I stepped into the gorgeous, well-lit spa overlooking Bryant Park with absolutely no idea what to expect. All I knew for sure was Joanna Vargas's big-deal's reputation in the land of skincare, a celebrity aesthetician trusted by the likes of Julianne Moore, Greta Gerwig, Mandy Moore, and more. If they depend on her treatments to get their skin red carpet–ready, I was more than down to give this celebrity facial treatment a try for my not-so-glam subway commute I'd follow it up with. I'd read a little about microcurrent facials prior to my appointment, but admittedly didn't do enough research.
Meet the Expert
Joanna Vargas is a celebrity facialist whose client roster includes Mindy Kaling, Jenna Dewan, and Julianne Moore. She has two salons (NYC and L.A.) and is the creator of her eponymous line of skincare.
This is probably why my mom always gets so nervous when I tell her "I'm trying a new thing for my face today"—she's well aware of my YOLO attitude toward intriguing beauty treatments. To be transparent, all I knew was my skin would be stimulated by some sort of electrical current from a funny-looking device that'll essentially give my face muscles a much-needed workout. The idea of exercising my face muscles won me over from the jump. So I cuddled up underneath a bed of fresh white sheets and let my master aesthetician take it away. Well, here's everything I wish I'd known about microcurrent facials before making the spur-of-the moment decision to try it out.
It redefines your features from the first treatment.
I was receiving Joanna Vargas's signature Triple Crown Facial ($250). My aesthetician skipped cleansing my skin and immediately began with gentle microdermabrasion to shed the top layer of my skin. She did this to create a clean canvas and smoother surface on my skin before the microcurrent treatment began. This was just the warm-up.
Next was game time. "The Triple Crown Facial is my signature facial that speeds up collagen and elastin production to produce dramatic results," Vargas explained when I was getting the rundown. "It will redefine your features from the first treatment. This microcurrent facial uses three unique steps to reshape your face, and by the end of your treatment, your jawline will be more defined, your cheekbones more pronounced, and you'll have younger-looking and refreshed eyes."
She's right. The second my aesthetician pulled out the microcurrent device, it was like my face muscles were getting a much-needed stretch, bend, and tuck. I could feel the electricity from the microcurrent working its magic on every single part of my face. It was a weird, tingly, and strange sensation. After she did one side of my face, I looked in the mirror and saw one of my eyebrows was literally higher than the other while my chin and cheekbones were noticeably lifted. It's like a nonsurgical face-lift, and I was feeling it.
It uses two prongs to produce collagen in your dermis and erase signs of aging.
"The microcurrent facial uses two handheld prongs that deliver precise dosages of energy to the skin and work simultaneously to repair and produce collagen in the dermis, which is the deepest layer of the skin, while gently erasing signs of aging in the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin," explains Vargas, who cited studies indicating that microcurrent facials increase production of collagen by up to 14%, elastin by 48%, and blood circulation by 38%.
Afterward, it was like my skin had experienced the equivalent of a trampoline effect: it was bouncy, supple, and flexible. I'm 25 and take pride in the fact that I have no visible signs of fine lines or wrinkles yet—knock on wood—but I had a noticeably brighter, glowier complexion. The effect was seriously instant. My reflection revealed a slightly slimmer face with a more defined and sculpted bone structure. It's because the prongs were flushing out my face's water retention, draining out my lymphatics while lifting and tightening my muscles at the same time.
So will I consistently be indulging in this treatment to maintain my glow of youth? Absolutely.
I've had a few invasive facial treatments in my day, so I'm no stranger to the whole "beauty is pain" thing. But I do appreciate a non-invasive, gentle treatment with equally effective results. This entire session was completely painless and actually quite relaxing. You'd think there'd be some sort of discomfort factor when electrical microcurrents are involved, but surprisingly, it felt like a zen spa session. I closed my eyes for the latter half of my treatment.
"This safe and painless facial helps erase fine lines and reduce the look of wrinkles while firming your skin to define your features," Vargas explains. "It improves muscle tone, reduces puffiness, increases cellular activity, and tightens pores. The overall result is healthier and younger-looking skin, no matter your age." In other words, the old "no pain, no gain" adage does not apply to microcurrent facials.
You'll see results in minutes.
I know that I briefly mentioned this earlier, but I feel like it's appropriate to reiterate the shock factor of seeing one of your eyebrows more lifted than the other minutes after a procedure. Other than a glowing, bright complexion, you usually don't see such immediate, dramatic results from facials. That about sums up why this is a celebrity favorite, because who doesn't love an instant face-lift? "The fun part about microcurrent is that you do see a result within minutes," says Vargas. "It's amazing when I can show a client one side of their face done and other side undone."
You'll want to go back again and again.
As a millennial who loves instant gratification, I've found myself dreaming of my face's future after a couple more sessions. I see a more sculpted and defined jawline on my skin's horizon. Microcurrent facials are essentially taking your face to the gym, and I need to keep working out to see even more results. Vargas recommends clients indulge in these at least once a month. So now that you're abreast of everything there is to know about microcurrent facials, I recommend you book an appointment ASAP.