In the Treatment Room

With Joanna Vargas, Celebrity Esthetician and Author of Glow From Within


Did you always love beauty and skin?

I’ve been obsessed with beauty products since I was a child. I also really paid attention to photography, magazine ads, and commercials. As I grew up, I started out wanting to be a photographer, then a makeup artist. I went to esthetics school for makeup, but really fell in love with skincare and taking care of people one-on-one, and that was that. I gave myself a year once I got licensed to see how it would be, and I never looked back.

What’s your favorite part about being an esthetician?

When I opened my salon in 2006 with my husband, I knew that I wanted to focus on teaching people that we could strive to be the best version of ourselves by doing things in a minimal way. I wanted the facials to be so special that my clients would leave their treatments so happy that they would tell their friends about it. My focus has always been about using beauty technology and results-driven treatments.

I am known for vetting the latest technologies and putting together a customized protocol for each individual client. It’s that quality that has made my salon successful and makes me excited about my work every single day. I use non-invasive and minimal treatments in my salon because I truly believe it’s the right path to real beauty, and every woman I know will tell you that real beauty comes from how we feel about ourselves and not from what people tell us. My focus has been and will always remain on restoring confidence! I preach to people every day that there is no magic solution; anyone can achieve the skin they want.

I preach to people every day that there is no magic solution; anyone can achieve the skin they want.

You have to take care of your whole body, not just the skin on your face. That’s why I focus on providing treatments that will give a glow from head-to-toe. As I created my skincare line, I wanted my products to be luxurious in experience and for clients to feel like they were getting a piece of my services with every use. Results, of course, were my goal with every formula. All the products in my line do a variety of things and are made for everyone – they truly are the foundation for healthy skin!

What are your top three secrets to beautiful skin?

1. Skincare – With the proper cleansing, sufficient hydration, gentle exfoliation, and a few more easy steps, everyone can see dramatic results to their skin in a matter of weeks. While it’s important to think of the ingredients you apply to your face as nutritionthey should be nonirritating and, like a healthy meal, leave you feeling better than you did before—the products themselves aren’t the full equation. Following a solid skincare routine day after day lays the foundation for healthy skin. Once you get into the swing of your customized routine, it will become a habit like any other that you can keep up for the rest of your life.

2. Self-Care – The most radiant, healthy-looking men and women I see in my salon every day are those who’ve mastered the art of self-care. Sure, it helps that they choose the right products and treatments and don’t eat foods that are bad for them, but they’ve also come to understand that being kind to themselves is as essential to the health of their skin as moisturizer, exfoliation, and eating lots of greens. They pay attention to their bodies, get plenty of sleep, work on reducing stress, exercise, and make time for connection and joy.

3. Spa Routine – Giving facials is my job, so I’m biased, but I’m convinced that getting regular facials can take your skin to the next level and help to erase years from your face. I know facials can be expensive. You might spend sixty dollars at some spas, even for just a half-hour, or hundreds of dollars at others. I understand that you can only do what your budget allows, but I think women often underestimate the benefits of self-care. Your skin is a lifetime commitment. You came into this world wearing just your skin, and you’ll leave with it on as well. It’s worth it. You are worth it. So think hard about

how you spend your money and carefully consider whether the occasional facial is worth it.

Can you share with us one of your best tricks in the treatment room?

I always recommend LED light therapy to help keep the skin calm and restore strength and health to the skin. LED Light Therapy uses red and infrared light to reduce inflammation, build collagen, and speed the healing of the body. It’s a great instant glow, and the long-term benefits are lessening of lines on the face, thickening of the skin, and overall healthy glowing skin! In my salon, we do several different treatments that involve LED light. Still, the most popular is my patented RevitaLight Bed, which gives a client a full-body LED Light Therapy treatment. It’s the perfect end to a facial, especially after microdermabrasion or laser treatments.

Your most popular celebrity facial:

The Triple Crown Facial is my signature facial, and my number one requested service. I use a mild electric current to drain puffiness, tone muscle, tighten skin, and contour the face. By the end of the first treatment, the jawline will be more defined, cheekbones more pronounced, and eyes will look younger and refreshed. There is no downtime, the results are instant, and the effects are cumulative! Since I designed this treatment myself, it is only available in my salon.

Top glowing ingredients:

Jojoba is awesome for everyone, even for my acne-prone clients. Jojoba tells the body to stop overproducing sebum, so it controls oily skin. I have it in my Rejuvenating Serum. Vitamin C is another key ingredient that everyone needs, like in my Rescue Serum. And retinol is amazing for a nighttime regimen. I recommend anyone who is seeing the first signs of aging to incorporate a retinol into their PM routine.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

I think a lot of hard work and treating clients as dear friends. I care for them, and they know it. I put a lot of heart into my clients’ care and into the space I create for my staff. We are all people who love what we do and I think you feel that the second you walk through the door.

How do you manage to own a spa, being an esthetician, and owning a skincare line? What is the best piece of advice for those aspiring to do the same?

For those looking to expand their careers in the same way, I have some simple advice. Listen to your gut. I have made some really bold moves, but if they feel right you have to go for it!

What keeps you going through challenging times?

I usually draw motivation from my clients! Every client has their own personal story with their skin, but most people think your skin is about your DNA. Part of what I do is educate my clients and explain that your skin is telling a story about what’s happening inside your body or happening in your life. Educating and empowering people to love their skin helps get me through the difficult times.

What do you believe is the secret to your success?

Always striving to be the best at what I do for me. I’m my own competition, not anyone else. That and making it clear to people that beauty is for everyone. It was my main motivation for writing my book, Glow From Within.