Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does Joanna Czech, celebrity facialist and one of the world’s most in-demand estheticians, start her day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into her morning rituals, from her trusted skincare routine to her go-to workout and her penchant for puzzles.
I wake up around 7:30 to 7:45a.m. because I want to have a little bit of time before my workout, which is at 8:20, five days a week. First, I brush my teeth and scrape my tongue. Then I go straight to my Nespresso machine, where I have a diluted espresso lungo – my favorite flavor is ‘Roma’ – and a mouthful of sheep or goat’s milk yogurt. I sort of practice this Dr. Gundry eating program called ‘The Plant Paradox’, and it’s all about avoiding lectins in my diet – anything that causes inflammation. Natalia, my trainer, doesn’t allow me to eat anything before we train, which is why I wake up a little earlier, so I have something in my stomach. Also, because there are certain prescription medications I have to take on an empty stomach, especially my thyroid medication, as I had thyroid cancer 20 years ago, so I need that extra support. There’s a certain ritual to it all.
Our workouts aren’t in person because Natalia is based in The Hamptons. I met her a few years ago because for the past five years (until this year) we’ve done pop-ups there every August. I was an athlete as a child, and I can safely say that she gives me the most satisfying level of torture that I’ve had since then! From the age of seven, I was in sport’s schools and a competing 5K runner, so I can’t live without working out.
Natalia has shown me that you only need the space of a yoga mat to get nearly killed! [Laughs]. Between jumping squats and weights, it’s a general conditioning workout with a 10-minute stretch. Sometimes I do yoga, which I love and have been doing for 25 years. Due to my shoulder condition, I can’t do too much stretching, so strengthening exercises are better for me.
If my husband Alec doesn’t join me for a workout (because sometimes I let him sleep if he looks all peaceful), I do it by myself. Then I hear him walking around and I smell eggs, so I know he’s up and making our breakfast. Usually, we have two sunny side-up eggs with a couple of slices of avocado. Sometimes I drink a green smoothie with avocado, ginger, spinach, romaine lettuce, and lemon, but I’m more of a savory person.
I need to admit something – I’ve never cooked in my life. I keep finding men who cook for me, like my dad and my husband! My parents owned a restaurant back in Poland and I was raised helping them. I learned perfect presentation, so I know how to set up the table properly, but when it comes to cooking, I could spoil boiling water. It’s a talent! I speaker four languages, but I don’t understand cuisine in any of them, including Polish. My brain doesn’t operate that way. Dates and numbers, yes, but cooking, no!
I drink a lot of water and take supplements after breakfast. I try to drink at least three liters of water by 5p.m., and after that, I drink mint tea or water when I’m thirsty. I take magnesium, omegas 3, 6, and 9, probiotics, a vitamin B complex, and vitamin C. Even though I don’t have a vitamin D deficiency I take that too. I don’t believe in 100 percent SPF products either. Over the last 15 years, the industry started producing SPF 70, 100, etc., and all of a sudden 80 percent of the population was vitamin D deficient! In my opinion, it’s a selling tactic.
People even wear SPF and anti-pollution products at home! If you wear vitamin C and A, you have every anti-pollution product you need on your face — especially if you apply them at night, as the skin absorbs 60 percent more at night than during the day. Vitamin D is so important for our bones, skin, brain, and mood. It also stimulates nitric oxide (a natural blood thinner) and without that, we’re more prone to heart disease. So, expose yourself to the sun for 15 minutes a day. I’m definitely not talking about going and tanning for two hours!
Using SPF at home is complete overkill, in my opinion. Listen, 24 billion dollars have been invested in studies of SPF, and eight billion into antibiotics. You’re not even allowed to use SPFS from Europe in the US! We could start a world war with this, so enough about what I really think — let’s get back to talking about me! [Laughs].
If I wake up earlier, I do a very strange thing… for many people it’s stimulation, but for me, it’s meditation, and that’s doing jigsaw puzzles. I’m crazy about the wooden ones! Especially now during COVID-19 times, as I go through them even faster. I love any puzzles and Sudoku. My mom, who’s 82 years old, and I compete with them!
