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While Joanna Czech knows that many of her patrons have had these procedures, she herself does not go in for injectables and isn’t entirely convinced they’re necessary to achieve what every woman wants: “a perfect jawline, amazing cheekbones, and a lifted brow,” she suggests while slapping my own jaw and cheekbones for definition at a temporary space at New York’s Sixty SoHo hotel. Fifty-eight and originally from Poland, Czech is the facialists’ facialist, both knowledgeable and no-nonsense. She focuses much of her practice on building good, achievable skin habits, peppered with the occasional red-carpet moment. (“We prepared 21 faces for the Met Gala this year.”) Despite the advent of Instagram-storying through her brightening cryotherapy with a red-light add-on, there is nothing particularly new about the sculpting facial for Czech, who has been doing them “forever.” (Her fee is now $1,250 a session.) What might be new, she suggests while using a negative-pressure device whose tiny vacuum-like effect helps “in slimming the face,” is the supercharged performance of these modalities—and a growing demographic that prefers their results to more serious intervention, not to mention the just-slapped serotonin bump. There is something undeniably pleasurable, even mood-boosting, about having one’s skin manipulated, stroked, touched—an intimate experience distinct from the need to intervene, to fix oneself, to pull and prod and inject.

“You have to respect the skin, but not overtreat it,” Czech advises, the kind of sensible approach that keeps clients, including Kim Kardashian, coming back for more. (Czech, who consulted on Kardashian’s new skin-care line, SKKN by Kim, tells the reality star to space out her derm appointments, too.) Czech finishes our appointment with a microcurrent massage practiced with the use of conductive metal gloves that combine her manual methods with some serious skin tech (“I can reach with my hands everywhere like this!”), and then a dose of massage using two handheld cold lasers, a skin-rejuvenating technology that “makes the treatment last longer.” How long? “Well, it’s very nice if someone can come every two to three weeks,” Czech says. The rest of us can always dream.