"It’s all more than about being vain,” says Joanna Czech, facialist to famous faces such as Lily Aldridge and Amber Valletta. “Intuitive eating, physical activity, sleep, and caring for your face and body. As someone who has been diagnosed with cancer in the past, I’ve learned that self-care is all about health. If you start with your insides, your skin will benefit, too.”
Czech, who wanted to become a doctor, knows a thing or two about health. “I studied the anatomy, pathology, and physiology of the nail plate,” she says. “I was like, I’m practically a doctor!” She moved to New York and worked in a salon in Hudson Heights just before Paul Labrecque hired her at the Core Club, assigning her to do the manicure for a Vogue cover.
In a session with Czech, one can expect skin education, a few dirty jokes and, as she would say, unusual music: “There’s never raindrop music in my studios.” Her most recent venture was opening her “dream space” — a flagship studio in the heart of Soho — at the top of the year. “I am so excited that I finally have my dream space in New York after so many years,” she says. And between managing her studios and everything in between, Czech ensures to carve out well-deserved time for her own self-care. “We do so much for other people. We need to take care of ourselves, too,” she says.
Here, Czech’s A.M. routine:
8 — I have a Nespresso and a banana.
8:30 — When I am not traveling and do not have clients, I work out with my trainer via Zoom and then rinse off.
9:30 — I remove residue by rinsing my face off with the Soothing gel by Exquisite.
9:32 — I then use the JC toner. It balances and preps my skin for the rest of my products.
9:37 — After applying an eye cream, I apply a thin layer of The Balm lock in my serums and add long-lasting moisture and luminosity.
9:39 — If my skin isn’t looking its best, I use the Gee Beauty Prime Skin to brighten and even out my complexion.
Here, Czech’s P.M. routine:
6 — I start my evening routine as soon as I get home. Don’t bring the streets to your sheets, as I always say. That said, I like to start my evening by showering with the Nécessaire Body Wash and massaging with the silicone gloves by Biologique. Your skin is your largest organ, so you need to care for the entire body the same way you would your face.
6:30 — During my shower, I wash my face with one of the 12 cleansers that I own, depending on my skin’s needs that day. A few favorites include Costa Brazil oil, a gentle and hydrating cleanser; Wonder Valley Oil Cleanser, a fragrant oil cleanser that removes sunscreen and makeup; Biologique Lait U milk cleanser, a gentle cleanser if my skin is feeling dry and sensitive; Environ Pre-Cleansing Oil, followed by their clay mask for mild exfoliation; and the Exquisite Soothing Cleansing Gel, which removes impurities while calming skin.
6:45 — I eat dinner.
7:15 — I usually watch TV while I use my LYMA lasers for 20 minutes three to four times per week. I like technology like the LYMA because it’s both extremely convenient and effective. I keep two LYMAs next to my bed in both my New York and Dallas homes. The LYMA differs from the typical in-office lasers because it’s cold and doesn’t damage the skin or cause pain.
7:35 — The rest of my skin-care routine depends on what gadgets I plan on using, so this can vary from night to night. Your nighttime skin-care routine is the most important because while the body is resting, your products are 50 to 60 percent more effective. I usually start with my own toner. Toner is the foundation of your skin-care routine, and having proper pH balance is essential. Our toner’s pH level is 5.8, which is balanced with your skin. Once per week, I apply the Environ Revival Mask on top of all products and sleep with it on. Afterward, I use my face massager to stimulate blood flow and help release any tension or fluids I am holding in my face.
7:37 — I use a combination of serums by Forlle’d, a line of bioengineered formulas.
9:30 — I pray and meditate.
10 — I wind down in bed using the Celluma, an LED-light-therapy device that targets inflammation, on my belly and knees while I play sudoku or read.
On the overhyped beauty service:
Lasers. In recent years, I’ve seen an influx of people turning to laser treatments. When I look at a client’s skin, I can tell instantly if they have had this treatment done due to their hyperpigmentation. The heat from the lasers is damaging and cannot be undone. Only about 30 percent of people who do laser treatments are actually good candidates. I recommend that people do their research and speak with a reputable practitioner before making this decision.
On TikTok and beauty:
I appreciate that TikTok has become a forum for people to openly discuss their passion for skin care and share their favorite products and techniques. With that said, I hate the word trend when it comes to your skin. I love trends for fashion and design, but the pathology and physiology of your skin doesn’t care what is trending at the moment. Your skin has certain needs, and treating it with care and consideration is important. You should not base your skin-care decisions on fads or what your friends are doing.
On the overhyped ingredient:
I love hyaluronic acid, but it’s not something that needs to be sold as a stand-alone product when in reality it’s just sweetened water. Most hydrating serums should include hyaluronic acid because it helps achieve maximum absorbency of the other ingredients. In general, it’s hard to say one ingredient that I avoid completely, but I certainly look for certain preservatives, parabens, and dyes.
On the ingredients she loves:
I always gravitate toward the vitamin-C form of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THDA); vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate; niacinamides; peptides; ceramides; and vitamin K.
On deciding which products are worth trying:
I tend to look at things backward. First, I pay attention to the aesthetic of the packaging. Second, I test for fragrances. I usually stray away from anything too fragrant. Next, I check the consistency and, finally, the ingredients. After that process, I will try out the product to see how it works on various skin types and conditions. I won’t even look at an all-natural product because I don’t know what that means. If something were all natural, it wouldn’t last past a few weeks.
On the hero product in her routine:
I have been using C-Quence from Environ (vitamin A) for 27 years. I found it through one of my pilates instructor. She asked me if I had heard of Environ; I tried it and have yet to look back.
On the beauty services she swears by:
Physical and mental health are essential to healthy skin. My skin always improves when I’m working out consistently and less stressed. If you can, visit professionals for body massages and consistent facials because the expertise, knowledge of products, and access to technology will make a major difference.