I also love music and being surrounded by it. I used to sing a lot with my dad, who passed two-and-a-half years ago, so it always brings him closer to me. I have very eclectic taste and love music in any language. From ABBA to Dolly Parton to Boney M to Al Bano and Romina Power, soul and country, pop and rock and roll… That’s what I play during my facials! I never play raindrops.
Jennifer Aniston, Amber Valletta, Minnie Driver [her clients] and I are all Aquariuses, so we remember each other’s birthdays. The last time we all met to celebrate, they laughed hysterically as I gave them t-shirts that said, “I don’t play raindrops”. Then for my birthday, Minnie sent me a beautiful traveling bag with embroidered letters saying ‘IDPR’, so we have a little code!
Am I a morning person? If I had a choice, I wouldn’t be! But I am very disciplined, which I think has something to do with where I come from. And being a competitive athlete for 12 years helps me be responsible and disciplined. I don’t dwell on things. At the moment I can’t sleep that long, but I’m not worried if I wake up at 5 or 6a.m. It used to make me nervous, but now I get up and do my puzzles or catch up on the news. My favorite channel is BBC; I like hearing how people see us here!
I know we are talking about my morning routine, but my main skincare routine starts at night, during relaxation and rejuvenation time. Twenty-five percent of our immune system is in our skin, so it’s so important to prepare it for that time. I honestly thought I didn’t really do anything in the morning, but then preparing for this interview I realized I do a lot more than I thought!
My main shower is at night, where I focus on every motion of massage under the shower, but in the morning — after I work out — I need to rinse off. I love using the Nécessaire body washes because they have great unisex scents and my husband really enjoys them. I love those fresh, bergamot, eucalyptus, sandalwood smells. They’re also so beautiful aesthetically in your shower. Depending on the time, I do dry brushing before showering. I actually just collaborated with a Polish brand called I Love Grain, and it’s a brush made in Poland with all-natural wood and bristles. Sometimes I do it just for exfoliation, but it’s also so invigorating.
I usually use the Costa Brazil body oil; I find that it penetrates fast enough while I do my facial routine, which I do before I get dressed. Sometimes, if my skin feels very dehydrated, I use the Biologique Recherche ‘Dermo-RL’ body cream, which is lovely and rich, or the Augustinus Bader body cream.
Then comes my skincare. I have at least three options of every type of product that I use – three different cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers, and I choose depending on how my skin feels when I wake up. If I feel that I need to use a cleanser (my main face washing happens at night), I use a gentle one by Biologique Recherche, ‘Lait U’, or the ‘Phytoactive Cleansing Balm’ by Royal Fern.
When it comes to toners, it’s either Biologique Recherche’s ‘P50 PIGM 400’ to inhibit hyperpigmentation and balance the skin, Royal Fern’s ‘Phytoactive Skin Perfecting Essence’, or I love Omorovicza’s ‘Queen of Hungary’ mist. I know I’m telling you only three of each thing, but I have billions of each! These are the ones I always seem to go back to.
Then comes my serum. I use Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Serum very often – I love it. I never thought I’d attach myself to a skincare line from a fashion house, but when they came up with cell energy, the science spoke to me, which is how I became an ambassador. I like following it with ‘Capture Totale’ cream. I believe in clean science, that’s what speaks to me. I don’t believe in creams that are whipped up in grandma’s kitchen. Cocoa powder or gold sparkles in your cream won’t do much!
Sometimes I don’t use any eye cream and I go straight to lip balm. My favorites are Omorovicza’s, because it’s slightly invigorating and plumping, and I love Clé de Peau’s SPF30 lip balm. If I choose to use an eye cream I alternate between the Clé de Peau eye cream, MBR’s ‘Eye Cream Smooth 100’, and the Royal Fern eye cream.
Versions of my moisturizer could be the Biologique Recherche ‘Crème Masque Vernix’ mixed with a few drops of Vintner’s Daughter’s serum to make it a little more luxurious. Or I use ‘Mela-Even Cream’ by Environ – that’s my go-to during the day for vitamin C. I usually use that with the Crème Masque Vernix’ or Augustinus Bader’s ‘The Rich Cream’.
