Coaching and mentoring young women is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job, and our fabulous Alchimie Forever interns give me the opportunity to do just that. A couple of years ago a lovely young woman named Elizabeth walked in to my life as an Alchimie summer intern. She thought she was interested in fashion, but decided after her internship to pursue aesthetics. She became an aesthetician, and with her skills, personality, and overall drive began working with one of the very best celebrity facialists in NYC, Joanna Vargas. This is a happy ending if I ever heard one – especially as getting a facial from Vargas herself is on my bucket list. Before then, and thanks to Elizabeth, I was able to catch up with this amazing woman and learn more about some of her life and beauty secrets.
AP: What city were you born in? JV: Chicago.
AP: What city to do you live in? JV: Just outside of NYC.
AP: What is your astrological sign? JV: Leo.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? JV: Fragrances are just as much a passion of mine as skincare.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? JV: I always tell clients who come to my salon in NYC that in truth, the biggest beauty secret the stars have is that they take time for themselves every day. It’s a luxury that really pays off as we grow older and anyone can start now! I have had clients start for the first time in their 60’s, and even they can achieve great skin!
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? JV: I find that the best skin diet is one that involves eating veggies of different colors for every meal and a green juice every day. There is really no substitute and it works on everyone!
AP: What do you do for exercise? JV: I always make sure I exercise- I love soul cycle – to burn off stress and to restore my energy levels.
AP: What is your favorite thing to eat and drink? JV: Sashimi and sake are my favorite things to eat and drink!
AP: Botox or not? JV: I never judge a woman for seeking injectables. I tend to attract women who are seeking alternatives to that. I don’t think they are for everyone and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about them to try a results oriented facial first. You might be surprised at how much you get out of it.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? JV: I make sure that I take time for myself- exercise is a big part of that, eating right so I feel happy with myself, and also spending lots of quality time with my kids. My daughter is really into art right now, so I am capitalizing on that- it’s so relaxing to draw and color with her. It’s what makes me whole again.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? JV: Well over 100,000- like 130,000.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? JV: Travelers generally get dehydrated, starting on the airplane. I encourage my clients to take my Rejuvenating Serum on board. Using it mid-flight will rehydrate the skin with skin softening Olive Oil, Rosehips Oil and Neroli Oil for increasing circulation. The Jojoba Oil in it will ensure that your pores won’t be clogged once you arrive at your destination. I also have clients pack rosewater toner in a spray bottle. Rosewater is incredibly hydrating, so if you spray it directly on your face, it gets moisture into the skin immediately. If you’re traveling overseas, I recommend doing it twice mid-flight and your skin will be refreshed when you get off the airplane.
When you arrive at destination, exfoliate to get dead skin cells off the skin. It helps you to look refreshed for a business meeting or to go out. My Exfoliating Mask contains Lactic Acid and Volcanic Ash to draw out impurities, dirt and oil from your pores, as well as Galactoarabinan, which is derived from the larch tree and causes mega cell turnover and skin lightening. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, so it’s great for even the most sensitive skin. I’m a big fan of multi-tasking with products anytime, and especially while traveling. A good cleanser and a serum are the two must-have essential products you can’t leave home without. Nothing throws your skin off like substituting your cleanser with a bar of soap. Facial cleansers are made for the delicate skin on the face, the formulas are pH balanced. My Vitamin C Face Wash is great as an exfoliating cleanser that even removes make up. All the products in my line do multiple things for the skin to make it easy to pack and run!
Drinking water on board is essential. I also tend to bring Dr. Lipmans Recharge for a mid-flight boost – all the greens help keep me hydrate and replenished more than just plain water.
AP: What is your worst pet peeve? JV: People who use drugstore products because they think it’s all the same. It isn’t. I wish I could teach classes on this subject!!
AP: What professional beauty/fitness/wellness experts do you have on your speed dial. JV: Amanda Topaz is my trapeze instructor. She’s amazing and her class is so empowering. Dr. Frank Lipman is my go-to for everything health and wellness related. He is a genius and his acupuncture is like a vacation. Pati Dubroff is a great friend to discuss new products, treatments and of course trends in makeup.
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? JV: I get up at 6am. I like to have some time to myself before the kids get up. I usually get about 7 hours sleep a night. I honestly can’t function without sleep.
AP: Who is your mentor? JV: I feel like everyone I have had the pleasure of meeting in this industry has had an influence on me. I’m inspired by so many people and other facialists like Renee.
AP: What do you do to relax? JV: I see Dr. Lipman once every two weeks for acupuncture. It’s like a vacation!
AP: Quote to live by. JV: “Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Most of my rebellions are against mediocrity.” – Anais nin
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage.” – Anais nin
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. JV: Never stop learning. The best thing that I have done for myself in my career is continuing to educate myself. I have always made time to read new books, research new tools, new technologies and most importantly, I never think I know it all already! I have always kept myself in the know when it comes to new technologies in my industry, which keeps my clients happy with my work, but I like this rule because it can apply to every part of life.
AP: Describe your dream day. JV: My life is a dream come true. I have an amazing family and an awesome career. Nothing could top that.
AP: What makes you feel beautiful? JV: I think women always feel best when they take care of themselves. My daughter and I do masks together at home. It’s both great for my skin and just wonderful to share my life with her.