If you’re looking for simple ways to lift and define your cheekbones, it’s high time to incorporate facial massages into your skin care routine. Lymphatic massage for face, a practice originated from China, stimulates skin circulation through massage, oils, and tools for facial lymphatic drainage. “Facial massage is the perfect way to prevent premature aging because it helps tighten muscles, boost circulation, and give your face an overall lift,” says Karina Sulzer, esthetician and founder of Skin Gym and Skin Camp.
Whether done at-home or in-office by an esthetician, “the emphasis is on clearing stress, studying the movements our emotions omit on the face, blockages, and lymphatic movement,” says Nichelle Temple, licensed esthetician and founder of Inderma Studio. “Unlike the heart, which pumps our blood without our active participation, the lymphatic system responds well to us helping the lymph flow out of areas of stagnation. Which can be seen on the face in puffy eyes, jawline sagging, and congestion.” Facial massages will allow the skin to function better, while improving the tone and tautness of the face. It’s not so much changing the shape of your face (read: contouring) as removing what’s in the way (excess fluid).
The best part? It is shockingly simple and takes just a few minutes, so you can easily incorporate it into your at-home daily routine. Ahead, read on for all the expert-approved intel on how to lift and define your cheekbones at home with a lymphatic face massage.
How Does Facial Lymphatic Drainage Work?
According to Inge Theron, founder of Face Gym, “repetitive movement to the face will firm and tone muscles while providing oxygen and energy for optimal muscle health.” The gentle yet firm pressure across acupressure points will accentuate blood flow and help regenerate skin cells — creating a tone and lifted effect.
Put simply, facial massage paired with facial exercises and tools will increase the collagen and elastin in the face — the natural plumping agents for firmer skin. “Proper lymphatic drainage will reduce puffiness, move stagnation, and boost your skin with a healthy glow,” says Temple. “Sculpting face massage can help achieve a smoother texture (think: minimizing fine lines). Plus, when your muscles are relaxed, they won’t contract into tensed wrinkles.”
According to Taylor Worden, celebrity esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin, other benefits include: reduced puffiness in eye area, natural glow, better penetration of skin products, and better blood circulation.
The best part, you only need about 5 to 10 minutes a day to see results. But keep in mind, sculpting results don’t last forever and consistency will be paramount to real benefits. “The key to getting the most out of facial massage is consistency. Just like you won’t get a six-pack from doing three sit ups, it’s the same with your face,” Theron tells TZR.
Step 1: Double Cleanse The Skin
Celebrity esthetician Joshua Ross of SkinLab recommends always starting with clean skin by doing a double cleanse, starting with a makeup removing oil-based cleanser such as DHC Cleansing Oil, followed by a foaming or gel-based cleanser such as SeSpring Cleanse It Out Gel Cleanser. Double cleansing will remove dirt, oil, and other unwanted debris to provide your facial massage with a clean canvas to start.
Step 2: Apply Moisturizer Or Face Oil
The next step is dedicated to reducing tension. Start by applying your moisturizer or face oil evenly all over the face (use the surface of your palm instead of the points of your fingertips). “Apply a liberal amount of oil, like Trademark Beauty Jojoba Oil Daily Elixir, and spread it over your neck and face starting at the collar bone and working your way up,” Ross tells TZR.
Now place a palm in between your eyebrows and with firm pressure, massage in circular motions up toward your hairline. Continue by massaging your temples with your palms for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Step 3: Massage The Cheekbones
According to Lisa Vela, esthetician at milk + honey, facial lymphatic drainage enhances the bone structure by “moving the lymphatic fluid to remove puffiness or excess retention of fluid in the face.” That means if you’re still dealing with the effects of food, alcohol, stress, or dehydration, you can still coax your cheekbones and jawline out of hiding.
Using the same level of pressure as you did before, place palms right below the cheekbones and firmly massage backwards towards the hairline. Finally, cup the cheekbones and pull upward for five seconds. Repeat five to six times. As a tip, Ross encourages you to not shy away from firm pressure on this last part as it will only aid in sculpting and depuffing the skin.
Step 4: Sweep Fingers Down The Jawline
To sculpt your jaw, use the side of your index fingers around your nasolabial fold (the crease that connects the sides of your nose to the sides of your mouth), and in one fluid motion, firmly press and slide fingers down to your jaw. Finish with fingers moving down the jawline to your neck to drain the fluid at your lymph node — don’t forget to move it all the way down the neck to drain completely.
For a more defined jawline and cheekbone area, you can also use a Gua Sha tool. These small but mighty tools help to release muscle tension and improve circulation. “Gua shas are designed to easily follow the curves of the face and are simple to use,” Ross continues. “Just try firmly pressing the tool from the inside of the face to the outside, while turning the stone to see which curve feels right on different parts of the face.”
Step 5: Pinch
For the last step, pinch your cheeks, jawline, and lips gently to contour from the inside of the face to the outside of the temples. Repeat six times. “Finish off with a hydrating overnight mask such as SeSpring Dreamy Glow Sleeping Mask to nourish and moisturize skin while you sleep,” Ross tells TZR.
Ready to try this five-step routine for yourself? Grab some of the below expert-approved tools and products to start.
The Best Products For An At-Home Facial Lymphatic Dainage Massage
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