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With jade rollers and gua sha tools in seemingly everyone’s beauty arsenal, facial massage is here to stay — but does the skincare ritual actually work as well as some claim? After years of inconsistently massaging my complexion, I decided to stick to a 30-day regimen to find out if facial massage is the tried and true step I need to address my puffy skin in the morning.

Roller

What is Facial Massage?

“Facial massage is like a mini workout for your face that you can do at home or have done by a professional,” says celebrity esthetician Ildi Pekar. “It involves gentle massaging, deep stroking, tapping, pinching, and kneading the skin,” she adds, noting that you can also touch key pressure points such as the jawline and forehead to boost circulation for healthier and more youthful-looking skin.

Massaging the face is also a form of lymphatic drainage to help reduce swelling caused by fluid buildup under the complexion. “Facial massage is a great way to help alleviate that by gently pressing on the pressure points in a circular motion to help reduce swelling and release any tension and toxins, too,” says Erin Dupree, Licensed Esthetician at milk + honey.

The Benefits of Facial Massage

Massaging the face has a few key benefits. Aside from feeling incredible — just like a body massage — the ritual of massaging the face can relieve tension. Moreover, it can “enhance the circulation in your face by delivering oxygen around the skin while depuffing and slowing down the aging process,” says Pekar. “It’s very helpful in reducing puffiness around the eye area and will give loose and saggy skin a visibly more lifted look,” she adds.

To reap these benefits, Dupree says to focus on the “sinus areas, temples, sides of the face starting at the shin up to the forehead, brow bone, under eyes, neck, and forehead” with gentle but firm pressure.

Does Facial Massage Work?

I’ve dabbled in facial massage here and there. I once even tried a face workout at a spot called Face Gym, where a specialist treats your complexion to an invigorating massage that tones the muscles in your face — and feels incredible. And, while I love my gua sha tools, it’s been a long time since I was last consistent with massaging my complexion.
As many seek more natural (and cost-effective) ways to promote glowing, lifted skin, the benefits of facial massage have become increasingly haunting — or, at least they were to me. I decided it was finally time to give it a go and stick to a five-minute daily ritual of facial massage using both my fingers and my gua sha tool. To be completely honest, I set out to massage my skin for 30 days in a row, but I accidentally skipped a few days. The good news is that skipping these days really helped me see how facial massage makes a difference in my skin — more on that shortly.
My face is prone to puffiness, and this is especially true in the morning. It often takes a couple of hours for my complexion to look more awake, but my puffy eyes linger a little longer into the afternoon. By massaging my face in the mornings, I hoped to address the puffiness and wake up my skin in a new way.
I began my ritual with a lifting massage following the instructions in this YouTube video from Abigail James, an A-list facialist, wellbeing expert, and author. I found her video while extensively searching for beginner-friendly facial massage techniques and found her instructions to be the easiest to follow. Once I massaged using my fingers for a few minutes, I wrapped up by following some basic techniques using my gua sha tool.
Massaging my skin with my fingers felt really good and I noticed some improved circulation, based on the color of my skin. But, for me, the best results came with the gua sha tool. This was especially true for my eye area. After lifting and draining one eye area with the tool for around 20 seconds, I noticed a significant difference between the two sides of my face. On the massaged side, my eyebrow appeared more lifted and awake. I also noticed a difference in the way my jaw felt after each gua sha massage. Although it isn’t as much of a visual benefit, the gua sha tool helped release a super tense area on my face and, with just a few seconds of massage, I could feel the stress melt away from my jaw.

After each facial massage, I was happy with my results. My jaw felt relaxed, my eyes were de-puffed, my cheeks were a tad more lifted, and my skin has a nice glow from circulation and facial oil. Based on these results, I’d say that facial massage works, but you have to do it daily to see results. On the days that I accidentally skipped (due to being human), I woke up with the same puffy eyes and skin.

Jessie Quinn

Jessie Quinn is a fashion, beauty, lifestyle, wellness, and DIY writer and editor with expertise in editorial, branded content, commerce, and copywriting. Her words are published in magazines and media outlets such as NYLON, InStyle, Byrdie, Brides, SHAPE, The Zoe Report, Brit + Co, Sunday Riley’s The Sunday Edit, Bustle, and more. In addition to her published work, Jessie also curates a monthly edit called ‘Please See Attached.’ Jessie is also a certified Reiki Master and meditation teacher. Her practice, Moodrie, is centered around energy healing through creative well-being.
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