If you follow anything skin related on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, you won’t fail to have noticed the huge facial massage wave that has hit. Facial massage has always been a thing, but in the last couple of years, it has become more accessible to all consumers with the widespread retail of facial massage tools. Now that plump, glowing real skin is what it’s all about, everyone has realised that facial massage is the key to jumping on board with this look. I’ve spoken to two expert facialists to get the low-down on what it is and why you need to be doing it.
Erica McCallum is Master Aesthetician at renowned luxury skincare brand Eve Lom. She has over 15 years of experience as a massage and facial therapist. She has always been passionate about the benefits of massage, and in her career, has worked with and learnt from a variety of different therapists and brands. Katherine Taylor from The Skin Gym has worked in the spa, skin and beauty sector for over 18 years. She has experience as a spa therapist, a beauty therapist, a trainer, and she now works as a facialist and has her own online skin clinic. Over the years, she has worked for various companies, and as such, has learnt lots of different styles of facial massage which she has now developed into her own signature facial massage.
What are the benefits of facial massage and who is it good for?
Erica: Facial massage is suitable for everyone. It is important to remember that the skin is the largest organ and also the ‘least important’ to your body. It is the last priority, meaning the circulation can be sluggish and inefficient. By using even the simplest techniques, you will notice the skin warming to the touch as you stimulate circulation. This boost to blood flow improves the skin function. Focusing on lymphatic drainage techniques will improve puffiness and drainage of waste product. It is also surprising how much tension we carry in our facial muscles. Incorporating regular facial massage into your routine can benefit everything from sinus issues to tension headaches.
Katherine: Facial massage is beneficial for everyone! One of the main benefits is that it will instantly boost the blood circulation which in turn brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to the skin making the skin healthier, glowing and fresh. You can also perform facial massage to lift and sculpt the skin, relive tension, tighten the skin and boost collagen.
Everyone does facial massage differently. Is there a right way, or a wrong way to do it?
Erica: There isn’t a wrong way to massage your skin, although personally I wouldn’t recommend a massage technique that feels painful – either from too vigorous a movement or from painful pressure. Any massage technique will improve blood circulation and result in a renewed radiance to the skin. There are countless methods and tools to use depending on the specific results you want to see.
Katherine: There are many ways of performing facial massage, so it really depends on what you want to achieve. If it is purely for relaxation, then you can do lots of effleurage movements (circular, slow, stroking movements). If it’s being done more to relieve tension, you would be best to use facial reflexology and pressure points. If it’s for lifting and sculpting, knuckling, tapping and cupping movements are best. You may use your hands or tools such as rollers or a gua sha. One of the key components that all movements will have in common is that you need to work towards the lymphatic system, so upwards and outwards directions.
What do you think about facial massage tools e.g. rollers or gua shas?
Erica: Massage tools are a fantastic addition to any routine. My only note on them is to ensure they are cleaned properly! I use hot soapy water with a soft toothbrush for my personal tools. I recommend following guidance for how to use each tool too – Gua Shas are fabulous for lymphatic drainage and puffiness, and rollers can make your skincare more effective. So when picking out your skincare tool, do your research and think about what you want to achieve.
Katherine: I love to use gua sha tools as part of my facial massage technique. Gua shas, made from different crystals (the most popular being Jade or Rose Quartz) come from an ancient Chinese healing technique. The tools are shaped and they mould and glide to the contours of the skin; meaning you can get a great ‘scrape’ on the skin to instantly smooth it and boost blood circulation. They are so easy to use at home too and are instantly cooling on the skin. If you do just one side of your face you can see how lifted and sculpted it gets compared to the other side.
Can you do facial massage if you have injectable fillers?
Erica: Yes you can, but not immediately following treatment. Different treatments will have different recommendations and it is important to take note of what your post-treatment care recommends. As an example, if massage is warming the skin and stimulating circulation, if you have an inflamed injection site, it is important to allow sufficient healing. Always follow the advice of your Doctor, Nurse or Aesthetician.
Katherine: Facial massage can be used when having most aesthetic treatments, including fillers. Actually, you may find the practitioner massages and moulds the filler into place when injecting. Generally though the rule of thumb is to wait 2 weeks after fillers to have any facial massage or facial treatment.
What products are best to do facial massage with?
Erica: When massaging your skin, you want to make sure there is plenty of slip. Massaging the skin dry is uncomfortable. I love utilising lymphatic drainage massage as a part of my cleansing routine, so our multi-benefit Original Cleansing Balm or Silky Cleansing Oil Capsules are a favourite of mine. When delivering treatments I will often incorporate a lifting massage over our Moisture Mask and/or the Radiance Face Oil.
POLO & Lifestyle The London Magazine recommends…
Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen – £90 from SpaceNK
This beautiful product contains encapsulated oil, so you get great slip for massage. The serum contains patented alguronic acid, active vegan collagen and micro algae to hydrate, visibly minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as strengthen and condition the skin to improve texture and bounce. The inclusion of omega 3,6, and 9 and Vitamin E work to support skin cells, refine the skin’s surface and protect it from environmental agressors.
Charlotte Tilbury Multi Miracle Glow – £45 from Charlotte Tilbury
This multi-tasker luscious balm is perfect for facial massage. You can use this product as a cleanser, mask or overnight moisturiser. It instantly soothes, softens and moisturises the skin. It can be used with any facial massage tool too. Arctic cloudberry oil and camelia oil moisturises, coconut alkanes prevent moisture loss, Vitamin C and E brighten the skin and Rosehip oil (with it’s natural linoleic acids) helps support collagen production and strengthens the skin barrier. So many amzing benefits and uses!
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil – £45 from Cult Beauty
An oil is probably the easiest product to do a facial massage with due to the slip it gives. This is an oil for those night-time pamper sessions as it’s a potent retinol treatment. It hydrates, minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and it combats the effects of pollution and other daily skin agressors. Retinol increases collagen synthesis, boosts skin elasticity and stimulates skin cells to repair and renew. The oil contains cold-pressed avocado, chia and grape seeds – all of which boost skin strength and glow.
Sunday Riley CEO Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Oil – £34 from Cult Beauty
This Vitamin C oil is a powerful anti-ageing and brightening powerhouse. Vitamin C, turmeric and evening primrose oil work to hydrate, give antioxidant protection to the skin, boost glow and brightness, even the skin tone and promote collagen production.
Wishful Get Even Rose Oil – £55 from Cult Beauty
This rich, luxurious oil has the most beautiful Middle-Eastern rose scent. It contains 15 nourishing oils (including rosehip and Damascus rose) to hydrate, soothe, brighten, clarify and even the texture of your skin. The ideal oil for a relaxing spa-like facial massage session. It’s full of omegas and fatty acids to give intensive nourishment to the skin, as well as oils that target skin texture, tighten the skin and repair skin damage.
You can see more products I love over on my Instagram @lpearsonsmith.