfections and powder their nose. Elisabeth later discovered that this was based on rice flour. She also enjoyed the pleasant feel of Dostal’s beauty pearls – small, solid pearls that could be mixed with a little water to create a wonderfully foamy lather for cleansing the face. Elisabeth alternated the beauty pearls with almond paste, which came in a long, porcelain box. She also loved using a facial toner that the chemist would prepare with hamamelis, otherwise known as witch hazel.

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