Harper’s BAZAAR · Forget Botox, Facial Massage Is The Next Frontier Of Anti-Ageing Science
The illustrious Coco Chanel once said, "The best things in life are free, the second best are very, very expensive." And arguably, in the quest for radiant skin, no truer words have ever been spoken. While we are more than happy to relinquish our hard-earned money to indulge in the finest serums and the crème de la crème (literally) of anti-ageing face creams, it is perhaps unsurprising that one of the best things we can do for our visages costs nothing at all. Enter: facial massage.
Although the technique has only recently begun gaining popularity in skincare circles today, the art and science of facial massage actually dates back around 3,000 years with roots in traditional Chinese medicine. And these days, women are shunning botox in favour of the tradtitional technique.
In order to understand the ins and outs of this ancient practice, we consulted leading facialists Fumi Yamamoto of Zen Facial and Melanie Grant, Chanel's official skin expert, to understand exactly why facial massage might be the key to your best skin ever.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FACIAL MASSAGE?
According to Yamamoto, whose holistic approach to beauty has attracted the likes of Jessica Gomes and Kerr as clients, facial massage is a brilliant tool for addressing a number of skin, and even health, concerns.
“The treatment starts from an oriental diagnostic process to ascertain the underlying cause of concerning conditions as the face can reflect the history of your physical, mental and emotional state,” Yamamoto explained.
“It can release unwanted expression lines, release puffiness, and result in a more contoured, slimmer face and cheekbones. If you wish, it can [even] release grinding, clenching, and unwanted sagginess around the neck, [as well as] address sinus issues.”
Celebrity facialist Melanie Grant, whose clients include Georgia Fowler and Victoria Beckham, noted that if you want to boost the power of your skincare products, facial massage is a great way to do that.
“In terms of specific benefits, facial massage encourages circulation of the lymphatic system, stimulates blood flow and improves overall skin texture,” Grant explained.
“Synergistically, these factors work in harmony to brighten and firm skin while draining and moving any fluid around. The overall objective with facial massage is to lift skin and amplify the potency of your products, while reducing any excess fluid or puffiness and promoting collagen production.”
WHAT’S INVOLVED IN A TRADITIONAL FACIAL MASSAGE?
In traditional Chinese medicine, facial massage involves the use of a Gua sha tool, which is an angled stone, usually made out of crystal, bone or horn. The shape and texture of the tool work to scrape the skin of the face to re-invigorate blood flow and re-direct energy, which is supposed to help result in a ‘natural facelift’.
DOES GUA SHA FACIAL MASSAGE ACTUALLY WORK?
While the myriad of miracle claims coming out of the beauty world every other day tends to leave us somewhat skeptical, there are actually studies to support the results of Gua sha as an effective form of facial massage.
According to some of the findings, the tool actually helps to increase micro-circulation to the treated portion of the face, which in turn, may aid in reducing local and distal muscular pain, with some suggesting an increase of up to 400% in blood flow to the face.
HOW DO YOU DO AN AT-HOME FACIAL MASSAGE WITHOUT A GUA SHA TOOL?
Gua Sha tools and in-clinic appointments aren’t the only way to give yourself a facial massage. As long as you’re following the right technique, using your own hands is considered an easy yet effective way to way to de-stress and refresh the skin, pairing perfectly with your nightly serum routine. According to Grant, these are the steps to follow for an at-home facial massage:
Wash your hands thoroughly first, so as not to spread bacteria, dirt or grime all over your face.
Warm up three to five drops of oil between the palms of your hands and smooth into skin using your middle and ring fingers. Our pick? Minenssey Rejuvenating Superfood Elixir, which is packed with nutrients such as grape, Kakadu plum, pomegranate, passionfruit, kale, camellia, blackcurrant, broccoli, and watermelon, as well as a hydrating blend of jojoba, macadamia and olive extract.The formula is lightweight and easily absorbed, making it great for a facial massage.
Using gentle but firm and upwards circular motions, start at the base of your neck before moving up to the nose, temples and down to the cheeks.
Finish with gentle upwards and outward movements away from the centre of the face. Be careful not to drag or pull skin downwards as this may lead to sagging.
WHAT SHOULD YOU KEEP IN MIND WHEN DOING AN AT-HOME FACIAL MASSAGE?
Although conducting a facial massage is relatively easy, there are a few things to keep in mind to maximise its impact.
“Be careful not to forget the eye area—as we tend to do—which, as most of us have likely experienced first hand, is prone to puffiness. It may feel counter-intuitive, but this guides trapped fluid to the proper drainage points,” Grant told BAZAAR.
In order to avoid further stressing the skin, Grant emphasised the importance of using enough product while administering the massage.
“Ensure you have sufficient product to provide slip. It is important to avoid dragging or tugging at the skin which may encourage skin laxity,” she added.