Chances are, at some point over the past few months, you’ve looked into giving yourself a spa-level facial at home. And while nothing beats the feeling of a good, deep cleanse with a luxe, dreamy-smelling cleansing balm, if you really want to reap the benefits of a great at-home facial, you need to know the moves. That’s right—you know those crazy hand movements and massage techniques that facialists carry out while you’re either fighting off sleep or flitting in and out of states of relaxed consciousness? Yep, they’re super important if you want to see drastic anti-ageing results over time.
“It’s often news to people that over 40 muscles make up the scaffolding of our face,” says Inge Theron, Founder of FaceGym. “Just like the muscles in the body, the more you move them, the more lifted, tightened and toned they become. Facial muscle stimulation keeps muscles firm, skin tint and stimulates the most important protein for keeping the face looking young, collagen,” she adds. In practical terms, using specific facial massage techniques is thought to help sculpt and lift certain areas of the face for a more youthful complexion. And the good news is that you can carry out the techniques at home on yourself. In fact, the more often you do it, the more impressive the results will be. Keep scrolling for best facial massage techniques for every problem area, according to the experts.
As we get older, the skin on our necks can drastically change in appearance. In comparison to elsewhere on the body, it is very thin, delicate and produces less oil. “As we age, the skin on our necks gets thinner, we have a huge loss of calcium in the skin and there is a noticeable lack of muscle tone,” says Noella Gabriel, Elemis co-founder.
Because of the delicate nature of the skin on the neck and the fact it is more prone to premature ageing, it’s important to always take your facial skincare down to the neck area, using a massage technique as you do so. “Grab your favourite facial oil, glide your hands down the side of the face and apply pressure from the base of the neck to the tip of the chin and jawline using, upward, sweeping strokes, going against gravity. Using sweeping movements for application helps to lift the area and avoid crepeing and sagging,” says Gabriel.
The jaw area is often prone to swelling and sagging, especially as we get older. To help create the illusion of a lifted, more sculpted jaw, Theron suggests using contouring massaging techniques. “Make a small ‘V’ shape using your index finger and your thumb. Then, using medium to firm pressure, slowly move the ‘V’ from the chin to the ear, pressing along the jaw,” she recommends. Utilising this firm, lifting motion is thought to help contour and sculpt the jaw.
Unlike other areas of the face, when it comes to using massage around the eye area, gentle does it. With that being said, it is also usually the area most in need of a little help. “The skin around the eye area is extremely fragile and very sensitive. It can also be one of the first places to show signs of premature ageing. If it is not looked after correctly it can become dry, puffy and congested,” says Gabriel. Constant dragging, pulling and tugging of the skin around the area will only make things worse, so it’s important to treat the area very differently.
Shumana Begum, Suqqu Brand Specialist reveals that you can actually lift and awaken the eyes without having to manipulate the area of fragile skin. “I highly advise working on the forehead and brow bone to exercise the muscles around the eyes, giving a brighter, awakened look,” she says. “Using the first joints of your fingers, gently apply pressure on the brow bone and work up the forehead slowly. Repeat three times: first in the middle of the forehead, then from the arch of the brow and finally from the end of the brow.”
While using firm massage techniques around the cheek area and using light pressure to help stimulate lymphatic drainage might feel great, Theron argues that the real results for lifted and defined cheeks lay in the hands of an intense facial workout. More specifically, cheek burpees. “Place your right hand on the right side of your face. Lightly use your hand to pull the cheek’s skin back. Now, breathe out forcefully toward the left for ten reps. Try as hard as you can to work against the stretch created from your hand,” she says. Repeat the exercise on the left side for a daily sculpting exercise.
Sure, facial massage can be strenuous, but it can also be seriously relaxing, and the results don’t have to suffer. Experts say that actually, most types of facial massage will benefit the complexion and give a more youthful appearance, including those that feel more relaxing than efficacious. Our personal favourite? Gabriel recommends the “Rain Drop” technique. “Apply facial oil to the tips of the fingers, and in a raindrop motion, pitter-patter all over the face while keeping the eyes closed. Technique really isn’t important,” she says. The benefits? The very light, fast motion brings micro-circulation to the top layers of the skin to warm, soften and renew for instant rejuvenation.