How to Get Boujee Skin as a Broke College Student: Joanna Vargas Facial Review

Since I was 10 years old, I’ve struggled with acne and hyper-pigmentation, which are just a few of the reasons why I decided to go to school for skincare and become an esthetician. And no, becoming an esthetician doesn’t mean that one day I woke up and my acne magically cured itself. I’m still figuring out how to best care for it, and I still have setbacks; I fall asleep with makeup on, I don’t exfoliate enough, and **gasp** sometimes don’t drink enough water. I know, I’m embarrassed too.

As an esthetician, I would get a facial at least once a month but, as a college student, my bank account would recommend otherwise. Still, living in NYC, it’s important to give your skin, and yourself, a little extra self-care whenever you get the chance. 

When I first got back to New York after being home in the Arizona dry heat all summer, it’s an understatement to say that my skin was pretty freaked out from the shock of humidity and pollution of the city. My skin was rough, congested and breaking out, and I NEEDED to book a facial ASAP—which is where Joanna Vargas comes in. 

Alexis before her Joanna Vargas facial
Before my facial

You’ve probably heard of Joanna Vargas Skincare. The well-known beauty brand and spa is named after the famed esthetician who works with celeb clients like Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, and many more. Vargas is known for her highly personalized protocols and for using the latest technology in skincare. When I brought up my concerns to one of my skincare-obsessed friends, this was the first place she mentioned for a facial. The next day, I booked an appointment.

I chose the Purifying Facial l because I knew I needed some deep cleaning, and not to mention it was one of the lowest priced treatments at just $175. The site describes the treatment as, “A clarifying treatment that calms reactive skin on the deepest levels. A gentle yet thorough cleansing with plant enzymes and sea minerals removes dead cells, excess residue, and environmental build-up to combat breakouts and erase any trace of a dull, lackluster complexion. This facial shrinks pores and refines skin texture resulting in a renewed glow.”

The 60 minute facial started off with a cleanse, then the esthetician (her name was Audrey), used a bright light to examine my skin. (Side note: I really appreciated that she put eye goggles on me before turning on the light on, because when I was in beauty school we would just place cotton pads on the client’s eyes when examining their skin, which doesn’t really block out the light too well.)

Next, she microdermed my skin. For those that don’t know, microdermabrasion is a skin treatment that uses a special applicator with an abrasive surface to gently exfoliate the outer layer of skin improve overall tone and texture. It’s especially helpful for acne scarring, sun damage, melasma, wrinkles, age spots, and other skin conditions.

Then, she did two exfoliating masks, using massage techniques to help the first layers of dead skin come off. Throughout the application and removal of the masks she also had the facial steamer on, which is not only relaxing, but helps open up the pores and prep for extractions. 

I want to add that Audrey was extremely good at extractions! She didn’t once use a tool, she purely used her fingers (with gloves on, of course). After the horrible, yet rewarding pain of the extractions, she applied a cooling mask with tea tree and other essential oils in it. While this was happening, she used a high frequency treatment that utilizes an electrical current to generate oxygen to help kill bacteria and calm inflammation. Then, she removed the mask with a hot towel and finished off the facial by applying the Joanna Vargas serum and moisturizer. 

Alexis after her Joanna Vargas facial
After my facial

When it was over, I left the spa feeling extremely relaxed and rejuvenated. It’s now been a week since I got the purifying facial, and, though it isn’t completely cleared up, my skin is definitely way less inflamed and congested. I definitely recommend checking out the spa. 10/10 stars!