Another option – and this is me being not complicated! – is ‘Liquid Surgery’ by MBR and Augustinus Bader. Why? Because it’s one of the most repairing duos. I don’t believe in products that say they use stem cells. If there’s a product that says it uses golden apple stem cells, then eat the apple and throw out the product, because any stem cells extracted from their original body and injected into a cream just don’t work! But with Augustinus Bader’s creams, the TFC8 factor – apparently – stimulates our own cells and helps them repair. ‘Liquid Surgery’ has a synthetically achieved molecule that carries more oxygen that the hemoglobin in your blood. The most repairing moment in our bodies takes place when stem cells and oxygen arrive at the same time, which is why I mix those.
What else regarding my face… oh, hyaluronic acid! When I feel like I need to add it, that goes first, because it’s in the form of gel and water, and any water serum goes first. My favorite is actually from Poland by a skincare line called Oio Lab.
One of my most famous sayings is “skincare starts at the nipples and ends at the hairline” – you don’t need specific products for your neck and décolleté if you’re encompassing those areas. And don’t do what your girlfriend does! Just because I’m using these products doesn’t mean you should – it all depends on your skin quality and condition. Another piece of advice? Never bring the streets to your sheets!
I’m not going to say too much, but I’m also working on a few projects at the moment… I’m so nervous as I know I’ll be under the microscope, but a few exciting things are coming!
Some mornings I use the brightening and de-puffing Exquisite eye patches. I also love the de-puffing mask from 111Skin, and the ‘Bio-Cellulose’ hydrating mask. Those are my favorites. I use sheet masks in the morning because the results are fast-acting. I actually just collaborated with 111Skin with my ‘Facial Edit’, which I love. I appreciate Dr. Yannis [Alexandrides] so much, and the line has clean science behind it. I like working with people who I respect. The collection features masks and my massager, which is much cooler than room temperature, so it’s perfect to stimulate blood flow before applying masks as then they penetrate much better.
I can’t leave without my massager or ‘Bio Cellulose’ mask before getting on a plane. I’m even creative with how I wear my mask. I cut them up and have different colors and patches everywhere! One area is puffy, one is falling apart, so one half of my face is covered in a blue mask, and the other with a black one!
I use masks no more than three times a week, but every day I use my massage roller. I call it my Netflix-friendly routine. Right now, we are so into A Place to Call Home. I envy you if you haven’t watched it!
Now my hair. Ninety-five percent of the time it’s pulled back in a low bun with whatever version of a scrunchie supposedly doesn’t break it. My hair used to be better, but due to my thyroid situation, and probably now my age, I have less than I used to have – so I make sure I don’t use random shampoos. One of my favorite brands is the Danish one, Harklinikken. I use the balancing shampoo and daily conditioner, even though I only wash my hair two to three times a week – unless I’ve had a crazy sweaty workout! I don’t like using hotel shampoos when I travel, so I always take Hairstory’s ‘New Wash’. I love it as it’s sulfate-free so never foams – it’s more of a creamy wash. I have some brushes at home, but I never use them. I was given the Dyson hairdryer and I’ve probably used it twice… since Christmas before last!
Oh, a great trick for anyone with thin hair – Redken’s amazing ‘Thickening Lotion 06’. You apply on slightly damp hair and it makes it feel so much thicker. I love it and I buy it in bulk whenever I can find it!
I rarely wear makeup and try to avoid it as my skin doesn’t feel comfortable after wearing it. But my little trick when I do, so I don’t look too made up, is to mix the Cle de Peau ‘Radiant Fluid Foundation’ with the ‘Radiant Multi Repair Oil’. It creates a really nice glow and it takes me one minute.
I don’t use rouge as I have enough redness in my skin, so I do a bit of contouring with the Iconic London palette. I use Dior’s ‘Diorshow Mascara’ and brown waterproof eyeliner, and I apply a pink lip liner all over my lips before using Tom Ford’s ‘Nude Vanille’ lipstick. I do get my makeup professionally done for any photoshops or big meetings, but then I feel like a streetwalker! [Laughs]
I have three favorite perfumes, and none of them are sweet. I love this new one from Iceland by Fischer, it’s gorgeous. Their scents are all musky and unisex. Another one I like is Jo Malone’s ‘Oud & Bergamot’, and ‘Baccarat Rouge 540’ by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. I don’t wear fragrance when I’m working with clients, but occasionally I’ll apply just a touch behind my ear for my own pleasure. Sound and scent are my most sensitive senses, and — like music — certain scents take me somewhere else.
