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Interview with the Founder of Restørsea

restørsea skin care products
Is a Solution for:
Dry Skin, Dull Skin
April 14, 2014 Reviewed by Marta 21 Comments

About a month ago, it was announced that Gwyneth Paltrow had been appointed the face of Restørsea, a new line of skin care based on an enzyme from baby salmon in Norway. I was a little skeptical about Restørsea’s backstory and wrote an article that was a tad snarky. Restørsea’s CEO and founder, Patti Pao, responded extremely graciously and invited me to meet her and hear the Restørsea story in her own words. She also gave me a ton of Restørsea products, which of course I shall be sharing with the Truth In Aging community. But first, here’s my conversation with Patti Pao.

Thank you for inviting me to meet you. I would love to hear about how you got started in the beauty business.

Well, I graduated from Harvard Business School, did a stint at Guerlain and then landed at Avon. I was pretty nerdy — I would study things like organic chemistry for fun. Anyway, I got to work with Avon’s chemists, and I told them that what I really wanted was a skincare ingredient that would be an alternative to harsh actives like retinol, which can leave skin dry and irritated.

What did you and they come up with?

Glycolic! It exfoliates and clarifies the skin, but does it gently. It became the cornerstone of the Avon Anew line.

A couple of years ago, I met the head chemist at Avon and asked her what the most important breakthrough had been in anti-aging skincare, and she replied “glycolic.”  So, after that breakthrough, what happened next?

Well, I realized that I was good at finding beauty technologies, and I set up a consulting firm, The Pao Principle, and I worked on, for example, Un-Wrinkle for Peter Thomas Roth and Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea line. One of my clients was based in Oslo, Norway, and I had been to visit the city about 48 times. But I’d never seen anything of Norway, so friends invited me on a three-day hike along the fjords.

You don’t look the camping type to me.

I’m ethnically Chinese and so do not like wildlife or hiking. So, when I saw a really cute building by the water that turned out to be a salmon hatchery, I asked for a tour. At least we’d get a break from the hiking. It turned out to be really interesting as the hatchery was working on synchronized hatching with fertilized salmon eggs. The idea (it’s Darwin’s Second Principle) is that if the eggs hatch at the same time, the fish will be the same size. Anyway, there were huge vats of salmon eggs, and they used light to synchronize the hatching.

How did you discover that the salmon eggs would be your next breakthrough beauty technology?

Well, Norwegians typically have bad skin because they crave as much sun as they can get. But I noticed that the hands of the people working with the fish eggs were really young looking, and I started asking questions about the eggs.

So, now I’m dying to know, what is it about salmon fish eggs?

An enzyme is released that sticks to the fish egg shells and becomes food for the baby salmon. When we extract this and use it for skincare, it exfoliates the skin. But the really cool thing is that the enzyme only removes dead skin — when it encounters the live cells, it turns itself off.

That’s a big advance on glycolic, which, if I understand correctly, does destroy living cells as well as removing dead ones. How did you get the enzyme into a jar of skin cream?

We really had to be careful about the process. This enzyme hates heat — there can be no homogenization. It’s complex. Once we figured it out, we got exclusive use of the enzyme from the Norwegian hatchery.

And Restørsea was born. How many products are in the Restørsea line?

There are soon to be ten products in the line. You should really try the hand cream…

Postscript: I did try the hand cream, and I’ve been using it ever since. Restørsea’s Repairing Hand Treatment has the line’s signature combo of hydrolyzed roe (the fish eggs that yield the enzyme) plus alaria esculenta and algin, both derived from seaweed. I have an extremely generous stash of Restørsea products, and in addition to testing and reviewing them myself over the coming weeks, I’ll be recruiting testers from the Truth In Aging community. Watch this space.

  • June 14, 2016

    by Tena

    Hi Marta, I read your an article "that was a tad snarky" and I consider it brilliant. I am not convinced in her story about science-based products. Especially after Patti Pao's sentence: "I noticed that the hands of the people working with the fish eggs were really young looking, and I started asking questions about the eggs." Oh, come on please.. The SAME sentence we hear from marketing experts by other companies. SK-II claims to have discovered the essence of Pitera, because they realize that Japanese workers who have been in contact with Pitera had wonderful, young hands..even they have been very old. The same sentence KANEBO said for workers with silk..even they were very old, that they hand were very young.., and all of that is marketing trash. No, unfortunatelly this is just lie, go to see "those young looking hads" of hard-workers and probably you'd be mad that someone makes money making us fools (plus the exploitation of these workers with "beautiful" hands). For someone who graduated from Harvard Business School, this is even uninventive lie. Yes, my comment is snarky, but we heard that story about youthful hands at least dozens of times. Therefore, I believe that more to your "article that was a tad snarky" and I still consider it brave and brilliant.

  • December 7, 2014

    by Adonna

    I was reading about this just last night. As always before putting this on my christmas list, I wanted to see what you ladies think.
    Can't wait to hear.

  • May 5, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Brenda, so far I have been using the hand cream and it has had no adverse effects. I am about to embark on the serum and will report back to you in a couple of days - I have mild rosacea also.

  • May 4, 2014

    by Brenda

    Hello Marta, how is the gentleness of this product? At 50, I'm showing some skin texture I don't like, but have to watch out for my mild rosacae.

  • April 24, 2014

    by lisam

    This sounds fantastic. My eyes show a little bit of my age at 44, I would love something like this to try and see the results and report back. Salmon egg ingredient sounds amazing. I would love to try that on my eyes and later on my hands!

