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We scrutinise every raw material we use. After all, every piece of research provides us with insights that help us move forward: people as well as nature.
Photo: Christine Joos
WALA was already making natural cosmetics before there was a name for it. How did that come about?
In 1967 WALA rolled out its ‘Healing Skin Care by Elisabeth Sigmund’ range. From the beginning, our founder wanted to provide skin care products that sit alongside medicinal products. That’s because they were convinced that there is a demand for natural cosmetics from both people and nature.
Why does nature need natural cosmetics? Could you explain what you mean?
As pioneers of natural cosmetics we have wide ranging concerns that also relate to social aspects. We are co-founders and a member of NATRUE, the independent, international quality seal for organic and natural cosmetics. That means we can make change happen not just through our products but also with our partners. So not just on a cosmetics level, but also in agriculture, where we promote organic farming.
And on the cosmetics level? What do natural cosmetics do for people, for their skin?
Our natural cosmetics aim to stimulate processes that help the skin restore its own individual balance. That’s why we look first at the person and their needs. What do you and your skin really need? And what can we find in nature that would help achieve that?
So nature provides ideas for skin care?
Exactly. Nature gives us so many ideas for keeping our skin condition balanced and beautiful. We bring the variety found in medicinal plants, as well as in the mineral and animal kingdom, into our products. We develop each formulation from scratch. That means that every single ingredient has its own role to play, none can be left out or replaced. And that’s how we combine diversity and individuality in our products. Our products have the potential to meet the very personal and changing needs of your skin.
That sounds like products for individualists...?
We make cosmetics for people, not markets. Our products should be mediators – they bring the power of plants to the people who really need them. And that only works if, instead of just following trends, we put people’s specific needs at the centre. That’s how our products really become part of your everyday life.
Photo: WALA Heilmittel GmbH
Photo: Christine Joos
Photo: Christine Joos
And yet the cosmetics industry also lives off creating trends that create a desire in consumers to have the latest thing. How relevant are these trends for you?
Trends are always short-lived. Many of our most popular products are classics and have been in the range since Dr. Hauschka Skin Care was founded, such as our Facial Toner, Rose Day Cream and Cleansing Cream. People all over the world have been using them for over 50 years. So our products seem to make a lasting impression on people, regardless of the era or their nationality.
We don’t follow trends. But we do keep a very close eye on how society changes – and how that impacts on people’s needs. For example, when Dr. Hauschka first came onto the market, there were no night care products. Then we noticed that, as people faced increasing amounts of stress in their everyday lives, they started becoming more and more exhausted. That’s why we developed our Night Serum: it supports the nightly skin renewal process.
Out of all the role models nature gives us for beautiful skin, do you have a favourite medicinal plant?
For me, it’s anthyllis, a signature plant for us. We’ve been using it in Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products since the very beginning. The anthyllis has qualities that are a great example of what our own skin needs: It has the potential to create space, to invigorate and delineate. What’s more, it is radiant and full of vitality. You couldn't ask for anything better for your own skin.
The outer beauty of the anthyllis is obvious at first glance. What about its inner assets?
We take a close look under the microscope at every raw material that we use in our cosmetics, and that goes for anthyllis too. Our scientific analysis in the lab confirms what we see of the plant in the field: Its outer appearance and inner assets match perfectly. The saponins1 of the anthyllis promote cell growth and therefore skin renewal. Furthermore, it contains flavonoids2 which have an antioxidant effect, protecting the skin from UV rays and premature ageing. So this plant sets high standards. It’s just up to us to discover it and work it out.
In other words – knowledge is beauty?
Yes, beauty and health. That’s why we keep on carrying out research, including into plants that we think we know everything about and that have already been intensively researched. Because we gain new knowledge from every bit of research, knowledge that brings advancements for people and nature.
Thank you very much for your time.
1 Saponins are secondary plant compounds stored in roots, flowers and leaves. They protect the plant from fungal and bacterial infestation.
2 Flavonoids are water-soluble, often yellow, plant pigments. They protect the plant from harmful external factors.