Glow From Within: An Interview With Celebrity Esthetician Joanna Vargas
Julianne Moore, Keri Russell, Maggie Gyllenhaal. These are just a tiny handful of some of the A-list faces Joanna Vargas has worked on, but that’s not why she’s adored by so many. Joanna Vargas is an inspiration to skincare enthusiasts, and Esthetician’s (including me), worldwide.
Joanna’s impressive career has made her one of the most recognized skincare experts in the world, and for good reason. Joanna has a background in photography, always the creative type, she then navigated her way to becoming a facialist. In her early career she worked in a day spa and then for a celebrity dermatologist. This is when she really began to combine her love for natural skincare products, and anti-aging treatments with the most effective and active ingredients available.
Now, Joanna has two practices, one in L.A., and one in New York City. She has a skincare line, Joanna Vargas Skincare, and this year she published her book Glow From Within, where she teaches readers how to create the best routine for their skin type. More about that later!
Initially, my interview with Joanna was supposed to be in person at her NYC practice, I was so excited to not only meet her, but I was scheduled to receive a facial from her as well. Unfortunately we had to switch gears due to the quarantine in NYC and social distancing measures that are in place. Instead, we had a phone interview, and even though I didn’t get one of her cutting-edge facials, I still had an incredible experience learning about Joanna’s life, motivation, and her skin care secrets.
As soon as I got on the phone with Joanna I knew the conversation was going to be a breeze, she just has such a way with people. I was worried that my daughters were going to make noise or embarrass me. Working from home with kids has been challenging, to say the least.
Joanna and I started to chat, and after a couple of minutes her daughter interrupted her. “I’m sorry” she said to me.” I usually play Barbies with my daughter at this time of day”. I instantly felt relaxed and that we really are all in this together.
So let’s get into your new book, Glow From Within. This is a guide for everyone, correct?
Yes. I have never been the type of person who wanted to create a business or product that was exclusive. I want this book to be for the girl who can’t afford a facial. I didn’t want this to feel like a textbook, I want it to be like your older sister giving you advice.
I love how you explain in the book that skin care is not one-size fits all. The book is dedicated to your grandmother, can you tell us about the impact she had on your life and career?
My grandmother is from Puerto Rico, It’s a very Latin thing to get all dolled up. My grandma always looked beautiful. I didn’t know anybody more glamorous than my grandmother. Her present to me was always some kind of beauty product. My earliest memories were of being the kid that always had the most lip glosses and beauty products.
Is there a treatment or product you feel works for every skin type?
Exfoliating with lactic acid or an enzyme. My Vitamin C Face Wash (JV Skincare). It’s not heavy, hydrates without leaving too much weight, and helps texture. Vitamin C is a universal anti-inflammatory, it has antioxidants, wear it with SPF to boost efficacy.
For people interested in starting a skincare routine, what is a DO, and what is a DON’T?
For complete newbies, try one product at a time for two weeks so you can see what the reaction is. Read about it, the ingredients and the company. Make sure it makes sense to you. If you’re dipping your toe in, start with an exfoliator, serum, cleanser, and build it up that way. There are so many different concerns and so many different types of skin, you really have to dig into somebody’s life, like their diet and lifestyle. The goal with my book is I want you to feel good about yourself. Great skin isn’t exclusive to celebrities or certain types of skin. If you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, ask the question- am I sleeping? Am I eating the right foods? If you start to understand what you’re looking for, it gives you so much more control.
What is the biggest hurdle you faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
When I first started out, I knew what to put on the menu, and I knew how to give great facials, but how do I get the phone to ring? How do I get people to know I exist? I decided to make my facials so incredible, that they would leave feeling so good and tell their best friends, sister, and mom about it.
For any aspiring Esthetician’s out there, what’s one piece of advice you can give them that they haven’t heard before?
Do as many treatments as you can. Do 10,000 facials and then you’ve got something. Try working at different places that have different philosophies. Develop your own view point on it, have your own voice, and study up! I’m very honest with my clients and that’s helped me build the reputation that I have.
On a personal note, how often do you get facials?
I try to get facials minimally once a month, or 3 weeks is my happy place.
Just for fun, if you could bring only one skincare product to a deserted island with you, what would it be, and why?
Rejuvenating Serum from my skincare line Joanna Vargas Skincare. It’s got 5 different oils including Argan and Olive Oil. It has antioxidants, its anti-inflammatory, and it’s soothing. I couldn’t live without it!