You’ve heard about the transformative powers of natural spas – now get to know Omorovicza – a staple brand in the world’s most luxurious spas that’s now stocked in Australia
Stephen de Heinrich de Omorovicza, aside from being a member of Hungarian royalty (yes, really) founded Omorovicza with his American wife after seeing the amazing effects Hungarian thermal springs have on the skin. After teaming up with a Nobel-prize winning lab to develop a system for delivering minerals directly to the skin, Omorovicza (pronounced o-mor-a-veet-za) was born. Here, we chat to Stephan about the range, which is currently being stocked in Mecca stores and online as part of their Trove collection.
Can you explain the bathing tradition in Hungary?
In Hungary, everybody goes to these springs all the time and doctors prescribe them for illnesses, but nobody ever finds out why - it's the weirdest thing. There's so much thermal water in Hungary and it's so rich in minerals because the crust of the earth is a little bit thinner [here]. And because of that, they've developed these baths. The first one was built about 3000 years ago, after a Roman emperor observed that wounded soldiers would heal faster if they spent time in pools of bubbling water.
What's the connection with your family?
I'm from Switzerland actually, but my family's Hungarian. [Racz spa] came to my attention because after I finally moved to Budapest, I found through a friend that my family had built one of the biggest baths in town, about 200 years before, which I had no idea about. I checked with all of my living relatives and none of them had any idea about it - I thought that was quite amusing.
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Where did you get the idea from?
My wife was working as the chief of staff at the US embassy in Budapest. I found that expats never use the baths. Americans have this ludicrous squeamishness - they're happy to talk about their innermost feelings on TV, but they can't go to a community bath! I did eventually manage to take her to a bath and because she was looking at it fresh, we both thought 'This really is amazing. The skin looks amazing and we need to find out more about that' and that led to the creation of the brand.
And how did you develop the product?
Through her work, my wife came across a dermatologist who was studying the importance of minerals and water in Hungarian culture. He said there are certain combinations of minerals that are rejuvenating to the skin. And that's when we thought we should try to put out a skin care products which would replicate that.
How does it work?
The [lab] worked out delivery system for the minerals. It transformed the molecular structure of the minerals into something the skin could absorb. So you've got about 25 minerals in this water, so they're all being delivered to the epidermis, where they're most effective. That's what powers the whole range, alongside the fact that the water is tremendous. All the products use only water from one source, which is the one that feeds my family's bath.
What are the standout products?
Thermal Cleansing Balm ($92, mecca.com.au) is our best-selling product everywhere, except Hong Kong, where people refuse to accept you can use a black product! It's a make-up removing balm that goes on clear and removes absolutely everything - even waterproof mascara. The product is black because it includes another uniquely Hungarian ingredient, moor mud. It comes from Lake Haviz, which is the largest thermal lake in Europe - it's a pure calcium magnesium complex.
Queen of Hungary Mist ($92, mecca.com.au) is a hydrating mist based on something called the Queen of Hungary water, which is the oldest perfume - it was made 700 years ago for a Hungarian queen. Back then it was pure alcohol with flowers and herbs in it for scent. We took that, took out the alcohol and now it's pure thermal water plus orange blossom and sage.
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What other highlight products are in the range?
There's actually 42 products. We also use gold because it's a mineral that's very, very anti-inflammatory. So we have form of gold which is a foam that absorbs into the skin. On the basis of that we formulated a whole range of products, that still have the mineral water, but on top of that, gold.
Mecca has chosen two serums. Gold Flash Firming Serum ($55, mecca.com.au) is a very light oil free day serum that absorbs fast and iss very cooling and foaming. You'll find that has an unusually high concentration of minerals, including gold, which is anti-inflammatory. Then we have the night version - Gold Night Drops ($339, mecca.com.au). It's not oil free, but it's purpose is to reduce the depth of wrinkles, and for that we use an encapsulated form of vitamin A that works well with the gold. You wake up in the morning looking really refreshed and plump.