Meet the skin treatment pioneer putting Israel on the map in cosmetics

Today Hava Zingboim stands behind more than 150 innovative breakthroughs in skin treatment and has placed Israel on the map in cosmetics.

Hava Zingboim, CEO and founder of Hava Zingboim Cosmetics Ltd. (photo credit: DANIEL KAMINSKY)
Hava Zingboim, CEO and founder of Hava Zingboim Cosmetics Ltd.
(photo credit: DANIEL KAMINSKY)
Hava Zingboim, CEO and founder of Hava Zingboim Cosmetics Ltd., winner of The Jerusalem Post’s Award for Excellence and Innovation, does not have a moment’s rest.
“I seem to be 53 years old, but I’m actually 106. I live with twice as much intensity. By day I run my business and raise my children, and at night I learn new things,” she declares from the company’s offices in Ramat Gan, on the morning of what will be another hectic day. “I have no choice. The world is renewing and changing very quickly – whether it’s social networks or technology. I must stay in the loop. In between, there are grandchildren, a desire to know everything, to innovate, and always to be ahead. It’s an internal engine.”
An engine that is running at full throttle, to be exact. Operating through the organization that she heads and that bears her name are two thriving schools that provide professional training for beauticians, a cosmetics company that manufactures products, and research and development laboratories that have developed a system that enables substances to penetrate the skin. Three separate yet connected structures, if you will.
Had she listened to the advice of others, it is doubtful that things would have worked out the way they did. Throughout her seven years of research, she frequently heard people say, “It will not work,” “It will not happen,” and “If anyone can succeed – it will be the cosmetics giants,” but she never rested.
The negative remarks were, of course, about Prophecy Cream, her groundbreaking product, which is the first and only cream in the world that uses a new technology that was developed in collaboration with Bar-Ilan University.
After seven years of intensive research, together with Prof. Rachel Lubert and the Department of Nanotechnology, the research and development team led by Zingboim developed a miniaturization and molecular dermatology system. The first micronized component was hyaluronic acid, which has been proven in human skin penetration studies to penetrate the inner layers of the skin through application and without injection, as published this year in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
The study received worldwide recognition and was a revolution in the world of cosmetics. Previously, hyaluronic acid was known for its ability to penetrate the skin by injection. Now, it can be injected by applying it to the skin. “Both Botox injections and hyaluronic acid are not new,” explains Zingboim. “They were used for medical purposes before they were used in the beauty world, for example, for the treatment of damaged muscle or cartilage problems. I start with the premise that people should do what is good for their body and mind. Many women come to the clinic to receive injections and do not know that they need anything else. For example, if the purpose of the hyaluronic acid injection is to sculpt a particular area, the injection will not affect skin quality. The skin is an organ that requires specific targeted treatment, and the injection is not a solution for skin texture. Our inventions are designed to improve skin texture and skin health – not just for treating a wrinkle or one muscle, but looking at the skin as a whole.”
Reality, which can be deceptive, does not affect her. “I cannot prevent outside forces, and outside voices do not influence me. If outside voices influenced me, I would not have gotten as far as I have,” she says. Hava made her business decisions the same way during COVID-19. “It wasn’t easy. When I started the business, I decided that more women would make a living in my business. For me – because of my background, a livelihood for me is not just about financial status. It signifies financial independence and the ability to support oneself and one’s family, and of course, give to others. Just as charity is an integral part of our work, I decided that for every shekel I would receive, other women would also benefit. We do not have an online platform. Every product I sell is handled through a beautician who benefits from it because I sell to her, and she sells to clients in her clinic. It means having a social conscience for everything.”
Everything was going according to plan, until COVID-19 arrived, and with it, the government directive to close all cosmetic salons and clinics. “This meant that on Passover eve – the most important period for beauticians – everything would be frozen. Most of the beauticians own small businesses and have no online platforms for selling products. In one day, everything stopped. We realized that we had to open an online platform to keep the company running, but I could not do that to them. Sooner or later, the closure will end, and what will happen to them in the future? I went to my room for ten minutes. I said to myself: there are cellphones, there is FaceTime – they will make an online evaluations in order to recommend the products. There are new opportunities. Instead of a beautician selling only to those who can come to her, she can now expand her customer base.”
