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More with Sonya Dakar

Posted: January 3, 2008, from the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
The following interview transcript is provided as a supplement to the column “Face to Face With Sonya Dakar” by Cathy Christensen running in the January 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine. To learn more about Sonya Dakar, please see the current issue of Skin Inc. magazine.


I had interest since the age of 15. Forty years ago, it was more of a social thing to go to a facialist. For problems such as eczema, people would go to a physician. My mom would go once a month regularly and her esthetician name Harriett was a previous dermatologist who got pregnant and decided to be holistic out of her house. I went with my mom. I was fascinated with how happy they were. Harriett cleared the teenagers’ acne and took care of the adults with relaxation. I discovered that there might be something behind all this fluffy stuff. She had converted her philosophy to a more holistic approach. I was captivated. 

     I went to my mom and heard this philosophy from the people waiting in the lobby. I saw the same thing. She combined the two worlds together without using chemicals or anything. I had perfect skin all my life. Estheticians want to help people. I was fascinated with the whole environment. I decided that I experienced and felt an attraction to this business is a full way. I asked if I could be an apprentice during the summer. After the apprenticeship in the summer, I finished my education and then that was how I started my life. 

     From there, I went to school to professionally study for three years anatomy, chemistry and general education to learn the business. While I was working, I was definitely was like a trainee with Harriett two times a week here and there. When I graduated, I opened my own small boutique in Israel. I started playing with my own products. I formulated toner at the time. I knew that alcohol would be really harsh for people. Either it would be too strong for mature skin or young acne. Stripping the oil results in irritation and makes skin more vulnerable.  

     I went to a center in Tel Aviv to buy all of the raw ingredients, powders and herbs—I still have several raw ingredients that I’m going to frame and put in my office. Thirty-six years ago I created a soapless milk cleanser with no alkali. I started doing lotion and something heavier for more mature skin. All clay for tightening mask. I found out that it was working. At the time, my products were very raw: no fragrances or preservatives. I used to tell my clients to put them in the refrigerator. Essential oil preserves products. I knew food and any that was preserve used a lot of sugar or salt in ancient times. I studied that essential oil preserved product and it can kill bacteria, heal the skin, can activate and stimulate, and by coincidence I discovered this occurred in England in the 14th century and bought several books and started reading them. My husband fell in love with the philosophy and that is how the family business started.