- The US Diplomat (and Southern Belle) Behind One of Europe’s Biggest Beauty Brands
- Interview. Discovering Mineral Cosmetology with Omorovicza Hungarian Skincare Founder Stephen de Heinrich
- Meet Margaret de Heinrich Co-Founder of Global Beauty Brand Omorovicza
- Budapest, Part II: Interview with Margaret de Heinrich
- Who is your typical spa customer?
- Do you have an example of hot springs “miracle cures”?
- What is your opinion of conventional plastic surgery and procedures microdermabrasion, laser, facelifts, fillers, or botox?
- A simple fall beauty regimen featuring Omorovicza products?
- What’s it to be married to a descendant of Austrian nobility?
The US Diplomat (and Southern Belle) Behind One of Europe’s Biggest Beauty Brands
Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza Omorovicza
It’s a long way from Jacksonville, Florida to Budapest, Hungary. On her way from one to the other, Margaret Dickerson made a stop in New York to intern for Conan O’Brien, then in London for a stint at Time magazine. Back in Manhattan, she was scouted to work for the U.S. ambassador to Hungary. Off to Budapest she went.
Soon enough, Margaret was chief of staff to the U.S. ambassador to the European Union in Brussels and in meetings with President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
But a funny thing happened on the way to being a career diplomat: Margaret Dickerson married Stephen de Heinrich de Omorovicza, a half-British, half-Hungarian banker.
Together, they founded one of Europe’s top independent beauty brands.
“I felt quite anxious when I was younger, as my skin was so poor, and I felt powerless to fix it,” Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza told the Observer.
It got so bad that she was on Accutane—the last-resort prescription for bad skin—when she started taking spas at the family spa in Hungary. Yes, the family spa: The Omoroviczas own the Rácz, a luxurious 16th century spa in Budapest.
After only a brief time of immersing herself in the mineral-rich water, she saw a major improvement in her skin.
It wasn’t long before Mr. and Mrs. Omorovicza had teamed with a renowned dermatological laboratory to collaborate on their eponymous skincare range. That was in 2006, less than a year into their marriage. Nearly 11 years later, their products are used in five-star spas around the world, and Omorovicza is sold in Sephora, Nieman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and more.
Margaret & Stephen de Heinrich in Racz Spa, Budapest. Omorovicza
In recent years, positive buzz on social media has boosted Omorovicza into the realm of the cult beauty brand. Usually founder-led and independent with a compelling origin story, cult brands don’t just have customers: They have fanatical followings. Omorovicza is no different.
“Influential bloggers, journalists and make-up artists, not to mention customers, have been among our best advocates,” Omorovicza says. This has helped elevate the brand without the company spending a dime on commercials.
“We are 100 percent family-owned and do not have the budget to advertise,” she admits.
The brand’s most raved-about product, Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm ($175), is an exceedingly lush, clarifying yet pampering balm that makes a noticeable difference from first use.
Skincare guru Caroline Hirons, famous for her no-nonsense reviews, says it “feels almost too good to use on a first cleanse.” (To try it and other Omorovicza products at a deep discount, check out the Moor Mud Set, $125.
You can also get a small pot of Thermal Cleansing Balm with another of the line’s hero products in the Queen of Hungary Mist & Thermal Cleansing Balm Bundle, $95.)
Omorovicza was one of the first premium skincare brands to focus on “clean” formulas. They don’t put petrochemicals, sodium laureth sulfates, synthetic colors or fragrances in their products—among other perceived problematic components.
“When we started Omorovicza, we had no idea we were pioneers in bringing luxury, efficacious products to market while excluding harmful ingredients,” says Omorovivza. “Now it seems that every brand coming to the market has a natural platform, which we think is wonderful.
” She’s right: More than ever, thanks to the internet, discriminating consumers are increasingly aware of what’s in their skincare—and are keeping brands on their toes.
“When I speak with our customers, they often give me a run for my money in terms of knowledge about our ingredients,” Omorovicza says.
Since founding the brand, Omorovicza reports that she and her husband have grown the company 50 percent year-over-year, every year. So, it’s no surprise that her take on beauty has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with achievement. “My concept of beauty is the pursuit of reaching my potential,” she says.
“When you seek perfection, it is most often contingent on other people’s judgment of you. And if you are waiting for someone to judge you, there is a bit of fear wrapped up in that interaction,” she observes.
“Isn’t it interesting that when you think of perfection you often think of other people…or something you want to happen, but hasn’t?” In the end, Omorovicza says that she finds the pursuit of perfection “rather disempowering.”
She also doesn’t sugarcoat what goes into being lithe, blonde and beautiful. “It takes work,” she says. “I would love to say that I simply swan bed and within minutes am ready to bound out the door, ready for the day. This is not the case. With four children and a very busy life, I don’t have a lot of time to spend on myself.”
