Joanna Vargas’ Salon on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue
Over the past 15 years or so, the beauty industry has abounded with trends and buzz-worthy treatments. Yet, one phrase in particular seems to be abounding everywhere these days (including being the mantra of my own flagship salon on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue). From dermatologists to spas, ‘combining technology with nature‘ is reshaping the world’s beauty industry of today. It’s a noninvasive, anti-aging face and body rejuvenation concept cheered as the organically and spa-litically correct approach to growing older wisely, without undergoing the knife.
But does “combining technology with nature” really work?
Yes, in my opinion and that of my over 100 regular weekly/monthly clients, the combining technology with nature approach to beauty is indeed the best of all beauty worlds. It can be likened to discovering the “fountain of youth” … helped along by leading-edge technology and machinery coupled with the finest organic skin care products.
I was “green” long before giving birth to my first child in June 2006. However, when I became pregnant, I became even more diligent about researching what was really in the cosmetics and skin care treatments that I used. Much to my surprise, I found that even products labeled organic couldn’t be taken at face value, because apparently the FDA doesn’t regulate personal products as it does food items. So I learned to read the labels carefully. If I didn’t recognize the name of an ingredient, I put the product back on the shelf, certain that it was likely something that I didn’t want to be using. Instead I took delight in pampering myself with organic body scrubs and body butters. Coconut milk is particularly wonderful for the skin, and antioxidants such as almond oil, argan oil and rosehip seed oil in particular fortify the skin with essentially fatty acids.
I don’t think anyone would argue against the fact that we all live in very toxic environments. Stress, pollution and prolonged exposure to the sun all contribute to the signs of aging we so desperately want to fight. These components break down healthy tissue function translating into wrinkles, loss of elasticity and lifeless skin. In an effort to stay relevant, the skin care and spa industry has slowly transformed itself over the past ten years. Gone is the idea that a treatment is simply for relaxing. My clients seek solutions for their issues and alternatives to drastic measures like surgery.
Product lines containing pure ingredients such as green tea, argan oil, tumeric, calendula and other pantry type ingredients are taking the spa industry by storm. Estheticians and clients alike are finding these products to be more powerful than their chemical counterparts. The body can assimilate these ingredients more easily which translates directly into results for the clients. Applying pure vitamins and nutrients to the skin produce immediate and inspiring results: a healthy, youthful glow. Conversely, a product containing potentially harmful ingredients can trigger the body’s natural defense system. In other words, the body will try to prevent the product from being absorbed thus nullifying the effects.
As perhaps a seemingly counterintuitive counterpart to an all organic approach, most spas are investing in high-tech services such as LED Light Therapy and Microcurrent Treatments. What has driven the industry in this direction? These days, the average woman has seen the effects of plastic surgery, good and bad. Alternatives to such drastic measures are being demanded. I believe the most effective, non-invasive methods of anti-aging available today are microcurrent and LED.
Microcurrent, meaning mild electric current, is a near duplicate current to that which the body generates on its own. The technology has been around since the early 1900’s making it as old-fashioned as our great grandmother’s health and beauty secrets. It is completely sub-sensory and yet is capable of repairing damaged tissue in a short period of time. In fact, it has been proven to heal an injury at a rate of up to 350% faster than the body’s normal healing time. And what are wrinkles and sagging skin? Damaged or injured skin. A microcurrent facial is a non-surgical face-lift which stimulates collagen and elastin production – the results of which are cumulative over time. Technological advances have made today’s microcurrent machines miraculous in results. Microcurrents can range from weak to strong, depending on your tolerance level, with the strongest perhaps yielding your abs to initially contract into a mincrunch. But although results are cumulative, many clients find that even after one treatment, their snuggest pants fit a bit better and looser.
LED Light therapy is one of the most powerful anti-aging tools in the arsenal against the ravages of time. This powerful technology has been mostly used by physicians, NASA and the NAVY SEALS for muscle regeneration and the healing of wounds. The study and use of light therapy is also over 100 years old and has been validated by thousands of results and studies in the medical field clearing the way for amazing advances in the aesthetic field. Light therapy uses LED, Light Emitting Diode technology with a low-level power output which is safe and will not damage the skin. This is a non-invasive procedure, unlike laser and Intense Pulse Light, which can have an adverse effect on the skin and be painful.
There are many benefits and results that can come from light therapy: increased collagen and elastin production, regeneration of the connective tissue, erasure of sunspots, improved lymphatic system and circulation. It improves or erases fine lines and wrinkles, it lifts and tones and improves the overall complexion of the client. In addition, my clients suffer no thermal damage, discomfort, down time, scarring or discoloration and most importantly no negative side effects. Technological advances in the field have fine-tuned the results to offer a real alternative to “traditional” techniques.
As you can see, the use of organic products in combination with the latest technological advances is as traditional as eating an apple a day for good health. Our world has become more complex, more high tech, but the best solutions are sometimes found in tradition with a modern twist!
Joanna Vargas graduated from the University of Chicago, where she majored in photography and women’s studies. Returning to school for her esthetician’s license, Joanna first worked for a top Manhattan dermatologist and later as a senior esthetician for a spa committed to the “combining technology with nature” concept before opening up Joanna Vargas Skin Care Salon in November 2006. Joanna Vargas Skin Care is dedicated to offering safe and effective ways to improve the condition of people’s skin without resorting to invasive procedures. The spa’s signature service is an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle “Triple Crown Facial,” which combines the best microcurrent machine available in the world with the revolutionary healing and skin renewal powers of a hyperbaric oxygen treatment.