Why You're Putting On Your Face Products Wrong
I have a confession to make: I’m a facial newbie. Yes, I’m a beauty editor, and yes, it's a part of my job to test all the different treatments out there (an excruciating task, I know), but honestly, I’ve always preferred to pamper my own skin in the comfort of my own home (read: I hoard face masks). Facials are nice, but I’ve never been blown away by the results…until now. Cue the dramatic music.
A few weeks ago, I visited the Ciel Spa at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills to experience Ling’s Energy Lift Facial. In case you didn’t know, Ling Chan is an NYC-based esthetician responsible for annoyingly-perfect skin of models like Lily Aldridge, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Gisele Bundchen—in other words, I wanted her hands on my face, immediately. Unfortunately, since I reside in the land of palm trees and green juice, I wasn’t able to experience Ling’s signature facial with her personal magic touch. Fortunately, my esthetician at the Ciel Spa possessed what I can only describe as the hands of an angel. Is it possible to black out from pure bliss? I can only assume so, because that’s the only way to describe how I felt as she cleansed, exfoliated, peeled, extracted, moisturized, brightened, and transformed my skin with an assortment of Ling’s products. My favorites? The Spotlight Papaya Resurfacing Peel ($65) and the Ginseng Therapy Moisture Mask ($36)—both felt light and cooling as they were smoothed over my blissed-out complexion.
The highlight of the entire treatment came at the end, when she rubbed a hot tourmaline stone over my face—which sounds like some sort of creative torture device, but was actually incredibly soothing (well, as soothing as a 110 degree hot stone can be). Tourmaline is an energizing stone that has long been thought to revitalize your skin and make it appear more radiant. The device she used also had infrared light, which stimulates circulation, according a study from The Journal of Cosmetic Science. At the end of my facial, I peered into my reflection and was greeted with a refreshed, happier version of myself—a refreshed, happier version of myself with glowing skin.
But that’s not all. During my facial, I couldn’t help but notice my esthetician applying the various products in a way that was very different from the slap-on-and-rub-in method I usually employ. Intrigued, I phoned up Ling herself after my experience and asked her to explain. Turns out, I’ve been applying my face products wrong this entire time—and you might be too.
Keep flipping to find out four game-changing ways to make the most out of your face products and apply them correctly!
First things first—eye cream. If you thought tentatively patting it in was doing the trick, you’re wrong. Ling says you should use your ring finger—the “lightest” finger—and smooth the product from the outside in, underneath your eye. Then, you should apply it directly on your eyelid along your brow bone, starting from the inside of your eye and smoothing it out. Doing this will help your eye cream fully sink in and work its magic. Bye, bags!
If you tend to rub your face products in haphazardly, it’s time for a wake-up call. “Gravity is working against you,” Ling says. “Fight drooping by applying your face products upwards and outwards.” She recommends starting at your chin, then smoothing the product up towards your ears. Then, go from your cheeks to your ears, and so on. Don’t be afraid to apply some pressure, too—think of it as a massage for your face.
Lympathic drainage sounds like an unpleasant term out of a biology textbook, but it could make a huge difference in your skin. Ling says that massaging your neck and helping your lymph nodes drain will release toxins, reduce puffiness, and keep your skin looking tight. How exactly do you do it? “Place your thumb on the area under your ears, on your neck,” Ling says. “You can feel the lymph nodes there. Then, just use your thumb and push down in a smoothing motion, going down your neck.” (We recommend doing this in the comfort of your own bathroom, lest you get any strange looks from your coworkers.) Do this after you’re finished applying your face products and prepare to see puffiness disappear.
At the end of my Energy Lift Facial, my esthetician moved her fingers across my face like they were tap dancing on my skin. Curious, I asked Ling what this was all about. “It’s the best way to encourage cell turnover!” she says. “Gently tapping your fingers on your skin will help circulation and keep your skin looking so much younger.” This is rooted in a Swedish massage technique called tapotement, which is used to wake up the nervous system and release lympatic buildup. Ling says to employ your tap dancing fingers after you’ve applied your skin products—the percussive tapping will stimulate your capillary network and help purify your skin by releasing carbon dioxide.
Have you been applying your face products correct? Sound off below!