Did you know a daily face massage can shave up to three years of visible aging off your face? A simple face massage is a “handy” tool — literally at your fingertips — that can improve your skin’s appearance, stress levels, and overall health. But, a face massage is not simply rubbing your face. Without technique, you could cause more damage than the benefits are worth. However, with the right technique, a face massage can help slow the appearance of aging and wrinkles, brighten and soothe your skin, help with sinus and lymphatic drainage (combating “puffy morning face”), and minimize stress.
Stress relief may not sound like a visible benefit, but it is. Stress is the invisible killer. High levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — wreak havoc on our bodies. When you are mentally stressed, it physically affects your brain function, your immune system’s effectiveness, your heart, your digestion, and your cell’s natural regeneration process. Meaning high stress can age you! But don’t worry, this blog will teach you accessible stress relieving techniques you can do at home, no special products required.
How Do I Know if I’m Stressed?
Not everyone experiences stress the same way or expresses stress the same way. Human beings are incredible at adapting and our “worker bee” culture encourages us to “play through the pain.” According to the American Psychological Association, 8 in 10 adults experience stress on a weekly basis. The overwhelming majority of adults are dealing with stress and odds are good you are among them.
Common causes of stress include:
- Not having control over the outcome of a situation
- Not allowing yourself to stop, needing to constantly feel productive
- Being under pressure
- Facing uncertainty
Sound like you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Stress affects everyone, and ignoring it or pretending it’s not there is not an effective coping strategy. Instead, follow these simple tactics to give your mind and body a rest.
Easy Methods for Stress Relief
If you are experiencing stress, don’t write it off. Mental health directly affects your physical health — and it’s so important to take care of yourself. Remember, you are not alone and the way you feel is completely valid. This blog is not a replacement for a doctor. When it comes to stress and mental health, talking to a medical professional and having a system of support is the most valuable plan of action. But, here are some quick things you can do right now if you’re feeling overwhelmed:
Sit Still: Take a deep breath in through your nose and inhale all the way down into your stomach. Exhale pushing air through your mouth. Repeat five times.
Go for a Walk: Leave your phone inside and walk around your block. It doesn’t have to be a long one. Breathe some fresh air and focus on the trees and the sun on your face — not your to-do list.
Journal: Take the burden off your mind and put it on paper. Taking the time to write down what you’re actually thinking and feeling can help you organize your thoughts and make them feel much more manageable. (Here’s a free journal worksheet you can download and print to get started now!)
Give Yourself a Face Massage: It costs nothing AND it’s a great way to take a break for yourself.
How Does a Face Massage Relieve Stress?
When you are stressed, it’s common to carry a lot of tension in your face. A clenched jaw or furrowed brow can cause strain, stretching, and deeper wrinkles. A facial massage that incorporates some acupressure-inspired techniques can help release that tension in your face. But let’s get real, stress isn’t the only thing that affects your skin. It’s a big factor, but it’s not the only factor. Face massage can also target other skin issues, leaving you deeply relaxed with a glowing complexion.
How Does a Face Massage Improve My Skin’s Appearance?
In addition to minimizing stress, massaging your face can:
- Boost your body’s natural collagen levels
- Stimulate blood flow — drawing more nutrients to your skin’s surface
- Depuff under-eyes and any other parts of the face holding extra fluid
- Soothe eye strain
- Delay the appearance of wrinkles
- Invigorate “tired” skin cells for a brighter appearance
- Promote a tighter, lifter, more supple look
How Do I Massage My Face?
Step 1: Wash your hands. You’re about to be touching your face a lot. Make sure to start with clean hands so you’re not dragging dirt and grime along your sensitive skin. Don’t forget to clean under your fingernails!
Step 2: Wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser that washes your face without stripping your skin of its natural oils. This ensures you don’t rub any impurities deeper into your skin.
Step 3: Take five deep breaths. Yes, this is calming and helps set the tone for your relaxing massage. But it also gets your blood moving. Breathing in deeply and exhaling by pushing the air out through your mouth invigorates your facial muscles, perfectly preparing them for massage.
