12 Things I Learnt From the A-List Skin Therapist Who’s Been Doing Celeb Facials for Years
Joanna Czech is an iconic celebrity esthetician and skincare brand founder with over 35 years of experience. Her A-list clients include Kim KardashiAn, Jennifer Aniston, Anna Wintour and Hailey Bieber (to name just a few). She helped Kim Kardashian develop her skincare line, SKKN By Kim and made Anna Wintour smile THREE times.
I was lucky enough to interview Joanna for a recent bonus episode of Beauty IQ Uncensored and in less than an hour chat we had, I realised two things:
1. She's super duper nice and I formed a girl crush on her immediately. She started the interview by asking what my star sign is, enough said
2. She had a wealth of knowledge that included some beauty hacks you wouldn't expect from a beauty expert.
When Joanna revealed that she's in her 50's I nearly fell off my chair.
Trust me when I tell you, her skin looks uh-mazing, so i'm definitely picking up whatever advice she's putting down!
Keep reading for some of the best beauty tips I learned from this esthetician to the stars!
1. Using a Toner Is the most Important Step.
Ok but what is a toner and what does toner do?
Toners have a water-like consistency, help remove excess oil and also rebalance your skin after cleansing.
Is toner necessary?
Having and using facial toner is central to Joanna's skincare routine.
In fact, she can't imagine applying anything else (like serums etc.) on her face or anyone else's without applying a toner first.
So if you're wondering how to use the toner, the best way is after cleansing step.
Why is using a toner so important? Joanna tells us it all has to do with the pH balance of your skin. Which leads us to our next point...
2. Your Skin's pH Level and Why It Matters.
Did you know we are born with a pH level of 7?
Joanna tells us your pH level can be affected with the very first breast milk of a mother, your very first pee or poop even the first time you sweat!
The ideal or normal pH of the skin is 5.5 to 5.9. What can affect the pH of the skin?
What we eat, what we drink, what we apply on our skin, what we are exposed to and water.
“When you wash your face and you remove your cleanser with water, you dilute the acidity of it and you are in danger of getting too close to alkaline level. Bacteria loves that environment.”
So for those asking "what does face toner do?"
This is where your toner comes in! To restore the balance of your skin’s pH after your cleansing step.
She also tells us that people are still not always using toners the correct way.
“Very often still mistakenly, toners are used as a
second step of cleansing or they are completely skipped.”
Joanna says an unbalanced pH level may also be why you might be experiencing any flare ups, as the skin’s environment is too alkaline.
Further to this, the efficacy of any product that you follow with is really increased if you apply it on the skin with a proper pH.
There’s some other troublesome things that can happen as a result of an unbalanced pH level too…
“Automatically, the lipidic layer gets unbalanced, if the lipidic layer is unbalanced, we get into transepidermal water loss."
“If we start losing water, the skin becomes dehydrated.”
3. How She Discovered LED Light Therapy.
Does led light therapy work, the answer is a big yes...
Joanna first came across LED light therapy when she was working with Kim Cattrall on the set of the Sex and the City!
But first, she tells me the incredible story of how medical professionals first discovered the amazing effects of LED therapy on the skin.
"About 70 years ago, NASA engineers were approached by Johnson & Johnson to create a piece of equipment involving red LED light.”
“Knowing that red LED light has a wavelength about 630-670 nanometers, they realised that it could reach the bloodstream when it's applied on the skin.
For patients who could not swallow medication because of nausea or their veins were fragile from IVs, they would apply medication where we would usually apply medical patches (on the arm, abdominal or buttocks areas) and they would shoot it with the red light.
When patients were returning for check-ups several sessions later, the medical experts noticed different quality of the skin in those patches.
Skin was tighter, skin was brighter, skin was more unified.”
Jumping to about 20 years later on the set of Sex and the City, Joanna spotted someone visiting Sarah Jessica Parker on set to treat her skin.
“We were curious and her skin was looking good.” she says.
Joanna asked the lady looking after SJP, what this machine that “looked like a large photo camera back then” was and found out it was an LED light therapy machine.
That’s where Joanna’s love for LED light therapy and LED light therapy benefits began. And the rest as they say, was history.
4. Treating Breakouts With a Potato
This was probably one of my favourite (and kinda random) tips Joanna shared.
We’ve seen it on TikTok, but Joanna has been doing this hack for years.
“Potatoes have an enzyme called catechol, which is very brightening.”
“Potatoes have tons of vitamins and minerals, potassium calcium, magnesiums. They are strengthening for the skin.
But they also have vitamin C, another brightening ingredient.
I love slicing a raw potato, putting it in the fridge, and whenever you feel like something is brewing, just put a cold potato from the fridge and hold it on that spot.”
Joanna’s pro tip: “Keep changing those slices because it should be cold. The coldness is anti-inflammatory and the catechol will help it reduce the appearance of the flare ups and prevent any hyperpigmentation due to breakouts."
Right, I’m off to Coles to grab a bag so I can try this weird but wonderful tip.
5. Your PM Skin Routine Is the Most Important.
Our skin goes into a regeneration and repair process while we sleep.
