It's very cliché to start a story about a celebrity facialist with a list of their celebrity clients. But Joanna Vargas boasts a list that is so good that if I left it for later in this intro, I would accuse myself of burying the lede. So here goes: Sofia Coppola, Naomi Watts, JULIANNE MOORE, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Also everyone in Glossier HQ, whenever her Triple Crown Facial goes on Gilt. She's got salons on both coasts, plenty of skin technology (LED lightbeds, radiofrequency, microcurrent machines...), and a comprehensive product line that just got a very chic rebranding. All of these things, plus y'know, her sparkling personality and good humor, make her our facialist of the month. In keeping with tradition, here are five things you should know about your skin if you want to look like Julianne Moore:
You're more than just a skin type
"I think glycolic peels are outdated," Joanna says. GASP. But wait, there's more: "Sticking to the skincare for your skin type thing is also a bit outdated. There are so many other cutting edge things that go into what your skin looks like now." She's referencing tools like alphera therapy ("It's sort of like a laser for ultrasonic collagen growth"), combining radiofrequency with microneedling, and the LED lightbeds mentioned up top. Joanna sometimes uses all of these in one or a series of treatments to give Hollywood-style results with a non-invasive approach. But the real tip here: Stop thinking about just the surface of your skin and go deeper. Or more high-tech.
Reconsider how often you cleanse
"I don’t wash my face in the morning—my face is too dry," Joanna says. "You don’t need to wash your face in the morning because then you risk over cleansing it. So I just apply the Daily Serum, Hydrating Cream, and sunscreen. I use both the serum and a cream even during the summer. I really like MD Solar Sciences, it’s real sunblock. I have melasma—any exposure to the sun will give me sun spots. So I use SPF 50 under my tinted moisturizer everyday."
Don’t overcommit to new products
A common problem: “I feel like if I sell you 20 things when you come and get a facial you’re going to quit after three nights. Then you’re going to feel guilty. I don’t like that at all. Let’s figure out what you will do!” Joanna figures people will stick to a foaming face wash, an exfoliating scrub ("It's so gratifying to do a scrub"), and a moisturizer. So that's what she made—her first three products were her Vitamin C Face Wash, Exfoliating Mask, and her Daily Hydrating Cream.
Your wakeup routine can benefit your skin, too
Joanna does the very rigorous thing of waking up at 5:30 AM to work out. Every morning. It's good for your productivity, it's good for your health, and it's great for your skin. "It stimulates your lymphatic system and increases circulation," she says. But don't stop there: Joanna recommends adding dry brushing right before you hop in the shower. "I have the Jensen dry brush. It’s just nice and coarse—very invigorating. It’s great for your elasticity, which I obsessively try to maintain. I dry brush for two minutes, and I’ve been doing it for 10 years."
Use sheet masks to make friends
You've all heard the trope—bring a sheet mask on a plane to keep your moisturized skin intact. Sure, you look crazy, but wouldn't you rather have a hydrated face? Yes. Plus, Joanna figured out a way around all the funny stares you'll get. "I use my sheet masks every time I get on a flight but it makes for very interesting conversation with the flight attendants," she says. "I always bring some for them! So they’re happy to have my beauty show happen on board."
Photographed by Tom Newton.