Step 4: Apply your favorite face cream, serum, or oil. The added moisture is necessary to help your fingertips glide along your face. Face massage without the “slippery” texture creams, serums, and oils provide is too aggressive. Skipping this step will pull and tug the gentle skin on your face, leaving it more susceptible to sagging, drooping, wrinkles, and other visible signs of aging.
Step 5: Massage. There are all kinds of face massage techniques. Where to start and what specific moves to use depend on what you’re looking to target. Below are several different needs a face massage can address and the techniques to employ so you reap the most benefits from your face massage.
Different Face Massage Techniques
A gentle facial massage can help to increase blood, oxygen, and lymph flow — promoting skin radiance and decreasing the look of swelling. There are lots of different face massage techniques, but they all follow one rule: gentle pressure. Every massage guide should encourage you to use gentle pressure. Deep pressure can cause irritation and bruising. If anything seems too intense, it probably is!
Face Massage Technique for Stress Relief
This face massage targets the areas in your face where you commonly hold tension. Complete steps 1-4 above and follow with the steps below. Repeat each movement below 10 times before moving on to a different part of your face.
Eyes: Using the tips of your ring fingers on each hand, apply gentle pressure to the inner corners of your eyes. Hold and repeat. Keep taking deep, nourishing breaths.
Cheeks: Move from the inner corners of your eyes and travel down to the tops of your cheekbones. Avoid applying any pressure to your eye socket. Move your fingers in small circles while traveling across your cheekbones to the outer corners of your eyes.
Forehead: Still using your ring fingers, start in the space between your eyebrows and travel along your brow bone, applying pressure until you reach your temples. Apply pressure in small concentric circles on your temples. Don’t forget to keep breathing!
Mouth: Move your fingertips to the corners of your mouth. Apply an upward pressure as if smiling with your mouth closed. Relax your mouth, let your fingers do the lifting. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat.
Ears: Place your fingertips (still the fourth finger) at the base of your earlobes. Apply pressure and release five to ten times. After that, trace small circles on and around the bend in your jawbone.
Face Massage Technique for Wrinkles and Aging
While all techniques of face massage help stimulate collagen production and blood flow, the movements below also apply pressure to wrinkle-prone areas to help “relax” the muscles underneath. Also, every sweeping motion you perform should gently pull upward, encouraging a lift in your skin.
Neck: Make the “ok” sign with your two hands and pull your three fingers up along your neck from base to jaw. Repeat one hand after the other on one side 10 times, then the other side 10 times.
Jaw: Form two peace signs with your hands, then bend your fingers into a claw or talon shape. Sandwich your jaw between your fingers and pull up along your jaw toward your ears.
Chin: Take your thumb and index finger and lightly pinch starting at the bottom of your chin and traveling up along your jaw.
Cheeks: Do the “ok” sign again and repeat the same technique you used on your neck on your cheeks. One hand after another, repeat 10 times before moving to the other cheek.
Mouth: Put your pointer fingers on one corner of your mouth. Smoothly pull toward your cheek, one finger after another, and repeat on the other side.
Eyes: Place the tips of your ring fingers in the corners of your eyes. Apply pressure. Now, dot your fingers up and around your orbital bone, applying pressure each time. Continuing dotting along the bone underneath your eyes and up your nose. When you reach the bridge of your nose, right below the corners of your eyes, pause for an extra beat of pressure.
Forehead: Make two peace signs again, but this time, squeeze your fingers together and place them on the center of your forehead. Moving up and out, rub small circles from the center of your forehead toward the temples.
If you’re more of a visual learner, follow the video below:
Face Massage Technique for Sinus Congestion
Your sinuses are not just in your nose. Sinuses spread behind your cheeks, between your eyes, and across your forehead. That is why, when you’re congested, your whole face can feel swollen. While performing a face massage to alleviate sinus congestion, be extra careful. Congestion can make your face tender to the touch, so be sure to keep a gentle hand.
Nose: Place the sides of your pointer fingers alongside each side of your nose. Your fingertips should be touching your brow bone and the base of your finger by your nostrils. Squeeze your fingers together, lightly pinching your nose between them.
Next, take the tips of your ring fingers and place them in the corners of your nose, where your upper lip and nostrils meet. Apply pressure. You can push a bit deeper here if it feels good, but keep it slow and steady and always push in an upward motion, instead of a downward motion.