“As a woman accustomed to making my own decisions, suddenly a greater power – COVID-19 – came over me and said, ‘Don’t move.’ It was a very strange feeling. I have been independent for many years, and suddenly my independence was taken from me. Flights from China stopped, and raw materials and packages did not arrive. I immediately made appointments to go to Italy and Spain, and the flights were canceled. I was in shock. I said: ‘God, creator of the universe, what are you trying to tell me? Surely there is a lesson here.’ In that second, I realized that I, too, who has always been able to do everything, must learn to live within limits. It caused me to be more creative and to think outside the box.”
With these numerous limitations, her brain shifted gears. Zingboim appeared live to her 4,000-member Facebook group. “I said to them, ‘We can’t hide underneath the covers. Make your recommendations and diagnoses online and deliver goods. Everything continues, business as usual, even if we sell just one unit.” The mobilization was immediate and sweeping. Every day Hava broadcast another live appearance to her group. “The entire professional cosmetics industry in the country has recovered, thanks to the move I made,” she says. “Our sales went up by almost 40 percent, and the beauticians’ sales went up. There were difficulties, and there were some who failed, and there are also difficult stories about businesses that were hit hard. COVID-19 was difficult, and dealing with it was hard, certainly for small businesses, certainly for women-owned businesses and single earners. But for the most part, everything – our schools, our research, and the company could have been harmed during this period, and eventually, each of them prospered. I cannot change the situation, but I can change my attitude to the situation. The beauticians built online departments, developed, and marketed products – not only for my products, even though I initiated the move.”
Regarding the management of the crisis, she says: “If women were in charge of managing the pandemic, we would see a united, embracing, compassionate, and completely different world of management. One of the things I teach my staff is ‘leadership that serves its followers.’ When people tell me that leadership and serving are two opposites. I think that a leader should get up in the morning to serve his people, his staff, and his people. Otherwise, for what and for whom does he get up in the morning?”
Zingboim was born and raised in Bat Yam, the middle child in a family with three children, homeless, and with little financial means. “My mother was dysfunctional and very ill. My father was very loving, but was less physically present,” she recalls. “I grew up alone. On the one hand, it exposed me to existential dangers on the street because I had to think about where I would sleep the next day.
On the other hand, I chose to create my inner reality regardless of what was happening outside. My inner resilience is built from the inner worlds and from listening inside. This inner engine developed from a place of being challenged. It never comes from being indulged or receiving excess comfort. Once it is created, it does not stop. When you are accustomed to listening to your inner voice, it intensifies and propels you forward. I have partners, accountants, and business advisors. I have an amazing husband who is a friend and partner, but when I have to make a decision, I say, ‘Give me ten minutes alone. When you go on your way, there are bumps. In the end, my struggle is always alone.”
Hava married Moti in 1985 when she was 18, after two years of dating. Three years after their marriage, the couple traveled to New York. He worked as a cantor while she looked to find her way. In Texas, she became aware of the field of paramedical cosmetics that was then in its infancy. Hava studied in a special program in advanced cosmetics at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Texas. After completing the program, she opened one of the first clinics in the world for advanced cosmetics in New York. After spending a decade in the United States, their longing for home brought them back to Israel. The field of medical cosmetics, which employs science for the sake of beauty, was not yet known in Israel. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists were not aware of it. Zingboim was looking for a senior plastic surgeon who would give her an opportunity for her innovative cosmetic method and reached out to Dr. Michael Scheflan, then chairman of the Middle East Plastic Surgery Association. At the meeting, she brought up
things with which he was not familiar. He was open to her suggestions and said, “Let’s try.”
At Atidim Medical Center, she taught about the in-depth treatment method she had developed and, over time, established an advanced cosmetology school with Dr. Scheflan. At the same time, she produced cosmetic formulae and sold them to Scheflan’s patients. “It was a mutually beneficial relationship,” Scheflan said. At a certain stage, he said to her, “Fly and and leave the nest,” and Zingboim set out on a new path together with her husband Moti and set up her own cosmetics company. The initial line of products was a resounding success. The family business prospered.
The rest is history. Today Hava Zingboim stands behind more than 150 innovative breakthroughs in skin treatment and has placed Israel on the map in cosmetics. It comes from her own inner fire. “We live with great passion,” she says. “At age 40, I said to myself, Either get up and go or make a change. And if you are not making a change, that there is a fundamental reason for this. I became everything that I dreamed of and wanted to be, when I was a child in Bat Yam: A mother of six children – four daughters and two sons, a wonderful marriage, and a home. The dream came true at a very young age, because I knew that that was my condition for life.” ■
Translated by Alan Rosenbaum