In our series Behind the CurtainTM, we get the scoop on the routines, careers, and more of those working so hard behind-the-scenes to make celebrities look stunning. Here, we feature Joanna Czech, celebrity esthetician and Dior’s® new skincare ambassador.
Perhaps you know Joanna Czech from her Instagram® account, which now boasts nearly 100,000 followers. Or maybe you follow one of her clients, like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Michelle Williams, or Rooney Mara. Her clientele list reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood, and for good reason: Czech delivers results. A pioneer in the skincare realm, the Dallas-based esthetician has been incorporating a combination of LED lights, ultrasound, microcurrents, cryotherapy, and intensive facial massage into her treatments for 30 years.
There’s no cute backstory behind Czech’s rise to the top. Rather, her career is the fortunate result of a setback. “I wanted to apply for medical school, but couldn’t pass physics,” she recalls. So, while she retook her physics coursework, she enrolled at a beauty institute in her native Poland, where she learned the anatomy of the nail plate and wrote a 117-page paper about framing the eyes. She was hooked. Physics — and that career in medicine — soon fell by the wayside.
Things seem to have worked out. Not only is Czech constantly traveling for clients and working from her New York City and Dallas studios, but just last year, Dior® named her the brand’s new skincare ambassador. We caught her just before the whirlwind of awards season to learn more about her approach to skincare.
Spotlyte: What drew you to skincare?
Joanna Czech: [A large part] of the immune system is in our skin. Healthy, balanced skin — prepared at nighttime for rejuvenation with the proper hygiene and so on — is so important. It’s a huge responsibility, and I’m fascinated by it.
Spotlyte: What would you say is your beauty philosophy?
JC: Respect and consistency for skin. From there, many other things come.
Spotlyte: What’s your approach for treating a new client?
JC: There are as many approaches as there are treatments. So, if I were to do your treatment today, it would be a different approach than what I would do in three weeks. I would ask the same questions: When did you last get injectable wrinkle reducers? Are you pregnant? What medication are you on today? What’s happening tomorrow in your life? All these factors will change my decision. If you have your red carpet tomorrow, I will not do extractions. If you had injectable wrinkle reducers or fillers today, I could not perform much of a treatment; I would have to wait a few days. Are you pregnant? Then I can’t do treatments with microcurrent.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.
I try to be a little bit like an anesthesiologist: They call you the week before the surgery and make sure you’re not taking Advil® or aspirin. Then, [they call] the night before: “So, when did you have your last glass of wine?” You’re undressed for your surgery and they’re passing by the room three times before your procedure. Then, they come back again and say, “When did you have your last glass of wine?” People lie for various reasons — they’re in front of spouses, in front of their children. Once they’re behind closed doors, you hear their answer. That’s my approach to a new client: Killing them with questions.
[Editor’s note: As always, talk to your doctor before stopping any medication.]
Spotlyte: What happens next?
JC: Skin analysis. Balance skin first, then we go into hydrating and reenergizing skin. For nearly 29 years, I’ve been reenergizing skin by combining sound and light during the treatments.
Spotlyte: We know you like LEDs and other devices. What are some of your favorites?
JC: My favorite is my own massager. I have to tell you why: People love jade rollers, [but aren’t always using them correctly.] If I were using that jade roller, I would do the right job, because I would do it a certain way that lifts the muscle. I would not flatten the muscle. There are certain motions [involved]: On the cheekbones, you should be very careful and not too hard if you want to shape it. You could be a little stronger under your brow. My massager grasps the skin and the muscle. It’s the closest to what you would do with your fingertips.
[Editor’s note: If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor before using a gua sha or rolling tool.]
And I love LED therapy. I love the Celluma® mask; the quality of light is proper and the closest to professional. The penetration of the red light, which stimulates production of collagen and elastin, increases elasticity of the skin.
Spotlyte: What would you consider the most common oversights women are making?
JC: The most common mistake is doing what your girlfriend does. Even if your skin looks the same, we have such different receptors. So really, don’t buy the cream; just consider communicating with an expert. This is definitely one of the biggest mistakes.
Another mistake is forgetting about the neck and décolleté, because they have such a reduced lipidic layer. The jawline almost creates a perfect borderline, with the amount of sebaceous glands reduced starting from the jawline down. That’s why we have more lines there, and sometimes the décolleté looks strange. [The solution] is simply treating the area equally and as often as you treat your face.
Spotlyte: What do you use in your own skincare routine?
JC: Let’s start with basic routine. I have 10 cleansers surrounding my sink — literally, 10 different cleansers. There are oil cleansers, foam cleansers, powder, milky — depending on what my skin feels like. If my skin feels like it’s a little dehydrated and more congested, I’ll use a powder or foaming cleanser, because I want to go a little deeper. Then, I will go in with an oil so it’ll feel more lubricated after.I can’t apply products without applying toner or lotion or essence [first]. We have lotion-serums at Dior, which are definitely more enhanced products than the ordinary toners that we used to have. Then, I use the Dior Capture Totale® Super Potent Serum, which re-energizes skin. It’s literally perfect. Production of ATP energy slows down [as we age], or else we’d be giants. [Editor’s note: ATP energy fuels cell function.] I just love what’s happening here with the current research — that we are not basing products on just a bunch of ingredients, but there’s actually a great technology and combination of ingredients re-energizing certain skin cells.
Then, it’s the Dior cream and eye cream. I fluctuate between three eye creams. Consistency of the eye cream is important for my age. [As I’m] approaching 56, my skin is getting thinner, so it’s very important.
Spotlyte: Speaking of which, what’s your overall approach towards aging?
JC: Looking the best for your age that you can — that’s my personal goal, and that starts with your lifestyle. Mental health is super important, so I’m working on finding time to relax — I haven’t found it yet. Then there’s skincare. Collaboration is necessary with practitioners and clients. I could do headstands during my facial treatments with you, but if you step out afterwards and have two cigarettes and eat a cheeseburger . . . it’s a chain reaction. And you know, we will never be perfect — never. I already had ice cream at 1 a.m. on a plane on my way here. But as soon as I arrive home, I’ll be back to my workout routine, as it should be.
Spotlyte: You’re something of an influencer now. Has it changed your approach or aesthetic in any way?
JC: Being on social media makes me appreciate experts more. I love proper expertise. Influencers, we have many; experts, I’m not sure. I was just telling you about my massager — when someone buys it and I see them doing it wrong, I go on DM and work so hard, literally sending my own videos. I try to teach and educate clients. If I can use this platform for that — or maybe make them laugh, or tear up — those things are real. They’re all real.
Spotlyte: What do you look for in a beauty product for yourself?
JC: I have a very shallow approach: Packaging draws me, and then I read the ingredients. When that starts making sense, I might try it. I need to know a little bit more about why you think your product is better than others. There are so many forms of vitamin C — why is this one better than others? For vitamin A, I will only be using retinyl palmitate, the type that is produced within our system. I’m going to look if it’s certified by the European Union, because there are [over] 1,200 ingredients we’re still using in the United States that they’re not using in Europe.
[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
So I pay attention. I believe in clean science. I don’t believe in those things where someone had a problem with their skin and they whipped something up in their grandmother’s basement because they couldn’t find anything for themselves — no.
Spotlyte: So you’re really vetting the products to make sure they work.
JC: If somebody comes in with dark circles and somebody else promises to remove those . . . that doesn’t exist yet. We can brighten them slightly — more sleep, maybe some chamomile compresses, maybe by reenergizing cells. But in 34 years, I have no experience of anyone getting rid of dark circles. It’s not truthful.
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