Any skincare aficionado in New York City knows the name "Joanna Vargas." One of the most celebrated estheticians in the US with a long roster of celebrity clients who swear by her facials for red carpet events (check out her Instagram to see just some of these famous faces), Joanna has built a cult following with a simple philosophy: marry a personal experience with clinical results. So in-demand are her services that even our founder, fellow esthetician, Alicia Yoon, specifically sought Joanna out before her wedding for what Alicia calls "one of the most impactful yet gentle facials in town."
After building her spa empire, launching an eponymous skincare collection, and becoming the go-to facialist for A-listers seeking that "lit-from-within-glow," we couldn't help but sit down with Joanna to get the skinny on her special sauce. Here, the superstar mom of 2 dishes on entrepreneurship, her beauty regimen, and the importance of lipstick in everyday life.
1. What is your personal beauty philosophy?
I believe anyone can have great skin. Organic nutrition inside and out is important for good skin and of course I’m a huge fan of non-invasive technologies.
2. What is a beauty product that you can't live without? And why?
Besides my own Rejuvenating Serum, which is hydrating and glow-making, I don’t think I could live without lip color. Dior is my favorite. Nothing makes you feel better than a good lipstick.
3. What was the first step you took when building your empire?
Being able to stand behind what I do with proper science behind everything is so important to me. Clients trust me so much, and you always need to live up to who everyone thinks you are. When I first started my business, I knew that I could be successful if I focused on making each client feel like I was listening.
4. When it comes to handling stress, do you have any go-to strategies?
I love to read. Sometimes checking out with a good book is fabulous. Helena Christensen got me into boxing this year. It's so amazing for the body and knocks the stress levels right down. I think my secret is to always tell myself it will work itself out. And it always does!
5. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I read, answer emails, and then jump on my Pelotan bike. I try and do two hours of "me time" before everyone else wakes up. It’s heaven!
6. What is a movie you can watch over and over again and not get sick of it?
Any movie by Jim Jarmusch. Mystery Train, Ghost Dog, they are all so good.
7. What inspires you?
I get inspired by so many things. But primarily I am truly inspired by wanting to disabuse anyone from thinking you have to be born with great skin to have it. I want women to know we are all in the same boat and I’m here to help you figure it out.
8. When it comes to skincare, what is your daily routine?
I cleanse nightly and do a sheet mask. I then use a retinol, follow with my Rejuvenating Serum and Daily Hydrating Cream. In the morning, I rinse my face, use my Daily Serum, Rejuvenating Serum, and then the Daily Hydrating Cream again. For, SPF I use MDSolarSciences. Then, I'll apply Stila foundation and lipstick. Simple.
10. What is your most requested service? Has it changed over the years?
Still the most requested service is the Triple Crown Facial. It’s the crown jewel. But what’s hanged over the years is that people really do understand there is no magic treatment. We need the combination of great technologies to have great results.
11. What is the most memorable place you've traveled to?
Big Sur is pretty spectacular. I also love going to Turks and Caicos with my family. But I must say one of my favorite places of all time is Mallorca. I could go and never leave. So peaceful.
12. What is one thing a woman should do every day for her skin?
It’s simple- wash your face and wear sunscreen daily. That’s the basic secret to great skin when you are older. But I would also say do a mini face massage nightly when applying your nighttime skincare. It will help circulation and the lymphatic system.
13. What is a day in your life like?
It’s crazy hectic. I’m very scheduled with everything, but it can be insane some days. I wake up at 5:30, so I have alone time for a while in the am. Then, I'll get the kids ready for school, go to the office and see clients till around 2 pm. I box for an hour and then go back to work for an hour of meetings. I like to be home for dinner so the family can have that time to check in with each other. And I can help with homework if needed. I feel like I’m sprinting through the day all day. I travel four times a month sometimes, so that makes it crazier. But I love my life!
14. Desert island, three things: go!
Rejuvenating Serum, music lip balm.
15. What do you say to a woman who might be afraid to get a facial?
Do research and find a great place! It’s so much fun and you are missing out on a very important part of self care.
16. What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Keep your own counsel. Listen to your gut. If you have an instinct about something, follow that. Trust yourself enough to know if it’s the right thing.