If you were to ask us one key piece of beauty advice, we would probably answer: massage your face. Once upon a time, we had a friend who was terrified to touch her face, in case she wrinkled it. Yet the opposite is more true: massaging your face – getting the lymph flowing and the circulation moving – is incredibly good for skin, delivering nutrients, boosting radiance and de-puffing, as the lymph drains away. It’s also fantastically de-stressing, especially massaging the cheek and jaw area where a lot of us unwittingly store tension. (Do an instant check: are your jaws clenched together, as you read this? If so, simply press along the jaw-line right now to remove some of that stress.)
Our wunderfacialist/acupuncturist friend Annee de Mamiel – whose oils we adore (and who is of course a ‘Friend of VH’, too) – shared this massage with us. It truly works wonders. But don’t wait till you look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘who’s that knackered-looking creature?’, before trying it. We also use the facial massage techniques below when we’re removing make-up or applying moisturiser, as well as when when we’re applying facial oils. Because the anti-ageing secret to looking smoother and glowier isn’t necessarily in a jar – it’s at your fingertips.
• Smooth your favourite facial oil over entire face and neck.
• Cup hands over nose and mouth, breath in and out deeply.
• Tug your earlobes with thumb and index finger. Then with fingertips, use firm, circular movements to massage from behind ears to base of neck.
• From the point of your chin, work up and outwards along the jaw to your ear; then from corners of mouth over the cheeks to ear, with circular movements; then from base of nose to top of ear. Repeat the whole sequence three times.
• Sweep your fingertips firmly over your eye brows, then under, then gently pinch along them. Repeat twice.
• Pressing firmly with your middle fingers, circle the eyes beginning above the inner corners and working outwards. Repeat three times.
• From the centre of your forehead, just above the nose, zigzag middle fingers in small, firm motions out to the temples; repeat working up the forehead.
• With the side of your index finger (held vertically), smooth skin from centre of face outwards, beginning with your forehead, then sides of nose, middle of mouth and centre of chin.
• Finish by breathing deeply, hands cupped over mouth and nose.
AND SOME QUICK FIXES…
Eyes looking droopy? Pinching along the brows ‘lifts’ the appearance of brows (and also eliminates tension).
Massage away eye-bags. We like to use a silver teaspoon (chilled is even better), stroking from the nose outwards. (Do it the wrong way round – i.e. inwards – and it can make eye bags even worse.)
Pat away puffiness. Woken up looking all pouch-y? Go for light tapping motions all over the face, to stimulate the lymphatic system which lies just under the skin’s surface, and is what helps drain away fluid. Work outwards towards the ears, where the major lymph nodes are located, to flush it all away.
AND OUR FAVOURITE OILS… Using a product you simply love will have you looking forward to your nightly facial massage. We’d be hard-pressed to choose between Annee de Mamiel Spring Facial Oil, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Repair Night Oil and Aromatherapy Associates Nourishing Face Oil – all divinely-scented, turbo-charging the pleasure in this ritual, which is literally the cornerstone of our own skincare rituals.