Winter is high time for a skin-care overhaul says facialist Joanna Czech, who has tended to a stable of famous stars—including Kim Kardashian West, Charlize Theron, and Cate Blanchett—for three decades and counting.
With the harsh elements of the coldest season beginning to set in, there’s no better time for Czech to lend her tried-and-true tips and techniques. Beyond presiding over her Dallas and New York City studios, Czech also serves as the skin-care ambassador to Dior. An ardent collector of the brand (“It’s always been my weakness!” she laughs), as well as a longtime devotee of Diorshow Mascara, Czech began working with the French fashion house in a beauty capacity when she was hired to look after Theron’s glow on the set of a J’Adore fragrance shoot.
Here, putting her coveted expertise to good use, the cult facialist breaks down how to heal dry skin in winter and keep your complexion glowing all season long.
Cleanse Gently—and Less Often
While Czech’s tips are always based on individual skin needs, dry skin in winter is practically universal. “If your skin is super-dehydrated—and that’s going to be the most likely situation in the winter time—a balm or oil cleansers will be be more comforting to the skin,” she says. And while you might cleanse a.m. and p.m. by default, Czech suggests concentrating your efforts on the latter. “In the morning, just rinse your face with cold or lukewarm water with a face cloth,” she instructs. “Too much cleansing, even with a gentle oil cleanser, can strip the lipids and [compromise] the skin barrier.”
Use an Exfoliating Toner
To avoid aggravating the skin, which is inherently more sensitive during the winter, Czech prefers chemical over physical exfoliation, which can cause micro tears on the epidermis. “I want to respect the skin’s outer layer because if it is out of balance, it won’t be absorbing product the way you want it to,” explains Czech. “It’s like a hole in the roof of a house—when it rains, some areas will be dry, others will be wet. That’s why you need to ensure you’re not over-exfoliating.” In the winter, she recommends using a pH-balancing exfoliating toner like Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 at night, and then a more milder formula like Dior Capture Youth New Skin Effect solution in the morning.
Do an At-Home Facial Massage
One of the most powerful steps in a robust regimen is a deep-tissue facial massage, which reduces fluid buildup and in turn sculpts the face, says Czech. Plus, stimulating the lymphatic system not only aids in the delivery of active ingredients, but helps keeps the complexion clear. “When you boost blood flow, the hemoglobin will be carry more oxygen to the tissue and brighten the skin,” she says. First, use your fingertips or Czech’s pro tool to massage and contour the facial muscles, moving along the jawline and upward toward the highs of the cheekbones, under-eye region, and across the forehead. For an extra boost, wrap gauze around ice cubes infused with anti-inflammatory green or chamomile tea, then glide them over the skin.
Stick to Oil-Based Moisturizers
While a lightweight gel moisturizer feels refreshing on the skin, Czech is partial to an oil-based hydrator once the temperatures drop. “Water-based moisturizers can freeze on the skin and cause broken capillaries,” she warns. After applying your choice targeted serum, the pro recommends mixing a rich, creamy moisturizer like Dior's Capture Totale C.E.L.L. Energy Crème with a few drops of an oil-based elixir like Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. To keep your skin feeling fresh and dewy throughout the day, Czech also recommends using a hydrating mist, such as Omorovicza’s Queen of Hungary Mist, to “revitalize” your complexion whenever it’s feeling dull or tight.
Take Advantage of Targeted Mask Treatments
“During the winter, I love masking at home,” says Czech. “It can be done on a daily basis, or it can be done once a week.” To banish dullness and dry patches in a pinch, try a light peel like Dior’s AHA-packed Hydra Life Glow Better Fresh Jelly Mask or a convenient, fast-acting sheet mask, like Tatcha’s Deep Hydration Lifting Mask, for a dose of moisturizing and brightening ingredients including red algae and green tea. To detox over time, practice biweekly use of a cream or clay-based mask, like Dr Sebagh Skin Perfecting Mask, to draw out impurities and keep pores refined. “Creamier masks are slower acting and you need to repeat them, but the results are longer lasting,” explains Czech.