Cover (Image: Steve Wrubel/Parfums Christian Dior)

The beauty expert who counts Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian amongst her clientele is now the ambassador of Dior Skincare

When it comes to facial massages, celebrity facialist Joanna Czech has that magic touch. Counting Hollywood and runway bigwigs like Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Liam Neeson and more amongst her star-studded list of clients, Joanna’s skincare treatments are highly coveted internationally.

Now, the skincare expert is adding another credential to her portfolio—joining the House of Dior as a skincare ambassador and lending her expertise in developing the Dior skincare techniques international training.

In an interview via Zoom, Joanna told us she had her reservations at first. “I mean, they’re famous for makeup and fashion. I couldn’t put my name next to ‘fashion skincare’—I’m very particular about that. Then, I heard about how the Capture Totale range stimulates cell energy, so that changed everything, and my skin as well.”

Joanna, who originally planned to go to medical school in her schooling years, fell in love with skincare when she enrolled in the Aesthetics Institute and never looked back. However, she has remained inquisitive and fascinated with science. This is evident from her holistic approach to beauty, which combines both traditional techniques and cutting-edge technology.

“Adenosine triphosphate (ATP, the main carrier of energy for cellular activities) is responsible for the very first mitosis of cells. It is human physiology that production of ATP drastically drops at around seven years old, and the energy keeps slowing down. When there is no energy, we are gone—so any treatment or product that would stimulate cell energy is fascinating to me.”

Culminated from Dior’s decades-long research into stem cells, the Capture Totale line is infused with a regenerative floral complex of Madagascan longozo, Chinese peony, white lily, and Chinese jasmine, which help to re-energises stem cells, rather than ‘replenishing’ them.

“Don’t believe a product that says it contains stem cells, because the stem cells are not alive within the product. Only stem cells that are directly re-injected—and most likely come from your bone marrow—works,” Joanna explained, debunking one of the most popular beauty fads in recent years.

With the expert on the line, we took the opportunity to ask our burning questions about ‘maskne’ and skincare misconceptions.

What is a skincare philosophy that you live by?

Joanna Czech (JC) Respect, Support and Protect. This goes for skincare, how we treat ourselves and others.

Your all-time favourite Dior Skincare product and why?

JC The Capture Totale C.E.L.L. Energy Super Potent Serum because it contains the most concentrated version of the cell energising complex and acetylated hyaluronic acid. It creates hydrated, plump and radiant skin. If you are consistent, you see results in days. My skin has never looked better.

A common skincare mistake many people are making?

JC In my opinion, it’s using toner. That’s a misconception because still, many people use a toner as the second step of cleansing as opposed to the first step of treating the skin, and this is from my experience of talking with clients.

They put toner or micellar water on a cotton pad and they keep wiping and seeing more makeup. If you see more makeup on your cotton pad, that means you need to go back into washing.

Toner is very often misunderstood or skipped, and it shouldn’t be. I can’t imagine, for instance, applying a serum on my face without applying toner first. There is no way the efficacy of the product will be the same if you have not applied a toner. Depending on the toner, they offer hydration and sometimes micro-exfoliation, but mainly they are used to maintain the pH of the skin. The optimal pH for our skin is 5.5, and many factors from our diet to lifestyle, and even washing our face can throw the skin’s pH off the scale, so it's very important to balance it back.

With face masks becoming part of everyday life, ‘maskne’ has become a real problem. How can we prevent these breakouts?

JC When you wear a mask, it creates a micro-climate and we keep breathing carbon dioxide back and forth, so there is not enough of anti-bacterial oxygen getting into the skin. There is sometimes too much moisture happening, so we will get super hydrated initially, and then get quite dehydrated right after. That’s when you will experience eczema and redness.

What I recommend is keeping the skin as clean as possible before wearing the mask, with just a balancing toner, and protecting balm or healing ointments to lubricate areas where the mask could potentially irritate the skin. Very often, it’s on the nose bridge, as well as on the side and behind the ears.

For less reactivity, I wouldn’t go through with the whole routine, but if you have to, I would advise starting your routine earlier so the products are on your skin for at least 30-40 minutes. If you will be stepping out shortly, reduce the routine and skip some steps. But no matter what, never forget about your SPF because the friction of the mask could also get rid of our stratum corneum and create little scabs, causing discolourations.

Then, as soon as you arrive home, take the mask off, wash your face, and again balance your skin with toner and use your serums.

What are your tips for soothing breakouts or eczema caused by wearing masks?

JC Even with microscopic breakouts, I would continue using any product that is hydrating, because sometimes we misunderstand—we have a breakout and then we try to use benzoyl peroxide, or everything that is dehydrating. No, your skin would be producing even more sebum. So keep hydrating your skin with soothing ingredients like colostrum and hyaluronic acid.

Your skincare routine?

JC My morning routine is very brief: cleanser, toner, a serum and then there is moisturiser. For my night time routine, my very first step is getting into the shower when I get home. I begin with massaging my body with my shower gels and silicone gloves under the shower, then I apply products like multi-vitamin oils and sometimes micro-exfoliating toners all over my body.

Then, I go to my face. I usually don’t wear any makeup, so I start right away with my cleanser with some massaging movements and I remove it with a linen washcloth, followed by a toner. My favourite way of applying toner is the sponge technique—initially, you spread the product on your face, and then you press and release. When you press, your skin microscopically opens and when you release, the skin grasps whatever is on the surface.

After the toner, I use my serum. I’ve been using the Capture Totale C.E.L.L. Energy Super Potent Serum since September. If you have weaker areas like forehead lines and nasolabial folds, these are the areas I would concentrate longer on, followed by an eye cream and moisturiser. That’s usually my five-step basic routine.

About twice a week, I do facial masks, one of those quick ones because I’m the kind of New Yorker who only has five seconds for myself. But no matter how busy or tired I am at night, I would never forget about my skincare routine. Your skin is 60 per cent more potent to absorb everything during relaxation and rejuvenation time. So if you don’t take care of your skin at night, you might as well forget doing anything in the morning. 25 per cent of our immune system is within our skin, and we can improve that percentage of our health with products chosen for your skin condition and consistent skincare.

You work with many notable clients—what’s the most common skincare problem celebrities deal with and treatments that they request for?

JC Celebrities have exactly the same problems as we do. The only one little difference is that celebrities tend to wear more makeup and more often than some of us, usually under the heat of theatrical or film lights, so they need a lot of hydration and rebalancing. I’ve been called to the movie set many times to help soothe their skin with algae masks, or any cooling and hydrating treatments.

Their needs are equal to ours. They want to work on their facial contours and ensure their skin is as evenly textured as possible so their makeup looks perfect, so I would offer some mild exfoliation, perhaps microcurrents for targetted muscle stimulation, and maybe manual massaging to stimulate blood flow to create the sort of rosy healthy oxygenated looking skin. Many people call it a red carpet facial, but I call them ordinary facials because every woman wants the same—smooth hydrated skin with nice cheekbones, beautiful jawlines, and that’s what really works.

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