Elisabeth Sigmund-Skin Rebel Since 1967
Elisabeth in 1932
Skin Rebel Since Day 1, Elisabeth Sigmund-Co Founder of Dr Hauschka
Elisabeth Sigmund was an Austrian cosmetologist and cosmetics entrepreneur who began to create medicinal plant-based skin care products which would today be classed as natural cosmetics in the 1930s. Elisabeth Sigmund had a passionate interest in cosmetics at an early age. After completing her school leaving exams and two semesters of a medical degree in Vienna, she trained to become a qualified esthetician.
Throughout her life, Elisabeth Sigmund had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and conducted extensive independent studies into cosmetically active medicinal plants. She consistently used her findings to develop her skin care products according to Rudolf Steiner‘s (Founder of Anthroposophy and biodynamic agriculture) theories which is to study rhythm as rhythm brings life. Elisabeth then went to Paris until 1939 to learn the craft of cosmetics production in a cosmetics laboratory and then went on to open her own cosmetic studio in Stockholm, Sweden. She regularly ordered preparations from WALA in Eckwalden, Germany for her studio.
Elisabeth working in the laboratory at WALA/Dr. Hauschka
Synergy with Dr. Rudolph Hauschka
Dr. Rudolf Hauschka, the founder of WALA Medicines, was primarily concerned with health care and solely produced WALA medicines, which use aqueously extracted, rhythmicised medicinal plant extracts to activate the body’s self-healing abilities. To make this possible, Dr. Rudolf Hauschka developed a unique procedure of alcohol-free plant extraction. WALA’s founder also long considered the idea of special cosmetics that would fit with his entrepreneurial ideas. These were to complement the WALA Medicines range that had existed since 1935 by providing skin care products with health benefits.
As early as the 1950s, WALA passed a resolution that cosmetics should be developed for this purpose, which should be placed alongside the medicinal products. He wanted cosmetics made from natural substances, well tolerated and based on knowledge from drug production - Rudolf Hauschka's wish for such a care line was to be fulfilled with the help of Elisabeth Sigmund. Elisabeth’s ideas were truly the perfect match for WALA, who believes in activating the body's self-healing powers. They do this by harmonizing the body functions and strengthening the immune system. The new "WALA" cosmetics should stimulate the skin's own activity, the largest human organ, and thus have a positive effect on the health of the whole person.
In a development phase from 1963 to 1967, Elisabeth Sigmund and employees of the Wala Laboratory developed new cosmetics on the basis of plant substances from controlled organic-biodynamic cultivation. Elisabeth was convinced of the "natural activity of the skin". Cosmetics are not intended to provide the skin with active ingredients, but rather to help it regenerate with plant extracts and oils. In 1967, the new line of cosmetics came under the name "Healing Cosmetics by Elisabeth Sigmund" on the market. Since 1978, it has simply been known as Dr. Hauschka Skin Care.
Elisabeth Sigmund commented that, “We naturally felt like rebels when we developed these unconventional cosmetics”, speaking about the early days of Dr. Hauschka in 1967. Natural cosmetics are not a passing trend for Dr. Hauschka; they are a firm tradition that has existed for decades. Dr Hauschka has been different since Day 1.
Elisabeth’s ground-breaking guiding principle: the activation of the skin’s own healthy function
These following principles were important to Elisabeth Sigmund when developing her line of cosmetics and it is still practised till today.
- The night care should be free of grease so that the skin can breathe freely and excrete metabolic products overnight
- She did not divide the skin into skin types. Your cosmetics should stimulate the skin's own regenerative powers for every skin type
- For her, skin care was equivalent to therapy and always included the health-care aspect
- Your cosmetics should consist exclusively of natural ingredients and under no circumstances should contain isolated active ingredients. She always processed whole plant parts. She had taken this idea from anthroposophy, whose scientific approach played an essential role in the development of her products
The first natural and organic skin care range was launched in 1967
Elisabeth Sigmund was an unusual woman. World traveler, theater maker, researcher, natural scientist, esthetician. Her interests formed the basis for her holistic skin care concept and advice on lifestyle and self-care. After all, she knew that people need not just outer but also inner beauty. She developed the Dr. Hauschka Facial Treatment based on manual lymphatic drainage and the use of a brush to stimulate the skin instead of a facial massage after her study trip to India introduced her to Ayurvedic concepts. These methods are still taught and used by Dr. Hauschka Estheticians in their work today.
Elisabeth Sigmund, Cosmetic Studio in Sweden 1954
Oil-Free Night Care
Elisabeth Sigmund brought formulations and her skin care treatment to WALA. She furthermore offered a skin care concept of oil-free night care and the recognition that people’s skin condition is changeable – with the right, supportive skin care. “SKIN CARE means body care and facial care; it means looking after one of our most important organs: our physical body’s protective jacket”, she wrote.
In Vienna when she studied medicine for two semesters and spent a long time looking at the physiology of the skin, she theorised that oil-free night care had to be better for the skin as oily night care hinders the skin’s important night-time excretion process. When she worked with Wala to develop Dr. Hauschka Skin Care in the 1960s, this knowledge became an important basic pillar of our skin care culture. All developments were firmly based on Elisabeth Sigmund’s ground-breaking guiding principle: the activation of the skin’s own healthy function and her own tests confirmed this.
Incidentally, there is a lovely quote from Elisabeth Sigmund from the period in the 1960s when Dr. Hauschka Skin Care was first being developed. At the time, she was living in Sweden and involved in the development work from afar. When Dr. Hauschka Renewing Night Conditioner (then known as Rhythmic Night Conditioner) was developed, she wrote: “I have now performed a full skin treatment on myself with such success that my husband recently asked:”Why do you always look so young now?’ No further comment is needed.“
Elisabeth Sigmund, Cosmetic Studio in Sweden 1954
Cosmetics that are also Skin Care
In 1981, Elisabeth proudly showed herself in Eckwalden (where WALA is still based) - with her first own lipstick on her lips. The first make-up products to be launched on the market in 1981 were eyeshadows and lipsticks. Just like the facial care products, these were made from formulations that contained the medicinal plants needed to care for the skin. In some ways, the make up products were the result of Elisabeth Sigmund’s interests and visions. They combine the beautiful and decorative with the supportive and caring properties of nature.
Ever since her childhood, Elisabeth Sigmund loved the theatre and temporarily worked in production in both Jena and Stockholm. Her circle of friends included many actors and dancers. Incidentally, it was the latter for whose tired feet she developed what is today known as Sage Purifying Bath Essence. As an esthetician, she recognised how stressed the actors’ skin was as their stage make-up wasn’t applied using particularly well-tolerated products. She therefore proposed the idea of make-up with a difference to WALA. For her, creating make-up that wasn’t beneficial for the skin was simply inconceivable.
We also have her to thank her for the cosmetic version of the rose day cream, but far more as well.
Fun Fact : There are 35 roses in a tube of Rose Day Cream
Elisabeth around 1927 and 1945
Elisabeth at 90 being interviewed
Elisabeth remained a valued consultant for all matters relating to Dr. Hauschka Skin Care and Dr. Hauschka treatments until shortly before her death at the age of 99 and was always willing to listen to the ideas and concerns presented by the future generations.
We are deeply grateful for Elisabeth Sigmund's collaborative work with Dr Hauschka. Her work is commemorated with utmost respect and appreciation. The curiosity, energy, and knowledge she demonstrated will remain as an example to us for all time.