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When aesthetician Sonya Dakar introduced a face oil treatment in the midst of the oil-free and astringent-filled 1980s, most people raised an unruly Brooke Shields-inspired eyebrow.
But, just as the rest of her business proved to be over the next few decades, Dakar’s omega-packed face oil ended up becoming a success among her loyal following of Hollywood insiders, celebrities and others who take their skin and skincare pretty seriously.
“I remember when I was about 9 years old seeing a beautiful woman with porcelain skin (she looked like Marlene Dietrich) and asking her what she does for her skin,” says Dakar about the impetus for creating her hero product. “She told me she uses oil. It was then that I discovered the secret to beautiful skin: oil.”
Dakar’s star clients Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence have been known to love the Omega Face Oil (Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst and Fergie also frequent her Beverly Hills studio for regular facials and maintenance), and now, decades after the initial launch, Dakar is expanding the line to add more anti-aging benefits.
The Omega Overnight Sculpting Mask ($95) and Intense Sculpting and Firming Cream ($115) deliver the fully hydrated feeling the original omega oil product does, plus that all-important lifting, firming and sculpting those hitting the red carpet (or not) look for in products these days.
Here, Dakar discusses her status as a skincare specialist to the stars, as well as how to keep your face hydrated this holiday season and how she’s making her clients look radiant on the red carpet.
Pret-a-Reporter: What was the impetus for creating your omega skincare oil decades ago?
Dakar: I was starting to see a lot of new clients asking me to fix their skin, damaged from strong glycolic peels that were all the rage in skincare at the time. I quickly realized that glycolic acid is just too strong for skin, burning and stripping it. I knew I had to find a solution. In my research I came across omega oil (based on flax seed oil) and learned that it was actually used to heal burned skin hundreds of years ago. It has a ton of soothing, healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The oil was a skin savior, and I quickly used it to formulate my first skincare oil.
How are these new products different and/or effective?
They are a hybrid of my omega oil and a cream formulation, so they are very hydrating, soothing, nourishing and anti-inflammatory, combined with cutting-edge sculpting and plumping ingredients — all while being nontoxic and natural. Both the mask and the cream are formulated with the highest concentrations of organic omega oil, Leontopodium alpinum (a unique compound from the edelweiss plant).
The cream works to create a barrier, so the skin is protected from environmental damage, UV damage, pollution and free radicals. It also metabolizes free radicals found in the skin by up to 50 percent, thus freeing up the cells to do their job and restore a youthful complexion. This unique cocktail of anti-aging superstars helps restore the energy source in the cell’s mitochondria, freeing it up to do its job properly, thus creating incredible results in just three weeks.
As you are gearing up for awards season, are there any other new treatments or specific products you employ on your celeb clients, especially for the red carpet?
Yes! Sculpting will be my main focus. Sculpting the jawline, the face and even the body. During awards season, it’s so important for celebrities to look good from head to toe. If your skin is saggy or broken out, that will often really stand out. My clients want to look youthful, radiant and natural — not injected, nipped or tucked. I can achieve incredible results with Total Lift on the face, eyes, neck, décolletage, back, body … you name it. It allows me to customize the treatment to firm, lift and sculpt the skin. It’s hands down the most requested service during awards season.
What are the most common winter skin ailments you are seeing with your clients, and what are the remedies?
Winter months are naturally drier, and indoor heat works against us to further decrease the humidity. Our skin needs to stay soft and supple, so this is the time to bring out the extra-rich creams — your skin will thank you for doing so! Often during the winter, people are left with dry, irritated skin and eczema patches.
What, outside of skincare, can people do to battle the winter weather?
Avoid taking long, hot showers, which will just dehydrate your skin.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek