Of course I believe in the power of skincare—I religiously apply face oil like my life depends on it, own countless serums and creams, and have a pretty long hit list of cult skincare brands that I'm slowly working my way through, like Dr. Dennis Gross and Kate Somerville, for starters. But in all honesty, no skin product has ever made as dramatic a difference to my complexion as something we can all do, regardless of budget and know-how: face massage.
There came a point about a year or so ago that I became obsessed. As I interviewed the world's greatest facialists and tried a fair few of their treatments, rather than closing my eyes and hoping to fall asleep, I started keeping my eyes open, watching every single moment the facialist's hands made. Sometimes, I would even ask to hold a mirror in front of me so I could get a better view. I've even been known to stop the therapist midfacial to ask for a demo. I knew face massage was doing my skin wonders—and I wanted to be able to do it myself.
Having amalgamated all of that skin-wizardry, nowadays, I feel like I've mastered a pretty powerful routine myself. I swear, it's actually really simple. And while I'll often interject my face massage routine with a once-over with my jade roller or gua-sha tool to amp up the effects, you can actually make a fair bit of difference to skin elasticity, plumpness and brightness with your hands (and a face oil) alone. Don't believe me? Well, try out my super-simple routine below and then tell me you can't do facial massage.
Pour out a puddle of oil
I love an oil-drenched face, so I'll always pour out just slightly too much face oil. But if you're not big on the oily feeling (and you want to save your pillows from greasy marks), a single pipette full should do the trick. Here I'm using a brand-new facial oil from new brand Wildsmith, which has yet to launch, but I also love Votary Super Seed Facial Oil (£70) and Herbivore Phoenix Regenerating Facial Oil (£74).
Pat onto your face like a facialist
Okay, so I'm not wholly sure what I'm doing here, but it's a way I've noted from years of observing the way facialists do their thing. So I guess this is the pro way to apply the oil evenly to the face.
Smoothe the forehead
Okay, early-onset forehead wrinkles, I'm coming for you. With slight pressure, I like to push the forehead skin in an upwards motion, as if I'm ironing out the creases. And then I follow that by tapping my fingers across the forehead to stimulate blood flow.
Carve out cheekbones
You can either use your fore and middle fingers held tightly together, but I find that you can build up more pressure by using the thumb to push upwards into the cheek cavity. I always finish each pulse by drawing the thumbs out towards the ears to help with lymphatic drainage (read: get rid of any puffiness).
Knead the jawline
I get so much tension built up in my jaw through stress, so I like to use my knuckles to really knead it out. Using the knuckles like pincers, pinch the chin firmly, release, move up a centimetre and pinch again. Repeat the full process moving up the entire jawline on both sides.
Pat the eye area
Next, I like to give my eyes some attention. First, I use my thumb to press as hard as possible (without doing myself an injury) into the very upper corner of the eye socket. I can't explain how satisfying a feeling this is, so you're going to have to try it for yourself. Then I simply apply light pressure at points around the eye orbit, being careful not to stretch the skin too much.
Drain the neck
As the excess water builds up in the lymph nodes, I do my best to drain it away by dragging the neck downwards using the corner between the thumb and forefinger.
Et voilà! A super-easy face massage routine that takes little time to perfect. Keep your face oil bedside and try it before falling asleep tonight—I swear you'll start to notice a difference.