How do A-listers prep for big events? Joanna Vargas, facialist to the stars, spills the secrets to their luminous complexions. (Hint: It's not makeup!)
"Your skin is a window into your habits and lifestyle," says Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist with two eponymous salons in L.A. and New York City. Her clients include such famous faces as Sofia Coppola, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Debra Messing. But the good news is that you don't have to step into a salon to get an A-list glow.
To achieve a luminous complexion, start by giving yourself an at-home facial by cleansing skin with a foaming wash, which Vargas says does the best job at getting rid of every bit of dirt, makeup, and residue. Then, follow up with these steps for dewy, glowing skin that's red carpet-ready. Stick with this regimen on a weekly basis and you'll see a noticeable difference in your skin in as little as two weeks.
Exfoliate the right way
After you've cleansed skin, the next step is exfoliation. "There are many benefits," says Vargas. "Improved texture and tone, better product absorption, and so on—but make sure the formula is gentle."
When choosing a scrub, Vargas looks for formulas that contain lactic or fruit acids, which are less irritating. But she also is a fan of DIY scrubs. Her go-to recipe is 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup cornmeal, and 1/4 cup grapefruit juice. Mix the ingredients together and let cool in the fridge before massaging onto your face.
"This gentle combo of physical (cornmeal) and chemical (yogurt) exfoliators deflakes without irritating," Vargas explains. "Grapefruit juice is great for deep-cleaning pores, as well as for anti-aging." Rinse off after 2 minutes for smoother skin.
Choose the best mask for your skin
After you exfoliate, do a quick analysis of your skin, and go with a mask that addresses what's happening at that moment. For example, if it's right before your period and you're breaking out, you'll want a calming antibacterial mask. Feeling really dry? Pick one with stem cells to hydrate and plump. If you have a combo of issues, try multimasking—applying different formulas to target different zones of your face at the same time.
Vargas's go-to for dry, mature skin is Eminence Organics Bamboo Age Corrective Mask. "It has green-apple stem cells for anti-aging," she says.
Apply a nutrient-rich serum
After you've applied a mask for about 10 minutes, follow with your regular skin care products, such as serum, eye cream, and moisturizer. For serum, Vargas recommends the Joanna Vargas Daily Serum, which is rich in chlorophyll, fatty acids, and vitamin A, C, and E. "It's meant to be a daily dose for your face," she says.
Drink your greens
"Don't forget: What you eat affects your skin," says Vargas. She sips on Juice Generation Supa Dupa Greens to give her complexion a healthy glow. "It has spinach, kale, collards, and more. I drink it every single morning."