August 22 2014

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From Austria, With Love


As any true beauty fiend can tell you, part of the thrill of international travel is sleuthing out local primping products to bring back home, if only to utter those five precious words to friends and family members upon your return: “You can’t get this here.” Almost as satisfying is when someone does the sleuthing for you. Something to this effect recently happened to Karl Bradl, who co-owns Aedes de Venustas, the fine fragrance, skincare, bath, and body boutique in New York. “One of my customers told me about it. She said, ‘You must try it,’ ” Bradl explains of Organic Treats by Susanne Kaufmann . And so try it he did.

Already something of a household name among green-leaning types in her native Austria, Kaufmann has tapped into the booming natural beauty business with a line of products formulated with active ingredients derived from plants that have either been cultivated organically or actually collected in the “wild” (Kaufmann’s workshop is in the Bregenz Forest, where she grew up gathering herbs and floral extracts with her grandmother). Her career in the beauty biz started much like Eau d’Italie’s Marina Sersale; Kaufmann’s family owns the Hotel Post in Bezau, a small town in the Austrian Alps, where she set out to design locally crafted spa treatments for guests. After collaborating with dermatologists, her spa menu evolved into a full-fledged range of face and body care offerings for men and women. Standouts include the Cleansing Milk, which has a base of rose oil and an herbal complex of chamomile, sage, and St. John’s wort blossoms designed to gently cleanse dry skin while putting moisture back into it; the Shower/Shampoo, a 2-in-1 hair and body wash packed with marshmallow root and aloe vera to protect against dehydration; and the Oil Bath, a beautifully packaged glass bottle of ylang-ylang, patchouli, and lavender essential oils to relax your mind and ease your body. You don’t need to go to Kaufmann’s pampering destinations in Bezau or Berlin to try them out for yourself, though, delightful as that presumably would be. Bradl has imported a selection of the line, and it’s now selling in the States for the first time at his West Village store.

Aedes de Venustas, 9 Christopher St., NYC, (212) 206-8674,

Photo: Courtesy of Susanne Kaufmann

Natural Beauty