Why You Should Start Massaging Your Face, ASAP

We’re not here to add another thing to your never-ending to-do list, but we do have some news that might inspire you to expand your skin-care regimen. We promise this will be more of a treat than a chore. Just like your body benefits from a solid workout, your facial muscles could use a little exercise, too. Wait, hear us out! This isn't like an additional tedious 30 minutes on the treadmill; simply massaging your face a few times a week can help get your visage in tip-top shape (think: a more defined jawline, plumper cheeks, puff-free eyes). And like hitting the gym, the more you do it, the better the results you see.

When you get a facial and the aesthetician massages your face, it's actually not solely to help you relax (though it sure is nice); those motions are also majorly good for your skin. The motions get the circulation going and can have positive short- and long-term effects, including decongesting oily areas and minimizing the appearance of fine lines.

We reached out to the best of the best to guide us through the face-massage game. Ahead, La Mer global skin-care advisor Joanna Czech — whose clients include Anna Wintour, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, and Penélope Cruz (best of the best, indeed) — explains three massage techniques. Each one works on its own or in conjunction with the others, in the order below. (If you have lots of time to treat yourself, try all three in one sitting!)
Photographed by Erin Yamagata
The Deep-Cleansing Massage
Massaging an oil cleanser (like La Mer's The Cleansing Oil) into your skin — instead of just rubbing it on and immediately rinsing it off — can increase its efficacy by as much as 30%, says Czech. This technique also offers the same results as using an electronic facial brush by helping dissolve oil on the skin — without the risk of breaking capillaries or exacerbating rosacea.

Apply your cleansing oil of choice (or your go-to face oil) onto damp skin and massage with two fingers in circular motions starting on your forehead, moving outward toward your temples, gently around your eyes a few times, and then downward along the nose, cheeks, jawline, neck, and chest. People often don't give proper attention to the skin on their chest, but it's often one of the first places to show signs of aging or sun damage. Czech is famous for saying, “Your face starts with the nipples and ends with the hairline.” So whether you’re massaging or even just cleansing, don’t forget your décolletage!

After you massage your whole face, go back over any trouble spots, like the T-zone and jawline. Then, rinse off the cleansing oil with cool water (to help calm any redness) — if you can't handle the chill, go for lukewarm, but avoid hot. (If you're just using oil, you can skip the rinse.)
Photographed by Erin Yamagata
The Plumping/Contouring/Lifting Massage
Backstage at fashion shows, you’ll often see models getting facial massages before their makeup is applied so their skin will look extra glowy under the lights. This technique can work just as well for you when you're getting ready for a night out. "[It makes] the skin look more plump and even-toned, and it temporarily reduces the appearance of fine lines," explains Czech.

This massage works best when you use a toner or serum (Czech likes La Mer's The Tonic), because those formulas absorb easily into the skin. (Opt for something water-based that doesn’t contain alcohol or acid.) Dab it on a cotton pad, and use a "tap and release" method starting at the inside of your chest (never forget!), working your way out and up to your neck, jawline, and laugh lines. “This movement is lifting and contouring,” says Czech. “When you press, your skin microscopically stretches and when you release, it grasps [the product] easier.”

When you get to your eye area, lift the brow slightly and very gently go around the eye up to the browbone a few times. "The eye [has] the thinnest skin on the body," warns Czech. "It's 400 times thinner than the sole of your foot." At the forehead, go up three times, starting in the middle and working your way out. Then, go horizontally across the lines three times, starting at the brow and working your way up. "You want to plump it up and press along the line," says Czech. "That is how you lift it."

The results will last a few hours, but the effect is cumulative, so the more often you do this massage, the more benefits you'll see. Czech suggests doing it every time you apply toner, but a few times a week and before special occasions is probably a little more realistic.
Photographed by Erin Yamagata
The Ice-Therapy, De-Puffing Massage
If celebrity selfies — or your Sunday rituals — are any proof, sheet masks are a thing. And for good reason: Twenty minutes of looking like a horror-movie villain can leave you feeling shockingly rejuvenated. You can boost that benefit even more with the help of a little something found in your freezer. Running two ice cubes over your sheet mask of choice will lock whatever product is in there into your skin and make the results last longer.

It's super-soothing after a night when you may have had too many drinks or gotten too little sleep (or both). “You can use this day or night, when you are tired, when you are experiencing a lot of redness or puffiness, you might have had an extra drink, maybe you had had too much salty food, or too much sun," says Czech. “It can be used over any mask and could even be used over your [night] cream, just to seal it in."

Simply apply the mask, take a cube in each hand (you can wrap them in gauze or a thin cotton washcloth first to make them less melty and cold), and run them across your forehead, under the eyes, over the apples of the cheeks, under the cheekbones, along the chin, and down your neck. Be sure to work from the nose out to get the best de-puffing results.

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