Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bridal Beauty Binge: PLEASE Get Yourself A Wedding-Day Facial From Joanna Vargas. Please.

I'm getting married in February 2010, which means I have approximately 340 days to engage in almost a year's worth of trial and error, which is basically the way I like to do things. Already I've looked at seven different venues, purchased and returned one wedding dress, tried on and rejected several more wedding dresses from one of New York's "premiere" wedding salons, attended countless wedding workshops, and had a body wrap I definitely wouldn't recommend to brides-to-be or anyone else for that matter. But the one thing I did right so far (besides say yes to my "boyfiance") was getting a facial from Joanna Vargas (that's her on the right) at her flagship salon here in New York.

Joanna Vargas looks about 12 (she's not, but she could easily pass for 22), and has the luminous skin of a just-bathed toddler who's never seen the light of the sun. So right there, you know she's doing something right. But it turns out she does EVERYTHING right; A few weeks ago, I visited her salon on Fifth Avenue and 42nd (right across from the Bryant Park tents -- she treats a lot of the famous fashion faces inside) for a customized 60-minute Red Rose Purifying Facial, and truly, my skin has never looked better.

Joanna's treatment started off with a Diamond Peel -- a form of microdermabrasion that uses a diamond-tipped wand to remove the top layer of dead skin, and while I like to think I do a decent job of cleansing and moisturizing, it is winter in New York, so I'm sure Joanna had more than enough unpleasantries to deal with. Despite the fact that I have rosacea and my skin gets hot and flares up at the mere opening of a jar of unfamiliar moisturizer, the Diamond Peel felt great, and I had no negative reaction to it or any of the treatments or organic products Joanna applied.

Next up was a vitamin-packed red rose cream cleanser, followed by an exfoliation, an herbal oil facial massage, some extractions (it happens -- don't hate), and a mask made of red rose petals, honey, and beetroot extract. One of the last steps was the oxygen process, with combines 98% oxygen with a serum made from green tea, vitamins and aloe. She sent me home covered in Eminence's Sweet Red Rose Moisturizer. And honestly, when I got home, I passed out for SEVEN HOURS because I was so relaxed. That was more than three weeks ago, and still my skin look healthier, less red, and, miraculously, the odd, slightly lumpy/ bumpy patches -- just little, not-major-but-still-annoying inconsistencies that I figured were just part of getting older -- are completely gone.

Also, I need to note that Joanna Vargas' salon is small yet totally clean and super cozy and extremely relaxing (like I said: I was so zoned out, I passed out from 5 - 12pm). And Joanna is unbelievably intelligent, down-to-earth, and easy to talk to about everything from organic products (I REALLLY need to get on that... I knew it before and she only helped convince me -- not in a scary brainwashy way -- why) to Abaete. And she didn't do any of that steam machine stuff that's absolutely made me nearly choke to death when I've gotten facials in the past. Also, another thing that makes me choke: blatant upselling. None of that here. (Thanks again, Joanna.)

Now, here's the catch, but let me explain to you why it's not really a catch. A 60-minute purifying facial with oxygen with Joanna is about $325. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, brides. If you're spending $3-, $4-, even up to $5,000 if not more on your entire head-to-toe bridal suite -- dress, alterations, shoes, hair and makeup, jewelry, WTFever -- do me a favor and DO NOT skimp on your face. People are going to be kissing you, hugging you, taking photos of you, cooing and gooing all over you. Your face is WORTH $325, is it not? Same goes for you, non-engaged women who just got a new job, promoted, laid off, turned 30, turned 31, woke up on a Saturday. Whatever. Trust me when I tell you that my skin has never looked better.

And though so far I have little else than a groom, a venue, and a wedding date, I at least know that I'll be back to Joanna Vargas before I walk down the aisle.

Joanna Vargas

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 707
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: 212-949-2350
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