Inside Oscar Prep with Facialist Joanna Czech


Feeling bad for cutting down on your skin-care routine while in quarantine? Don’t. Because according to renowned aesthetician Joanna Czech, doing less over the past year has given us better skin. It’s something she’s noticed while resuming treatments for A-list clientele like Jennifer Aniston, Carey Mulligan and Maya Roudolph during Oscar prep this week: Even though clients haven’t seen the the better end of a laser or radio frequency wand for a year, skin (celebrity and otherwise) is in great shape. 

“Typically, I’d see a lot of angry skin [in the form of] redness, dehydrated patches, and breakouts when clients come in,” she says. “But skin is looking more hydrated and calm. Even though I anticipated [the need to address] breakouts because the skin hadn’t been taken care of with regular facials for so long, I’m not seeing many blackheads. With 80 percent of clients I’m saying, ‘Your skin looks amazing. What have you done?’”

It’s often about what clients haven’t that’s giving them better skin, according to Czech—and she doesn’t just mean trimming the fat on extensive skin-care routines (or even showering less, which according to this M.D. and Harvard professor, can make for balanced microbiomes and more hydrated skin). The renowned aesthetician attributes this unexpected glow to cutting out air travel, ditching stressful commutes, wearing less makeup, and generally taking life at a more gingerly pace. 

But if slowing skin care and lifestyle serves as a major skin-preservation system in and of itself, how can we keep our less-is-more glow as IRL office hours (and overbooked schedules) come crawling back? Lucky for us, the aesthetician and Dior skincare ambassador took time from prepping the likes of Mandy Moore and Cara Delevigne en-suite at L.A.’s Peninsula Hotel this week for today’s Academy Awards to share her protocol (and how the rest of us can dupe it at home). Because if it’s good enough for the world’s biggest red carpet, then it’s good enough for life after sweatpants.

Go custom

Overall, Czech has noticed clients’ skin look “more youthful and refreshed because they haven’t been wearing as much makeup and they have been really concentrating on their skin-care routines without doing 17 unnecessary steps or over exfoliating,” she says. Still, she always takes a customized approach to performing facials—and suggests we do the same. “I always say don’t do what your girlfriend does,” Czech says. In other words, put down TikTok and give your skin what it needs in the moment.

After cleansing and toning the skin, Czech may employ a number of modalities on the complexions of her Oscar-attendees, but cutting a more chiseled jawline and cheekbones are almost always on the menu. “I try to concentrate on sculpting massages,” she says. “That deep tissue, manual sculpting massage can temporarily change the shape of your face. Then, I’ll simulate ATP energy with a combination of ultrasound and LED light therapy and give more targeted muscle stimulation with microcurrent. From there, I’ll freeze it all with cryotherapy and cryogenic air.”

Create your own cryogenic chamber

To recreate Czech’s cryo treatment at home, cleanse and tone the skin (the aesthetician is using Exquisite Ultra Hydrating Facial Toner on clients for Oscar prep because it’s non-exfoliating), then apply a serum, like her go-to, Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Serum. After the serum sinks into skin, cover the skin with a hydrating, brightening or lifting sheet mask (among Czech’s favorites are options from 111Skin, like 111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask). Next, grab an ice cube or two and massage the skin. “That’s very similar to what I do professionally [with crypo], (though probably not as powerful). But, if you do it on a regular basis, (as in more often than once a month at home), you can create a beautiful cumulative effect,” she says.

Keep it gentle

When prepping skin for a big event, there are two things Czech never does: significant extractions or deep chemical peels. “Factors like what you’ve eaten and the pH of skin can affect the way your skin reacts to acid peels,” she says. That’s why she relies on mild, mechanical exfoliation, if needed, and focuses on reshaping the face with massage and infusing the skin with hydration instead. 

Don’t skimp on details

Speaking of hydration: lips and the thin skin around the eyes deserve special attention, which is why Czech calls on powerful hydrators when rounding out a treatment, like Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm and the newly launched Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Eye Serum. “Its flexible, alloy applicator is mildly cryogenic, so it nicely depuffs the eye area and it contains hyaluronic acid with a low molecular weight that better penetrates the skin and provides longer lasting hydration,” she says. The skin pro uses the formula near the brow bone and beneath the eye, running the applicator from inner to outer corners of the eye. “It is super de-puffing, brightening, hydrating and helps fine lines,” she says. 

Keep it slow

Whether resuming a more public-facing life means getting ready for the Oscars or simply going out for dinner with friends, Czech can’t help but advocate for adopting or retaining a more focused approach to skin care, no matter how busy our lives become. After seeing overall improvement in clients’ skin after a year of wearing less makeup, engaging in fewer in-office treatments, and streamlining skin care, she suggests consulting with a skin pro before ramping up both in-home and in-office care. 

“Even if you’re experiencing little changes in your skin, like dehydration or flare ups, I wouldn’t get into panic and self-treat all of a sudden,” she says. Instead, she offers this sage advice: “Communicate with experts before turning to Instagram.” Czech notes that more than 400 of her clients in 33 countries engaged in digital consults with the esthetician during quarantine—and have benefited from the bespoke guidance. “They took their time and we were able to repair their skin,” she says. We can’t think of a better way to get red-carpet (or real-life) ready.

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