Although I've been writing about beauty for seven years, Joanna Czech and I have never met. Over the years, I have interviewed some of the aesthetican's most famous clients, such as Kim Kardashian and Kate Winslet, though.
From my experiences with both of these women, they are incredibly meticulous and know exactly what they want and will get it — all while having the most seemingly effortless luminous skin. Czech is the one putting in the work for their complexions with the same masterful proficiency they put into their own. She makes house calls around the world to ensure her celebrity clients have moments of self-care and relaxation. In fact, Czech considers herself more of a flight attendant than an aesthetican, which she mentions when we finally meet for the first time over Zoom. (Just after this, Czech tells me she wants me (a Scorpio) to love her (an Aquarius) because "if Scorpios love, they are the best friends.")
She may have the same attentiveness and affability as a flight attendant, but Czech is referring more to the fact that she's constantly traveling — and her clients can be considered such in the same vein. Because of this, they're always asking her for product recommendations for their trips. After years of curating the right routine for them and decanting her favorite products into travel-sized bottles, Czech is finally launching her own skin-care line, aptly called Joanna Czech Skincare. All seven of her debut products will be available on November 18 as a foolproof, TSA-friendly set called The Kit.
Czech admits she's created The Kit "more [out of] practicality than anything else." Now, she can simply give her clients this universally effective collection of elegant glass bottles. The journey to developing it has not been as straightforward, though.
For the past three years, Czech has worked with a cosmetic chemist (who used to be a pharmacologist, which develops new medications, by the way) to finetune each product. From the start, she knew exactly the kind of products she wanted to be part of it. After sharing the list with the chemist, he sent Czech about 370 pages of ingredients with their benefits and where they are sourced.
"Once he saw my choices, he says, 'You know what are you doing? You are building a handmade Rolls Royce,'" Czech recalls. In fact, as we speak in mid-October, shea butter is on its way to the manufacturer from West Africa. Czech wouldn't compromise for any other. She needed this shea butter from a particular tree.
As formulas started coming to fruition, Czech tried out her favorite versions on her clients (with their permission, of course), making sure everything was unscented based on their preferences. Then, Czech had the products tested in four different climates and altitudes — Warsaw, Poland; Cairo, Egypt; Mount Everest; and India — as well as on the plane. The products had to increase levels of hydration, minimize transepidermal water loss, maintain skin's elasticity, and prevent damage to the lipid barrier, and all seven excelled. Let's dive into them, shall we?
When I tell Czech I'm excited to see a toner as part of The Kit, she sighs with relief. "Thank god, because there are so many people that don't believe in toners," she explains. "To me, I just grew up with it. That's what I knew from my grandma, from my mom."
Beyond being a staple throughout her life, though, Czech says toner is necessary for properly preparing skin for absorbing other products and balancing its pH. When we wash our faces, the acidity is thrown off, and our skin can become dry and irritated or overproduce oil if it's not brought back to the right acidic pH. The Toner touts a 4.74 pH level, which cosmetic chemist Ginger King approves of, as it's at a number close to skin's natural pH (about 5.5), so it will more effectively help keep skin smooth and bright. The general rule is "slightly acidic is preferred for the best complexion," she previously told Allure.
Personally, The Toner is my favorite part of The Kit. Its spray top makes it incredibly easy to mist the watery fluid on after washing my face and minimizes the amount of time I spend touching my face while going through my skin-care routine. I'm also a fan of its ingredient list, which touts calming fruit extracts and several forms of hyaluronic and amino acids. Unfortunately, the products aren't sold separately, but if they were, I'd have bottles of The Toner in every room of my apartment.
When going between different climate extremes, even if you're simply going inside a room where the AC is blasting after walking around in hot, humid air, your skin can freak out, Czech says. The lightweight-yet-luxurious Soothing Serum is included in The Kit to keep the peace. Its blend of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and licorice root extract team up calm complexions while hydrating and brightening it.
When deciding which products needed to be in The Kit, Czech knew The C+ Serum was an absolute must for protecting skin from environmental aggressors no matter where you are with its antioxidants and preventing loss of elasticity, she says.
Six different forms of stable vitamin C, including, but not limited to, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and dimethylmethoxy chromanyl palmitate, delve into skin deeply to do so while decreasing hyperpigmentation (as confirmed by California-based board-certified dermatologist Marie Jhin, M.D.) They're bolstered by squalane and four anti-inflammatory oils: hemp, ashwagandha, marula, and sunflower seed. However, Czech swears the serum doesn't feel too oily as you pat it onto your skin — and I'd have to agree. It's incredibly silky without any stickiness or stinging.
Alongside the serum duo, The Kit also features a pair of moisturizers. The Cream is the lighter option, especially for those in steamier climates. (I'll be using it 365 days a year no matter where I am, though.) However, it doesn't skimp on nourishing ingredients. It's rich in ceramides and peptides, which restore moisture levels and plump skin. Good ol' hyaluronic acid and healing vitamin E also made the list. In fact, both are in most of the products. Even though the glass jar seems difficult to dispense from, The Kit includes a stainless steel spatula to scoop out the perfect amount with ease and sophistication.
The aforementioned highly favored shea butter powers The Balm alongside toning algae extracts and balancing raspberry seed oil. According to Boston-based board-certified dermatologist Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, M.D., any great barrier cream is spiked with this ingredient to help prevent and repair skin damage, maintain the lipid barrier, and provide protection from irritants. Czech was adamant about shea butters inclusion because it's the key for preventing broken capillaries and rosacea when in freezing cold climates. It also helps seal in all the amazing hydration from prior steps in the Joanna Czech Skincare regimen.
The Balm is far from greasy, in my experience. It becomes one with your skin as you melt it in with your hands. I can't wait to coat my skin with it on the coldest, driest day this winter. It's really like a cashmere blanket for your skin. Plus, "Any skin condition and skin tone can use it," Czech adds — even those with oily, acne-prone complexions, like me. "Because oil dissolves oil."
Although The Kit doesn't include a cleanser, The Cleansing Wipes make an appearance. Twelve different face wash formulas are in the works for a future Joanna Czech Skincare launch, Czech says, but these biodegradable cloths took priority because they are easiest to use while on the plane. (And you can just as easily slip your favorite cleanser into the extra compartment in the shimmery navy puffer coat-like toiletry bag that The Kit is housed in.) "I don't like using face wipes as a cleanser," Czech shares. "Face wipes are not a replacement for cleanser — this is to be practical."
The Face Wipes are infused with essential inflight ingredients, like depuffing rosemary extract, calming chamomile extract, antimicrobial echinacea extract, and exfoliating lactic acid.
Last but not least, Czech also added a sheet mask to the mix. In the past, she always found herself throwing in a hydrating sheet mask or two for her clients when putting together their bespoke travel skin-care routines, so she knew she had to make her own — complete with moisture-inducing hyaluronic acid and sunflower seed oil, as well as antioxidant-rich red marine algae and oil-absorbing bentonite clay — for them to slap on while on the plane or after they land.
Before we say our goodbyes, Czech reminds me all of the products in The Kit, which you can shop for $1,320 starting November 18 on joannaczech.com, should be slathered on from the nipples up. Noted.
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