Ordinary days in New York are very long. It’s hands-on, physical work doing facials. If it’s Fashion Week or the MET Gala or something, it can be 14-hour or 17-hour days. But even on a normal day, they’re around 10 to 12 hours, and I perform seven to eight treatments a day.
One week is left aside for traveling. I always travel with my Natalia and do my workouts over Zoom. So long as you have a stretchy band, she will torture you!
My days in Dallas are hands-on, two to three days a week, for two weeks. Thursdays and Fridays are usually for FaceTime consultations with people all around the world. Now so, more than ever. In the last five months, I’ve FaceTimed over 370 clients from 27 countries! They’re 60-minute consultations and are very thorough conversations to create a bespoke skincare routine.
I’m 100 percent guilty of checking my phone first thing, and I hate that. I mainly check notifications, especially WhatsApp, as I operate internationally. I do check Instagram, but I make fun of myself on it – I’m known for telling the dirtiest jokes on Earth! I only joined it four years ago because of the business. I’m not on Facebook or Twitter or anything. Ninety percent of my Instagram is me working out, eating cake with my hands to work out my facial and abdominal muscles [laughs], telling jokes… I have my opinions and people say I’m on the “influencer” level, but I don’t want to get involved in areas that aren’t my specialty. I limit myself on subjects aside from skincare.
I really want to spend less time on my phone; I find it quite painful and uncomfortable. Especially because there are a lot of opinionated people online. I’m a very natural person, and people write things like, “Why would I do what you’re doing when my girlfriend your age looks better?”. Usually, I don’t respond, but occasionally I do via DM. I say, “I’ve had two cancers; I travel all around the world working 14-hour days, I’m probably 20 years older than you, you don’t know my life situation and what I went through. I’m also an immigrant who created a life in a new country. So, before you say something to someone, really think about it!” I’ve only done that a few times, otherwise, I try to ignore those people. It’s unfortunate. I thought Instagram was about sharing beautiful photos, how naïve I was! It can be a really dark place.
I don’t follow many people, and I don’t turn to it to learn things. Instagram has been around for eight years – I’ve been doing this for over 20! I see influencers using my massager completely wrong — pulling their muscles down — and I’m like, no! I read lots of books and guides with scientific backing to learn. I always allow myself time at night for some education, whether it’s Italian or medicine, and then I join Alec for our TV shows.
Including myself, there are six people in the company who access my calendar, and everything is very scheduled. We’ve been stuck in Dallas since March, so I step out onto my terrace whenever I can to get a little fresh air, as there are days I don’t leave the house! But I’m okay with that. I was about to turn into a flight attendant before COVID-19 happened! Speaking of which, flying is when I always apply face masks. I joked how I’d be standing in the aisle demonstrating how to do massage [laughs].
If I’m going to the studio, I take food prepared by our chef, who makes our lunches, snacks, and sometimes dinners. Getting dressed doesn’t take much time. I’d say I have a luxurious but comfortable style. I’m that Brunello Cucinelli girl, but also R13, which is raggedy, and I love James Perse T-shirts. I like fashion, but I mostly entertain myself with my 500 pairs of shoes… yes, it’s a problem! I have tons of sneakers – I love an old Celine or a new Bottega; they’re super comfortable considering they’re fashionable shoes. I just have to be comfortable. I love jeans and a structured shirt with lots of necklaces — it’s just such a classic look.
My mantra is “Respect, support, protect”. That’s for skin and – now more than ever – for others and for yourself. The health of the skin starts with proper food and a proper mental state, and more and more we see that stress shows on the skin, which is why meditation is so important – like my sudoku! Protect yourself by making certain choices, protect your skin, and protect others. By wearing a mask, for example. If humans were told a mask would protect themselves by 70 percent, they’d wear it!
I only realized this year that these three words, which I normally used for skin, are so important for our whole lives. They determine your successes. My success is the fact that you are talking to me, that you’re interested to know all this about me. That’s my success for today. I love that I can talk to 27 countries and that I’m lucky enough to be able to travel around the world. I’m a very inquisitive esthetician, and I love what I do!