Polish Girl Who Changed the Skin of Kim Kardashian. Joanna Czech Reveals the Secrets of Working as a Celebrity Beautician [interview]
Joanna Czech has for years been considered one of the best beauticians in the world, whose services are used by stars such as Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Anna Wintour. During her last visit to Poland, we managed to talk to her.
Joanna Czech was born and raised in Poland, but when she was only 25, she left for the United States. She is a celebrity beautician who has built her position in the industry over the years. Its services are used, among others, by Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet or Kim Kardashian. The latter even helped in the creation of SKKN skin care cosmetics. Even the greatest celebrities have to sign up for a visit several months in advance. Just after a nearly three-year break, she came to Poland to promote her original line of cosmetics. I was able to talk to her at the Mamaison Hotel Le Regina hotel in Warsaw. In the lobby, I was welcomed by a confident, filigree blonde who infected me with optimism with every word she uttered.
You left for the USA when you were only 25 years old. In Poland, you had a stable life: home, family and a thriving beauty salon. Weren't you afraid to put everything on one card?
I didn't put it all on one card. It was 1989. For two years I have been running my own salon in Poland, which was set up by my parents. I went to the USA to visit the client's daughter. Back then, I thought I would come back after six weeks, possibly six months. Before I went, however, I spoke to them that if I didn't come back after a year, they should sell the salon.
How did you convince your first clients? Was it just skill or was something more needed?
It seems to me that education from Poland was extremely helpful. I got my first job because someone needed someone with experience and communicative English. It seemed to me that two years of working as a beautician is not much, but after touching the skin of my first client, I knew that I was more experienced than people who study in the United States. I was finishing my cosmetic study in Białystok . In total, it was over 12,000 hours of study. In the USA, depending on the states, it is from 600 to 1000 hours. This is a huge difference. Besides, I am always myself. I don't behave differently at home than at work.
So, in your opinion, Polish beauticians have a chance to make a career in the USA?
Of course! And most importantly, they do it. After 33 years, I started to think a little differently, because we Polish women immediately assume that we will not succeed. Now I still have this modesty, but at the same time I know that I have something to offer. Hailey Bieber admitted in one of the interviews that I helped her with the production of her new Rhode cosmetics. I am still helping everyone, but I haven't mentioned much about my Joanna Czech line.
US clients didn't mind that you are from another country?
No, quite the contrary. We've always had a good reputation for beauticians. At that time, I couldn't explain too much to my clients. I just said "not good, not good". Even though I studied English, these are two different things. It seems to me that the clients appreciated my discipline, responsibility and skills above all. Besides, being Polish helped me establish contact with the client. Once I went into Liam Neeson's library, where I was supposed to give him a pedicure. I noticed the iconic photo from the movie "Schindler's List", which showed a girl in a red coat. He then asked "Anna Mucha, I wonder what is happening to her?" I explained to him then that today she is a famous Polish actress.
How did you convince your first famous clients?
The first famous clients appeared in 1995. I started working at Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa, the Reebok Sports Club in Manhattan, which was visited by the cream of Hollywood at the time. The first person I knew to show up was supermodel Trish Goff. Later, there were more and more of them. The school I finished prepared me to perform various treatments for the body, not just the face, which became my advantage. I even wrote an essay on the eye frame for 117 pages. In the United States, when someone hears that I had my diploma thesis at the end of school, he is really shocked. Science in Poland is really at a high level.
How did you build the empire of your famous clients?
Back then, there was no social media. Everything was done by so-called word of mouth. I loved it. One day Miramax calls me from London asking if I can take care of Uma Thurman, because he is shooting "Kill Bill". But what surprised me the most was the call from Anna Wintour's team.
You mentioned your brand Joanna Czech. What products went on sale?
First, there is the tonic. In my opinion, this is the most important step in daily skin care. Due to the fact that its pH is 5.8, it keeps the skin slightly acidic. The next product is a soothing serum, which in addition to being super moisturizing, also helps to even out the skin tone. It included, among others mountain pepper, which works well in case of irritation. The serum with a stable formula of vitamin C is in the form of a light oil, thanks to which it can reach the so-called dermis. I recommend this product to people who want to improve skin elasticity, and who also fight discoloration. The cream with three peptides in the composition helps to rebuild the skin's protective barrier. A nourishing balm will work for people who care about hydration. The product retains water in the epidermis, thanks to which the body is soft and at the same time regenerated. I have also created a face mask that prevents breakouts, while also soothing irritations and of course moisturizing. I cannot forget about the wipes that help to refresh the skin and remove sweat and bacteria.
However, these are not cheap products. Why should Polish women choose your cosmetics?
The cosmetics are made of the best and, at the same time, the most expensive ingredients available on the market. We searched for them all over the world so that they could provide the skin with everything it needs. I must add that these are extremely practical products. You can use, for example, your own face cleansing gel with them.
You have two beauty salons: in Dallas and New York. Have you ever thought about opening your own salon in Poland?
Just yesterday there was such an offer, but I don't think I can afford it now. It is also difficult for me to say what the prices would be, because in the United States they are a bit different. (from the editorial office: the treatment in Joanna Czech's salon costs about PLN 2,500). I admit that it would be very interesting.
What are the treatments you perform?
I do not deal with aesthetic medicine, because I have seen the damage that can be done in this way. I don't really have a name for my treatments. It's hard to say if it's something more relaxing or maybe stimulating. When a client comes to see me, I first analyze the skin and ask a million questions before deciding what to do. A client is waiting for me right now, and I can't say what we're going to do today before we interview her in detail.
How did your collaboration with Kim Kardashian begin on her new SKKN skincare line?
It was exactly 3 years ago on June 19. Even before the pandemic. I was in Warsaw for lunch at Qchnii Artystyczna, and suddenly I got a call. I saw "Kim K." calling. She said she plans to launch her own cosmetics line, so she would like to talk to me about it. I asked her why she was asking for my help. And then she replied, "You were the only one who changed my skin."
How did you help her?
We first met 7 years ago at her home in Los Angeles. I dealt with it for 2 hours. Usually I ask my clients if they want to know what I am doing and she is always very interested. She is a great student. She asked me about the discoloration she had then. I said that before we get to them, we need to balance the skin first, make it healthy, and only finally do pigmentation. I offered her specific night and day care products of the brands I recommend. I got the first package as a gift. After three weeks, I got an order of three bottles of each cosmetic, so she must have liked what I advised. She herself admitted that I was the only person who decided to change her care.
Exactly - Kim cosmetics. How much is Kim herself, and how much Joanna Czech?
Hard to say. For a certain routine of daily care with nine cosmetics, she presented it based on what I prescribed for her 7 years ago. I taught her to mix oils with creams. I told her that the scrub can be mixed with cream, then it becomes softer on the skin. I explained the difference between a balancing tonic and an exfoliating tonic. I wanted the former to be in her line, so that everyone could use it after washing their face. Kim, on the other hand, likes stronger effects of cosmetics. Her project manager asked me what I thought about the individual ingredients and how to communicate with clients. I didn't let Kim talk about anti-aging products. They keep coming back to it, but in my opinion you can't stop the aging process. At most, you can slow them down.