On a Zoom with Joanna Czech in late October, the celebrity esthetician asks me what my sign is. “Taurus,” I say, unfazed.
In the beauty and wellness industry, this is not the first time I’ve been asked this. But then she says: “May 11 or May 13?” and my jaw drops, because sure enough, May 13th is my birthday and May 11th happens to be my mom’s. Czech is pleased — but not shocked to be correct.
We’re talking because, after over 30 years working as an esthetician (and giving facials to the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian), Czech is releasing products of her own. Joanna Czech Skincare debuted November 18 with what it is calling “The Kit,” a seven-piece collection, in which nothing is over 1 oz. The concept is that Czech and her high-profile clientele are very frequent travelers. As such, she designed The Kit to be a packable routine.
She likens the shiny, puffy blue case to a Moncler jacket. The $1320.00 kit is the only way to try Czech’s new products — they are not sold separately.
“I’ve always believed in seasonal skincare, to meet changes of the seasons, sometimes that is one of the biggest effects on the skin especially regarding the level of sensitivity, irritation, and so on,” Czech said. She found that her clients would often see her between trips, and she was “pulling the same kinds of products nearly 100% of the time.”
Those curated regimens blended other brands — Czech sells many of the heavy hitters on her website: Augustinus Bader, Biologique Recherche, Environ and many more. “A soothing serum because if you have sun exposure, you need something soothing and hydrating. A balm to completely seal everything in when you are traveling. A light moisturizer. And of course, I needed a major antioxidant, and for me, that’s vitamin C. I believe strongly in pH controlling toners.”
Finally, the kit also includes cleansing wipes and two hydrating sheet masks. “It’s about practicality,” Czech said. The cleansing wipes, she notes, are not a substitute for a real cleanser, but they’re perfect for use on an airplane.
Given that Czech does carry many other brands, I asked her if she had any hesitations about launching her own. “If I’m being honest, I’m nauseous about how crowded the market is and what people are talking about with anti-blue light and anti-pollution. It’s all antioxidants…I am very concrete and practical, and science-driven with everything. It wasn’t like I romanticized, ‘oh my god, that leaf looks so beautiful. Let me base my line on it.’ I thought there was a need for organizing and making it practical. I can say it’s one of the best because I worked with a chemist who used to be a pharmacologist,” Czech said.
They created each product from scratch, she said, using unusual, high-quality forms of only the best ingredients. The ingredients were chosen based on a 370-page document the chemist sent. The launch of The Kit, was in fact delayed by West African shea butter.
Based on Joanna’s choices, the chemist said “Joanna, you are making a handmade Rolls Royce.” She replied: “If I was in my 30s I might have made a Toyota, but in my 50s, I’m only doing this once.”