Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.
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I love the less-is-more concept behind facial massage: instead of cluttering my bathroom cabinet with a proliferation of creams and serums and moisturizers, I can spend a few minutes on my face every morning, naturally relaxing the tension I’m holding in my face, neck, and shoulders, draining stagnant lymphatic tissue that’s causing puffiness and dullness, and stimulating blood flow in my skin to create a gentle “glow”--no makeup required.
Facial massage is intuitive, and doesn’t require elaborate tools or expensive products--it’s self-care that actually does relieve my stress! Here’s how to do it:
Oils to Use
You do not want to tug or pull at the skin on your face--this can cause tenderness or even broken capillaries, especially if your skin is sensitive or thin due to aging. It’s important to use oil on your face when you massage (moisturizers alone usually dissolve into the skin too fast).
Good oil options for facial massage are:
Coconut oil is too heavy and might clog the pores, but if you have a face oil you use and love, and it doesn’t soak into your skin too quickly, you can use that too!
Facial Massage Techniques
There are actually a variety of facial massage techniques, depending on who you’re learning from. Some techniques have been developed in Japan or China--some are more like physical therapy for your face.
It’s fun to learn about and try different options, but I find that facial massage is pretty intuitive. You can use a facial roller, a gua sha tool, or any number of facial massage implements that are available today--but your hands work great, too.
Before you start, you should know where the lymph drains: you have a drainage ports at each temple, as well as drainage points near your clavicle. Whenever you massage, you should always be moving towards those points so stagnant lymph exits the face, removing toxins and reducing swelling.
1. Pre-Massage Prep
Start with a clean face. Spread oil liberally on your face and neck.
2. Begin Your Massage
If your skin is sensitive, use gentle pressure with your fingertips. You can use medium-firm pressure by massaging with the top of your fist--the area between your knuckles--but never massage firmly.
Start at the base of your head and work down your neck. Then, move to your jaw--start at the center and work towards the ears. You can repeat each stroke 10-20 times.
Next, sweep across your face from your nose to your temples. If your eyes feel puffy, you can tap gently underneath your eye from your inner eye to your outer eye with your ring finger. You can do the same on your brow bone, above the eye.
Put gentle pressure on the area in between your eyebrows, and then gently push up in circular motions to your hairline. Repeat this step above each eyebrow.
Your facial massage can take just a few minutes--or it can take longer, it’s totally up to you.