On Beauty

Skincare Advice From a Budapest-Based Beauty Founder

The Omorovicza counter at Bergdorf Goodman.
Credit...Paul Quitoriano

On a recent, particularly busy weeknight on Bergdorf Goodman’s Beauty Level, I stood at the Omorovicza counter as shoppers swarmed around me. A woman approached briefly to ask about the line — “I’ve never heard of it” — but otherwise, I had the products to myself. Weeks later, when I talked on the phone with Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza, who co-founded the Budapest-based brand with her husband 10 years ago this summer, even she admitted that Omorovicza is not that well-known in America — which is surprising, given that it essentially epitomizes the inspired-by-nature-yet-super-luxe stuff beauty dreams are made of these days.

Omorovicza once introduced the first silicone-free BB Cream. At its spa in Budapest, face massage — still a novelty in the States, though beloved by in-demand holistic facialists like Kristina Holey, and the alternative-beauty-forward French, like Beauty and Well Being’s Clémence von Mueffling — has always been a signature treatment. And mud masks, which have fast become the beauty product du jour, have long been a best seller for Omorovicza.


“It’s quite à la mode to talk about purity — you know, a beautiful fresh face,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says, referencing the current attitude toward skincare as the new makeup. The Florida-born blonde met her husband and business partner, Stephen, while she served as the chief of staff to the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. And their family-owned brand has been available through Bergdorf Goodman for eight years. The department store’s vice president of Divisional Merchandise, manager Patricia Saxby describes its typical Omorovicza shopper as loyal to the line’s cult favorites, including the Thermal Cleansing balm and the Queen of Hungary Mist — each of which speaks volumes to the brand’s ethos.

“Any skincare you pick up, anywhere in the world — you know, from Kyoto to London to Budapest to New York, wherever — a minimum of 60% is made from water,” says de Heinrich de Omorovicza. Her product line is no exception, except that it’s built around Budapest’s thermal water. “The earth’s crust is thinner in Budapest than any other city in the world. That’s why the waters rise up to the surface and the unusually high concentration of minerals absorb more effectively in the water.” Omorovicza combines this mineral-rich water and its accompanying medical-grade mud, from what she says is the oldest source in Hungary, into its Thermal Cleansing balm — essentially jarring a potent potion from the largest active thermal lake in the world.

And the line’s Queen of Hungary Mist marries coveted synthetic-free hydration with ever-of-the-moment aromatherapy. Based on the perfume created for Queen Elisabeth of Hungary in the 14th century, the spritz is lightly scented with the help of the same South of France perfumer trusted by Chanel and Hermès. “They’re pure, they’re not synthetic,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says about the fragrant ingredients, “so there’s a benefit for the skin as well” — not to mention the senses.

Ultimately, when it comes to skincare, she says, “You’ve got to do what’s right for you. If your skin looks great, and it’s working, then keep with it — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” But for those looking for a change, she shares her spring skincare tips with T below.

“I’m a huge believer in seasonal skincare,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says. “Why would you wear the same moisturizer in August that you would in January? Your skin doesn’t behave the same. You have different influences. You should try to switch up your moisturizer, and I would recommend to go to a lighter moisturizer. Or move the moisturizer that you adore and love to the evening, and then use a lighter moisturizer during the day.”

Though she admits that “this is not necessarily the time of year you want a moisture boost,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says that “yes, you do need a moisturizer at all times. It’s not just about delivering the hydration, but it’s also about delivering the nutrients to the skin, and balancing the skin.” She often stresses the importance of rebalancing when something is off.

“I think that you want to keep it simple: A good mud mask is great to detoxify the skin, which is so important during the summer months because no matter where you are, even if you’re not necessarily in Manhattan, you’re going to be outside, you’re going to be exposed to the sun — your skin will produce more oil,” she says. “It’s amazing to me how people do not incorporate masks into their regimen because it’s just a way to hypercharge working on whatever skin condition people have.”

De Heinrich de Omorovicza keeps her facial exfoliant in the shower — as a reminder to use it once a week.

“What it should be is you walk out and you feel different, but you look different too,” de Heinrich de Omorovicza says. “These facials — people call them a personal trainer for the cheekbones. It’s like you have a little workout and you see the muscles jumping, and it plumps and firms the skin as well.”

“For me, with four kids and running around and all of this, it’s the first appointment I cancel,” she says about facials. “I just cannot justify it.” When that happens, she uses the Omorovicza copper peel: “It’s quick — we just all want something quick.”

“Let’s say you’ve got divine skin, you were just born with it. You know you want to keep that divine skin as long as possible,” she says. “And it’s not just going to happen” — so take care of it.