There are few things you can do at home that make as much difference to your skin – and your soul – as facial massage. It’s one of those totally under celebrated practices that people just forget to do. They’re too busy to carve out the extra few minutes in their routine, or maybe they’d rather leave it to their facialist, because, well, relaxation. However, a few minutes of self-care is not only distressing, there are actual tangible results to the skin.
We have over 40 muscles in the face, and stimulating them – with fingers, a jade roller, or a tool – has benefits well beyond just feeling really good. The microcirculation increases blood flow, which imparts that instant post-facial glow. It also boosts collagen production, so you’ll look younger in the long run. Getting the blood and lymph moving helps to drain excess toxins and stagnant fluid, which can help reduce puffiness (bye eye bags!). Regular facial massage is an exercise that improves muscle tone and can give you that sculpted jaw-line-for-days look. It helps to Increase product absorption and even clears out pores at a more surface level. Convinced yet?
An amazing tool for face massage is the Gua Sha – a curved, carved piece of stone, bone or plastic, that really helps get into those muscles of my face. You can pick one up on Amazon for under $10. This technique is based on the ancient Chinese practice of repeated vigorous scraping (Gua Sha literally translates to “scrape wind”), which was used on the body to release toxins and relieve pain in tired, sore muscles. In a facial setting, however, Gua Sha is much gentler and more palatable.
Choosing the right oil for your facial massage
Whenever you’re massaging, you want the maximum amount of slip so facial oil is essential. Our pick is Minenssey Rejuvenating Superfood Elixir. In addition to containing the brand’s antioxidant duo pomegranate and kakadu plum, it also combines a host of superfoods including kale, broccoli, passionfruit, blackcurrant and watermelon over a beautiful base of jojoba, macadamia and olive oils.
Pop a couple of drops into the palm of your hand, distribute it evenly over the face then get to work with your tool. As for the technique, there are no hard and fast rules. Moving upward will help fight the downward pull of gravity, so try to do short, firm strokes from the centre of your face up and out. Focus on the jaw line where we hold a lot of tension and between the brows. (See Sigourney demonstrate in this video). When you move onto the neck, change direction to move in strokes from your ear and jaw down to your collarbone to help promote lymphatic drainage.
We recommend massaging for around 2-3 minutes every few days. Fans of Gua Sha cite huge improvements in their muscle tone, the area around the eyes (some even swear that their dark circles diminish) and – joy of joys – radiance. It’s like having a mini facial a few times a week, and the best part? It doesn’t cost a thing. A good way to remember is to leave your Gua Sha tool next to your toothbrush to remind you to get into a regular habit. It’s those little soothing moments of self-care that make a palpable difference not only to your skin but also to your well-being.
Words by Sigourney Cantelo