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Asking facialist Joanna Czech about skincare is like asking an astrophysicist about the cosmos. She answers each question with such detail and fervor that it’s hard not to get lost in the terminology—or the urge to soak up every piece of information like a sponge.
It’s not a completely implausible comparison. After all, the skin is the human body’s largest organ, with pigment, texture, and conditions unique to each living and breathing person on earth. With over 35 years of experience, Czech knows this better than anyone and has racked up an impressive list of celebrity clientele along the way.
As someone who has treated the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, and Carey Mulligan, Czech has access to the latest and greatest innovations in skincare. So you can imagine my surprise when—after meeting Czech for the first time with an unfortunate zit on my chin—she instructed me to treat my breakout with sliced potatoes, a tip she once relayed to Mulligan before a big event.
It turns out, potatoes contain an enzyme called catecholase (or catechol oxidase), which Czech says can brighten skin and reduce inflammation. Another tip from her bag of tricks? Dandelion tea bags for puffy eyes. “Put them into the fridge,” Czech tells Glamour. “Drinking that tea already drains fluids from your tissue, it’s very de-puffing for anyone with tendencies to water retention, but it also helps if you directly apply it around your eye area.”
That’s not to say Czech isn’t a fan of skincare products. In November of last year, she launched her own eponymous line and helped develop Kardashian’s SKKN by Kim. But Czech maintains that you can have great skin just by following good habits. “One thing is you can avoid sun, UVA, and UVB through your SPF,” she says. “During the summer I don’t recommend overexfoliation. We need some exfoliation because we use SPF, but be careful with acidic treatments. Definitely pay attention to pH of products. If you use anything below 4.5 or lower, that’s quite as acidic and it could create sun sensitivity.”
Ahead, Joanna Czech shares her go-to products for Glamour‘s Drop the Routine.
At the moment I use Costa Brazil cleanser. I love an oil that turns into milk. It’s also a summery thing. When I come back home wearing all the SPF, I really want to break through that. I’m usually not a makeup person, but when I do, I have to have my very light hydrating cleanser from Exquisite. It has a fresh smell. It’s a mild gel that also turns into milk. I sometimes remove residue from the nighttime products with my facial wipes. I keep them usually in my refrigerator; they have rosemary extract, so they’re also de-puffing.
I use SKKN by Kim’s exfoliator. I use her scrub once a week. I mix the scrub with either moisturizer or a nourishing oil to make it a little milder, because her scrub is a little bit too rough for me. And then goes the toner.
Toner is the most important step in my routine. Without toner, I don’t think my brain would allow my hand to reach for the serum. Mine has pH 5.8, and that’s what I’ve been using for the last three years. Toner is the very first step to control the pH of the skin. If the pH is unbalanced, then the lipid layer goes off, then transepidermal water loss happens, then your skin feels dehydrated, and you get inflammation. That’s why I strongly believe in balancing toners.
I am on 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 a little extra glow. From my brand I have this acetylated hyaluronic acid with a slow release, so it’s a nice, very comfortable hydration.
My body care
I shower at night. I usually massage my body with the Biologique massage glove under the shower with my Salt & Stone body wash. After that, I apply Derma-Lac Lotion. The body goes neck and down, and the face goes nipples up. Any residue of the products always goes on my hands.
I use Isdin. I believe in SPF 30, which is plenty for me.
My face oil
For a little glow I use the multirepair oil by Cle de Peau. It kind of gets rid of this grayish skin and creates a nice golden look. It’s not so much of a treatment—it’s more for aesthetics.
My eye cream
I use Cle de Peau eye cream or Exquisite. Exquisite is a little lighter. To me, Cle de Peau and their product consistency is just so inviting. I love keeping eye products in my fridge and putting them on cold. I don’t use it every single day or night. If I use it, that’s my step after the serums and before the final moisturizer.
My lip balm
I like Omorovicza. It’s nice and plumping. I enjoy U Beauty. It’s glossy. I personally prefer lip balms as a treatment, because I don’t wear much, but U Beauty feels very comfortable and is easy to use.
I use my own massager, and that’s my nightly routine. Netflix and my massage. I love the Lyma laser. It’s an expensive toy, but I’m lucky enough to be able to have two of them.
Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @arianayap.