Joanna Vargas is one of the top facialists from the United States, with salons both in New York and Los Angeles. Her ambition and hard work made Jonna the aesthetician who is preparing the skin of celebrities such as Sofia Copolla or Naomi Watts for the red carpet.
The treatments that she performs at the salons are cutting-edge and do wonders not only on the skin of celebrities but also for the rest of her clients. After decades of experience, Joanna launched also her own skincare line that has her name.
We thank her for sharing with “Beauty Talk Worldwide” both her professional journey, but also inside acknowledge about how it is to work with celebrities and precious skincare advice.
Q: Could you introduce yourself to the Beauty Booker UK audience?
A: I have been a facialist for over 20 years and founder of Joanna Vargas Skincare and Salons. We have our flagship in NYC and a spa at the Sunset Tower Hotel in LA. My product line is retailed worldwide.
Q: When did you realize that becoming a facialist was your dream?
A: I originally went to Esthetics School as a pivot from the photography world. I realized once in school that what really made me happy was taking care of people one on one and helping them become more confident in their own skin.
Q: What steps you had to follow to reach this level of performance and become a celebrity facialist?
A: I spent the earlier years of my career working in a variety of practices before I felt I had developed my own point of view. Once we opened our first salon in NYC, I really focused on giving everyone the best service they ever had. Word of mouth spread about my services. The celebrity thing was something that happened via word of mouth. It wasn’t something I sought out. It just happened.
Q: Could you tell us five names of celebrities that are coming regularly to your salons?
A: Mindy Kaling, Helena Christensen, Julianne Moore, Rachel Brosnahan, Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Q: How does it feel to know that you have one hour to make the skin of a celebrity glow for the red carpet?
A: It’s fun. It can be stressful if you doubt what you are doing. But I really believe in my treatments and I can have everyone look glowing!
Q: What are the most in-demand treatments at your salons?
A: The most popular treatments are the Triple Crown Facial, my microcurrent treatment, and the LED light bed, which is my patented full-body LED treatment.
Q: How many times per year should we go to see a facialist?
A: I think once a month to once every six weeks is a very normal amount to see a professional about your skin.
Q: What are the differences between a dermatologist and a facialist?
A: We obviously have different training. When I started my career it often felt facialists and derms were at odds with one another and clients had to pick who they listened to. But I think today it’s very normal for clients to have both and listen to both. I work very closely with the derms I know in NYC and we work together to create a happy client.
Q: How are the skincare technology and products in the U.S. compared to Europe?
A: I think when I started my career Europe had the cooler machines. But now I think they are very similar. We are all trying to do the same stuff to get the best results for clients.
Q: You have your own skincare line. What makes it special, compared to other skincare products?
A: As a facialist, my focus has always been good nutrition for the skin. That’s the focus of my line. What are the building blocks for good skin for all skin types and all skin tones.
Q: From what age should we start having a skincare routine?
A: I have treated very young people, at the beginning of puberty. It really depends. I do think it’s very healthy to teach good hygiene from a very young. My kids are very good about face washing and using a serum or moisturizer when needed. And they are both great about sunscreen. That stuff is just healthy habits that apply to any age.
Q: What are the biggest skincare mistakes?
A: Not wearing sunscreen. Not washing your face before bed.
Q: What advice do you have for a skincare beginner?
A: Start with the basics. Face wash, a good serum, a good sunscreen. You don’t have to have a 20 step routine, and often that’s not great anyway. Start simple and build on that as needed.
Q: What are the main differences between a skin condition vs. a skin type? And how can we figure it out?
A: Skin conditions are things that are temporary acute issues like a reaction to something, dehydration etc. Skin type is the way your skin is all the time, like oily, dry etc.
Q: What active ingredients should we use more, according to our skin type?
A: I think everyone can benefit from retinol, even if you use it only once or twice a week. I love peptides too.
Q: Could you name a top five active ingredients?
A: This is super subjective. I guess retinol, antioxidants(I love vitamin C), mandelic or lactic acid, peptides and hyaluronic acid. But that doesn’t mean they should all be used across the board.
Q: Retinol is a very popular and debated ingredient. From what age should we start using it?
A: Because it is such a useful ingredient for different reasons, you can start using it early. It helps control breakouts, it helps with hyperpigmentation, it helps with collagen production.
Q: What active ingredients can we mix with each other and what not?
A: Can’t mix vitamin c and retinol in the same application. In other words, use vitamin c in the day and retinol at night.
Q: Do people of colour have different skincare requirements?
A: I try to stay away from sweeping generalities, especially since skin that’s technically a wide range of people included in this category. I will say that I would take care to observe skin sensitivities and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as those are common concerns that are undervalued in treatment.
Q: Do you recommend chemical exfoliation or physical?
A: I have my own exfoliating mask which is a combination of both. I love the combination of lactic acid and pineapple enzymes for improving texture while a good scrub for the t zone feels great and helps with blackheads.
Q: What is your opinion on homemade skincare?
A: I think homemade masks can be fun and in a pinch can help the skin if you can’t afford the real deal. Also traditionally speaking, those homemade recipes exist in many cultures, including my own. But obviously, I believe in professional skincare. If you have a real skin issue then products are the only way to go.
Q: What does beauty mean to you?
A: Being confident in your own skin and embracing what makes you unique.
Thank you for your time, Joanna! Keep up the good work!
You can find Joanna Vargas on Instagram :
Joanna Vargas Salons:
New York City:
501 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017
8358 W SUNSET BLVD.
Los Angeles, CA 90069