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Winter Beauty Tips from Joanna Vargas

by Myron Mariano

Of the four seasons, winter is the time when the weather takes the most toll out of your skin. The brisk air sucks what little moisture there is when you're outside. Once you're inside you home or in your office building, the problem is exacerbated with the dry, overheated environment.

Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection, is all too aware of the problem. In an interview with Organic Spa magazine, Vargas, who brought her cult-favorite treatments, technologies, and all-natural skincare to her West Hollywood outpost last fall, had the following advice to maintaining a healthy complexion through the next three months.

Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom

"Night time is the body's time to restore and renew itself for a new day," says Vargas. But sleeping in a hot room causes dehydration, which makes it difficult for the body to do any repairs.

An inexpensive humidifier from Target moisturizes the stale air just enough to give your skin the chance to do some real healing. "Those who are afraid of the bacteria that sometimes accumulate in a humidifier," she adds, "can [instead] get a [travel-friendly model] that attaches to a water bottle."

Shower with Tepid Water

It does feel good during chilly mornings, but resist the urge to crank the heat all the way when you shower. Frequent bathing in hot water "dries out your skin and scalp," comments Vargas. This is also disruptive on your skin's natural moisture balance, which can lead to redness and itchiness.

Still, you don't have to completely let go of this before-bedtime ritual. A tepid bath, where the temperature is kept around 85 to 90 degrees, is as relaxing, but not as drying. Take it a step further by rubbing generous amounts of organic body cream once you've toweled off.

Wear a Rich Moisturizer

Moisturizers with jojoba- and avocado oil, like Vargas's daily hydrating cream ($75) are must-use ingredients to keep your skin hydrated, even in the driest of conditions.

"Eat more avocado and other good fats like olive oil and flax," says Vargas. Having these in abundance in your diet will hydrate the skin from the inside. "Healthy fatty acids will go a long way," she adds.

If you feel like doing a little DIY skin moisture-booster, here's the recipe for Vargas's homemade complexion-saving mask. Mash two tablespoons of avocado and one ripe mango in a bowl. Add two tablespoons each of raw honey and olive oil, and mix well. Apply on your face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with tepid water.

Seek the Pros

Vargas's celebrity clients swear by her signature Triple Crown Facial (from $250) not only to prime them for the red carpet during awards season, but also to keep their faces well-taken-care-of throughout the year. This relaxing 60-minute treatment combines microdermabrasion, microcurrent, and oxygen-infused therapy. "I use a mild electric current to drain puffiness, tone muscle, and tighten skin," Vargas elaborates. There is no downtime, but the results are immediately visible: smooth and youthful skin, with a radiant glow.

The effects of the treatment become more striking with frequency, because every session triggers collagen- and elastin production, building up their renewing powers little by little. "I usually recommend this facial once a month."

To book an appointment, call the New York salon at 212-949-2350 or the Los Angeles salon at 310-424-5141. Products are available at  www.joannavargas.com

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