There are facials and then there are Dr Hauschka facials, which actually begin with your feet. I have long been a fan of the German brand's natural and organic products and holistic approach to skincare, but I only recently discovered its range of treatments, or what I would call full-body facials. I didn't hesitate to book an appointment to try one of them out – and I wouldn't hesitate to go back for more.
Dr Hauschka has been around since the 1960s and is now one of the most recognisable names in natural skincare.
The plant and mineral ingredients in its signature orange-and-gold glass bottles are ethically sourced, certified natural and organic and free from chemical and synthetic fragrances, dyes and preservatives. Its devotees promote a gentle, non-invasive approach – no peels, scrubs or overloading the skin with product – and recommend a basic routine: cleanse, tone, moisturise during the day and let the skin breathe at night by avoiding oil-based products.
On a recent Saturday morning, I popped into the Dublin Holistic Centre on South William Street to try out the Dr Hauschka Classic Treatment with Tara O'Rourke, an esthetician trained at the Dr Hauschka Academy in Germany.
For €85, the 120-minute facial promised to leave me “feeling cleansed and filled with a sense of happiness, lightness and inner balance”. I was sceptical, but by no means tentative about taking part in two hours of pure pampering.
After asking me a few questions about the condition of my skin and my diet so she could customise my treatment, O’Rourke began by soaking my feet in a warm sage bath and gently rubbing them with a muslin cloth. The combination of warmth, scent and the simple sensation of having freshly washed feet was, quite surprisingly, the perfect prelude to the facial.
Feet dry and body wrapped in a plush towel, I moved to the treatment bed. The rest is mostly a blur. The facial included a blissful combination of masks, fragrant compresses, facial steam bath, hair stroking, head rocking and gentle stretching and massaging of arms, hands, legs and feet. Every liquid and cream was applied with the gentlest touch in a rhythmic, hypnotic motion.
The highlight of the treatment was when O’Rourke repeatedly swept two soft brushes, again in a rhythmic motion, across my face.
She explained to me before the treatment began that this gentle massage, or dry brushing, is meant to stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the natural drainage of lymph fluid, which plays an important role in removing bacteria and other foreign material and waste product from body tissue.
To be honest, I’m not sure what it did to my lymph – I was too busy hovering somewhere between consciousness and dreaming, as the city churned away on the other side of the window.
The 120 minutes passed too quickly. O'Rourke gently stirred me from my stupor, gave me a few minutes to collect myself and, before sending me back into the world, she wrote out a tailored routine for me, which happened to include a few Dr Hauschka products I already know and love: the very gentle Exfoliating Cleansing Cream (€17.75), applied by "pressing and rolling" it onto the skin, the Rose Day Cream (€26.85) that works wonders for dehydrated skin in autumn and winter, and the less intense Rose Day Cream Light (€26.95) for spring/summer. Feeling more relaxed than I have after any other treatment, I took her notes and floated out of the room and back into the sun.
For a list of stockists, see drh.ie