Plastic, silicone and petrochemicals dominate the cosmetics industry, and are increasingly suspect as arbiters of catastrophic disease. But when Omorovicza Skincare turned to the mineral rich, thermal spas of Budapest for the solution, they effectively changed the conversation in luxury skincare. Contributor LESLIE SCOCCA CROFT chats with Stephen and Margaret Omorovicza in New York City and learns why its never too late to return to nature.
The Omorovicza counter at Bergdorf Goodman. Photograph: Paul Quitoriano
Todays skincare industry is saturated with myriads of products and many, many promises. Its chalked full of creams, masks and serums composed of pure synthetics, and warps the promise of youth and beauty around inexpensive plastics. Staking their claim in the competitive $200B global beauty market bonanza, I was skeptical of their claims not only to the mineral rich healing waters of Hungary, but to the effects of mineral compounds themselves on the skin and body. It is with both circumspection and curiosity that I meet Stephen Omorovicza, co-founder of Omorvicza Skincare, with an arsenal of questions designed not only to challenge these lofty claims, but moreover to search for and beyond the hinterland of propaganda for health, wellbeing, and the oasis of beauty.
They’re clearly a couple brought together by love. Stephen is a descendant of the noble Omorovicza family in Budapest, and Margaret the former Chief-of-Staff to the United States Ambassador of Hungary. Their chance meeting in Budapest led to romantic visits to the famous Racz Spa, the site of a medieval healing spring in Hungary, where a very modern woman recognized the healing effect of mineral waters on her skin. In fact, the acronym for Spa is “Sanitas per Aqua” in Latin which means “Health through Water” and is the cornerstone of the Omorovicza brand.
Working with a Hungarian Nobel prize winning Laboratory of Dermatology, they began turning this revelation into actual skincare products, and created a patent called Hydro Mineral Transference: a delivery system that accelerates the benefits of geologically protected, underground water sources into the subcutaneous layers of the skin. Together, they’ve combined whats best in both their worlds, and in 2006 created the first authentically natural skincare collection in the luxury market. Called Omorovicza, I recently met co-founder Stephen Omorovicza at Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York City.
Race Spa in Budapest, Hungary. Photograph: Omorvicza
I arrive at our meeting somewhat skeptical. As a former editor at Harper’s Bazaar, America’s First Fashion Magazine, I can attest to having sampled almost every single skincare product on the market. Stephen Omorovicza has just arrived from London, is disarmingly handsome, and begins by taking my hand and squeezing Omorovicza’s Thermal Cleansing Balm into my palm. This gentle black facial cleansing balm is rich in Hungarian Moor Mud, spreads like a salve, and detoxifies and purifies the skin. It removes all makeup, including waterproof mascara, and cleanses all skin types without stripping to leave the complexion soft, hydrated and radiant. Its free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates, and is harvested in Lake Heviz, the largest thermal lake in Europe. It is perhaps the only facial cleaner on the market that does not contain petrochemicals, silicones, PEGs, synthetic colors, or fragrances.
The Intensive Hydra-Lifting Cream follows. I can feel the Arabian Myrrh plumping, wheat tightening, and Vitamin C, with its natural free radicals, appearing at least to eradicate dullness. Loaded with many minerals in fact that lift and firm the skin, the comprehensive Omorovicza line is composed of nearly 50 products at present, and each and all seem to testify to the healing properties of mineral rich waters with a rosy glow.
In the weeks and months that followed our meeting, I have abandoned my old moisturizer and foundation for Omorovicza’s Complexion Perfector BB Light Face Cream. Its the Swiss Army Knife of the beauty industry and combines a moisturizer, foundation, sunscreen, concealer, and anti-aging cream all in one! Award winning and silicone-free, this cream is so sheer that it belies even being a product at all by leaving my skin with a near perfect and practically flawless complexion. In fact, I use it less as a color treatment and more of a repair product. Omorovicza’s Complexion Perfector is probably the single finest BB cream I’ve ever used.
Can couples live and work together? Even Estée and Joseph Lauder divorced and re-married while building their empire. “It’s great being together,” Stephen explains. “We have a terrific balance. The creation of products from conception-to-counter can take 15-18 months to complete, and I immerse myself in product development and quality control. But juggling the business, our home and children requires teamwork. Margaret is a dynamo,” he says of his wife, who serves as Omorovicza’s Brand Ambassador with apparently the same insight, savvy and diplomacy she deployed in her political career. By this I mean that wherever I’ve inquired, Stephen and Margaret Omorovicza are known for their uncompromising poise, a commitment to the eradication of silicones and plastics, and ultimately to delivering on the promise of health and beauty via the mineral rich springs of Budapest.
This entirely new conversation in skincare is spearheaded by two innovative curators who’ve treaded into an über competitive marketplace. Omorovicza Skincare has carved a unique niche by staking its claim not only in mineral rich thermal spas, but, as Stephen attests, in the belief that “health, wellness and beauty are best served by the systems of nature.”
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