When it comes to a facial, there is nothing like the real thing. But, day to day, getting near-clinic-quality results can be done with your own fair hands, from the comfort of home – all it takes is an understanding of how best to get your favourite formulations to permeate deep into your skin. Happily, US-based facialist and skincare expert Joanna Czech has been tending to faces for 35 years and her client list spans everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Christy Turlington Burns, such is her magic touch. Here, she shares her three golden rules for at-home skincare. Fantastic facial incoming!
Massage your muscles like dough
“The most important part of a facial is always the massage [technique]. It’s all about treating the facial muscles like dough – digging into the muscle and grasping it,” Czech says. “It stimulates the blood flow. The blood carries oxygen to your skin which brightens it straight away, while creating micro-swelling in the muscle which means that everything you apply afterwards penetrates much easier because the skin is warmed up.”
She recommends starting every home facial by stretching out the front of the chest – shoulder to shoulder – and then massaging on either side of the spine, extending as far down as you can reach. “When I massage during treatments, I start from the waistline and go up towards the base of the skull. All of the nerves responsible for the front of the body are situated along the spinal cord so that’s what we need to massage first. It gets the face ready to go and the effects of the ensuing massage will be much improved when you prepare properly.” After that, massage the trapezius muscle (along the often-tense sides of the neck down to shoulders) and scalp to really maximise on results (and relaxation).
Czech is also a big fan of using a facial tool to help. Her own “Facial Massager” takes hold of the muscle and the skin, helping you to knead out tension and mimic the effects of her hands. You can de-puff, firm and boost glow by starting at the centre of the face and pulling the tool back towards the edges, finishing at the lymph nodes at your temples and behind the ears. “Always go in the same direction, rather than rolling back and forward,” she says. For souped-up effects, you can also roll a tool like this over a sheet mask, such as 111 Skin’s Bio Cellulose Treatment Mask, to help press ingredients into skin. Czech’s new collaboration with the brand – The Facial Edit – houses said tool and an array of her favourite masks to treat all manner of skin issues. Whether skin is in need of lifting and firming or needs a glow up, there is a Czech-approved mask to cater to it.
Start at the nipples
If you’re only paying attention to the skin on your face, you’re just not doing it right, says Czech. Her motto is that one should always “start at the nipples, and end in the hairline” for all facial treatments, from morning cleanse to evening moisturise. Why? “It is so important to also take care of the décolleté because in 70 to 80 per cent of cases, this area shows the ageing process before the face,” she says. “It should get double the treatment.” As well as taking your cleanser down to the bust, you should use the same serums, treatments and moisturisers that you do on your face. Neck and décolleté-specific treatments are also available; take Skinceuticals’ new Tripeptide Neck Repair which contains 0.2 per cent retinol to gradually soften fine lines, The Light Salon’s Boost LED Décolletage Bib mask which treats the area with near-infrared and red light, increasing blood flow and evening skin tone; and Prai’s Ageless Throat and Décolletage Cream which helps to restore elasticity.
Treat skin like a sponge
If your muscles are dough, naturally your skin is a sponge: “Treating skin like a sponge is key. When you observe the skin under a microscope, with 10,000 times magnification, you can see the fat tissue and collagen fibres underneath as well as other layers – it is a sponge,” says Czech. “Which is why I always perform a press and release motion to get product into skin.” When you apply a formula to skin and press it (with all four fingers), your skin microscopically opens; as you release, it grasps onto what is there, taking it in (just like a sponge).
Whether it’s a toner, essence or serum, she advises spreading your product over skin and then pressing it in slowly, releasing, and then gently tapping skin with fingertips to ensure everything is absorbed. “After that you can go in with another layer,” she advises.