A leader in natural formulations and sustainable business practices, Susanne Kaufmann oversees her namesake skincare company from her base in the Austrian Alps. Her knowledge of the healing power of nature – in particular, the alpine plants that surround her home – has been passed down through generations, and Kaufmann shares that expertise via her chic, holistic and effective products.
Kaufmann is the fifth generation of hoteliers at the Hotel Post Bezau in Bregenzerwald, a picturesque region known for its restorative powers. Stepping into an official role within the family business prompted her desire to enhance the hotel’s spa offering, and more than two decades on, the Susanne Kaufmann Spa is a highly regarded wellness retreat.
The skincare line, established in 2003, continues to grow in popularity worldwide, including in Aotearoa at MECCA.
Here, Kaufmann reflects on the industry and her place in it.
Did you always have a connection to beauty and its routines?
I grew up in the Bregenzerwald region surrounded by a world of health and beauty. I first embraced the beauty and healing power of regional herbs and plants [with] my beloved grandmother – we made healing tonics, marigold cream and arnica schnapps. This is where I formed my passion and curiosity for skincare, natural healing ingredients, and powerful formulations. I always loved it and carry on these traditions with my family to this day.
How did you decide to create your own line?
When I first joined the family hotel in the 1990s, one of my initial projects was to develop a spa with an offering of signature beauty treatments that support a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
I quickly realised that I also needed to create my own in-house spa product line to support the service. A range that celebrates the unrivalled efficacy of natural ingredients sourced from the Alpine
region and surrounding areas to deliver a multitude of benefits for the skin. A range that adopted the same natural, regional and sustainable values as the hotel itself – to look and feel as luxurious
as the results it delivers.
Susanne Kaufman’s spa at Hotel Post Bezau has become globally known as a wellness sanctuary.
How does it feel to be considered a clean-beauty pioneer?
For me, the term ‘clean’ goes much further than high-quality, natural and effective ingredients. It should also encompass environmentally friendly production, sustainable packaging innovation,
manufacturing processes, and deep respect for nature and people. And, as a brand, these are principles we are deeply committed to.
In an oversaturated market, I can proudly say this has always been our philosophy. It has always been about the entire picture.
Has regional sourcing and production always been central to what you do?
Yes. Sustainability, the use of renewable organic resources, cutting-edge science and intelligent product design have been integral to the development of our range for almost two decades.
Since the brand’s conception, we have always championed local production. We are constantly researching the latest in biotechnologies and locally cultivated, Alpine ingredients to
create the most innovative and effective products we can.
Your spa blends traditional practices with modern-day science. Do you have a favourite example of how these come together?
One of my favourite products, the Boosting Liquid Mask, is [made] with locally sourced Swiss apple stem cells, also known as ‘the apple that does not wrinkle’, to deliver long-lasting plumping benefits. This ingredient has years of research behind it. We took this one step further for our spa, developing a signature treatment using this mask. With modern, specialised ultrasound application techniques complementing our powerful natural formulas … this treatment [is designed] to effectively tone, rejuvenate and reduce inflammation.
What is the most requested treatment?
The Collagen Renewal Treatment is a popular treatment among our guests. It works to regenerate and repair the skin from head to toe. The application of individual massage techniques supports the absorption of the products and stimulates the lymph flow. At the same time, collagen production in the skin is stimulated, which supports a healthy, radiant and youthful complexion.
For the body, our Signature Treatment Detox is a popular treatment that works to rid the entire organism of excess acidity and toxins. I always recommend this treatment at the beginning of
a retreat. Eliminating toxins is an important first step to maximise the performance of follow-on skincare, nutrition and fitness.
L-R: Susanne Kaufmann Bath For The Senses; Hyaluron Serum; Eye Rescue Serum; Glow Mask; Hyaluron Body Gel
What does your personal skin and body routine involve?
For me, an effective skincare regime begins with a thorough cleanse. Our highly effective botanical blends found in our cleansers and toners work to lift away impurities and prime the skin for follow-on care. I then apply our Hyaluron Serum to lock in moisture, and finish with the Renewing Day Cream from the Age Restorative Skincare line. The Renewing Day Cream works to restore the skin’s natural health by making it work harder, enhancing cellular renewal and protecting the skin against stress. I’ve always believed in a healthy approach to ageing, and this cream gives me everything I need.
For the body, I love to take a bath and use this time to apply a mask or a peel. Our new Boosting Liquid Mask is my go-to for instantly radiant-looking skin.
Following my bath, I like to apply our Hyaluron Body Gel to damp skin to lock in moisture. If my skin is feeling particularly dry, I like to layer it with the nourishing Body Butter. In the warmer months, I love to leave the Hyaluron Body Gel in the fridge overnight for an extra cooling effect.
What’s your favourite product to use?
Formulated with green coffee extract, hawthorn, hyaluronic acid and baobab, our cooling Eye Rescue Serum is my most sworn-by product – the perfect summer saviour to calm and soothe the delicate eye area. It helps plump the skin around the eye and has an energising effect on tired-looking eyes. It’s a real hero product.
My go-to tip is to use Rejuvenating Eye Cream as a mask – I put a thick layer around my eyes as a once-a-week treatment. I first apply Eye Rescue Serum below the eyes and then a layer of our Rejuvenating Eye Cream to the outer corner of my eye, applying any remaining product to the upper eyelid.
The combination of both products helps minimise fine lines and wrinkles caused by dryness and keeps my eyes looking fresh and alert.
Bath products are unique to your line. What do you love about a good bath?
The skin should always be treated as one. This means the same level of care that you give to your skincare, should apply to your hand and body care too. Baths are a great form of self-care and an effective way to treat the skin.
You can personalise your bath depending on what your physical and/or mental needs are. When my skin is feeling dry, I love to add a couple of spoonsful of the St. John’s Wort Bath into warm water. The powder relieves the feeling of dry skin and replenishes lost moisture, leaving it supple and silky soft.
If I’m feeling a little under the weather, I’ll always take a bath with our Mountain Pine Bath. Developed with essential oils derived from pine and spruce needles, it helps to boost the immune system. These locally sourced oils are known for their skin soothing properties, as well as the invigorating benefits on the mind and body. Combined with warm water, the bath oil relieves muscle tension and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated.