Spa industry giants everywhere know Lydia Sarfati as the seaweed skincare authority – the Repêchage founder has worked her way up from esthetician who loved formulating and creating, to spa owner on Madison Avenue, to running one of the most well-known professional skincare brands in the spa community. Beauty insiders continue to be impressed by the Repêchage Four Layer Facial (I have yet to try it for myself). It is Lydia Sarfati who has helped set the professional and business standard in the field of esthetics. Many new brand creators can learn from this founder’s contributions and dedication to giving us the gift of effective and lasting beauty.
Q & A with Lydia Sarfati
Cultivated: I read that as a young girl you loved science and chemistry. Where did your passion for skincare and formulating products come from?
LS: My approach has always been based on chemistry and biology coupled with a holistic approach, looking at the skin from within as well as what you put on topically. Growing up in Poland, every Friday our kitchen turned into a beauty salon. My mother and sister would have a cosmetician come to our home to provide facials, manicures, brow tinting, and more. I remember looking and watching as she created her own products in the kitchen. As soon as I was old enough, I would invite my friends and classmates to my home and administer facials that I concocted in the kitchen like a chemist.
Cultivated: What drew you to creating seaweed-based skincare?
LS: The idea of creating a seaweed-based skin care line started 38 years ago when I travelled to Israel with my husband David. I noticed that the vegetation in the farming communities was amazing even though it was grown in a desert. Everything smelled and tasted so delicious, it was unbelievable. I asked “How is it possible? What are they doing? Why are they doing it?” And we discovered that they used seaweed as a bio-stimulant for the plants because seaweed retained water longer and all the elements of seaweed were very nutritious for the plants. That is when the lightbulb went off, I thought that if that’s what can happen with soil, I am sure this will be so beneficial for skin. So then I went to Brittany, France, where the farmers are harvesting the seaweed and I met with marine biologists. They agreed to make a skin care line from seaweed, although it had never been done before. And now, we are sustainably harvesting seaweed from our own aquacultural collaborations off the coast of Maine, USA.
Cultivated: You were born in Poland. Is any aspect of your business connected to your heritage?
LS: In my early upbringing, my parents instilled in me good manners and habits from day one. It means something as simple as getting up and making my bed right away every day. This provided me with a discipline and precision that carried over into my business practices. It was this dedication to excellence that was the inspiration behind creating the Repêchage unidose professional treatment system, where each facial is pre-measured and housed in a hygienic single use packet, making Repêchage the safest and most consistently effective facials in the world. It is this diligence to safety and hygiene, always showing exemplary manners to my clients and being methodical and precise in my protocols and manufacturing practices that has made Repêchage the success it is today.
Cultivated: What hero products would you recommend to a first time customer?
LS: We have over 200 seaweed-based skin care products and professional treatments for every type of skin and concern. Some of our daily hero products for all skin types that we would recommend for our first time customer include:
C-Serum® Seaweed Filtrate Face Serum: Every skin type can see and feel softer and smoother skin with this lightweight, oil-free serum. C-Serum® stands for cyto-serum, a highly concentrated extract from Laminaria Digitata Seaweed, rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals and trace elements. This lightweight fluid helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and assists in maintaining proper moisture balance.
Algo Mist® Hydrating Seaweed Facial Spray: This facial mist if formulated with a unique combination of seaweed extract, Vitamin C, Gingko Biloba, Aloe and Orange Water to help keep skin feeling smooth and soft. Perfect for travel, but use it anytime – on the beach, at the gym, in the office, to refresh makeup or at home.
Hydro-Complex® PFS Moisturizing Cream: Available in two formulas for dry or oily/combination skin, these luxurious formulas never leaves skin feeling greasy and are based on the Physiological Filtrate of Seaweed (PFS), our proprietary formula comprised of two Seaweeds that are natural sources of 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids, and 42 trace elements.
Triple Action Peptide Mask: This sheet mask is infused with peptides and pure Seaweed Filtrate to help hydrate, firm and brighten the appearance of the skin. Leave on for 10 minutes, and this mask will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, gives skin a temporary “lifted” appearance and refine skin to help improve texture
Mineral Face Shield®: This mineral-based water free formula is gentle even on the most sensitive skin types. Used as a makeup primer, this waterless formula glides on sheer to the skin instantly creating an even-matte finish, helping create a barrier to the environment.
Cultivated: Skincare and spas are all about self-care, what are some personal ways you like to unwind and practice wellness?
LS: Every morning, I stretch, walk in the park or bike for at least 40-45 minutes. After breakfast, I always take a bath, starting first with a vigorous dry brushing. I finish with the Repêchage Vita Cura® Body Contour Cream. In the evening, I love to cook and read, then I have a nightly relaxation routine, to not only stave off stress but help to have a restful sleep. This includes deep breathing, taking a warm bath, placing Repêchage Eye Rescue Pads, infused with Seaweed and Green Tea over the eyes and a soothing sheet mask such as the Repêchage® Red-Out® Soothing Sheet Mask with soothing and hydrating ingredients such as seaweed extracts, Hyaluronic Acid, Mirabalis Jalapa, Aloe and Chamomile. If you really have difficulty sleeping, warm a rich body oil like the Repêchage® Vita Cura® Triple Action Nutrí Oil that contains hydrating Seaweed extracts and soothing and hydrating Vanilla and Mafura Oils and massage all over the body.
Cultivated: What are some of your favorite spas, and what is your take on the state of the spa industry in 2020/21.
LS: Repêchage® professional products and treatments are now available in top spas and salons in over 50 countries around the world. To name just a few outstanding spas, these would include the new Spa by Equinox Hotels at Hudson Yards in NYC, and Spa E in Miami Beach, FL, where spa goers have the opportunity to soothe their skin with Repêchage® seaweed-based skincare products, and immerse themselves in treatments that have transformed the spa industry. Two groundbreaking spas that offer an holistic approach to medical and esthetic treatments include ReBalance Integrative Medicine And Anti-Aging Center in Manhattan and the Milano Estetica Cosmetic Surgery & Medical Spa in Milan, IT.
I am immensely proud of all our partnerships, particularly this past year as we all faced the challenges of 2020. The unique Repêchage® unidose system proved to be the ultimate in safety and hygiene as we confronted the health crisis, and our company and partners grew stronger in providing the very best services with the utmost in safety.
Cultivated: When it comes to innovation and future launches, what are you most excited about right now?
LS: As President of CIDESCO Section USA, I am extremely excited by the recent partnership with The International SPA Association (ISPA). CIDESCO has been promoting the highest standards in beauty and spa therapy since its founding in 1946 and ISPA is a worldwide leader in beauty and spa therapy training. This collaboration will help promote excellence in the spa experience, as well as elevate and cultivate the highest standard in esthetic careers.
In the next 10 years, we will be expanding Repêchage® into even more national and international markets. Nationally, we are looking at a time of tremendous growth with schools and partnerships with the medical community. We will also continue to provide estheticians with new ways reach clients as well as continue to develop cutting edge products and treatments rooted in sustainably-harvested seaweed as well as the latest in bioadvanced technologies.