I Got The Top Red-Carpet Celebrity Facial — Here's What Happened

Beauty with Mi, hosted by Refinery29's beauty writer Mi-Anne Chan, explores the coolest new trends, treatments, products, and subcultures in the beauty world. Follow along on her wild beauty adventures here.
Update: A sea of designer gowns, Ryan Seacrest with a microphone, and Harry Winston diamonds sparking through the TV screen — all this has become commonplace at nearly every award show in Hollywood. This year's Emmys carpet was no different... and we haven't even gotten to the megawatt skin. Powerhouse ladies were glowing, including Mandy Moore whose skin was radiating light to the point we'd say it was actually outshining her sequin Rodarte dress.
So what's the secret? The Joanna Vargas Supernova facial — a $375 oxygenating skin treatment formulated by celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas. The This Is Us actress, Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan, nominee Elisabeth Moss, and actress Ever Carradine all went to Vargas for the pricey facial ahead of the Emmys — and the glow was off the chart. Read on for everything we know about this red carpet skin secret.
This story was originally published April 9, 2018
Joanna Vargas is a bicoastal facialist who has long been responsible for the skin of some of Hollywood's biggest stars. Her hands are so trusted that a host of celebs, like Mandy Moore, Elisabeth Moss, Mindy Kaling, and Dakota Johnson, turn to her to minimize their breakouts, depuff their faces, and brighten their complexions before some of the biggest nights of their lives. Just ask Greta Gerwig, who saw Vargas hours before walking the Oscars red carpet as a first-time nominee for Best Director.
So what's all the hype about? To find out, I plopped down onto Vargas' table to experience a new treatment she's been doling out to La La Land's A-listers firsthand: The Supernova Facial.

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Since most of Vargas' celebs clients are going straight from her spa to a makeup chair, her treatment is designed to brighten, clear, and lift the skin with zero recovery time. Translation: You won't experience any redness or irritation post-facial. While Vargas uses a slew of common facial technologies (aqua peels, microcurrents, and an oxygen machine) it's the rubber mask and the cryotherapy device that had me most excited.
After cleansing and exfoliating my skin, Vargas placed a collagen-soaked sheet mask over my face and followed up with a rubber mask. A rubber mask works by locking in the product that came before it — a bit like a facial oil you'd put on top of your serum and moisturizers at home, but more intense. It serves as an occlusive barrier, Vargas explains, to seal in all the ingredients from the mask. It also reduces evaporation, which helps keep the mask underneath active.
This wasn't my first run-in with a rubber mask, but this was the first time I'd ever been totally encased by one (eyes, lips, neck — the whole shebang). It made for a pretty relaxing experience considering I had no choice but to spend the following 20 minutes sitting in a speechless, meditative state. Then came the cryotherapy-inspired portion, which, unlike actual cryotherapy, does not involve sticking your face into a walk-in freezer. Instead, Vargas' cryo machine felt almost like an ultrasound device (another popular facial tool). She ran the ice-cold metal device over my face to calm my skin and reduce puffiness. (Tip: You can get a similar result at home with facial massage using a couple of chilled metal spoons does the trick, too.)
At close to $400 a pop, Vargas' treatments aren't the most budget-friendly options. However, for a special occasion I can see this being a really effective way to pamper yourself. After all, if it's good enough for Mandy, Mindy, and Elisabeth, it's good enough for me.

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