An enchanting apothecary in Vienna

Saint Charles delivers a tempting array of all-natural lotions and potions

Saint Charles’ range of beauty products
Saint Charles’ range of beauty products

I discover the delightful Saint Charles pharmacy on a bright and sunny but thoroughly frozen day in Vienna. My friend Coco and I have been drinking glühwein at the Christmas markets to warm our hands when we alight on this enchanting 1800s-style apothecary in the quiet district of Mariahilf. Beyond the stylish glass and brick facade, Saint Charles is like stepping into the past, with 19th-century tiles lining the floor and oak dressers piled high with ointments. 

Lederhaas No 1 frankincense wash, €24 for 300ml
Lederhaas No 1 frankincense wash, €24 for 300ml
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I soon learn that this is a sixth-generation family business with a focus on herbal and natural remedies. I spot familiar and beloved brands such as Aesop alongside Saint Charles’s own line of beauty products, whose simple serpent-and-sceptre-marked bottles contain lotions and potions created from recipes passed down the generations. The ingredients are mainly grown by local partners and farmers; I smell juniper, pine, basil and grapefruit in the richly scented Privatmischung Körperbalsam (body balm, €32.80 for 250ml) and decide to add a bottle to my already groaning bathroom shelves. 

Saint Charles’ 1800s-style apothecary
Saint Charles’ 1800s-style apothecary
Stop The Water While Using Me! toothpaste, €8.90 for 75ml
Stop The Water While Using Me! toothpaste, €8.90 for 75ml

Being more of a paracetamol than a homeopathic girl I avoid the natural remedies, but am drawn to some other unfamiliar beauty names, such as Aponanum – its jaunty Byzantine Rosewater (€15 for 100ml) makes a beautiful take-home gift – and Lederhaas, another Viennese brand whose chic, utiliarian packaging leads me to its delicious and organic frankincense hand and body wash No 1 (€24 for 300ml). Other practical picks include the Esse probiotic lip conditioner (€14.70 for 10ml) and a natural wild mint toothpaste (€8.90 for 75ml) by the superbly named Stop The Water While Using Me!. Whether it cleans my teeth more thoroughly remains to be seen, but it tastes delicious. 

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