Skinterrogation: Repêchage Founder Lydia Sarfati

The Skinterrogation column is where I post Q&A seshes with major movers and shakers in the skin care industry. 

Today, I’m skinterrogating the fabulous seaweed enthusiast Lydia Sarfati, creator of skin care line Repêchage. It’s one of the longest-standing brands in my skin care arsenal; the brand was repped long ago by the PR agency I worked at right out of college. For years, I’d employ the line to take care of acne and leave my skin looking lovely. I caught up with Lydia to find out more about how she started the brand, her best skin care tips and her unorthodox but fabulous anti-aging trick. Read on for the full Q&A.

Beauty Blogging Junkie: I adore Repêchage! Tell me a little about your background: When did you realize you wanted to start your own line of products?
Lydia Sarfati: I opened my own Skin Care Center in 1977 off of Madison Avenue. I was working as an esthetician and catering to NYC socialites, beauty editors and celebrities. In my first year I did 15,000 facials and my clients were seeing fantastic results. When I got pregnant with my second daughter Shiri, I knew this was not sustainable. I needed the clinic to be able to run without me being there so I developed the now iconic Repêchage 4-Layer Facial as well as 12 at-home care products for my clients. The 4 Layer Facial came in unique, unidose packaging so the estheticians in my spa were able to provide the same results as I was each and every time. With the 4 Layer Facial, there is no guess work, everything is already measured and the facial is laid out in front of you, my clients were able to see the results they were getting from me even when I wasn’t in the spa.

From the original Repêchage collection, I was able to build an international professional skin care company. To ensure the most cutting edge products for my clients, I knew from the beginning that I would need to continue to develop the products myself. Today we develop and manufacture all of our products in the USA, right in Secaucus, NJ and have a solution for every skin type. Repêchage is available in over 30 countries and on six continents. From creation, to the manufacturing, to the marketing and distribution, I have a hand in everything which allows me to make sure all of our products are the best they can be.

BBJ: What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you in the course of your career?
LS: That’s a hard question! This industry has opened so many doors for me and taken me to so many fantastic countries all over the world, I have truly been blessed. I have to say the most exciting part of my career however, would have to be that my husband, David Sarfati joined me at Repêchage as the Chief Operation Officer and my daughter, Shiri Sarfati joined Repêchage as the Executive Vice President. Nothing is more important than family and I could not have asked for a better support system. I can always count on David and Shiri to support me, I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with both of them.

BBJ: Tell us about your own skin care regimen.
LS: Biolight! Biolight! Biolight! The Repêchage Biolight Collection is our latest collection based on the most innovative marine biotechnology and skin brightening science to address hyper-pigmentation due to sun damage, hormones, post-acne scarring and certain prescription medications. Plus, Repêchage Biolight addresses the entire complexion, addressing the skin tone, clarity and color, we’re addressing aging from all angles!

I use the Repêchage Biolight Brightening Cleanser and Toner twice daily and the Repêchage Biolight Brightening Daytime Protection Cream and the Repêchage C-Serum in the morning. At night I use the Repêchage Biolight Brightening Overnight Cream and Skin Correct Serum. My favorite product from this collection has to be the Repêchage Biolight Brightening Miracle Mask, I use it three times a week! It makes me feel gorgeous and youthful!

BBJ: What is your desert island skin care product?
LS: I would have to say the Repêchage C-Serum. It is like a multi-vitamin for the skin, it’s a highly concentrated seaweed extract rich in vitamins, minerals amino acids and trace elements. It is one of the first products I came up with and it is still one of my faves!

BBJ: What are your three best skin care tips for all skin types?
1.) Wash your face every night! Good skin, bad skin, everyone needs to get the grit and grim from the day off before bed!
2.) It is never too early to start addressing aging, it is much easier to prevent aging than it is to reverse it!
3.) Seaweed cures everything! Eat it, bathe in it, rub it on your face – I do!

BBJ: What are your thoughts on scrubs/exfoliation? Do you recommend physical or chemical at-home scrubs/peels?
LS: Exfoliating your skin is a necessity but I feel that American’s today over do it. It is important to distinguish between over exfoliation and gentle exfoliation. If you get done with exfoliating and you can’t leave the house for a week because your skin burns and it’s bright red, you’ve overdone it. The skin has many functions including protection – you need layers of skin for it to do its job! Think about it, an apple stays white and juicy with its skin on, without it, the apple turns brown and shrivels, the same concept works for your face.

Your skin type should determine what kind of exfoliator is best for you, for example, people with acne skin should use a chemical exfoliator like beta hydroxy acid because a scrub could irritate existing blemishes. Repêchage Rapidex® Marine Hydroxy Acid Rapid Exfoliator provides a gentle chemical exfoliation. With a pH between 3.3 – 3.5 combined with 6% natural fruit acids, this chemical exfoliator does the job without over stripping the skin. For oily skin, the Repêchage Hydra Refine® One-Minute Clarifying Mask has the best of both worlds’ utilizing tiny spheres of rice bran wax and lactic acid. For dry/combination skin, the Repêchage Honey & Almond Scrub works best because honey is a natural humectant, so it moisturizes while it gets rid of dead skin. As always, you should consult you skin care specialist to determine which exfoliation method is best for your skin.

BBJ: What do you recommend to lighten age spots and acne scars to even skin tone?
LS: Repêchage Biolight! This collection is the latest in skin brightening science and innovative marine biotechnology. While most brightening products work through tyrosinsase inhibition, our breakthrough brightening ingredients in Biolight work to influence melanogenesis at multiple points by inhibiting tyrosinase activity, controlling messenger hormones as well as melanosome transfer. This line is very scientific and very results driven.

The professional treatment and product line is a natural and effective method in helping to reduce the appearance of uneven skin ton and hyper-pigmentation due to sun damage, hormones, post-acne scarring and certain prescription medications. The Repêchage Biolight Miracle Facial is so unique because includes our exclusive Glyco-Sea Glycolic Peel. This deep, intensive skin treatment focuses on resurfacing and renewing the skin with less irritation than standard glycolic peels. We use the glycolic in our unique Laminaria Complex to reveal a more youthful complexion with added anti-oxidant and calming properties. I believe that when you leave the spa you should come out looking better than when you went in, and I kept that in mind when creating this treatment. You can go to the spa, get a glycolic peel and then get married on the same day!

BBJ: What are some simple things you’d recommend to fight against aging skin?
LS: Take better care of yourself on a daily basis, and that means going beyond taking good care of your skin. On top of maintaining a complete, daily skin care routine and monthly facial treatments, you have to treat aging from the inside as well as the from the outside. We all know the harm that smoking, sun and stress can cause premature aging as well as a list of other health concerns, so be smart and treat you body right. Eat healthy foods, exercise daily using calisthenics and yoga and remember to breathe deeply. Remember, when you are stressed you don’t breathe! And not breathing causing oxidative damage to the skin. I like to unwind at night with a 15 min seaweed bath, it relaxes away the stress from the day and preps me for a good night’s rest. Oh, and my personal anti-aging secret, lots of champagne!

Thanks, Lydia! Learn more about  Repêchage at

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