I would like to highlight here that I am not someone that responds to the question What is the best skincare brand? very well. As a beauty editor with a penchant for all things skin-related, the idea that any skincare brand could be deemed the best doesn't sit well with me. For starters, different people's skin tends to like different things. But as well as that, when we talk about a brand rather than individual products, we have a lot more to consider. For example, does the brand's values align with your own? Does the brand's aesthetic draw you in? Do all of the products, as a collective, cater to your needs? Truly, declaring one skincare brand as the best is, if you're asking me, basically impossible.
When we beauty editors get excited over something, I'll admit that the buzz we collectively create isn't always as well considered as it should be—we too can fall victim to hype. Often, we get excited about brands at the launch phase and soon realise that in a very competitive market, they just don't have what it takes to impress us in the long term. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have brands that sit, quietly existing under the radar, that editors adore but might not necessarily garner widespread hype. Susanne Kaufmann is a skincare brand that sits in the latter category. And if I had to settle on the "best" skincare brand, it's definitely competing for a top spot.
Here's the thing about Susanne Kaufmann: It's a brand that every editor I know gets excited about but few of us shout about. As soon as the brand launches a new product, we're all in. Whenever a drop of new samples lands on our desks, we're not sharing it with a soul. In fact, if a Susanne Kaufmann product crops up in the Who What Wear office, you might end up with a snatching contest on your hands. This, in essence, sums up the reason we don't generate hype around it—we just want to keep it for ourselves.
And trust me—if I could keep it a secret, I would. Because that's the beauty of the brand. The products are considered and have a way of making you feel as though they've been formulated especially for you. I have been a lover of Susanne Kaufmann products for years. The brand's eye creams are easily some of the best I've ever used against my dark circles, the cleansers are potentially my favourite in existence and the bath products? Well, they sit in a whole tier of their own. I have hoarded, stashed and lapped up every drop of every Susanne Kaufmann product that has ever come my way, and yet, until recently, I rarely saw it on bathroom shelves on Instagram. It wasn't until I started working at Who What Wear a few years ago that I realised I wasn't alone in my Susanne Kaufmann love affair. In fact, it was when other editors in the office started asking after specific Susanne Kaufmann products that I realised quite how special the brand's skincare is.
Who What Wear editor Emma Spedding, for example, swears by the moisturisers for glowing skin and the bath products for ultimate luxury relaxation. It's common knowledge amongst team Who What Wear UK that Editor in Chief Hannah Almassi goes weak for the sumptuous, limb-loving body moisturisers (and considers them products she actually buys herself). And while we all have this collective love for the products, we remain hush about them, honoring the understated excellence of the brand itself.
Recently, I have spotted the brand cropping up more regularly on Instagram. Again, not garishly or in an irritating sort of way but rather featuring quietly, simply cementing its status of brilliance. While the now-cult room diffuser might be nestled unassumingly on an Emma Hoareau shelfie, Bettina Looney is busy exclaiming that she "lives by" Susanne Kaufmann products on Who What Wear.
The moment I realised it wasn't just me who couldn't get enough of Susanne Kaufmann skincare, I sat down long and hard to try and figure out what it is that makes the brand so special—and I think it's a number of things that make the perfect recipe. To start with, let's talk about the aesthetic. Susanne Kaufmann products are chic as hell. Kaufmann herself told me that making sure her products look special enough to keep out on the shelf is important to her. (Kaufmann is a hotelier who originally created her line of products for her in-hotel spa.) The bottles are luxe and pretty but in a way so understated and cool that they're practically begging to be picked up.
Then we come to the formulas and products themselves. The brand's skincare offering is actually quite vast. From cleansers and serums to toners, masks and moisturisers, the Susanne Kaufmann product roster stretches from mind-soothing bath soaks to high-tech skincare serums. And while there are product variations to suit different wants and needs, I feel confident in saying that every single one of the products delivers exactly what it promises. There are no overpromises and no untrustworthy marketing ploys, but there are always results. The skincare formulas are high-tech, while the spa-focussed ethos of the brand noticeably shines through with every application. They make you feel great while you're applying them, sure, but they also really work. And that is something you don't find too often in the world of skincare. Some of the most efficacious brands around tend to be (for lack of a better work) unsexy and clinical-feeling.
And yes, you can say this for a lot of brands out there, but something about Susanne Kaufmann skincare hits different. The brand is, as I've already mentioned, luxe. The price points are high but perhaps not quite as high as some of the other major players in high-end skincare (for example, Dr. Barbara Sturm or La Mer). The difference, however, between those skincare brands (which I do love, don't get me wrong) is that Susanne Kaufmann's high price points feel totally justified. To begin with, the products are all formulated and created in Kaufmann's hometown in Bezau, Austria. Nestled away in the Alps, Bezau is home to some of nature's greatest resources—and you better believe a whole load of them end up in Susanne Kaufmann products. The pine that sits inside the bottle of Mountain Pine Bath Oil, for example, is hand-cut from pine trees just up the hill from the Susanne Kaufmann production house.
And that leads us nicely to the sustainability credentials. The production house itself is all run on totally renewable solar energy. The luxury glass bottles are made from recycled (and fully recyclable) glass, and many of the products have refills available in which all of the plastic packaging is not only recycled but also fully recyclable. (This is very difficult when it comes to lightweight plastics.) The brand recently ditched all of its labels due to sustainability considerations and changed all of its exterior packaging to simple cardboard made from recycled paper. And yet, the brand still feels luxe.
