Joanna Vargas has the magic touch—she's responsible for the red carpet glows of everyone from Debra Messing to Mindy Kaling to Jenna Dewan, using brilliant signature services like her Triple Crown Facial, a microcurrent tightening and lifting treatment that's deserving of a blue ribbon. And unsurprisingly, Vargas, a woman in her 40s, has the type of skin even 20-year-olds would kill for.
We know that as we get older, our skin composition changes (read: less collagen, thinner skin, the development of fine lines and wrinkles), but it seems that Vargas has beat these odds and found the key to the fountain of youth. As such, we thought we'd tap her for the skincare practices she personally swears by, particularly for aging skin. Below, she shares her best secrets.
What mistakes do most women over 40 make when caring for their skin?
"Not using sunscreen. People wonder why Julianne Moore has such great skin. While her facials are extremely important, her lifelong use of sunscreen is really her biggest anti-aging secret."
"I think over-exfoliating is the worst mistake I see repeatedly. Somehow, women have gotten the impression that the more they use retinols, glycolics, and scrubs, the better. However, we really need to understand that the skin can only take so much of that stuff. I see time and again women who come in with red, inflamed skin who think they need more peels and microdermabrasion. The skin thins over time with all of that, and I think we can all agree that once you reach the point of inflammation you really can't expect anything good to result."
If you over-exfoliated, try repairing your skin with niacinamide, a skin-firming, barrier-repairing ingredient.
How should women adjust their skincare regimen after 40?
"It's important to keep the skin its healthiest in order for it to look its best. Mature skin lacks the ability to produce natural oils to keep the skin looking hydrated and fresh, so you need to add a moisture barrier in order for the skin to stay glowing, even in summer."
What are some of your favorite products for aging skin?
"I always recommend that people use a moisturizer that causes a bit of cell turnover but also contains anti-inflammatory ingredients for the people who have thinner, sensitive skin. My own Daily Hydrating Cream is great!"
How do you feel about the term "mature skin"? Do you have a preferred term for aging skin?
"'Mature skin' sounds so depressing, and honestly, it's super outdated. Mature skin can still break out, it can be sensitive, dry, or oily, a combination of everything. I think we need to move away from sweeping labels. They just don't work for anyone anymore. I focus more on what their real issues are."
What treatments should women over 40 get? What if they're on a budget?
"I would invest in LED light therapy—it's amazing for women to maintain collagen production, reducing surface damage and sun damage. I would further recommend microcurrent. It’s great on people of any age. I would definitely see a dermatologist once a year for skin cancer checks and possibly a laser treatment yearly. But I would highly recommend radio frequency. It's truly amazing."
Finally, what's your exact skincare routine?
"I always wash my face at night, so in the morning I simply rinse my face with tepid water. I don't like using extreme temperatures on my skin because this tends to dry it out. I apply my Daily Serum, Rejuvenating Serum, and Daily Hydrating Cream to my face and neck and follow with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I don't wear much makeup for work—I think it's nicer to see clean, fresh skin. I apply a bit of mascara and a lip color."
"I never go to bed without washing my face! I use my Vitamin C Face Wash, which is a foaming exfoliating cleanser. I take my makeup off with that as well because I hate fussing with tons of products. I follow with my Super Nova Serum—the skin needs cell turnover, and my formula is packed with vital soothing hydrating ingredients plus retinol for the skin. I apply it all over, even to the eye area. It makes the skin hydrated and lightens and brightens my face for morning. If I have a big event the next day, I will sometimes go to sleep with my Exfoliating Mask on my face. It really brightens and exfoliates for a nice clean palette in the morning for makeup."
Need more of a visual guide for which anti-aging products your skin needs? This will help.