Asking facialist Joanna Czech about skincare is like asking an astrophysicist about the cosmos. She answers every question with such detail and fervor that it’s hard not to get lost in terminology or the urge to soak up every piece of information like a sponge.
It’s not a completely implausible comparison. After all, skin is the largest organ in the human body, with pigment, texture, and conditions unique to every living, breathing person on earth. With over 35 years of experience, Czech knows this better than anyone and has amassed an impressive list of celebrity clients along the way.
As someone who’s treated the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, and Carey Mulligan, Czech has access to the latest and greatest in skincare innovations. So you can imagine my surprise when – after first meeting Czech with an unfortunate pimple on her chin – she asked me to treat my rash with sliced potatoes, advice she passed on to Mulligan before a big event.
It turns out that potatoes contain an enzyme called catecholase (or catechol oxidase), which Czech says can lighten the skin and reduce inflammation. Another piece of advice from his bag of tricks? Dandelion tea bags for puffy eyes. “Put them in the fridge,” says Czech Charm. “Drinking this tea already drains fluids from your tissues, it’s very deflating for anyone prone to water retention, but it also helps if you apply it directly around your eye area.”
That’s not to say Czech isn’t a fan of skincare products. In November last year, she launched her own eponymous line and helped develop Kardashian’s SKKN by Kim. But Czech argues that you can have great skin just by following good habits. “One thing is that you can avoid the sun, UVA and UVB with your SPF,” she says. “During the summer, I don’t recommend over-exfoliation. We need exfoliation because we use SPF, but watch out for acid treatments. Pay close attention to the pH of the products. If you use anything below 4.5 or less, it’s just as acidic and could create sun sensitivity.
Ahead, Joanna Czech shares her must-have products for CharmLeave the routine.
Right now I’m using Costa Brazil cleanser. I like an oil that turns into milk. It’s also a summer thing. When I come home with all the SPF, I really want to break that. I’m not usually a makeup artist, but when I do, I have to have my very light moisturizing cleanser from Exquisite. It has a fresh smell. It is a soft gel that also turns into milk. I sometimes remove residue from nighttime products with my face wipes. I usually keep them in my fridge; they contain rosemary extract, so they are also deflating.
I use the SKKN by Kim exfoliator. I use her scrub once a week. I mix the scrub with a moisturizer or nourishing oil to make it a little softer, as her scrub is a bit too rough for me. And then goes the toner.
The toner is the most important step in my routine. Without toner, I don’t think my brain would allow my hand to reach the serum. Mine has a pH of 5.8, and that’s what I’ve been using for three years. Toner is the very first step in controlling the pH of the skin. If the pH is out of balance, the lipid layer disappears, then transepidermal water loss occurs, then your skin feels dehydrated and you get inflammation. That’s why I’m a big believer in balancing toners.
I am at level four of C-Quence. It’s a retinol that I do twice a week. In the summer I don’t do it much because I spend time outdoors.
With my retinol I sometimes mix it with the Future Bio Vital Serum to create an extra boost of radiance. From my brand I have this slow-release acetylated hyaluronic acid, so it’s a nice and very comfortable hydration.
My body care
I shower at night. I usually massage my body with the Biologique massage glove in the shower with my Sel & Pierre shower gel. After that, I apply Derma-Lac Lotion. The body goes from the neck down and the face goes up the nipples. Any residue from the products still goes on my hands.
I use Isdin. I believe in SPF 30, which is more than enough for me.
My face oil
For a little shine I use Cle de Peau multirepair oil. It kind of gets rid of that grayish skin and creates a nice golden look. It’s not so much a treatment, it’s more for aesthetics.
My eye cream
I use Cle de Peau or Exquisite eye cream. Exquisite is a bit lighter. For me, Cle de Peau and the consistency of their products are so inviting. I like to keep eye products in my fridge and keep them cold. I don’t use it every day or every night. If I use it, it’s my step after the serums and before the final moisturizer.
my lip balm
I like Omorovicza. It’s pleasant and plumping. I love U Beauty. It’s brilliant. Personally, I prefer lip balms as a treatment since I don’t wear a lot of them, but U Beauty is very comfortable and easy to use.
I use my own massager, and it’s my nightly routine. Netflix and my massage. I love the Lyma laser. It’s an expensive toy, but I’m lucky enough to have two.
Ariana Yaptangco is the beauty editor of Charm. Follow her on Instagram @arianayap.