Truthfully, I'm not sure there is a skincare brand out there that does skincare quite like Susanne Kaufmann, and I think that's the reason we editors have taken such a shine to it. You might not know the ins and outs, but when you're using it, you know it's something worth holding on to.
Keep scrolling for the 12 Susanne Kaufmann products you should really get to know. Trust me; you won't regret it.
1. Susanne Kaufmann Refillable Purifying Cleansing Gel
This is potentially my favourite cleanser of all time. It's expensive for a cleanser, I'll admit, which is why I don't use it all day every day. It works into a beautiful lather but doesn't dry the skin out in the slightest thanks to hyaluronic acid, bisabolol and alpine willowherb. The best bit though is that it has a gorgeous, mind-soothing scent but miraculously doesn't sting your eyes, so you can get your whole face of makeup off in one go.
2. Susanne Kaufmann Enzyme Exfoliator
If you're after a glow-boosting mask, look no further. This enzyme-based exfoliator smooths skin in minutes. I love slathering it on first thing in the morning to help wake up my complexion over the top of a vitamin C. It seems odd, I know, but Kaufmann swears by this for a supercharged glow.
3. Susanne Kaufmann Boosting Liquid Mask
This is the latest product launch from the brand, and I think it just might be one of my favourite face masks ever. Perfect for the summer months, it is almost impossibly cooling on the skin—like ice. The hero ingredient is Swiss apple stem cells, which deliver almost unbelievable plumping hydration. Whenever my skin is feeling and looking drab, this is the product I want on hand.
4. Susanne Kaufmann Hyaluron Serum
I feel a certain way about hyaluronic acid serums that cost an arm and a leg. Do you need to spend over £100 on this simple hydrating serum? Absolutely, categorically not. However, it does have a USP. Formulated with citric acid, it also helps to smooth fine lines, leaving skin looking and feeling smoother for longer. If I had £107 to spend on a hyaluronic acid serum, I'd make it this one.
5. Susanne Kaufmann Renewing Day Cream
Who What Wear editor Emma Spedding loves the Susanne Kaufmann moisturisers, and this one is no exception. This daily face cream contains a plethora of natural ingredients that have been expertly formulated into a high-tech moisturiser. Designed to reduce skin-damaging inflammation and strengthen the skin's natural defences, it's one of those skincare products that just make you feel better in yourself.
6. Susanne Kaufmann Eye Rescue Serum
When I first came across this product, I felt passionate about the price. A hydrating eye serum with a metal rollerball for £80? Shocking. But then I tried it. And then I tried it again. And again. And again. Now I'm on my fourth one. I really don't know what sort of witchcraft this is, but it takes down puffiness in seconds and leaves the fine lines around my eyes looking significantly better off. If I could only use one eye product ever again, it would be this. Although, if you like rich, nourishing eye products, you're definitely better off going for a cream.
7. Susanne Kaufmann Mountain Pine Bath Oil
Let me first say that all Susanne Kaufmann bath products are exceptional. It really was difficult to choose just one. This particular oil, however, is heaven. The oil doesn't leave the sides of your bath (or your skin) greasy but rather just gives the water a nourishing touch and fills the room with the most sense-clearing pine scent you've ever come across.
8. Susanne Kaufmann Hand Soap
I have a bottle of this hand soap next to every sink in my flat right now—and I know several other beauty editors who do too. The scent is subtle, but the reason I love it so much is that it cleans hands thoroughly. The lather leaves them feeling squeaky clean but without a hint of tight dryness.
9. Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter
The famous Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter. Like the bath products, I believe that all of the body moisturisers are a level above the rest. In fact, I don't think anybody does body creams quite like Susanne Kaufmann. This delicately scented body butter is a fan favourite. Leaving skin silky smooth without any uncomfortable greasiness, it's a spa in a jar.
10. Susanne Kaufmann Balancing Room Diffuser
Over 2020 lockdowns, this room diffuser was virtually impossible to get your hands on. In fact, I still sometimes find myself struggling to hunt one down. It's just that popular. Forget diffusers that don't know how to fill a room; this one makes my whole flat smell like a Susanne Kaufmann retreat. I also love the fact the typical "bamboo" sticks have been subbed out for locally sourced Austrian wood.
11. Susanne Kaufmann Calming Pillow Spray
I used to think there wasn't a pillow spray out there that I didn't like—but wow, was I wrong. Over the course of the past year, I've come across plenty of pillow sprays that made my stomach turn. This one, however, is perfect. With lavender and orange, it's all I need for a peaceful night's sleep.
12. Susanne Kaufmann Alkali Salts
This is a weird one, I'll admit, but it does deserve a major shout-out. I didn't know about the ritual of foot bathing before bed until I stayed at Susanne Kaufmann's Hotel Post Bezau, where it is highly encouraged. Created to restore the skin's natural pH, fight dryness and reduce irritation, adding a couple of teaspoons to warm water and soaking your feet for 10 minutes at the end of a busy day is pure bliss. Alternatively, you can use five teaspoons in your bath. However you want to use Alkali Salts, I simply advise you do.