Waiting to interview Omorovicza Hungarian Skincare founder Stephen de Heinrich, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I knew that the native of Switzerland had founded the luxury skincare company with his wife, Margaret, by utilizing the nourishing minerals from the wealth of hot spring in his father’s native Hungary. What I was not prepared for, however, was a tall and dashing man who spoke in passionately in rich, British-tinged English of the healing benefits of the springs. Needless to say, I was immediately drawn in.
De Heinrich grew up in Switzerland, his father having settled there after fleeing Budapest during World War II. Yet he grew up surrounded by Hungarians and in the late 80’s started making trips back to Budapest. “Something about it got under my skin,” de Heinrich recalled, and in the 90’s he decided to move back. For 2,000 years, baths and spas have been used in Hungary for healing and curative purposes due to the vast amount of hot springs entrenched in the country’s land, more than any other country in the world. De Heinrich explained it is due to the fact that the Earth’s crust is thinner in that area so the water gets warmer since it is closer to the sun and also acquires more mineral son its way to the surface. In the past, hot springs have existed around temples, castles and in public open-air centers, usually in low and dark areas. Today there are over 1,000 different healing springs in Hungary and guests visit the springs to reap the multiple benefits of the minerals’ healing properties.
De Heinrich went on to tell me that after he had met his wife Margaret, who was at the time serving as the chief of staff to the American ambassador in Budapest, the two would visit a particular spa on the Danube River. The spa had been built 200 hundred years, built “right into the fiber of the place”, as de Heinrich put it, and donated to the state. The couple began to notice that the thermal waters did more than just relax their bodies and soothe their muscles, it actually transformed the appearance of their skin. De Heinrich realized that Hungary’s best-kept secret was just that— a secret. There was not one beauty brand at the time that was utilizing the benefits of Hungarian mineral baths to a wider market.
The couple began to further investigate the properties of the water, hoping to find out the formula of effects on a molecular level. In 2005, they visited the Dept. of Dermatology and Allergology at the Albert St. George University , a laboratory that is credited with the discovery of vitamin C and which won the Nobel Prize in 1930. There they learned how the benefits of the baths could be scientifically mimicked, how minerals are absorbed into the skin and the limitations on effectiveness. The molecules of the minerals could be reconfigured, de Heinrich explained, to transfer the benefits of the springs. Called osmotic molecules, these molecules contain the same mineral concentration of calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc as the Hungarian waters and therefore posses the same powers of healing. They are antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, firming agents and lipid constrictions— each providing, as de Heinrich put it, healing from within. “A potent brew from nature,” he said with a smile.
With the help of the laboratory and their scientific discoveries, the couple created Mineral Cosmetology as an innovative approach to skincare and Omorovicza was born. On the company’s website, Mineral Cosmetology is described as “a patent-protected mineral delivery system facilitating the absorption of minerals by the deeper levels of the skin.” De Heinrich explained that he wanted to create a high end Hungarian brand that was purely Hungarian, one that started in the land of his ancestors and from which he could share with the world. And so he and Margaret did just that, setting up a presence in his beloved Budapest. They opened an Omorovicza spa in 2006 with a diverse range of products and treatments. The news quickly spread on the instant gratification of the Omorovicza services, garnering attention from beauty editors and celebrities across the globe. In October of 2006, the brand set up shop in Harvey Nichols in London, later followed by Liberty, Harrod’s Urban Spa and the Four Seasons hotel. Today the products are sold at Neiman Marcus in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Las Vegas as well as a wealth of high-end beauty stores and luxury spas that span the world, from Taiwan, Singapore and India to Ireland, Spain and the Caribbean. Clearly, the world had been waiting for Omorovicza.
How quickly the presence of Omorovicza has become a fixture around the world is a testament to the effectiveness of the brand. Having come straight to meet me from a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus, de Heinrich was luckily well equipped to discuss products. I asked him what the essentials were in his collection that held the key to the glowing skin we keep hearing so much about. He said each of the products works for the overall health and wellness of the skin, but there were a few that can’t seem to stay on the shelves and have had women of all ages and skin types raving.
For Face: The Thermal Cleansing Balm is a cleanser made from the Hungarian Moor Mud of Lake Hafiz, the second largest thermal lake in the world. The thick black mud is packed with calcium and magnesium carbonates which gently and effectively pull makeup and impurities out of the skin. The balm also boats sweet almond oil to moisturize the skin and has a fresh orange blossom fragrance. De Heinrich recommended smoothing all over the face and neck and leaving on for 20 minutes once a week for best results. The balm can also be used as an overnight spot treatment for problem areas.
For Eyes: The Reviving Eye Cream is guaranteed to eliminate the appearance of stress, fatigue and environmental factors that affect the fragile skin around the eye area that lead to dark circles and puffiness. The eye cream contains arnica to reduce puffiness, vitamin K to diminish dark circles, cucumber extract to sooth and refresh and hazelnut peptides to firm and lift. After cleansing the face, gently dab along the eye contour area for best results.
For Body: The Gold Shimmer Oil is a fun and flirty way to moisturize and soften your skin. A shimmering oil allows your skin to glow while improving elasticity and treating rough patches. Real gold in the oil serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory which repairs and strengthens the skin. Apricot kernal oil softens, calendula oil heals, vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and carrot oil boosts collagen production. Overall, a little miracle worker in a bottle that also makes you look dewey and fresh. Can be used anywhere on the body or even combed through hair for a glossy finish.
For Hands: The Nourishing Hand Treatment battles all factors that make hands appear weary and aged. Brimming with vitamin C, the treatment brightens the skin on the outside while working to tighten lipids, firm and invigorate the skin’s dermo-proteins on the inside. For best results, massage the lotion all over the hands both morning and evening and anytime throughout the day as needed. Can also be helpful to chronically rough places such as heels, elbows and cuticles.
For Anytime: The Queen of Hungary Mist was named for the elegant Hungarian Queen Elizabeth (who married a prince half her age). This refreshing tonic is based off of the Queen’s 14th century perfume and the first perfume ever to be recorded. Bursting with notes of flowers and herbs, one spritz is an instant rejuvenation. Orange blossom, rose and sage also provide toner and purification, apple pectin, restores suppleness to the skin and the original Hungarian thermal water—the heart of the collection—lends its instantaneous ability to brighten and smooth. Spray on whenever body or mind is in need of a refreshing pick-me-up.
With my mind reeling from his story and the sheer beauty of his product line, I readied myself to bid Stephen de Heinrich adieu. But before I did, I asked him what he had learned from the journey he’s taken, where from one idea was able to quickly and effectively evolve into a global beauty brand. He told me, “You cannot set the pace of your life. Wonderfully, it develops a life of its own and you’re not sure where it will end up. Things you didn’t suspect will grow and walk on its own. And when it does, its tremendous.”
Each listed product, as well as the rest of the luxurious Omorovicza line are available at select Neiman Marcus stores, Bergdorf Goodman and on Omorovicza.com. Also visit Omorovicza.com for a Omorovicza Spa Locator and Retail Locator across the globe as well as a complete list of Omorovicza treatments and professional services.
Photo Source: Omorovicza.com, cpp-luxury.com, luminestyle.com, londonprettyboy.wordpress.com, hg2blog.wordpress.comSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40
Tags: Budapest, hot springs, Hungary, interview, MIneral Cosmetology, Neiman Marcus, Omorovicza Hungarian Skincare, skincare, spas, Stephen de Heinrich, The Gold Shimmer Oil, The Nourishing Hand Treatment, The Queen of Hungary Mist, The Reviving Eye Cream, The Thermal Cleansing Balm, thermal water