It’s a random Wednesday morning and I’m in a trance. A pint-sized Polish woman fills my laptop screen. She is assiduously massaging her eye contour, pinching her brow from head to tail, tracing her orbital bone with slow, sinuous strokes… It’s better than any meditation app I’ve ever downloaded.
Her name is Joanna Czech, arguably the world’s most famous facialist, with a star-studded roster (everyone from Cate Blanchett to Kim Kardashian) and a multi-year waiting list. She is most renowned for her massage methods and quippy one-liners. “Your face starts with the nipples and ends at your hairline,” she likes to say.
Czech served as brand ambassador for Biologique Recherche before becoming Dior’s global skincare expert. Today she is demonstrating how to apply the luxury brand’s latest skincare launch, a potent eye serum laced with acetylated hyaluronic acid and Longoza flower to reduce signs of aging and fatigue. Let’s just say Czech is not of the “gently dab, never drag” school of thought. “Misinformation,” she declares, noting there’s actually a lot of that when it comes to the eye area. As with the rest of the face, she likes to really get in there, kneading out tension until it cedes to her assertive touch. A treatment with her would normally set you back more than a $1,000, but Czech graciously agreed to tell us how she does it, taking the opportunity to dispel some common eye care myths while she was at it.
We often hear that eye cream should only be applied under the eyes and not on the lids. Does it depend on the product or can all eye products be applied to both?
“There is a lot of misinformation about how to apply eye products,” says Czech. “I have heard people say not to apply it on the actual area, but lower and your lashes will pick it up!” Her verdict is categoric: “You should apply to both the lid/brow area and under the eye.” You may have also heard that eye cream shouldn’t be smoothed on higher than the orbital bone or you risk aggravating puffiness. I remember a cosmetician once told my mom this and she promptly phoned me to share her shock. “I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time,” she lamented. Again, “this is not true,” Czech says. “You should not be afraid to get close to the eye. That is where you need to be to affect change.”
“Dab don’t drag” is a popular eye cream dictum. Why should we not be afraid to touch and massage our eye area?
“Massaging correctly is incredibly effective,” says Czech. Though she agrees that rubbing back and forth or unnecessary tugging should be avoided, she’s a firm believer in “working out” the eyes morning and night. “Pinching and lifting the brow muscle is something I recommend as it exercises the muscle,” she explains.
When using a product with a built-in applicator, like Dior’s new Capture Totale Super Potent Eye Serum, which features a cool metal tip (Czech keeps hers in the fridge to replicate the benefits of cryotherapy), she likes to start by releasing a small amount of product on the crow’s feet area and massaging in the product using small circular motions. She then runs the tip under the eye, from outer to inner corner and then up and along the brow bone, repeating the circle a few times to stimulate blood flow.
She also likes using wave-like motions under and above the eye, moving toward the outside of the face. (Czech recommends a firm hand when targeting the brow muscle and a gentler touch when manipulating the under eye.) Pressing on key pressure points (the very beginning of the brow, the apex of the arch and the end of the brow) can also help release tension, she says, as can ironing crow’s feet back and forth.
For a deeper tissue massage, she applies a bit more product to ensure sufficient slip and goes in with her hands. There’s the aforementioned brow-pinching move, which Czech performs with both hands. She then lifts and holds the brow up with one hand while using her ring finger from the opposite hand to press and release the crow’s feet area before transitioning to a wavy motion under the eye, toward the inner corner. Repeat the pinching, pressing/releasing and waving sequence a few times and feel weeks-worth of stress evaporate from your face. For real.
Do you recommend having a different eye product for day and for night?
“I don’t. As long as the product does not contain SPF, you can use it either time of day. If it has SPF, it can only be used in the morning.” Speaking of sun protection, Czech says that shielding the delicate eye area from the rays is a must as it will show signs of sun damage earlier than the rest of the face. Luckily, she says, most facial sunscreens are safe to use on the eye contour as well.
Lastly, do we actually need eye products or can we just use our regular moisturizer?
“Eye products may contain the same actives that face products contain, but at lower concentrations so they don’t irritate the area.” This is important because, as mentioned, the skin around our eyes is particularly delicate—about five times thinner than the skin on the rest of our face, says Czech. This explains why it’s often the first area to show fine lines and wrinkles. “On top of that, our eyes are constantly working throughout the day, and there are also genetic factors that affect the fragility of the skin around that area.”
Products specifically made for eyes also have the added benefit of addressing concerns particular to that area like puffiness and dark circles. However, “having said that,” says Czech, “if you don’t have an eye product or don’t have the budget for an additional product, you can use your face products.” A straight shooter if there ever was one!