BeautyMarch 23, 2016Rachel Jacoby Zoldan
How To Give Yourself A Spa-Level Face Massage At Home
Here are step-by-step instructions for the perfect facial massage.
Daily movements like smiling, frowning, and chewing give your facial muscles a major work out. And just like your body benefits from a good rubdown after a hard sweat session, your face benefits greatly from a massage as well. In fact, facial work outs have skyrocketed in popularity with dedicated studios opening up across the US. Now, I’m not suggesting you sign up for facial yoga, but you can mimic a professional massage at home. Here’s everything you need to know to rub it down right. (Get your mind out of the gutter! I know what you’re thinking.)
1. Make sure to prep your skin first.
Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist in New York City, tells SELF that you should always “wash your hands in warm water with an antibacterial soap and tie back your hair” to get any potential germs out of the way. You should also cleanse your face before massaging. Reach for a gentle wash like CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser ($13; ulta.com). If you want to really make your massage a spa-like experience, try steaming your face first. This will soften up the pores, allowing any product you apply to be absorbed better.
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2. You can incorporate massage into the skincare steps you’re already doing.
Facial massage might sound like another unnecessary (and time-consuming) step in your skincare routine. But just two minutes a day can help prevent wrinkles and relax your mind. It’s ideal to set aside time both in the morning and the evening, but a quick facial massage a few times a week will still help you reap the benefits. Just spend a little extra time massaging in the cleanser or moisturizer you’re already using.
3. Choose the right product when you massage.
Facial massage gives you the opportunity to increase the absorption of whatever product you’re using. The warmth from your hands and the rubbing motion helps your serum sink in and your cleanser dissolve more makeup. “You want to use a product with good slip like an oil or a serum, making sure you’re choosing products for your skin type,” Ashley Brieton, an esthetician at Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts, tells SELF.
For cleansing, try an oil like Malin + Goetz Facial Cleansing Oil ($42, malinandgoetz.com), which dissolves even the most stubborn, long-wear makeup. I like Rodial Snake Booster Oil ($90, saks.com), too. It has peptides to hone in on expression lines and wrinkles. Also, Dr. Perricone Chloro Plasma ($80; perriconemd.com) is an excellent mask for all skin types.
4. Your hands are enough, but there are also tools you can use to help.
While using your fingers is more than effective, there are a slew of tools available to aid in facial massage. Although they look a lot like sex toys on your bathroom counter, these skincare gadgets are actually incredible at delivering results. For example, the Dr. Jart Liftra Shaper ($80, sephora.com) is a metal roller that is designed to help lift sagging skin, improve lymphatic circulation, and recharge elasticity. A more affordable option is The Body Shop Twin Ball Facial Massager ($15, thebodyshop-usa.com).
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5. A facial massage can do more than make your skin look good.
If you’re looking to increase skin’s firmness, Jaliman recommends using deep, stimulating motions. And if your skin is sensitive, acne prone, or oily, she suggests trying a light touch with less pressure. One of the added benefits of facial massage–besides glowing skin—is lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system is responsible for carrying white blood cells throughout the body, clearing away toxins. “[Massage] stimulates the movement of lymph fluid, which in turn supports the skin’s natural cleansing processes,” Mette Gustavsen, an esthetician with Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, tells SELF. Jaliman describes it as “giving your lymphatic system a ‘tune up.’” By manually increasing the flow of lymphatic fluid, you can reinvigorate your immune system and remove excess waste, she adds.
6. Keep your eye area out of the equation.
Because the skin around the eye is so gentle, it can’t handle as much pressure—and massage—as the rest of your face, Gustaven says. To alleviate puffy eyes, Gustaven suggests using soft pressing and rolling movements with your ring finger from the tear ducts to the outer corners of the eye.
If you’re feeling lazy about doing a separate eye massage, try the Foreo IRIS illuminating Eye Massager ($139, foreo.com), which massages the skin with a gentle tapping sensation. It can be used in conjunction with an eye cream like the Sea Radiance Rapid Eye Lift ($79; searadiance.com) or on its own. I tried it both ways and found it to be particularly invigorating after a marathon computer session.
7. And now, here’s how to DIY your next facial massage.
- Squeeze a dime-sized portion of product into your palms. Rub the formula to evenly distribute over hands and fingertips.
- Press your fingers between brows and slide up your forehead, repeating several times to cover the entire area.
- Then, massage your fingertips from the center of your face out past your cheeks and to your ears.
- Drop one level lower and repeat the same sliding, up-and-out motion across your jawline as needed.
- Finish with your neck. Gently use vertical strokes from the collarbone upward.
In my personal experience, facial massage works to make skin look firmer. After one session with the Dr. Jart Liftra 3-Step Contour Kit ($130, sephora.com), the right half of my face looked tighter and my cheekbones were more defined than on my left side. I never have any mascara on my pillow in the morning after using some cleansing oil and this massage routine at night. And the process is so relaxing. Try it before bed with a lavender candle burning nearby, and you’ll pass out in seconds! Like many wellness routines, the hardest part is to actually maintain a schedule, but this extra step is totally worth it.
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