A consistent skincare routine is a non-negotiable, of course. “I really enjoy those moments I have for myself, preparing for the day or getting ready for bed. So I take advantage of them and make sure I’m doing everything possible to look my best.
” The years of bad skin she suffered made a lasting impression; Omorovicza doesn’t take her currently fabulous skin for granted. “It impressed upon me a need to take whatever resources I had at my disposal to look to improve my skin—to work at it.
And it worked.”
The Omorovicza Top 10:
Thermal Cleansing Balm ($110)
Moor Cream Cleanser ($80)
Hydra Melting Cleanser ($110)
Ultramoor Mud Mask ($125)
Queen of Hungary Mist ($90)
Radiance Renewal Serum ($160)
Oxygen Booster ($155)
Balancing Moisturizer ($135)
Rejuvenating Night Cream ($235)
Reviving Eye Cream ($145)
Jackie Danicki created one of the first and most popular beauty blogs in 2004, and has consulted some of the world’s most iconic brands on digital content strategy and innovation. Jackie blogs at http://burnedoutbeauty.com, and you can find her on , Instagram, and Snapchat as @burnedoutbeauty.
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Interview. Discovering Mineral Cosmetology with Omorovicza Hungarian Skincare Founder Stephen de Heinrich
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.
Hungarian thermal baths
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.
Stephen and Margaret de Heinrich
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 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.”
The Omorovicza boutique and spa in Budapest
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.com
Meet Margaret de Heinrich Co-Founder of Global Beauty Brand Omorovicza
We’ve previously raved about our love for beauty brand Omorovicza, especially their amazing deep cleaning cleansing mask and gold sugar scrub which have both become firm fixtures in our weekly beauty routine, so naturally we jumped at the chance to interview co-founder of the brand Margaret de Heinrich.
Founded in 2006 by Margaret and her husband, Stephen de Heinrich de Omorovicza, the formidable husband and wife team have grown Omorovicza into a successful global company adored by beauty insiders whom can’t get enough of their line of luxury skincare products.
Here we get to know more about the woman behind the brand.
What’s a typical working day for you?
Typically, I wake up at 5:45am and do meditation and work out, trying to get a bit of clarity before the chaos begins of getting 4 young children up and ready for school.
After drop off, I head to the office and my work day is filled with meetings ranging from new products, distribution, creative, marketing, PR, HR…. At around 4, I leave to pick up the children and then it is homework, and getting them sorted with dinner and bedtime.
I travel a lot for work and there are often lunches or dinner with our clients.
Most enjoyable and challenging aspect of your job?
I absolutely love building Omorovicza – helping to shape and grow our brand from the ground up is exciting especially the variety of things I get to work on, making every day unique. The challenging aspect of this is trying to balance work and family – as an entrepreneur and mother – there are lots of things pulling on my time and heart.
Top tips for maintaining a work/life balance?
This is really difficult and I wish more women spoke up honestly about these challenges.
There are sadly no short cuts to replace hard work and focus, (I’ve certainly tried them all) despite how much joy your career and personal life brings you… however, we only have so much time in the day.
By no means am I an expert on this and am still finding my way through the challenges however, a couple of things which have worked are:
- Having a healthy mind and body…So I meditate and eat well…it makes a huge difference
- Having a detailed daily schedule for the week written by Sunday afternoon and revised every evening before I go to bed (this includes personal time to read, exercise or just chill)…I appreciate that this sounds a bit nuts but I have found one of the worst demons is anxiety and a great way to reduce or eliminate anxiety is to be in charge of how your time is spent (this is a much bigger conversation)
If you could live in any other decade or century, which would it be and why?
Without giving it too much thought, I’d say Paris in the 1920s.
I spent a summer at university in Paris, studying the writers and artists from this time and part of the curriculum was visiting all the places drew on for inspiration which loom large in their now famous works… it was such fun. The fashion from that time was pretty fab as well.
Which beauty item could you absolutely not live without?
So difficult to choose just one but assuming you have amazing skincare and do not need makeup, I would say lipstick is my one ‘musts’.
You’re stuck in a lift for 5 hours. Who would you love to spend your time with?
No question – my husband Stephen.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
The hotel in St Paul de Vence, La Colombe d’or.
Stephen and I try to have a weekend there alone once a year…It is not particularly fancy in that the rooms are a bit tatty but honestly, you don’t even think about that as the walls are all covered in the most extraordinary art.
Evidently, the hotel is where a lot of famous artists Leger, Picasso, Calder, Brancusi would stay though when they could not afford to pay for a room or food, they would give their art…There is a fantastic pool and down the road, a great museum. One of the most effortlessly glamourous and hugely relaxing places I know..
