(Excerpts from the Yahoo! Beauty interview)

Sonya Dakar is the founder of Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic in Beverly Hills as well as her eponymous skin care brand. Dakar is heralded by beauty industry insiders and Hollywood tastemakers. The Tel Aviv native became an aesthetician before moving to West Hollywood in the late '70s. Here, she shares what she's learned about success, her beauty icon in her 20s, and advice for 20-somethings today.


In my early teens, I would accompany my mom to her facial appointments and her aesthetician was really inspiring. For the first time, I was introduced to the notion of natural skin care solutions. When I was in high school, I had an apprenticeship where I was mentored on how to blend and concoct skin care products from natural ingredients. It really lit a fire in me!

Back in my 20s, Brigitte Bardot was the pinnacle of beauty. I loved super pale lips, thin eyebrows, and cat eyeliner. Now I prefer a full brow and natural makeup look. I don't even wear foundation! I've always loved natural products and oils. Now, I like bright red lips — Tarte makes a great matte red lipstick. I loved dressing and styling on trend, which meant beehive and bob hairstyles, mini skirts, and bell-bottoms. I would bring Vogue magazine to my tailor and have him create looks for me. I did the same with my hairstylist, and really changed my looks a lot throughout the years.

Aesthetician to the stars Sonya Dakar in her 20s. (Photo: Sonya Dakar)

I would tell my 20-something self to believe in myself. There used to be no such thing as an esthetician who corrected skin. Skin care options were injections and prescriptions at a doctor's office, or a frou frou European facial at the spa. I was neither — I had and still do have a corrective, non-sugarcoated, no-nonsense approach to skin care. I am known as the "problem skin specialist," and the spa industry initially did not understand. I would tell myself, "Don't change who you are!" Keep on evolving, but stay true to yourself. Keep your passion and vision. If you are the best at what you do, people will follow.

Aesthetician to the stars Sonya Dakar in her 20s. (Photo: Sonya Dakar)

I hesitated years before opening up my first storefront on Beverly Boulevard. Before that, I worked from my home. I was nervous to take my business to the next level and open up a commercial skin clinic. I eventually pushed myself to find a retail location and I never looked back, My fear of not having enough clients to sustain a retail location quickly dissipated and walk-ins and repeat customers keep me busier than ever! Word spread and I was working 14-hour days. It was a lesson for me, and I never looked back. Don't let fear guide you.

Initially, it was challenging to find natural ingredients that were effective and could pass my personal test when I started my skin care line. I remember when I was creating the Organic Omega Booster ($52). As the first face oil on the market, it was not easy. There were no ingredient companies showcasing face oil ingredients — I had to go out and globally source it myself. Now natural, effective ingredients are readily available. The new challenge is to make something better time after time. Most rewarding is seeing before and after photos and reading emails from people who tell me I changed their skin. Giving people confidence and improving their lives is so rewarding.

Advice for 20-somethings: Follow your dreams. Kill your fear. If you fall, it's OK. There is always a brand new day, and never take no for an answer.