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5 Incredible Benefits to Facial Massage and How to DIY At Home

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Massage therapists have praised the benefits of body massages for centuries: tension relief, improved circulation, and increased flexibility, to name a few. Lately, however, more and more experts in the skincare world have been hyping up the benefits of facial massages. Like a mini workout for your face, face massages involve massaging key facial muscles and pressure points (like your jawline, cheekbones, and forehead) using your hands or a stone roller. Just a few minutes of practice can help increase blood flow, reduce puffiness, and–wait for it–keep your skin looking fresh, youthful, and fine line-free.

Sound almost too good to be true? We thought so, too. That’s why we spoke with Sya Warfield, a veteran massage artist and founder of Urban Oasis Massage in San Francisco, to get her professional take on what exactly facial massages are, the different techniques out there, and just how real the skincare and anti-aging benefits really are (spoiler: extremely real!). Continue reading below to see why facial massages are a skincare must.

What exactly is a Facial Massage?

First thing’s first: what are facial massages? Simply put, they’re just like body massages, only for your face. According to Warfield, the most common face massage technique is to use your hands (or a professional’s) to apply “movements such as gentle deep stroking, tapping, pinching, and kneading” to areas of your face prone to puffiness, wrinkles, or muscle tension.

Warfield sums up the goals of facial massages as “waking up your face, draining tension and fluid from your face to slow down the aging process, and promoting healthier facial skin.” She recommends massaging your face for three to five minutes, at least three times a week for the best results.

An easy way to give yourself a DIY face massage is with a crystal roller, like the GRACE & STELLA Rose Quartz Roller. While jade rollers are an equally popular choice, rose quartz is known for its calming feel and cooler temperature than jade, which helps with inflammation and puffiness. The unique mineral make-up and structure of rose quartz (it's high in magnesium, iron, sodium, and oxygen) makes it great for “stimulating blood circulation and enhancing the flow of oxygen in the skin, resulting in less under-eye puffiness, [reduced appearance] of dark circles and wrinkles, stimulating collagen, and strengthening the skin to alleviate crevices,” says Warfield.

The Stellar Benefits of a Face Massage, Explained

1. Tones facial muscles and relieves tension.

Most people hold a lot of tension in their face. When we feel stressed or tired, or we concentrate too hard, we tense our forehead and eye area, which can cause wrinkles over time. A couple minutes of face massaging at the end of the day helps release that tension. "You always want to use lifting movements, especially along the neck and jawline area" to keep your skin tight and energized, Warfield advises.

2. Releases toxins.

Environmental factors, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, can cause toxins to build-up within our skin, contributing to fine lines, puffiness, and breakouts. Facial massages increase blood flow, kick-starting lymphatic drainage in your face to flush out waste and toxins and keep your skin fresh and clean, both inside and out.

3. Boosts circulation.

Like doing a set of jumping jacks or push-ups, the movement of a quick facial massage sends a surge of blood and oxygen to your skin. This increased flow deflates puffiness (especially in your under-eye area), evens skin skin tone, and helps detoxify your skin (see benefit #2 for more info). More oxygen sent to the skin equals increased collagen production and cell growth, resulting in a smooth, glowing complexion.

4. Improves product absorption.

Massaging your face with your fingers in upward, lifting motions is a wonderful way to help your favorite products like moisturizer and serum absorb into your skin. Plus, it’s a way to make your daily skincare routine feel even more like a relaxing self-care moment.

5. Relaxation!

Skincare benefits aside, face massages can be just as good at relieving emotional tension as they are at calming muscle tension. They help you feel more relaxed and at ease at the end of a long day. “In my personal skincare routine, I understand as I continue to age [that] directing my attention on relaxation is high on my list of priorities,” says Warfield. “Facial massages feel great.”

The easiest way to DIY

Esthetician Britta Plug showed us how to do a stress-relieving facial massage right at home. Bonus: you don’t even need any tools.

  1. Be sure to start with clean hands and a clean face.
  2. Give the back of the neck and shoulder some love. The neck is the superhighway for circulation to the face and lymphatic drainage coming down from the face.
  3. Use your two fingers below the jaw and two fingers above the jaw like a scissor, and come up to the ear and then gently down the side of the neck.
  4. Use your thumbs to massage down the jaw muscle. You can use a good amount of pressure here. The jaw muscle is very strong (and tight!).
  5. Next, using from the index finger to the thumb, stroke and lift the entire lower face.
  6. Use your index finger and thumb to pinch all around the lips. This helps plump the lips and skin but also reduce tension around the mouth.
  7. Use your knuckles to perform very light circles all over the forehead.
  8. Finish by stroking upwards from the center of the brows to the hairline.

Are there any side effects to facial massage?

Great news: there are basically no known side effects to facial massages. That said, Warfield cautions to “always research what you use on your body and make sure you use trusted brands and products with minimal ingredients. Whether you are doing self massage techniques or are working with a professional, ask questions, be clear on your goals, and do your research.

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About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
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Article Last Updated September 5, 2021 12:00 AM