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Beauty that’s soil deep

JACKIE O' FLASH - Bea J. Ledesma (The Philippine Star) - December 27, 2013 - 12:00am

In one corner of Bezau, an Austrian outpost, a skincare company has been harvesting active plant ingredients from the Bregenz Forest, an intact ecosystem in the Austrian Alps that’s remained pristine, its soil rich in potent nutrients that deliver active ingredients in the plant life growing within.

Developed by Susanne Kaufmann, the eponymous skincare line originated from the family’s Hotel Post Bezau, a high-end spa that created organic, skincare-specific products with origins in natural ingredients: oils and single substances with energy-rich oils like rosehip seed oil and cuckoo flower oil as carriers.

Bea von Thurn und Taxis, a Susanne Kaufmann representative who flew to Manila to launch the label at Univers in Rockwell, emphasizes Kaufmann’s organic principles. Even its packaging, all clean lines and minimal design developed by an architect, speaks of its characteristic pure philosophy.

YSTYLE: What makes it organic?

BEA VON THURN UND TAXIS: There are three important reasons or points. Our preservation is organic as our shelf life is 30 months while for other brands it’s 12-20 years. To make a product last that long you need to put something strong in.

The second thing is the emulsifier, to bring oil and water together. When made from plants, it is not as stable as (a chemical composition) so I cannot put it in the oven and back to the freezer. My product would separate, that’s the big difference.

The third thing is oils. Using natural oils is expensive. I would say 90 percent of most products are made of artificial oil because it’s much cheaper. Everybody knows that almond oil and rose oil are very expensive. So what the industry does is they make it in an artificial way. One way for you to check at home if the product you’re using is synthetic is to apply the cream when your skin is slightly wet. If it’s natural, it should absorb immediately — with no residue — because both your skin and the oil are organic.

Does it have roots in homeopathy?

Nowadays, people get more and more sensitive towards plants. We totally avoid essential oils because it’s responsible for allergies when it comes to aromatherapy. So what we do with some plants, we break them down in homeopathic doses and put them in the cream. The way you use a plant is traditional, it’s just the way you put it in a cream that’s modern.

Susanne Kaufmann places emphasis on the ingredients’ origins, this Alpine forest. What role does location play in the formulation?

Because there’s no industry, it’s pure. In the Alpines you don’t have any pollution, it’s a very clean area. You can’t exploit the landscape, you can’t do anything. The pines from the Alps are supposed to be very clean. When plants are grown in a very special area, usually they have a strong impact, stronger ethics. So if you grow plants in your garden in the middle of all this pollution, it won’t have the potency you would find in the Alps.

So is the answer, especially with homeopathic beauty, simply to restore what’s depleted to create a natural balance?

I think the idea behind real organic cosmetics is to always learn your skin again to help yourself. The concept of organic is we want the skin to learn how to restore itself. Other methods do peelings, but this is not the concept of organic — to enhance what your skin already has. I think it’s a totally different idea from the conventional cosmetics. Like when you get a pedicure — when you take away too much skin from your skin, it grows thicker even faster and it’s the same way here. The basic philosophy is different from other cosmetics lines. We peel but for every two weeks and it’s very light. Not at all harsh.

We help the skin to get better, we want healthy skin; we don’t want to destroy the skin to make it better.

Do you think that the efficacy of the cream is affected by the locale of the user? If you’re in a high-impact, high-density, high-pollution zone in the tropics, is it less effective than for someone who lives someplace more pristine, like Switzerland?

How much time do you spend outside and inside? (You’re indoor most of the day) which is a dry, cold climate. It’s much harder than ours so my answer is no because in the first place it’s humid here. You need more moisture because you’re always in an air-conditioned room. So moisturizing is a big concept despite living in a tropical, humid area. And then it comes to a point when you get older, you automatically lose the oily skin and in the end it’s the same concept.

BEA HOTEL POST BEZAU IN THE ALPINES KAUFMANN OIL ORGANIC SKIN SUSANNE KAUFMANN
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