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Here's What Happened When I Tried Facial Cupping at Home

Woman with clear skin after facial cupping

Chloe Burcham 

I will try anything that promises brighter, firmer, and smoother skin. Whether that's rubbing my face with a cold stone, applying countless serums, or even trying facial aerobics. But if you'd have told me that my plight for dewier, bouncier, and more luminous skin would see me using a mini cup to suck my skin into submission, I'd probably have thought you were a bit mad.

But here I am doing exactly that: using a tiny rubber cone to suck and pull at my facial contours, all in the name of beauty. You see, I've happened upon super facialist Antonia Burrell's at-home facial kit, which incorporates a DIY version of the signature face-cupping massage she performs on her clients. Weird it may be, but I swear my jawline has never looked so defined. Read on for more about my facial cupping experience.

Antonia Burrell Facial in a Box + AB Face Lift Cupping Massage
Antonia Burrell Facial in a Box + AB Face Lift Cupping Massage $33

What is Facial Cupping?

Face cupping might be gaining more traction now, but the technique isn't actually anything new. "It is an ancient healing practice dating back to traditional Eastern and Egyptian cultures," explains Burrell, but alongside Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, it seems right at home with our current love for time-tested beauty traditions.

What Is Cupping?

An alternative therapy in which cups are placed on the skin to create a local suction; often used to help with inflammation, pain, and blood flow.

Burrell has been using face cupping in her facial treatments for several years now, and turns to it whenever a client requests "plumper, lifted, contoured, and firmer skin." In other words, everyone. It's also brilliant at making skin brighter, as it draws more blood to the surface, giving you "a healthy glow—the sort you get from a brisk walk outdoors," she says. And with a testimonial like that, I was sold on the idea of trying face cupping at home.

So I picked up Antonia's kit, which includes a set of products to give yourself a full facial, exfoliation and all, which is heavenly in itself. Once all that is done, next comes the face cupping, which requires four mini rubber cups. As a colleague pointed out, they look uncannily like Unicorn horns. Two are larger, which you use for the majority of the face, like the cheeks, jawbone, and forehead, but the smaller ones are great for the more delicate skin around the eyes.

Woman using facial cup on face
Chloe Burcham

What to Expect During a Facial Cupping Experience

The kit comes with full instructions, but basically, you apply a facial oil or serum all over your face to give your skin some slip (one comes in the kit, or you can use any of your favorite facial oils). Then, starting at the center of the face, you place the cup over the skin and squeeze it so that it creates suction with your face. You then quickly swipe it outwards and upwards, as a sort of knuckle-free face massage.

"The suction created by the cups helps stimulate collagen and elastin, plumping and tightening your skin and helping with lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness," explains Burrell. Make sure you apply a serum or oil, as it helps to slide the cup over the skin and stops the suction from leaving any marks (no oil means you risk giving yourself a nice big cheek hickey). 

The Final Takeaway

It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but I swear, in just five minutes, my puffy jawline already looks lither and my cheeks look firmer. But where it's really made a difference is in the luminosity department. A few rounds of suction honestly make me look like I've spent hours at the mercy of a pro facialist. This is one skincare tool I'll be coming back to for sure.

Woman with clear skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair
Chloe Burcham

Shop Byrdie-approved facial oils below.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Youth Watery Oil
Guerlain Abeille Royale Youth Watery Oil $95

With black bee honey and exclusive royal jelly, this luxurious facial oil combats the visible signs of aging, blurs out wrinkles, and firms skin.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate $50

Enriched with evening primrose oil, omega-6 fatty acids, and lavender essential oil, a few drops of this oil (combined with a good facial cupping session) will give you brighter, more rested skin by morning. 

L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Oil
L'Occitane Immortelle Divine Oil $100

L'Occitane's clever immortelle essential oil contains two times more antioxidants than vitamin E, leaving skin looking radiant and glowing after just a few uses.

This Works Stress Check Face Oil
This Works Stress Check Face Oil $75

This dreamy blend of patchouli, chamomile, lavender, and neroli helps relieve physical tension and mental stress. Use the facial cupping tool to work out tension along the jawline and you'll be left feeling extra zen. 

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