I Got a Cupping Facial, and This Is What Happened


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I'm generally game to try just about anything—from Jennifer Lawrence's favourite facial to the Kardashian-approved weight-loss tea to waking up earlier each morning in an attempt to be more productive. But when it came to this, an opportunity to get a Cupping Facial, I was timid, to say the least.

Cupping, a practice that dates back as early as 3000 B.C. throughout Asia and Europe, is when practitioners use cups to create suction over targeted areas of your skin. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps began to put the (admittedly scary) technique on the map in the U.S.—I'm sure you've seen the pictures. The result is an almost entirely black-and-blue or red circular mark where each cup was suctioned to your body. In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping is believed to move stagnant energy and dispel toxins, as well as be helpful in pain management. 

So the idea that I'd be volunteering to pinch, bruise, and suck up the skin on my face was, well, terrifying. Still, in the name of journalism, I showed up for my appointment with Ildi Pekar, NYC’s supermodel skin whisperer. If I was going to trust anyone with my face, it was a woman who worked on the shockingly glowy skin of Irina Shayk, Lindsay Ellingson, and Miranda Kerr. That, and every Victoria's Secret model before they walk down the runway. Much to my dismay, this facial is nothing like traditional body cupping in practice, but it boasts many of the same results. It works to bring both beauty and health together in one treatment.

The Results

"Most times grey and dull skin comes from a lack of circulation and stimulation," Pekar says. "That causes toxin accumulation and stagnation under your skin." This facial creates a better flow so Pekar can guide nutrients to the surface of the skin, reenergizing and refreshing it while draining toxins away from the skin as well.

I got up from the treatment bed and ran over to the nearest mirror to inspect my face. I kid you not, I couldn't believe the results. While I expected my skin to look taught, glowy, and even, I had no idea the treatment would so positively effect my under-eye bags as well. As I said earlier, this is a constant struggle for me. I even spoke to a plastic surgeon about my options for treating them. As I looked at my treated skin in the mirror, I noticed those pesky, droopy bags were missing and in their place was a set of sculpted cheekbones and plump under-eye skin. I could not believe it. No facial had ever given me results so drastic (and I've gotten a lot of facials). I went without concealer for weeks on end, and I've already scheduled my next session with Pekar to keep the results going.

Need more information before taking the plunge? Here's seven things no one ever tells you about facials.

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