How The Pros Use Facial Tools For Impossibly Sculpted Cheekbones

Makeup artist Nam Vo spills her secrets.

Nam Vo on Instagram

Makeup artist Nam Vo is known for painting the faces of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, like Kylie Jenner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Aimee Song, but she’s also the creator of one of the most delightful monikers in the skin care world: “dewy dumpling,” aka a complexion that is so flawless and glowy, you resemble a perfectly plump dumpling. Not only is she renowned for creating this look on her clients, but she herself is the ultimate dewy dumpling, all shiny skin and cheekbones that could cut through your phone screen. The artist is a big proponent of a consistent skin care routine, and skin care tools especially, and lucky for you, Vo was happy to bless TZR with her facial sculpting secrets.

“There’s the old school way, which [is when] people use gua sha and jade roller,” Vo tells TZR over the phone about her preferred face sculpting techniques. Indeed the gua sha tool has been around for since the Paleolithic Age, and still remains a staple among beauty enthusiasts. However, her personal preference is something a bit more high-tech, like NuFACE’s Trinity Facial Toning Device. In addition to NuFACE, other up-and-coming products like Shani Darden’s Facial Sculpting Wand — which uses sound wave technology to lift and firm the skin — are changing the game according to Vo.

When it comes to using a sculpting tool, Vo compares the at-home treatment to a workout. “It’s like when you go to the gym and work out, you use dumbbells to lift your biceps and triceps,” she explains. “We have muscles in our face that I think a lot of people don’t realize, [and] you can’t exactly put dumbbells on your cheekbones.” But, she says a tool, specifically a microcurrent device, helps to lift and stimulate those facial muscles, while also working to isolate them. In fact, whether you like to stick with a traditional gua sha tool or gravitate towards a more advanced iteration, you’ll have a sculpted, more toned complexion in just a few minutes — as long as you use them consistently.

Below, find the makeup artist’s top tips for using a facial sculpting tool and you’ll be well on your way to dewy dumpling status.

Consistency Is Key

Just like a workout (or really anything in skin care), Vo says consistency is key when it comes to seeing results from a sculpting tool. “One time will help, but consistency will help you throughout the rest of your life,” she explains. The makeup artist typically uses a sculpting tool anywhere from three to seven days a week, depending on her schedule.

Use It Before Skin Care

Before using a tool, Vo will first cleanse her face, and then apply a gel (particularly theNuFACE’s Priming Gel) prior to using the device — this helps to conduct the microcurrent from your preferred device, which in turn stimulates the muscles.

Once she’s finished her five-minute mini facial, she’ll then go into her skin care routine. The makeup artist opts to keep on the priming gel and massage it into the skin before the app, however, she says some prefer removing it after using the tool. If you’re new to using a face tool, try to build in an extra five minutes into your morning routine so you enjoy the lifting benefits throughout the day.

Always Use The Proper Primer

While it might seem tempting to just splash water on your face before using a high-tech tool, Vo advises against that. In most cases, the devices will come with a gel primer. “The current can’t work without that gel-liquid [consistency] to conduct the current,” she explains. “So if you just put water, or you think you’re going to use a moisturizer, it’s not going to work.” In fact, Vo compares prepping for a microcurrent tool like getting an ultra-sound. “When you get an ultrasound and they are running things [the sound waves] through, the gel is the conducting liquid that has to marry the two things.”

To add to that, other tools are sold with a specific gel, for instance, Shani Darden’s Facial Sculpting Wand has its Hydra Prep Gel. However, if you’re using a gua sha tool or jade roller to sculpt, a serum or face oil is all that’s needed to give the skin a little slip for the tool to glide over easier.

Time Of Day To Use

As far as timing goes, Vo says you can use a high-tech sculpting device morning or night. If she’s on set for a photo shoot, she’ll use it an hour or two before to give her skin a nice lift for the cameras. But, she also enjoys using it as she’s snuggled up on the couch at night watching her favorite shows.

On the other hand, if you’re opting for a gua sha tool, you might want to use it in the morning. According to Dr. Amanda Doyle, a board-certified dermatologist, "I'd recommend doing it in the morning because when we sleep at night and we’re completely flat, the blood flow evens out and extra fluid tends to accumulate on our faces and under our eyes.” If a sculpted complexion is the goal, adding a tool to your morning routine is your best bet.

Go In The Right Direction

Direction wise, Vo likes to use a microcurrent device starting at the middle of the face and works her way outwards. For example, if you’re targeting your cheekbones, you can start with your favorite tool at the corner of your nose and follow the line of your bone structure out until you reach your hair line.

And for those using a manual tool, like gua sha, kansa wand, or a jade roller, you’ll want to stroke it upwards, moving from side of the neck and across the décolletage then to the face. Always think about lifting your skin and getting that stagnant lymph moving (which will help you to depuff and bring the focus back to your cheekbones).

How To Get A Targeted Lift

“I like to do advance holds,” Vo explains, meaning holding the tool in the same spot for a few seconds (if you’re using a NuFACE, this will be one of two beeping sounds). “If you want more of a targeted lift and if you have an area you really want to work on — for me it’s my cheeks — then I’ll hold it under my cheekbone for one or two beeps,” she adds.

From jade roller and gua sha tools to state-of-the-art devices, below, shop the best facial sculpting tools on the market. And, of course, follow Vo’s tips when you’re using it to see that lifted effect.

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