Whether you're a fan of professional treatments or stick on a sheet mask once in a while at home, there's no denying the relaxing power of a good facial. Sometimes, the time spent doing nothing but focusing on your skin can have a profound effect on your wellbeing as well as your complexion – a notion acupuncturist, aromatherapist and healing holistic facialist, Annee de Mamiel seconds.
"Skincare can be a holistic thing," de Mamiel told R29 when we caught up with her recently. "It’s not a mindless act," she continued. "With things like oils, for example, I like to encourage people to count out the drops one by one so they're really thinking about that, because with every product comes a ritual of application." It makes sense and with winter just around the corner, more and more of us are already stepping up our skincare game, but while adding extra hydration is all well and good, it might be worth giving your skin a little more attention in the form of a facial massage.
We know what you're thinking: who has the time? But it doesn't have to take forever. Known for her iconic and ultra-relaxing Cleanse Release 10 technique, de Mamiel shared her tips for incorporating a speedy, holistic massage into your skincare routine. It's perfect for drier skin types and it only takes 10 minutes.
"Cleanse Release 10 is basically 10 minutes of cleansing," said de Mamiel. "Simply take your makeup off (R29 recommends using a gentle yet effective makeup remover like Nivea's MicellAir Professional Micellar Water, £5.99) and spend around four minutes massaging your skin with a cleansing balm, such as the Restorative Cleansing Balm, £62." If your skin errs on the dry side but a balm feels a little too heavy, opt for a cream cleanser, like Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, £16.50. It softens thanks to the cocoa butter, soothes with chamomile and works to gently exfoliate away dead skin cells, uncovering fresher, brighter skin. The pure cotton cloth comes in handy for the next step, too.
Once you've massaged in your cleanser for a total of four minutes and really dislodged every scrap of makeup, oil and grime, de Mamiel suggests using warm or hot water to get everything off, then following that with exactly two minutes of cold water, whether you want to press a soaked muslin cloth to your skin or prefer to splash your face with running water. "I've found that the skin shines afterwards," said de Mamiel. "Three days of doing that and you’ll see such a difference. I would then pat the water off, press the Dewy Facial Mist, £52, into skin and apply an elixir, like Intense Nurture Antioxidant, £88, to give skin a hydration boost." If that's out of your budget, The Ordinary's Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, £5.50 and Lumene's Nordic C Valo Glow Boost Essence, £29.90 (which contains vitamin C) are just as effective at staving off the effects of pollution and other environmental aggressors. "Then, simply layer on a seasonal oil (de Mamiel formulates oils for spring, summer, autumn and winter) on top – and that’s all you need," she adds.
The technique is most important, though. "Whenever I put product on I massage it in for a good few minutes because that’s the best way to release tension," continued de Mamiel. "If you go up to the corner of your eyebrows with both of your thumbs, you should find a notch, which is a draining point. There is also a draining point in the middle of our brow. If you spend a few seconds pressing these areas and understanding and knowing your face, it can be so beneficial for draining sinuses, increasing circulation and relieving stress. I recommend not looking in the mirror and just feeling it. Take the time to understand where you’re pressing – when I massage in clinic, I never have my eyes open. Feel the temperature and texture and be fully engaged in what you’re doing."
And the best time to incorporate facial massage into your routine, according to de Mamiel? "Definitely on a Sunday and especially so in the colder months." Great skin all round.