There’s a reason contouring is still going strong after all these years: People are forever seeking a sculpted face, especially when it comes to their jawline. After all, a defined jawline can make your entire face look lifted and firm. “With age, we lose elasticity in the skin,” explains celebrity esthetician Ildi Pekar. And while this is totally natural, Pekar says there are ways to slow the process down. "We can increase collagen and improve elasticity with non-invasive facial services and a proper home care regimen.”
We turned to the experts—Pekar and board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD—to get the scoop on the simple steps you can take at home to boost your jawline, as well as how the pros can help.
Tweak Your Lifestyle
“You want to put chance on your side,” Idriss says. “Having a healthy lifestyle is huge. There are little things you can do to help yourself. But, ultimately, the way your face is going to go is usually somewhat preset based on your bone structure and genetics.”
Like anything else related to your skin, what you do on the inside shows up on the outside, so eat a nutritious, balanced diet and get enough sleep. Idriss cautions to stay away from smoking, since that causes vascular constriction, meaning blood flow to the skin is decreased. That can lead to prematurely sagging skin.
Pick Up Gua Sha
Regularly giving yourself a manual face massage can be a great temporary fix. Pekar’s favorite tool is the gua sha. To make the most of your gua sha massage, she recommends starting out by applying your go-to face oil or cream to your face, neck, and decolletage. Then gently open up the lymph nodes using your hands above your collarbone, neck, and behind the ears. Apply gentle pressure, keeping the stone in an almost flat position (at a 15-degree angle), and gently pull the skin upwards. First, proceed with one side of the face and neck, then the other.
“The more you practice this, the more results you’ll see,” Pekar says. “Consistency is key when it comes to natural techniques. I like to implement two to three minutes of gua sha into my daily routine, and do a longer (10-15 minutes) massage once a week.” By improving lymphatic drainage, a gua sha massage will have your face looking firmer.
Never Skip SPF
“Having a healthy skincare routine is always worth it,” Idriss says. “Sun protection is huge because with sun damage and age comes a breakdown of collagen, which might make a sagging jawline worse.” Rain or shine, it’s crucial to wear sunscreen daily—yes, even on those days when you spend most of it cooped up inside.
Get Microcurrent Facials...
When you’re looking to improve your jawline, Pekar says your best bet for a pro facial is a microcurrent one. “If you want to see quicker and longer-lasting results I recommend seeing a professional,” she says. “Manual at-home massages are great for maintenance and even to improve the condition; however, I know many people don't have time to practice this every day consistently. Professional services like microcurrent work with electricity, which accelerates the benefits so you can see immediate improvement.”
... or Try a Microcurrent Facial Device
The at-home version is great for maintenance when you can’t see a pro. There’s a reason DIY microcurrent devices are making a splash right now—if you stick with them, they can deliver real results. “Microcurrent is supposed to generate ATP within your cells and regenerate your cellular structure to keep it firmer and tighter longer,” Idriss explains. “It's also supposed to help trigger your musculature slightly underneath to help contract them and tighten it.”
However, Idriss cautions that the results are short-lived. Even after getting a professional microcurrent facial, your skin will look great for the first couple of days afterward, but the effects will eventually wear off. So it’s hard to say how long the results will last on your tissue underneath. “You could test microcurrent devices at home and see the results that you get on yourself,” she suggests.
Use the Right Skincare Products
Though it’s important to curb your expectations when it comes to how much skincare products can do to improve your jawline, using the right ones can help. “I use retinoids, and right after applying I do a few minutes of gua sha massage to improve the product’s absorption and sculpt the face,” Pekar says. She also recommends using products with an ingredient focus on hyaluronic acid and collagen to keep the skin firm and plump.
Book a Surgical Treatment
For stubborn excess fat around the jawline, Idriss turns to liposuction when all else fails. “When you want to get rid of the fat, liposuction can be a huge win,” she says. “By simply removing these small little pockets of fat, the mechanical action can really tighten the skin as well, especially when you don't have that much fat."
"I think liposuction is a great alternative," she continues. "It's an in and out procedure. You don't go under anesthesia; you’re at a dermatologist’s office and they do it under local anesthesia and the downtime is three days. I'd rather do that over Kybella, which I would reserve for resistant pockets that just don’t want to disappear.” CoolSculpting is another potential alternative treatment.
What Causes a Sagging Jawline?
Ultimately, it all comes down to genetics. “There are many things, but the biggest is your bone structure,” Idriss says. Your natural musculature also has a huge impact on your jawline. “The people who are who are genetically blessed are those who have a really strong jawline,” she says. “They tend to do better because they have the baseline support and structure of their face present as they age.”
How Can I Tighten My Jawline Naturally?
Though at-home techniques can help improve your jawline, Idriss says it’s important to keep your expectations realistic. “You can somewhat manipulate your musculature if you have the right baseline,” she says. “But it's like a 10 percent improvement, nothing like a 90 percent. It's all about expectations. Eventually, genetics and gravity are going to take action. Even losing weight has been the cause of sagging. I think you need a little bit of help in the technological domain in order to get the best effects.”
When Should I See a Professional?
“It depends on the person, the same as the age you start Botox, right?” Idriss says. “Everybody's different. I think you start when it really starts to affect you and your self-esteem. It's something you want to work on as a long game strategy. For example, if it's an older woman who's never had anything done and doesn't want to get a facelift, I'll work on tightening her skin, whether it's through ultrasound energy-based devices or radio frequency-based devices.”
For the best results, it’s crucial for experts to observe the underlying bone structure and see the width of the jawline, the length of the jawline, and how the jawline sits in proportion to the face and neck. Certain fillers can definitely help more so than others, helping to create contours to give a more defined line.
It’s also important to consider the chin since that must be sitting in the right position as well. “The chin and the jawline go hand in hand,” Idriss says. “Last, I look at neuromodulators like Botox or Dysport to loosen up some of the muscular bands. By doing that, it looks tighter.”