“Respect, support, and protect.”
Joanna Czech’s skin mantra may appear simplistic, but under those fundamental tenets lies a detailed, scientific approach to skincare that she’s put to use for her clients across the globe for 35 years. On the subject of skin treatments and beauty products, Czech is unapologetic about prizing clinical efficacy over hype. “I don’t believe in trends—I believe in ingredients,” she says. “I prefer brands that have years of scientific research over things that were whipped up in grandma’s basement.”
It is precisely that plainspoken directness that has helped the skin expert and Dior Skincare ambassador earn not just widespread loyalty from her clients, but credibility. When she’s not toning and tending to the faces in her New York and Dallas spas, Czech is perfecting the complexions of Christy Turlington, Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet, and Kim Kardashian.
We asked Czech to guide us on the essential skin principles we should heed attention to as fall begins. Here, she shares her candid insight and wisdom on the best skin tips, products, and treatments for the season.
Yes, Your Daily Face Massage Is Still an Essential Skin Step This Fall
“Massage is the deep manipulation of muscles, and if done correctly and consistently, it stimulates blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the skin, resulting in a brighter, healthier complexion. It can also change the shape of the face, lifting and sculpting the muscles. My very first instructor when I was studying taught us to ‘treat muscles like dough and skin like a sponge.’ She also taught us the press and release application, which allows the skin to microscopically open and grasp whatever is on the surface, enhancing penetration and efficacy of products.
I recommend a facial massage once a day and a minimum of three to four times per week, for between seven to 10 minutes. Depending on your skin conditions, it won’t hurt to do it two times per day and every day, but if you have fragile, sensitive skin, one time is plenty.
Manual massage is best with product that has some slip, or lubrication. My favorite times to do it are either during the second half of a double cleanse, or during serum application. You can do it after moisturizer as well, but I like to enhance product penetration before the end of my routine.”
Using Face Tools Correctly: Facial Massagers vs. Jade Rollers
“Jade rollers are one story, face massagers are different. My face massager grasps your muscle and skin and it’s comparable to facial massage techniques that you do with your hands. It also shapes and creates micro-swelling effectively. I would say the jade roller is best mainly for de-puffing under the eye. You have to be very careful using a jade roller on the muscles because you can run the risk of flattening the muscle. If you believe in stone energy, that is one thing—I have stones and crystals all around my house—but personally, I do not use jade rollers. If you use them, you need to do so properly, and very gently for something like draining movements on the surface of the skin.”
Make Sure You Are Using the Right Kind of Hyaluronic Acid
“Hyaluronic acid can be a fantastic ingredient. It can help to decrease the appearance of wrinkles, enhance skin hydration, and improve firmness and elasticity.
However, when hyaluronic acid chains are too long, the molecules are large and they don’t penetrate deeply—instead, they remain on the top of the skin and after two to three months, they can dehydrate the skin by pulling the moisture away. Shorter chains have smaller molecules, which are lighter and penetrate more deeply.
Dior’s Capture Totale line uses acetylated hyaluronic acid, which is very special. Their hyaluronic acid serum is made up of tiny molecules with low molecular weight, undergoing four chemical reactions which transforms it, protecting it from the cutaneous enzymes which can damage hyaluronic acid, so both the penetration and the longevity are enhanced. The life expectancy increases 10 times that of regular hyaluronic acid. I have not seen this in any other products.
I very seldom get to the point where my face misses a product, and yes, I am always testing out new products, but I got into a panic when I started running low on this one. My skin actually misses this product.”
Fall Skin Treatments for Summer Skin Sun Damage
“I recommend increased usage of vitamins A and C, and lactic acid. Fall and spring are great moments to do more aggressive treatments as healing is sped up in milder temperatures. We offer a series of professional peels one time per week over four to six weeks for stronger exfoliation. I am a big fan of the Mela-Fade Serum system by Environ, as well as the other vitamin A and retinol products that they make. They use retinyl palmitate, which doesn’t cause sun sensitivity.
I have found that my feelings about sunscreen are a bit controversial, because I do think it can be overused and it can inhibit the production of much-needed vitamin D when that is the case. But I absolutely think that used in the right situations, if you are in strong sun for more than 20-30 minutes, it is important and necessary. I do not believe you need to use an SPF greater than 30 as that gives us 97 percent coverage—and the rest is just chemicals. The higher SPFs tend to cause irritation. It is more important to reapply when necessary. My very favorites include Environ RAD Sunscreen SPF 30, Chuda Hydrating Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, Clarins SPF 20 + 30, and Lancaster.”
Your Nighttime Routine Is Still the Most Important Skincare Step for Face and Body
“Your skin is 60 percent more potent to absorb everything during this rejuvenation time. I focus on my evening routine, as products are far more effective when the body is at rest. And the steps that I always do are cleanse, tone, massage, serum application, eye-cream, and moisturizer. I do masks two to four times per week, LED three to four times per week, and I use my facial massager every day.
My nighttime routine for the neck down involves massaging with shower gel and silicon gloves. I dry brush in the morning, before the shower and not on a daily basis. Dry brushing has many wonderful benefits. It is invigorating, purifying, and healing, but you must ease into it and let your skin get used to it. I suggest every other week, one time per week to start and you can concentrate on the areas that need it (I.e. your buttocks and thighs, back of the arms, knees etc.) Frequency and pressure should be adjusted according to what feels good on the skin. The body moisturizers I love: Environ Derma-Lac Lotion, Environ Vitamin A,C,E Body Oil, Augustinus Bader The Body Cream, Augustinus Bader Body Oi, Costa Brazil Creme Para O Corpo, Costa Brazil Kaya Firming Body Oi, and Clé de Peau Beaute Radiant Multi Repair Oil.”
My Current Skin Routine Lineup
“My current lineup includes:
Dior Capture Totale Gentle Cleanser, Biologique Recherche Lait E.V., Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm, Environ Pre- Cleansing Oil and Environ Hydrating Clay Mask (for double cleanse), and Royal Fern Phytoactive Cleasning Balm.
Dior Capture Totale Eye Creme, MBR Eye Cream Smooth, Clé de Peau Enhancing Eye Contour Cream, Royal Fern Phytoactive Eye Cream, Evenswiss Rejuvenating Eye Complex, and Protective Nourishment Eye Glow Serum.”