Go on – you’ve got the time. And did we mention that it’s free?
The unfolding coronavirus (COVID-19) situation means that we are all dealing with a lot of uncertainty and change to our day to day routine. At Gritty Pretty, we want to help you navigate through this time. We’ll be sharing self care advice and tips on how to look after your body and mental health. If there are any topics you want Gritty Pretty to cover, please send us a DM on Instagram.
Like many of you, the Gritty Pretty team is now working from home. In other words, we now have a lot more time on our hands to do things we wouldn’t normally find the space in our day to do. It’s more important than ever to find ways to make ourselves feel good (bonus points if they make us look good as well)!
Whether you now have an extra hour in the morning (from what would have been your daily commute) or an extra hour before bed (because you managed to get your housework done in your lunch break), we all have a little extra time for ourselves at the moment. Glass half full, guys. So, in our beauty editor minds, there really is no better time to try something new, beauty-wise.
Cue: facial massage.
Here, we sit down with Jeanine Chell of Facial Alchemy to discuss everything facial massage. Whether you use your hands or enlist the help of a gua sha, Chell shares when and how to do a facial massage so that you actually see results.
We’ve all heard it before but the sentiment rings true – failing to plan is planning to fail. So, before you commit an afternoon to mastering the technique of facial massage (which you probably won’t in fact do, considering Chell’s expertise has come from 20 years in the field) you need to be well equipped.
In an ideal world, Chell recommends getting yourself a gua sha; this tool helps to lift the skin, boost circulation and can increase the efficacy of our skin care products (we love Aceology Rose Quartz Gua Sha Facial Massager). Don’t have a gua sha? No matter – fortunately, fingers will also do just fine.
So grab your tool of choice (easier if they are already attached to your body) and follow along.
The Technique: Gua Sha
Like most things in the beauty space, there is a lot of information out there about gua sha and how to use them.
Gua sha for the body encourages lymphatic drainage and blood flow – the pressure is so intense, it can create bruising. However, this is not (I repeat, not) how to practice massage on your face. You want to be gentle. You need to be gentle.
“The most important thing about facial massage is that it helps to increase the blood and nutrient supply to the skin cells,” says Chell. “This oxygenates the skin and also helps with lymphatic flow.”
In terms of technique, Chell recommends starting with cleansed skin, and applying a water-based product (such as a toner or mist) followed by a facial oil to prepare for the massage. Then, starting with the gua sha at the back of the neck, she recommends moving along the spine and up towards the occipital root (where the neck meets the head) to release tension.
“We hold a lot of tension there. This can stop the flow of the lymphatics and the blood circulation and it can make our face quite puffy because it is unable to drain properly.”
Once you reach the face, the technique is tweaked slightly. Basically, you always want to move the gua sha from the centre of the face outwards. A common misconception is that going upwards is more important but actually, it doesn’t really matter.
“The fluid knows where to flow so it isn’t essential that you move upwards. What’s more important is to get it flowing and moving,” says Chell.
The main benefit? For those of us who want to avoid botox in the future (i.e. most of us) using the gua sha on the forehead is a great way to avoid the jab or negate any negative side-effects of the injection.
It’s like a mini facelift (sans needles) – which is like, ideal.
The Technique: Fingers
Don’t have a gua sha? No worries. The same results can be achieved with your trusty digits. In fact, Chell recommends opting for this every now and then even if you do have a tool.
“Your fingers are great because intuitively they will know where to go to release the most tension. You will know what feels good to you.”
In terms of technique, it remains very similar to that of the gua sha – making sure you glide pressure along your face with your (clean) fingertips. It’s also great to focus on the hard to reach areas (that a face tool, no matter how ergonomical, may miss) such as your sinus and the ridge along to your cheekbones and jaw.
Despite having all this extra time to #TreatYoSelf, we know that a daily facial massage may not be your number one priority. Chell recommends aiming to practice at least three times a week, to promote drainage and relax any tension you are carrying in your face and neck. This is particularly useful at this time of high anxiety and uncertainty. However, there is no harm in doing it everyday so, if you feel so inclined, massage away!
Have a burning facial massage tip that you want to share? Leave us a comment below.