  • April 17, 2014

    by Andre

    Doing some searching around the net, I found this excellent analysis of Aqua Bio Technology, the Norwegian biotech-company working with Restørsea amongst others (the chemists here are the one's who have the patents on Aquabeautine Xl, the ingredient only Restørsea [and Amway] are licensed to use, and Dermaclarine, the unique exfoliating enzyme [includes a lot of leukolectin] which is one of three ingredients Aquabeautine XL consists of). It's a business report on Aqua Bio Technology, and as such gives a good summerisation of Restørsea [their most important client/partner] and Amway in the middle of the report. It's written in Norwegian, but I imagine google translator will fix that for those of you interested in learning the background for this intriguing technology.

  • April 17, 2014

    by Andre

    Marta, count me in as another one who'd love to test Restørsea's eye cream! As a man in the beginning of my 20s, I'd be a voice appealing to entirely different demographic groups than your normal testers -- i.e., men, particularly young men [probably young women, too]. While others will certainly reach a broader audience, my position as a representation of a minority group hands me the luxury of being the voice to the easily forgotten, sharing views having a hard time seeing the day, but no less valid. By choosing me as one of your testers you're ensuring diversification, you're choosing to get the whole color palette of opinion rather than just red, just blue, just pink. I think diversification is crucial to testing, I would go as far as to say it's not complete without it, because it allows one to better see how the product works on different skin types [oily-combination-dry], different skin issues [wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, eczema, premature aging, rosacea, dehydration, etc.], and skin at different stages in life [young to old, and how the changes and differences in skin's dermis layers affect product results].

    Lastly, I'm from Norway, and I think that little detail adds a nice, final flourish too it all. :)

  • April 17, 2014

    by Jan

    Wow! I would love to try this product. I am a great fan of science-based products.
    If the hype matches the science this could be the new "it" product. I use retinol and vitamin currently around the eye area, but being over 60, the retinal is very drying.
    I like the idea of a truly nourishing product for the eye area.!

  • April 16, 2014

    by Angela T.

    Hi Marta! I would be a great candidate for testing the Restorsea eye cream! My eye area is the biggest anti-aging battle I face. Despite being only 35, due to a combination of extremely fair skin that is thin, light eyes, and being an avid reader with bad eyesight, the lines and wrinkles that I have around my eyes extend almost into my hairline. I have been using Amarte Eyeconic and YBF Correct for the past 6 months with significant improvement in my eye area. However, I would love to test the Restorsea against the Eyeconic to see if the Restorsea smooths lines and wrinkles like the Eyeconic, but perhaps does a better job of thinning the skin less and maintaining the skin barrier because it only exfoliates dead cells. If selected to test the product, I would also have my boyfriend test it with me because he struggles with dark undereye circles. (I have dark circles, too, but mine is due to the thinness/translucency of my skin showing the veins around my eyes. Unfortunately, there really isn't much a topical product can do about that.).

  • April 15, 2014

    by Kai W.

    I would love to try this product. Every time I look at my self on the camera tablet, I look terrible because I look older than I am. My skin is blotchy.

  • April 15, 2014

    by Lisa

    This eye cream sounds like an amazing breakthrough in anti aging. So many products that exfoliate leave the skin dry due to their harshness, but a product that doesn't harm healthy skin... I'd love to try this!

  • April 15, 2014

    by angela

    I know that eating salmon is good for my skin, so it stands to reason that using it topically would be effective. Patti Pao is very impressive with her science background and experience in the industry. I would be thrilled to try a product based in science rather than empty promises.

  • April 15, 2014

    by Sandy

    It would be wonderful to be chosen to try this eye cream. I haven't found anything yet that helps my undereye puffiness.

  • April 15, 2014

    by lisa m

    I would like to be given the opportunity to try this and let everyone know about how it works. I am 44, I have laugh lines because I smile a lot :) and I have a lot of environmental allergies which causes me to have puffy and dark circles and people always say I look tired but I am not...I would love to test this out and see the results and describe what happens!!!

  • April 15, 2014

    by Terri Batchelor

    I feel I would be a great choice for this eye cream, as I have used most of the high end as well as other eye creams in the store. I had just began considering trying to find another eye cream as I was left frustrated and disappointed with the most recent eye cream I had purchased directly from Eshee ( AO Gene therapy). So I believe I would be an excellent choice to review this new eye cream.
    Thank you,

  • April 15, 2014

    by Patti Stern

    I would love to test this extraordinary product! We only have one life and taking care of my skin is a priority. I am intrigued by the Salmon fish eggs and their restorative powers. Please let me try the Restorsea Revitalizing eye cream and I will put my best face forward!

  • April 15, 2014

    by ASTON

    I've been hearing more and more buzz about this product line and I would really like to try it.

  • April 15, 2014

    by imelda

    What an interesting character Patti Pao is! It is no wonder she founded this company using such an incredible discovery of salmon eggs and applied it to this innovative approach for skin care. I wouldn't mind trying any of their products that can revitalize my aging skin.

  • April 15, 2014

    by Michelle Nunley

    Fascinating. I would LOVE to try out thee products. Thank you!

  • April 15, 2014

    by narysh

    I would be delighted to try Restørsea Revitalizing Eye Cream because I have puffy eyes, fine lines and, most importantly, stubborn dark circles. I am also curious about the salmon fish eggs and their role in cell renewal.

  • April 15, 2014

    by Kathryn Totilo

    This sounds quite interesting. I can see how you weren't sure in the beginning. I would LOVE to see if it would work on my puffy, dark circles!

    Please consider me.

    Thank you.

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