BEAUTY IS BALANCE
Business Woman – Environmentalist – Architect – Researcher – Herbalist Author – Mother. The list of Martina Gebhardt’s talents is long. However, she prefers to dedicate herself to her talent that has been her own since early childhood on: Creating natural cosmetics.
Little insolent strands of grey streak through her brown hair and her eyes are nestled in deep laugh lines. Her pert gourmet nose snubs curiously into the air. She likes to laugh. And when she does, charming dimples form little dents into her cheeks. One on the left side, two on the right side. It would not enter anyone’s mind that the second dimple stemmed from a dog bite. A hole in the cheek of a three-year old child leaving behind an ugly scar. However, the scar helped to show Martina Gebhardt the extraordinary path in life for her to take.
An Ointment for Acne
Not cosmetic surgery, but a simple ointment made of lanolin [wool wax] prescribed by a pediatrician faded the scar. An agreeable side effect: Martina’s acne also improved. That made the 17-year old, who grew up in Grosshesselohe near Munich, curious. She started to read books, questioned experts, studied herbs, and experimented. Her first results: an ointment made of sage and thyme that ultimately turned the ugly dog bit in her face into a cute dimple and caused her acne to disappear. That, in turn, made her friends curious. They wanted to have Martina’s cosmetic cream. She remembers: «As a result, I spent many quiet hours in the kitchen, mixing ointments that were tried out by some of my friends».
Meanwhile, the small cosmetics workshop has turned into a real business that bears the name of its owner: «Martina Gebhardt Naturkosmetik». The business experienced an upswing during the time when the incident in Chernobyl caused people to feel unsafe. Health-food stores mushroomed and the ecological movement made people conscious of an environmental-friendly lifestyle and environmental science. The overwhelming interest in Martina’s pure natural cosmetics was so vast, it steered the studied architect towards a life full of jars, crèmes, oils and lotions. She was barely 25 years old at that time. The young business woman hired people, built a production facility and started an herbal garden. On the side she was working as an architect, wrote books and gave seminars. The business grew – nice and slowly, one step at a time. Martina Gebhardt called it »organic growth« and today she attaches great importance to that concept.
Since 1994, her cosmetics company is housed in a 400-hundred-year old farmhouse that the agile lady architect restored with much love. The farmhouse and several surrounding farms bear the name Pessenhofen. Her roughly 74,900 square feet property is nestled among the gentle Bavarian foothills of the Alps not far from Lake Ammersee. The pretty and cozy house with its warm wooden beams conveys the feeling of soothing warmth and security. It is the workplace for 30 women who manufacture, package and distribute here more than 140 different cosmetics products, all in accordance with Martina’s ideas. And often these ideas are quite extraordinary. »I have a pioneering spirit» the busy lady tells us with a smile, »and I prefer to explore totally new avenues with complete determination«.
The lady founder of the business thinks and acts ecologically and is social-minded. The principles of this idealist are, in her words: »I want to greatly improve the world with everything I do«.
Hence, nothing will be added to her products that might harm humans or the environment. The primary products for her crèmes, lotions and sprays are 100% natural products and 90% of them are derived from biodynamic or organically cultivated crops. The purist Gebhardt rejects all synthetics that contribute to a long shelf-life, aromatic scent and ease in the manufacture of traditional cosmetics. The same applies to substances that were tested on animals. She much rather prefers to tinker and research, travel around the world, convince farmers to convert to organic farming, search for natural and ecologically meaningful alternatives. And she finds the latter everywhere, with the shaman of the Amazon, and in the U.S.-American Utah, where she supports an environmental project with her cosmetics line for men called »Wild Utah«. Or she finds it on the pacific islands of the South Sea, where the islanders protect themselves from the sun with oil from the coconut. Today, nut oil replaces synthetics and mineral sun protection factors in Martina Gebhardt’s sun protection cosmetics.
The wealth of knowledge that this globetrotter calls her own includes also her knowledge of Spagyric, which is an alchemistic method of distilling high-grade essences from plants and extracting natural salts from plant ashes. The herbalist emphasizes that »this is a very old medical process. Only the purest elements of a plant are used to affect a purifying process in men and to bring everything into balance«. »With respect to our physical well-being it means to heal and with respect to our emotional well-being it leads into a spiritual direction«.
The Importance of the Right Moment
Yes, indeed, spiritual. –Spirituality has always played a role in Martina Gebhardt’s life and actions, who was born under the zodiac sign of Taurus. When she was 14, she discovered astrology through an ant. From the old wives of farmers she gained ancient knowledge on the effects of the moon. Meanwhile, the planet has become for her a natural preserver of her products, because, as she found out: »When you manufacture cosmetics during a particular phase of the moon, they last longer«. Her conclusion: »We have in our lives the quality of the right moment«.
That moment seemed to have occurred when she pulled off her next creative coup: a series of personal care products for the so-called more mature woman, which she, meanwhile being 49 years old, embodies herself. Her message is: Getting older is not something that a “woman” should have to iron away with botox injections and invasive anti-aging procedures. Rather, a woman’s maturity can be a very fascinating phase in our lives. Genuine beauty can be found in every season of life and comes in many different looks and shapes. Embracing maturity and aging with a positive attitude and nurturing care is the foundation to stay healthy, beautiful and vibrant. Nature has provided an abundance of invaluable raw materials from plants with nurturing and rejuvenating qualities. Skin care products that are made with genuine natural ingredients make healthy allies for renewing and regenerating mature and aging skin. Martina Gebhardt’s products help us to do that. They are called Happy Aging.
And again, that concept helped her to succeed in creating cosmetics in the true meaning of the word. Cosmetic is derived from the Greek word »Kosmos« meaning »world order, the order of nature«. »Cosmetics for me means that we must find our cosmic equilibrium again«. It also means to maintain our balance.