Elisabeth Sigmund – Chapter 4 – Skin Care From A Research Perspective

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Elisabeth 1929

Elisabeth Sigmund’s playful journeys of discovery on her mother’s dressing table were soon driven forward by her inquiring mind. For example, she observed how the oily and aqueous phases of the Elida day cream that her mother used on her face separated out. When she opened the tube, there was an oily layer on the cream.

Somehow, the pharmacist Paul Redtenbacher, who made the Hamamelis facial toner and Crème Céleste for the females in the Resch family using a recipe belonging to their grandmother Anastasia, realised that Elisabeth Sigmund had an extraordinary interest in skin care. He took her to the area of the pharmacy where he produced ointments, creams and facial toners among other things. There, he showed her how these were made and after a while, allowed her to mix them herself. That is when she learned how an emulsion is created.

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Using natural ingredients
Paul Redtenbacher aroused Elisabeth Sigmund’s interest in home-made skin care products with both a cosmetic and a nurturing effect. She was now able to put her knowledge of plants to practical use for the first time. Elisabeth Sigmund made her first attempts to create products at home using sage tea, which relieves inflammation. She also placed rose petals in water and added essential rose oil because the aqueous extract was not as strongly perfumed as she had hoped. Her mother mistakenly saw this curiosity as vanity and tried to stop her daughter from experimenting, but to no avail. Elisabeth Sigmund’s interest in developing her own skin care products became increasingly strong. “I didn’t like the creams that were for sale so wanted to make my own, with ingredients that pleased me”, she once explained. While still at school, Elisabeth and her best friend Wilma took a cosmetics course in Vienna offered by the Geneva-based cosmetics manufacturer Tokalon.


Elisabeth Sigmund’s grandmother Anastasia brought the recipe for the “Crème Céleste” or “heavenly cream”, from her home town of Mähren. This face cream with almond oil and rose water is reputed to have been one of the beauty secrets of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary (1837-1898). When Elisabeth Sigmund developed the first range of Dr. Hauschka skin care products with WALA, the Crème Céleste acted as the model for today’s Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream, although the formulation of the latter is significantly more extensive. Extracts of rose petals and wild rose hips nurture and balance the skin. Shea butter, rose petal wax and avocado oil protect and help retain moisture. Extracts of marsh mallow and St. John’s wort soothe redness, hydrate and fortify.

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