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Celebrity Facialist Joanna Vargas Shares How To Get Instantly Glowing Skin In 3 Steps

Jamie Schneider
August 4, 2022
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
By Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Image by ohlamour studio / Stocksy
August 4, 2022
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Every beauty professional has their non-negotiable steps. In our series, Like A Pro, we tap experts for the top three techniques they absolutely swear by. Here, you'll hear from a variety of industry insiders on the fail-safe tricks they always keep in their back pockets. We're all about simplifying your beauty regimen wherever you can, and sometimes the best routines are as easy as 1, 2, 3.

It takes time to see results from your skin care—as someone who's constantly testing products, I know I need to give a formula at least two weeks (ideally four) before making any sort of judgment call. At the same time, it's only natural to crave immediate results, especially before sauntering off to an important event or social gathering. 

Seems like a tall order, but it's actually not so far-fetched: Just ask Joanna Vargas, who is well versed in the art of the instant glow. The celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin Care is known for prepping many an A-lister before they walk the red carpet (Mindy Kaling, Rachel Brosnahan, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, to name a few), and each face she tends to truly appears lit from within. Below, she graces us all with her signature skin care steps:


Exfoliate the night before.

"Exfoliation is the one step in your routine that makes you look like you just had a facial," says Vargas. (Just don't overdo it, lest you scrub your skin raw. Ouch.) The night before an event or social outing, slather on your favorite exfoliating serum or mask before bed—feel free to use a physical or chemical formula here, but we're partial to lactic acid since it encourages cell turnover and remains gentle enough for sensitive skin. Vargas' own Exfoliating Mask makes you look especially glowy since it includes both lactic acid and kaolin clay to dissolve and sweep away dead skin. "It will really flatten any breakouts that you might have," she says. "I also love that it evens out pigment in the skin so you look even and fresh in the a.m.!" 

Just make sure to stick to an evening exfoliating routine, especially if you're partial to chemical buffers; in the morning, you'll want to focus on moisture. "Follow with a sheet mask in the morning, and you'll look like you just had a facial!" Vargas adds. 


Eat your greens. 

It's not exactly a quick tip, but Vargas stresses the importance of an inside-out glow. "It's important to eat well for your skin before any red carpet event," she notes. "The skin needs basic vitamins and nutrients to achieve a glow from within."

Specifically, she suggests getting in your greens—in fact, her own Daily Serum was inspired by her love of green juices. Think broccoli (it contains sulforaphane, which activates the body's natural detoxification and antioxidant enzymes), matcha (an antioxidant powerhouse), cilantro (packed with vitamin C), and cucumber (which contains more than 95% water—enough said). Now, will these greens completely transform your complexion moments before an important event? Not likely, but sipping on a green smoothie day-of certainly doesn't hurt. Extra hydration is seldom a bad idea.


Use chamomile for puffiness. 

It's an all too common tale: You indulge in a salt-heavy dinner or a few sugary cocktails, and you wake up to puffy, dull, congested skin. (No? Just me?) When you need to deflate puffiness in a pinch, consider chamomile tea your new best friend: "Steep the tea bags in hot water, take them out until they cool, and put one on each eye for 10 minutes," Vargas shares. "You will look refreshed and de-puffed!" 

As for a dull, dehydrated complexion, she recommends applying your skin care products in an upward motion to stimulate circulation, thus delivering oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells and offering a healthy, lit-from-within radiance. It's why facialists (Vargas included) might perform a facial massage if you have an event since stimulating blood flow provides an immediate glow.

The takeaway. 

Preparing for an important event or gathering? Vargas has you covered with her must-have skin care steps the night before and day-of. Instantly glowing skin is not a pipe dream—sure, long-term results may take time, but plenty of quick tips can help in a pinch. And at the end of the day, a good highlighter can always help your complexion shine.

Jamie Schneider author page.
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.