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Five minutes with: Molnar Ferenc

Founded in 1958 in Hungary by Ilona Molnar (or "Ilcsi" as she’s affectionately known), Ilcsi Organic Skincare range offers natural yet potent, problem-solving skin solutions. MiNDFOOD speaks to Ilcsi’s son, Ferenc Molnar.

Five minutes with: Molnar Ferenc

How does Ilsci differ from other “natural” brands?

Ilcsi products have a uniquely high herbal and fruit content that varies from 5 to 50 per cent. The herbs and fruits we use are all grown in Hungary. Due to the natural characteristics of Hungary, the soil, the climate and the abundance of sunshine, these herbs and fruits are especially rich in active ingredients and aromatic agents. It has been scientifically proven that Hungarian herbs have five times more inner content, than herbs grown anywhere else in the world. The herbal, cosmetic, dermatologic experiences of my mother, Molnár Dánielné Ilcsi, improved greatly the development of our products.

Some people avoid natural organic skincare because they don’t believe it is active enough. What do you think of this?

I can only talk about our products. We always preferred mild methods. It is true that with natural products it is a bit longer process to heal the different skin problems, but without any side effects and that is their great advantage.

Tell us about the thermal waters used in the Ilsci range.

In 1925 people were searching for oil when accidentally 73C hot thermal water broke out from more than 1000 metres depth. The thermal spring is located in the middle-eastern part of Hungary in the city of Hajdúszoboszló.

What minerals can be found in the water?

The water that breaks through the ancient Pannon sea’s deposits is uniquely high in iodine, salt, bromine and hydrogen-carbonate. The ancient sea’s flora and fauna deposits enriched the thermal water with various trace elements. Besides the above mentioned, the water contains titanium, copper, zinc, silver, manganese, lithium, iron and oestrogen bind to bitumen.

Does the water come from thermal lakes or cave baths?

It is a thermal spring well.

How does the water affect the skin?

Hajdúszoboszló thermal spring water has a fantastic regenerating, wound healing effect. It is very effective for treating eczema, psoriasis, cellulite as well as acne. Due to its alkaline 9.0 pH, it softens and smoothes the thickened keratin layer. The ingredients of the water are similar to those of the human bodily fluids and that is why it heals skin of deep layer water deficiency.

The cult treatment of the range seems to be the Before Event mask. How does it work?

The Ilcsi Before Event Mask, besides various other herbs, contains Hungarian hot paprika. The capsicum content of hot paprika is responsible for the blood circulation stimulation. With stimulating the blood circulation we increase metabolism, and enhance the absorption and the effect of the products used later in the treatment.

It also makes the pressing treatment easier and less painful. In order to dissolve the thickened keratin layer, we combine the Before Event Mask with the AHA Biological Peeling Mask containing apple, grape and medlar.

You say that linseed, clover, yucca, tomato, paprika, nettle and cabbage have a great phytooestrogen content – what benefit does this have when applied topically on the skin?

By applying herbal oestrogen directly on the skin it is possible to balance the androgen level of the skin without any side effects. Androgenic hormones can cause undesirable skin problems, like symptoms of ageing, hair growth on the face, rough skin. The products of phyto-oestrogen content have beautifying, softening, smoothing, rejuvenating effect and they help to increase the elasticity of the skin.

The Green soap is an intriguing product – can you tell us how it’s made.

The recipe is a secret, of course. But I can tell that the different herbs and ingredients are mixed into the soap basis that we cook ourselves. Its liquid state should not deceive anyone, it is not a shampoo basis. It is a soap, which has a great importance in the effectiveness of the product.

How did Ilcsi’s grandmother influence her interest in herbal skin treatments?

As a young girl Ilcsi grew up in the countryside, where she fell in love with nature. Her great-grandmother was a herbalist, so Ilcsi experienced and learned very often how the herbs cured the different problems of the people in the village. As a career-starter Ilcsi soon realised that the choice of cosmetic products was very poor at that time in Hungary. So she started to develop her own creams using only naturally occurring ingredients in her recipes for skin care remedies and treatments.

How many salons do you have worldwide?

We export to 15 countries. Approximately 20000-23000 salons worldwide are working with Ilcsi materials.

Where are the herbs grown?

We hand-pick and collect most of the herbs in forests, meadows, and fields. Some we buy from bio gardens. Those herbs that we use in greater quantities as well as the stonecrop, which is a protected herb in Hungary, we grow in our own plantation. We have a thermo house where our aloe grows.

Obviously the percentage of organic ingredients varies according to each product. Can you tell us which product contains the highest amounts – and what the ingredients are?

Many of our product range have very high per cent of herbal ingredients. I would list a few: AHA Biological Peeling Mask, Sour Cherry Gel, Sorb Apple Gel, Peach Cream Gel, Stonecrop Moisturiser, Cucumber and Parsley Oxygen Mask.

What’s the best-selling product in the range?

I would tell a few which are in the first place: Green Soap, Before Event Mask, Apricot Whip Moisturiser, Stonecrop Body Lotion, Tomato Mask and Rose Hip Toner.

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