All of Your Questions About the Trending ‘Facial Massage’ Answered

We’ve seen it everywhere on social media: dramatic facial transformations via exercise or massage. The online beauty community is currently buzzing with claims that you too can achieve your dream face simply by completing at-home routines. Does it work?
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Written by Samantha Stone
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All of Your Questions About the Trending ‘Facial Massage’ AnsweredTrinh Georg | Gloweva

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that chasing the fountain of youth isn’t for the faint of heart — Botox and dermal fillers come with needles, chemical peels and lasers come with redness and swelling, and facelifts come with significant recovery and downtime. These treatments are all tried-and-true, but they require commitment, time, and, not to mention, significant investment. But, lately, we’ve been seeing a natural Botox substitute all over our FYP that has us totally intrigued. With TikTok creators swearing by facial massage and showing off their wrinkle-free foreheads and sculpted faces to prove it, we can’t stop wondering if it’s the long-awaited answer to our prayers. To get to the bottom line, we tapped into our expert network including Santa Monica based Board-Certified Dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban, MD and Trinh Georg, the founder of Gloweva, who has amassed over 700k followers on social media with her facial exercise tutorials. Read below to find out if we should be saying “namaste” to face yoga.

What is Facial Massage?

If you thought a ‘facial massage’ was a cross between a facial and a massage, you’re not alone. While a facial massage can be relaxing and does improve the skin, its main goals are to improve face shape and combat aging. Depending on the technique, some prefer to massage with fingers while others swear by using a handheld tool, like a gua sha. In addition to the massage, a lot of people will couple the treatment with facial exercises (aka ‘facercise’) as another organic way to help lift and sculpt the face and neck.

Benefits of Facial Exercise

Facial massage offers several benefits:

  • Improved circulation and oxygenation: moves nutrition into the skin cells and temporarily reduces inflammation and puffiness while giving a fresh glow

  • Lymphatic drainage: moves toxins through the system, which can give an instant contour

  • Relaxation of facial muscles: reduce tension and stress lines

  • Stimulate collagen production: produces firmer, more youthful-looking skin

Popular types of Facial Massage + Exercise:

  • Buccal facial: A buccal massage is a sculpting technique that is performed by massaging the muscles inside the mouth with the fingers. Buccal massage involves pressure points to stimulate muscles and ligaments between cheeks and jowl area to release ligaments and stimulate muscles, says Dr. Ava Shamban, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Santa Monica, CA.

  • Gua sha: Unlike most facial exercises which rely on the hands and fingers, gua sha uses a heart-shaped stone tool that stems from traditional Chinese medicine. Dr. Shamban says that using the smooth, contoured stone in a rhythmic scraping motion is more effective in drainage circulation.

  • Facial yoga: This practice includes a set of facial exercises and stretches to counteract the effects of aging. Natural beauty influencer, Trinh Georg says that by focusing on proper form and engaging the targeted facial muscles with intention, you can effectively build strength and tone, resulting in noticeable improvements in facial appearance and overall wellness.

  • Face tape: Applying face tape each night is supposed to help lift sagging skin, increase circulation, and release muscle tension.

When it comes to deciding what type of facial massage and exercises are best for you, it depends on your goals combined with a bit of trial and error. For example, Georg says you can massage along the jawline to reduce tension and define it or you can massage around the eyes, in moderation, to reduce puffiness and dark circles.

Getting Started with Facial Massage

For those looking to get started with facial massage, Trinh recommends focusing on gentle, upward strokes using your fingertips, a gua sha, or a facial roller to release muscle tension and promote lymphatic drainage. Start from the center of your face and work outward, paying extra attention to areas of concern such as the jawline, cheeks, forehead, and neck. This will help reduce facial puffiness and promote a more sculpted appearance.

“Anyone can benefit from facial massage, but it's particularly beneficial for those looking to reduce signs of aging, improve skin tone and texture, or alleviate tension in the facial muscles,” says Trinh.

But, remember that consistency is key. “If you stop doing facial massage, you may notice a gradual decrease in the benefits you've gained. It's best to maintain a consistent routine to sustain the results you've achieved,” Trinh advises. Luckily, she says you can still get results even if you practice just a few minutes each day. Depending on the person, you can see noticeable improvements in skin tone and texture as early as two weeks.

Our Take

Katie, Director of Operations

I have been a believer and user of gua sha for some time now and find it tremendously effective for keeping my face feeling slim. While the overall presentation of my face is dependent on multiple factors; what I’m eating that week, how much I’m working out, and how many days I’m doing the facial massage, I still see it as worthwhile and an integral part of my routine. I tend to suffer from fluctuations in cheek volume, especially when I’m not feeling the healthiest and it is a major insecurity. Since starting a gua sha routine a few years back I have generally been able to keep my facial puffiness at bay which makes me a big advocate!

The facial exercises demonstrated by Trinh are completely new to me and I’m hoping they work – look at her cheekbones! Who knew it was possible to achieve that without filler? Initially, I found it difficult to target/move the specific muscles in my face necessary to do the “workout” (I’m primarily working on lip & marionette lines) but practicing these exercises each day is getting easier. It’s also something that is accessible while doing other things throughout the day. I haven’t seen major changes yet, I think it’s still too soon, but I’m committed to trying for the next few months and am enjoying the results in my face so far!

Alisha, Sales Director

After just three days of facial massage, I noticed a significant reduction in inflammation and puffiness in my face. While longer-term practice is necessary to achieve toning benefits, I already observed a subtle lift in my cheeks and jowls.

Sam, Writer, The AEDITION

Over the past few days, I focused specifically on Trinh’s exercises that targeted the forehead. Recently, I’ve noticed I’ve been developing some fine lines, so I was really excited to incorporate some of Trinh’s techniques as a proactive measure. After just five minutes of massage, I noticed my forehead already looked smoother. The effects seem to be short-term for now, but I’m excited to see even more improvement as I dedicate more time.

The Bottom Line: Does Facial Massage Work?

We’re happy to report that TikTok didn’t let us down: facial massage does, in fact, work! That being said, facial massage does have its limitations; it’s not a medical aesthetic procedure, after all.

With facial massage and exercise, you can expect to improve skin tone and contour, but the effects will be more temporary than a professional treatment. “They are more of the moment temporary improvements; they do not offer any cellular changes nor do they slow down mother nature,” Dr. Shamban tells us.

The most important factor to preserving a youthful-looking appearance is proper sun protection and, as Dr. Shamban says, taking steps along the way to promote collagen and elastin (aka ‘prejevnation’). These are going to be the biggest differentiators in changing the trajectory of how we age!

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SAMANTHA STONEis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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