Joanna Vargas is a sorcerer of skincare. Period. It would be a disservice to you to not namedrop a few of the famous faces the celebrity esthetician has graced with her hi-tech tools and magical potions: think Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Naomi Watts, to name a few. Her Los Angeles and NYC-based spas are basically the Disney World of luxury skincare, containing an enticing list of rejuvenating facials, microdermabrasion treatments, and a grand LED light bed—one of the biggest claims to fame for her spas (besides herself, of course).
But, no matter how many times you step into a skincare salon, the real pore-refining magic happens at home. As Vargas clearly states, the true way to keep a glow is by giving your skin some regular TLC. But, how can you give your skin the luxury Vargas-approved treatment in your own bathroom? By taking some tips from the skincare master herself, of course. Below, we talked to Vargas on everything—seriously, everything—we all should know about skincare, plus a few tricks she abides by herself.
What is the ultimate skincare trick to keeping winter dryness at bay?
“Exfoliating twice a week during wintertime is sufficient. If you have super sensitive skin, once a week. This is great for getting rid of that dry winter skin that looks dull and grey. Also, a big mistake people make with their skin in the winter is showering with water that is simply too hot. Extreme temperatures of any kind on the skin can throw off its delicate balance. This can lead to dry patches and uncomfortably dehydrated skin. Shower in lukewarm water instead. Your skin will thank you by staying smooth and hydrated all winter long.”
“I also have a great DIY mask recipe for dry winter skin. The yogurt in this hydrating mask is an anti-inflammatory with a lactic acid component. Avocado is something I recommend for any skin type—avocado has lots of B vitamins and fatty acids, so it’s essential to keep the skin hydrated, even in dry winter weather. The honey also hydrates, and will really transform the skin:”
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 honey
- Leave on the skin for 20 minutes, then rinse.
Is there a way to keep your skin clear without overloading on products?
“I would avoid putting too much product—a dime size should be plenty to cover face and neck. Too much product can cause breakouts.”
What are some of your top skincare secrets for a clearer complexion?
“One of my best tips is to start by eating a bit of avocado every day as part of your salad, or even throwing a half of an avocado into your morning smoothie. Avocado supplies the skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients to hydrate from the inside out and bring back your glow.”
“And don’t forget about exfoliation! Women often get this step wrong–never skip it. It’s like having a mini facial when done right. You should look glowing and flawless after a good exfoliating mask. Also, I’m always recommending that clients keep their skin clear and detoxed by the foods they eat, and also in what they drink—a green juice a day keeps the skin clean and glowing. It will be a great replacement to your afternoon coffee, and will literally transform your skin in a matter of days. Green juice helps oxygenate the skin and stimulates lymphatic drainage so it’s de-puffing too.”
What is your daily skincare routine?
“I always wash my face at night, so in the morning I simply rinse my face with tepid water. I don’t like using extreme temperatures on my skin because this tends to dry it out. I apply my Rejuvenating Serum to my face and neck and follow with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t wear much makeup for work–I think it’s nicer to see clean, fresh skin. I apply a bit of mascara and a lip color.”
“As for my nighttime routine, I never go to bed without washing my face! I use my Vitamin C Face Wash, which is a foaming exfoliating cleanser. I take my makeup off with that as well because I hate fussing with tons of products. I follow with my Daily Serum–the skin needs greens, and my formula is packed with vital greens for the skin. I apply it all over, even to the eye area. It makes the skin hydrated and lightens and brightens my face for morning. If I have a big event the next day, I will sometimes go to sleep with my Exfoliating Mask on my face. It really brightens and exfoliates for a nice clean palette in the morning for makeup!”
Spill the tea: which skincare treatments, products, and ingredients actually work?
“Good for any age, I have to say my favorite anti-aging weapon is LED Light Therapy. A proven technology, it literally works on everyone! LED Light is proven to not only to delay wrinkles, but it can also erase existing wrinkles with repeated sessions. Also LED light has been shown to build collagen in quantifiable percentages. That translates into better elasticity.”
“Zinc and Jojoba Oil are key ingredients to look for in skincare because they signal the skin to stop producing excess oil. Oxygen has proven benefits for the skin. It’s anti-inflammatory and stimulates collagen production. It’s also anti-bacterial. When you do oxygen treatments on the skin in the salon, you can see it instantly gets glowy, dewy, and calmer. I wouldn’t do a facial without oxygen at this point. Using Shea Butter as a moisturizer has been clinically proven to reverse the signs of aging and erase wrinkles. Cocoa butter is great because it melts at body temperature, so it’s perfect for good penetration before makeup.”
“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.”
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How do you balance a strict skincare regimen with everyday life?
“Just keep your routine paired down to the essentials.”
What are the most common skincare issues that people ask you about?
“The most common concern from every client is the worry that their skin just doesn’t ‘glow’ anymore and looks lifeless. Every girl I know wants clean, clear, and glowing skin.”
What is the one skincare rule you abide by?
“I am always recommending that clients keep their skin clear and detoxed by the foods they eat, and also in what they drink—a green juice a day keeps the skin clean and glowing. It will be a great replacement to your afternoon coffee and it will literally transform your skin in a matter of days.”