So around the hours of 9pm - 11pm is when skin does a really good job at absorbing any topical skincare.
“The most important moment is to start at night when the efficacy of your products is increased at least 60%."
"So your nighttime routine is the most important routine.” says Joanna.
Well this must be where the saying, “Get your beauty sleep” comes from!
6. We Stock One of Her Fave Vitamin A Ranges.
Medik8 is a cosmeceutical skincare brand that’s not only loved and trusted by you dear BIQ readers, but also by one of the best estheticians in the world.
“One of my favourite brands.”
“I love their approach, I love their vitamin A step up program, I love the Medik8 C-Tetra Luxe 30ml. Great respect to the line.”
You can have a browse of the Medik8 Crystal Retinal range here.
7. It's Not About Age, It's About Skincare Concerns.
When I asked Joanna what treatments, specific ingredients and/or advice she has for women in their 40s, 50s or mature skin in general, she tells us it’s not so much about age, rather a healthy lifestyle paired with the right skincare.
“Skin begins with our lifestyle.”
“Products are about 30% of how we look.
I would say how much we sleep, intake of water, physical exercise and intuitive eating.
Because obviously then you will be healthier, more rosy, hydrated and get oxygen from water inside and out.”
She also recommends a good facial massage!
“I believe very strongly in massages. Exercise for your facial muscles.”
“It changes the skin tone and the shape of your face."
Joanna tells us that we can't generalise by age as we all have different needs and skin conditions, “we all suffer from different sensitivities etc.”
What’s the most important thing you can and should do according to Joanna?
“Consistency is key with everything we do no matter the age.”
8. Her Advice fro an Age Management Routine.
Like Joanna mentions above, there is no one-size-fits-all routine or advice for mature skin.
But if we had to twist her arm to give us some tips for age management, this is what she advises, starting with the importance of including a vitamin A in your routine.
“Especially at night.”
“Retinol, retinoid. I love using retinol palmitate, it's very compatible with the skin, because it's an esther form of vitamin A that usually doesn't create sun sensitivity or irritation so you can go to higher levels.”
Joanna also suggests incorporating a vitamin C into your routine.
“It increases the elasticity of the skin and prevents hyperpigmentation.”
9. The Ingredients That Are Great for Almost Everyone.
If you have the capacity, there’s a few other ingredients Joanna suggests adding to your regimen.
“Skin builders like ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid (a great hydrator).”
Though she reckons you probably don't need a standalone hyaluronic acid serum as a lot of skincare products are already formulated with it already.
She also recommends avoiding sugar where possible as sugar can get into collagen fibres making them fragile, dehydrated and “creates premature ageing".
10. What It's Like Being Anna Wintour's Facialist.
When the Anna Wintour requested an at-home visit with Joanna at precisely 4pm, Joanna made sure she got there ahead of time.
And lucky she did.
“I learned quickly that was perfect timing because being on time for Anna means it is rather late.”
“If it's 4pm, we are sitting and starting treatment. It's not when you arrive and I have to agree."
And, it wasn't just Anna's face Joanna treated.
"I took care of her skin, but I took care of her hands and feet as well because back in Poland we are trained to do it all on a medical level."
What are the main things she learned from her time with Anna?
“You needed to be prompt, definitely discreet and professional.
And I did make Anna Wintour smile at least three times within those 20 years.”
11. All the Celebrities That Have Her on Speed Dial.
Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber are some of her celeb clients but who would Joanna Czech take with her on a deserted island?
“Sarah Paulson, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston, Amber Valetta and Carey Mulligan.”
“What do they have in common? Amazing sense of humour and big hearts.”
12. Her Thoughts on Celebrity Skincare Lines.
Joanna shares her thoughts on Hailey Bieber’s Rhode line and Kim Kardashian’s Skkn By Kim line.
“I’ve tried Rhode, I think it's very pleasant, very simple.”
“I love using the lip balm, but my skin probably needs a little more advanced formulations.
I had a conversation with Hailey and I appreciate what she did, the simplicity it's exactly what young skin needs.
There’s promise in supporting the skin and that's one of my three words of philosophy, respect, support and protect your skin.
Kim has a very comprehensive skincare line that has nine products.
You don't need to use all of those nine products all together. You can choose and pick what your skin needs.”
Having released her eponymous skincare line 8 months before Kim, these are the main things Joanna looks for when developing or using skincare products…
“I grab the bottle and even before reading what's in it, I open it, and I smell it.”
“I am not a fan of fragrant products. So I like just the scent of ingredients.”
She’s also all about the consistency of a product.
“How does it work on the skin?”
“Being able to observe, how does the product penetrate?"
Having access to every skin type, every skin condition and in any climate, Joanna was testing her products on “half the world.”
“And if it's applied properly, properly warmed up, properly spread, it penetrates.”
“And that was very important for me.”
And there you have it friends, the most important lessons from Joanna in a nutshell:
Invest in a vitamin A and C, grab a bag of potatoes, treat your skin to LED light and always respect, protect and support the skin.