When we encounter someone with luminous, youthful skin, our first instinct is to interrogate them about what products they use. But what few pursuers of perfect complexions think to consider is that how one applies a serum or moisturizer is just as important as the formula itself. Indeed, some of the most out-of-control beautiful skin we've encountered on the likes of Hollywood estheticians and celebrities (Cate Blanchett, for one) can be attributed, at least in part, to one simple but hyper-beneficial skincare habit: facial massage.
Incorporating the right facial massage techniques into your daily skincare routine can be the secret not only to improved radiance but to a firmer, wrinkle-free face. How so? First off, kneading the skin improves circulation, which brings "more blood cells to the skin, more oxygen, and better absorption of products," explains Sonya Dakar, Beverly Hills esthetician and founder of Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic. Certain methods can also smooth forehead frown lines and reduce stress and headaches, which, in turn, can minimize frowning and the resulting wrinkles, she says.
"A quick stimulation of the tissues reinvigorates your face and helps to promote healthy skin," agrees Diana Morrison, lead esthetician at Massage Envy. "You'll see the benefits as a glowing and firm complexion." Our experts recommend taking the opportunity to massage your face every time you go through your regular skincare routine. Read on to find out exactly which facial massage techniques to use for your most glowing skin ever.
According to Morrison, the following technique can be used anytime you cleanse, apply serum, or moisturize. It's really simple (and, better yet, free). All you need to remember is to use sweeping motions with your fingers, starting from the center of the face and working your way outward. Light pressure (not too aggressive) will be enough to encourage lymphatic drainage and rejuvenate the skin.
General Facial Massage Technique
1. After applying your product of choice, begin by sweeping your fingers down the bridge of the nose, following the shape of your face.
2. Then, in one fluid motion, continue sweeping the fingers under the eyes and outward.
3. Next, bring your fingers over the cheekbones, and sweep outward. Repeat the same motion under the cheekbones.
4. Now you'll move onto the forehead. Use the same lightweight sweeping technique, working from the center of the forehead out and using upward motions from the eyebrows to the hairline. You'll want to use your thumbs to perform vertical strokes and keep the rest of your fingers close together for horizontal strokes.
5. Next, the chin: Use the sides of each pointer finger to sweep from the bottom lip down to the jawline. Move from the center of the chin outward to the ears.
6. After that, use two fingers on each hand to sweep from the center of chin out and up to the ears. One finger should go above the jawline, with the other below.
7. Don't miss your neck and décolletage! For these areas, perform light, quick strokes up the neck to the jawline to help to lift the skin, then use small, circular movements with the fingertips from the center of your décolletage outward. This will help to smooth wrinkles created from sleeping on your side.
For a very similar technique, you can also follow the visual above, courtesy of UK facialist and facial massage expert Nichola Joss.
Anti-Wrinkle Facial Massage Techniques
If you'd like your facial massage to be a little more targeted toward wrinkles, Dakar has a slightly different technique for that. She recommends applying a facial oil that works for your skin type all over a clean face (her Organic Omega Booster is actually quite amazing and comes in two formulations, one for dry and sensitive and the other for oily/combo skin). Then, use your middle finger to apply pressure to the center of your forehead.
"This technique can help smooth frown lines across your forehead," she says. "As a bonus, it can also help you get rid of stress and headaches, which stops you from frowning." Apply this pressure for three seconds and repeat for three sets, she says. "To improve the effects of this facial acupressure technique, work your middle finger down until you reach the spot right in between your eyebrows," Dakar suggests.
Crow's feet more your issue? There's a technique for that, too. "Use your index fingers to apply pressure on your nose's bridge, right below the inner eyes," says Dakar. "Do this for five seconds at a time for a total of three sets." Better yet, she says, this technique can help relax your eyes so they'll stop squinting naturally, and it can also help prevent the formation of dark under-eye circles.