Confessions Of A Top Celebrity Facialist

Joanna Vargas has been an aesthetician for two decades and calls stars like Mandy Moore, Emma Roberts, P.Diddy, and Elisabeth Moss her clients. She has a line of skin-care products and her signature Supernova facial has become one of the most sought after non-invasive skin treatments amongst the Hollywood elite. Here she shares how she went from being an aspiring photographer to the person actresses call rely on for glowing skin. The following interview was told to Aimee Simeon and edited for length and clarity.
From Photographer To Facialist
"Beauty products were the one thing I always had around me from a young age. At 4-years-old, I had a collection full of bubble bath soap, perfume, and Coco-Cola-flavored lip gloss. Anything you could think of with cute packaging, I had it. I started getting facials in high school but I didn’t consider it as a career or life until I moved to New York City. I studied photography and women’s studies at University of Chicago and I just assumed that I would move to New York and become a photographer. That didn’t happen. So I went to beauty school in hopes of getting closer to my original love for makeup.
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"I originally wanted to become a makeup artist, but once I started learning about facials and skin care in beauty school, I completely fell in love with making women feel confident about their bare faces. So, I started working at an organic day spa. That is where I discovered that I wanted to have my own business. I started my salon in 2006 and I never looked back. At that time there wasn't a big category for organic, results-oriented products like there is now. I really didn't have clean, efficacious products that I could do facials with, so I also started developing my own product line to use on my clients.
A Glowing Client Roster
"When I first started in this business I had no clue that I would end up working with all of these amazing people. My first celebrity client was Rachel Weisz, and I met her through another client. We developed a relationship for many years and it's been history ever since. A lot of celebrities end up on my table because of makeup artists. They sit in the makeup chair and artists would notice the difference in someone’s skin and then send their clients to me. Majority of my celeb clients have come through word of mouth.
"To cater to everyone and I try to keep all my travels between New York and L.A., but I end up all over London and Europe, too. I’ve found that the best way to deal with my actress clients is to work on their skin frequently in-between filming, so that everything looks great for the duration of their project. I try to get everyone on a good program and regimen to avoid emergencies — but, of course, they still happen. I’ve had clients filming in foreign areas who would call me freaking out because of how their skin reacted to the environment. My first solution is ship them products overnight, but I’ve definitely gotten up at crazy hours in the morning to do facials if it was the only free time my client had. I’d do anything for a client who really needs me.
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Working With Elisabeth Moss

"Elisabeth was actually a word of mouth client. I met her through her makeup artist Daniel Martin, and we've been together for about two years now. Like all of my clients, my goal for Elisabeth is to keep her skin glowing when she doesn't have makeup on, and to strengthen it so it can withstand stressors (like lack of sleep and set lights). I do a ton of LED light therapy when she's in town and not filming. Her skin is pretty sensitive, so that treatment is perfect because it’s gentle and non-irritating. She also loves cryotherapy and uses Rescue Serum in her daily regimen.
"As an esthetician, it isn't my job to condemn you if you haven't been doing the 'right' stuff or following a perfect regimen. My job is to figure out what is best for your skin in spite of your schedule, diet, and daily routine."
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