“My philosophy is to keep it simple,” says Vargas. “You don’t need 50 steps in your routine in order to achieve a certain result. You only need to follow the basics.” What does that entail exactly? Always cleansing your face before bed, wearing sunscreen every day, and using a retinol at night. “Whether you are struggling with acne or breakouts, or if you’re concerned with losing elasticity or uneven pigment, retinol is sort of the magic resolution,” she says.
While she also recommends a monthly facial, if you can swing it (she’s an esthetician, after all), there’s also an important piece of skin-care support that she says only you can give to yourself—and that’s a regular dose of face-loving affirmation.
“Take one minute of every night while you’re washing your face, and think of one good thing that you did today, or one good thing that you love about yourself.” —Joanna Vargas, celebrity esthetician
“I think a lot of people spend a lot of mirror time invalidating themselves or criticizing themselves,” she says. “And if you can take one minute of every night while you’re washing your face, and think of one good thing that you did today, or one good thing that you love about yourself, it could really change the way you look at yourself when you look at the mirror. And that’s something that I could never do for you.”
What Vargas could do for Dove, though, was was offer the famous hourlong red carpet facial. It starts with exfoliation by way of a diamond-tipped wand, then moves through a rosewater wash, multiple layers of hydrating and plumping masks, a micro-current treatment, cryotherapy, and more. But while the various elements of the service are most definitely glow-inducing on their own, Dove says it felt like the treatment went one step further, thanks to Vargas’s special touch.
“I’ve been doing facials for 20 years,” she says, “and I’ve never stopped enjoying it because at the end of the day, I truly think that it does build confidence for people. If you can figure out the puzzle of their skin, they’re going to walk away feeling better about themselves. And what’s better than that?” she says.
Her focus on the feel-good (and not just look-good) finish is what took the facial over the top for Dove—and it’s something you can affirm for yourself at home, too. “I think that how you feel affects how you look more than anything else, just from how you’re able to love yourself,” says Dove.
To hear more of Joanna Vargas’s top skin- (and self-) care tips, press play on the video above.