When it comes to beauty, it seems like everyone wants to be a pro — and thanks to YouTube, far-out techniques like contouring and micro-needling seem like a walk in the park to some. That probably explains another market phenomenon we're beginning to see bubble up: facial massagers.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Tatcha's $195 Akari Gold Massager happened upon our desks. At the time we set out to write this story, Sarah Chapman's Skinesis Facialift ($38), a bizarre, slightly terrifying device that kneads your face, sold out on Net-A-Porter. Then, in a slightly different vein, Clarins released a "contouring serum," complete with an instruction manual on how to massage it in to temporarily lift your face.
"I think more and more people are enjoying being able to take the health of their skin into their own hands, quite literally," says Sarah Chapman, a U.K.-based facialist who has long extolled the benefits of massaging, prompting her invention of Facialift. "And, facial massage is unbeatable for aiding skin function, restoring your glow, and waking up a tired, sluggish complexion. It helps oxygenate the skin cells...and helps to break down congestion, which can cause puffiness and breakouts."
Her own device looks like something you might find behind a black curtain at Babeland — a wishbone shape with eight rolling heads and 48 massaging nodules. You hold it perpendicular to your face, and the little knobs simulate kneading, which, in theory, promotes lymphatic drainage and better blood flow. You can use it to, say, help the ingredients of your serum penetrate more deeply into the pores, or to get a really deep detox while you clean. (You can check out how she uses it and get more info on the product below.)
"Studies in the last few years have indicated that facial massage helps to reduce anxiety and increase sympathetic nervous activity, and to boost elasticity and softness of the skin," says Victoria Tsai, the founder of Tatcha. "We originally created our massager as a gift for the beauty lover, so we were totally surprised to see people making it a part of their everyday rituals." In fact, the wand became beloved by Yolanda Mata, a celebrity aesthetician, who started incorporating it into all of her facials.
Mata encouraged Tsai to make the wand longer so that it could cover a larger area of the face, and asked for an enhanced thermal core that would allow the tool to hold its temperature for longer. Now, you can either heat it up or cool it, depending on what kind of massage you're going for (the brand outlines three).
"The key is to always move away from the center of the face, promoting lymphatic drainage, and to always move upward to combat the pull of gravity," Tsai says.
You may not see instant benefits right away — in fact, you may not even notice them in the short-term. But, there's a hidden bonus that comes from using your massager diligently: "It's wonderful to carve out 30 seconds for yourself at the beginning or end of the day," Tsai says.
And, there's really no arguing that a little time to oneself can do wonders for the mind — and the skin, lymphatic drainage or not. In fact, after two cocktails, a bottle of wine, more chicken wings than I'd like to admit, two Advils, and four painfully short hours of sleep, a little massage was (surprisingly) exactly what I needed to restore my face to a normal human color.
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