Learn from the best! Celebrity aesthetician shares her tips for a flawless and glowing skin.
New York based, celebrity facialist and Founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection, interviewed by Amanda Bell.
Your journey into becoming a skin guru is a little unusual, can you tell us a little about it?
It was a winding road. I went to the University of Chicago and majored in Women’s Studies/Photography. I came to NYC originally to pursue a career in photography, but found my personality wasn’t really well suited for it. I knew I needed to regroup and figure out my life so I thought I would try doing makeup. I went to aesthetics school to embark on that, but while I was there I fell in love with doing facials. I love taking care of people, I love figuring out the skin and I love that people turn to me for the most important events in their lives. I know that I add to a woman’s confidence in herself and that is so rewarding.
Your approach to skin is respectful, treating skin holistically. What are your skin care recommendations?
Anyone who comes to the salon is coming because of my natural take on skincare; celebrities included. I think they seek out, like all of us, what is the healthiest way to approach beauty. Non-invasive treatments and natural products CAN give great results! Beauty from the inside out is important, but just as important are my techniques. I can get the skin to do anything I want it to do but in a healthy, natural way. I recommend taking the leap into natural beauty products. Natural products have amazing results, and oriented ingredients that penetrate more readily into the skin and show a real results fast.
As a facialist what would you say your *signature* treatment is?
The Triple Crown Facial is my signature facial that speeds up collagen and elastin production, giving dramatic results. It drains out excess water, tightens muscles and the skin. It will re-define your features from the first treatment. This microcurrent facial uses three unique steps to re-shape your face and by the end of your treatment your jawline will be more defined, your cheekbones more pronounced and you will have younger looking and refreshed eyes.
What is the absolute worst thing you can do to your skin?
The worst thing one can do to their skin is to not use daily sun protection. Every single thing a woman complains about in regards to her skin is a direct result of the cell mutation the sun causes. Even on a cloudy day you are getting harmful rays, which will cause skin lines, wrinkles and spots.
What is the most neglected part of most people’s routines?
Cleansing!!! People too often think that cleansing isn’t important, or worse, that they can afford to skip it. The truth is cleansing at night is really the secret to great skin. When one sleeps, the body uses this valuable time to repair the damage of the day. If you haven’t washed your face, you are leaving all the things on the skin that causes the body to be inflamed – dirt, pollution and makeup. If those things stay on the skin the body won’t be able to fully repair itself overnight thus speeding the aging process.
What would you recommend for the following skin types?
I have avocado oil in my Daily Hydrating Cream because it is amazing! It really helps keep the skin persistently hydrated and is awesome for sensitive skin as it calms inflammation rapidly and contains useful fatty acids. Olive Oil is an essential fatty acid and is fantastic for calming sensitive skin, bringing down inflammations and healing sun-damaged skin. This is an amazing skin softener and I have this one in my Rejuvenating Serum. I also love galactoarabinan. Four of my five skincare formulas contain this ingredient naturally derived from the larch tree. It causes major cell turnover, but also is an anti-inflammatory, so even if your skin is super sensitive, you will be able to use it and see a big difference in your skin.
– Broken capillaries
Seaweed has been a favorite ingredient in skincare for years because it is mineral rich. It’s great for the lymphatic system and works really well to stimulate circulation, and strengthen the capillaries in the skin. It’s great for cellulite and spider veins. It’s also really great in assisting good digestion, which will in turn improve the skin if you are breaking out.
– Dark/age spots
Six weeks of treatment with LED light therapy can significantly improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s-feet and age spot because it increases cell regeneration, up to five times faster than normal. My patented LED Bed is a full body treatment that boosts collagen all over whilst correcting imperfections. It was developed after reading studies that have shown LED lights heal the skin at a 300% faster rate, promote collagen production, reduce inflammation and shrink pores. The bed covers the entire body with red and infrared light, eliminating cellulite, lines, wrinkles and stretch marks to give you a smoother and more even skin tone – all over! I boosted the effects of my Sleeping Beauty treatment by adding two necessary steps: microdermabrasion, as it cleans surface dirt and removes dead cells and 98% pure oxygen, infused with a green tea serum to hydrate and make the skin glow. The results are dramatic, younger, more radiant and beautiful looking skin!
– Lack of elasticity/tone
Plum mixed with yogurt and honey in a DIY mask will improve elasticity and correct any sun damage that we’ve suffered from summer. Elasticity and youthful skin is all dependent on anti-oxidants and exfoliation. Proper cell turnover stimulated by the right exfoliant is key as is using products with lots of anti-oxidants like Acai berry, found in my Vitamin C Face Wash, and argan oil, found in my Rejuvenating Serum. Also you can add dry brushing to your routine right before the shower. Dry brushing is my favorite method of body exfoliation because it is multi-tasking – it’s actually incredible as a cellulite treatment and increases elasticity. Start at the tops of the feet and brush upwards towards the heart. Spend extra time on areas that tend to be more stagnant, like the inner thigh, and don’t forget to include the backs of the arms and the back. Dry brushing immediately increases circulation, so you will feel warmer when you are done. Dry brushing increases blood flow, which is healthy, but its main purpose is to stimulate collagen production which will help to thicken the skin and lessen the appearance of fat cells. It also dramatically increases elasticity, so it’s great for lifting and toning a problem area. Try it before you get into the shower in the morning and you will see a difference in your skin quality and cellulite in days.
– Puffiness around eyes
Dark circles are better addressed by giving up coffee than by applying any topical eye cream. However, eye creams containing cucumber or sweet potato are great to combat puffiness. For dark circles you can look for formulas that contain arnica to increase blood flow. You should also look for foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids; that helps a lot. My favorite is either cold compress in the am or chamomile tea bags on the lids.
You have achieved so much career-wise, what have been your proudest moments?
I think that my focus on results rather than “relaxation” is different. People do relax here, but they come because they know that we are really going to address their biggest issues in a non-invasive, healthy way. I’m most proud of being known as someone who encourages women to embrace what makes them unique. I don’t offer cookie cutter beauty. My proudest moments are when I can see I have really given someone a new lease of life- women come to me who have had acne their whole lives and when I cure it, I know I have changed their confidence forever.
Your Day spa is a mecca for the fabulous – do you have a little black book of A listers that you attend to? I definitely have a great Black Book! But I am proud of the fact that the women I attract are cool, confident and really trust me. Rachel Weisz and Sofia Coppola are true friends.
Portrait by Skye Parrot
Joanna Vargas Skincare
501 5th Ave, New York, NY 10017