You have 5 minutes to pack a weekend holiday bag; what would you take with you?
I am sailing around Ibiza later this summer so will put the following in my carry on bag…
- Iphone for books, music, photos and to stay in touch
- Carnal Flower perfume, Frederick Malle
- Omorovicza’s travel kit – all my favourite products I can pack in my carry on bag..
- Bathing suits – Camp Cove or Rye are brands I am loving now and kaftans I picked up in the Budapest market along with flip flops with a thin, gold leather strap I had handmade for me in Capri for a song.
- Shu Uemura Eye Lash Curler, Dior Show Mascara, Omorovicza BB Cream and Mineral Touch concealer, Tom Ford Highlighter duo, Serge Lutens Water Lip Color, Chanel Tisse Rivoli, Bobbi Brown long wear gel eyeliner
Do you have a fitness routine? If so, what does it entail?
I do a 7 minute workout every morning (or try to)…it is a brilliant app you can download on your phone
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Something I was told recently really resonated – it is how much ‘little things’ matter… whether it is doing a 7 minute workout in the morning, or sending an email to a friend just to say you are thinking of them, writing a thank you note, spending an afternoon with your children, having lunch outside on a park bench instead of at your desk, turning off your phone for the weekend…all these things, in isolation don’t seem much but over time, they make an enormous difference as they not only change your behaviour patterns, they help change your state of mind.
Budapest, Part II: Interview with Margaret de Heinrich
We continue our tour of Budapest by introducing you to one of its most important families. 200 years ago, the noble Omorovicza family built a spa over a 2000-year-old thermal springs, believed to have phenomenal healing powers. Twenty years ago, a descendant of the family, Stephen, was drawn to Budapest to explore his roots, and became fascinated with the springs’ untapped potential.
Enriched with oils sourced internationally, Omorovicza’s all-natural products are available in more than 1000 locations worldwide
Luxuriating one day at a thermal bath, Stephen met a young American diplomat, Margaret, who shared his passions. A storybook romance followed: the two wed and founded a skincare line. Their exclusive anti-aging skincare business officially opened as a store and spa in 2006 on fashionable Andrassy Street in the heart of Budapest. It has grown exponentially ever since.
They create their products using a revolutionary patented technology called Hydro Mineral Transference™ developed by a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory.
Omorovicza’s products contain ingredients sourced directly from Hungary’s mineral-rich healing hot springs.
They create their products using a revolutionary patented technology called Hydro Mineral Transference™ developed by a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory.
In the process, the molecular structure of the water is reconfigured to make it easier for deeper skin layers to absorb the potent blend of minerals. The result is firmer, suppler, younger-looking skin.
Enriched with oils sourced internationally, Omorovicza’s all-natural products are available in more than 1000 locations worldwide, including Bergdorf’s and exclusive hotel spas the Four Seasons. Omorovicza will introduce two new products this fall.
Margaret de Heinrich, Omorovicza founder and global beauty ambassador, is also an incredible resource on what to see, where to go, and what to eat in Budapest.
Who is your typical spa customer?
Budapest is a mecca for the movie business. There are always fun folks from that business in the spa.
Do you have an example of hot springs “miracle cures”?
The celebrated Indian Nobel-Laureate writer-poet Rabindranath Tagore visited one of the healing waters, which he found absolutely stunning, and he was famously healed of his ailments. That experience inspired his poem “Fireflies.”
What is your opinion of conventional plastic surgery and procedures microdermabrasion, laser, facelifts, fillers, or botox?
As I get older, I clearly need heavier artillery to help turn back the clock. With this in mind, we are creating products with innovative yet gentle and incredibly effective acids. I think this is essential in anyone’s regime.
Treatments microdermabrasion can be incredibly effective; we occasionally use some of these machines with our products in our facials. Personally, I’m not a fan of botox or facelifts. Excellent products can eliminate the need for such procedures. However, I wouldn’t rain on anyone’s parade if it were right for them.
A simple fall beauty regimen featuring Omorovicza products?
• Thermal Cleansing Balm smells of orange blossom. It’s incredibly effective at improving skin tone and texture and it even removes waterproof mascara.
• Queen of Hungary Mist rebalances the moisture level in the skin and has a charming story. The original recipe (which we have updated) was created for the Queen of Hungary who used it as her moisturizer and perfume. It’s known as the world’s first perfume.
• Gold Rescue Cream is an incredible moisturizer for deep hydration of fine lines and wrinkles.
What’s it to be married to a descendant of Austrian nobility?
Being American, (and from the South, no less), I sometimes feel an Okie from Muskogee when I’m around our continental friends. However they are lovely, warm, and fun.