Cheeks: Bend your pointer fingers into a hook shape. Place your knuckles into the corners of your nose where your fingertips just were. Now glide in an upward motion along the underside of your cheekbone all the way up to where it meets your jawbone.
Forehead: Take the tips of your ring fingers and place them on top of your brow bone toward the tail of your eyebrows. Rub in a circular motion up and out toward your temples.
Place the pads of your middle and ring fingers along the center of your forehead. Gently swipe your fingers outward towards your temples as if wiping sweat from your brow.
Jaw: Place the tips of your pointer, middle, and ring fingers in the space between your jaw bone and cheekbones. Keep your jaw relaxed while rubbing small circles with an up and out motion.
Face Massage Technique for Lymphatic Drainage
Your lymphatic system runs through your entire body. You have a large number of lymph nodes that act as “filters” for lymphatic fluid as it travels through the system. And some of these lymph nodes are near your jaw, neck, and chest. A lymphatic drainage face massage aids in moving fluid through your lymphatic system so it properly circulates throughout your body. This massage does not require much pressure at all. In fact, too much pressure on your lymphatic vessels can crush them. Be sure to use a feather light touch.
*A note on this technique, don’t skip the deep breaths from step 3 above. Not only do these get your muscles working and oxygen-rich blood pumping, it gets your lymphatic fluid moving too.
Neck: Place the tips of your ring and middle fingers underneath your earlobes. Glide them down to the base of your neck and slide them along your collarbone to the center of your chest. Repeat this and each subsequent movement 10 times before moving on to the next part of your face.
Chin: Place the tips of your same two fingers on the center of your chin. Gently glide them up along your jaw to the front of your ear. Rub two small circles, then loop under your earlobes to behind your ear and rub two small circles there as well. Then travel down your neck and across your collarbone, the same as the motions above.
Mouth: Starting with your ring and middle fingers on your upper lip, lightly swipe up to the front of your ear. Repeat the two small circles, loop to the back of your ear and massage two small circles there again. Then repeat down your neck and across your collarbone to the center of your chest.
Cheeks: From the corners of your nose, swipe those same two fingers across your cheekbones to your ears. Massage two small circles in front, two small circles behind, down your neck, and across your collarbone.
Eyes: Move your fingers up to the corners of your eyes. Glide along your orbital bone to your temples. Rub two circles on your temples before moving on to rubbing four circles on your ears, neck, and collarbone.
Forehead: Place your middle and ring fingers between your eyebrows, then swipe them along your temples, ears, neck, and ending at your chest. Don’t forget to rub the two small circles on all three spots before traveling down your neck and across your chest.
Repeat these forehead steps starting in the middle of your forehead and then again at the top of your forehead, along the hairline.
Neck: Finish the way you started. Glide your fingers down your neck and across your collarbone to the center of your chest.
Don’t Forget to Drink Water
Following any kind of massage — including face massage — be sure to drink extra water. All that rubbing encourages blood flow and tissue stimulation which releases toxins. Help your body filter and flush those toxins out with plenty of water.
Tools for Face Massage
Besides your fingertips, there are tools created for face massages like Gua Sha stones and facial rollers. Gua Sha stones are flat with smooth curved edges. Like facial rollers, they are usually made out of jade, rose quartz, or amethyst. Facial rollers have one round surface to apply across your face — almost like a rolling pin — but Gua Sha has all kinds of curves and corners that can be used to massage the contours of your face. When it comes to face massage, Gua Sha stones and facial rollers are the tools designed for the job, but they are not for beginners. They can be more intense than your fingertips, and if you haven’t had a lot of practice with face massage, they can cause a lot of damage — like burst capillaries and worse. That’s why the best tools are always clean fingertips. Plus, they’re free!
Face Massage for Younger Looking Skin
Sit back, relax, and prepare to glow. No matter what issue you’re targeting with your face massage, you will get the benefit of releasing toxins and boosting circulation that will leave your skin looking brighter. Every type of face massage listed above helps gently exercise facial muscles,increase blood flow and circulation (delivering nutrients where you need them most), lower stress levels, and release tension — slowing down the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. So take 5 minutes for yourself. Engage in the practice of self-care, not just for relaxing calm, but for visible results. Share this blog with a friend and plan your next face massage spa night!