Everyone I know is busy. All the time. With persistent, low level stress basically an intractable part of modern life at this point, it’s important to develop strategies to unwind. Self-care means different things to different people. For those who find solace and joy in all things beauty, these tips on how to give yourself a facial massage may well be of assistance.
Growing up a tomboy, I was low-key very sceptical about spas: facials, massages, manicures just left me… meh. Of course, I’d never actually been to a spa or had so much as a hand massage, but that didn’t stop 8-year-old me from having opinions. Needless to say, I’ve done a total 180. I was lucky enough to try a lot of beauty treatments in my previous job and quickly learned what I like: efficient, results driven, and stress-relieving. I recently tried The Ned’s Urban Warrior Facial by skincare wizard Annee de Mamiel, and let me tell you, this is one of the goodies.
The treatment prioritises relieving tension and fixing the impact of pollution. “Facial tension is usually a sign of physical or emotional stress we are holding,” Annee De Mamiel tells me over email. “This can result in physical symptoms such as things like headache, TMJ problems, neck stiffness and issues.” Sound familiar? Same. Then there’s the side effects of pollution to consider; namely, inflammation. De Mamiel explains:
“Inflammation is a defence mechanism in the body. When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it. The issue with modern day life is chronic inflammation. An example of this is pollution, which we are constantly exposed to, but triggers the same inflammatory response as a bacterial infection.”
As well as putting your skin through the ringer, “chronic inflammation can also increase sensitivity, irritation, dehydration, acne breakouts and pigmentation.” Not ideal, but this is where a good facial massage comes in.
“Facial massage increases microcirculation, feeding the skin, increasing the delivery of blood and oxygen and the nutrients in the blood to the skin. It will also help drain away the built up fluid and lymph which creates puffiness. Depending on the massage it can also break down the build up of acids with in the muscles.”
After trying de Mamiel’s treatment at The Ned, I left with my skin glowing brighter than the North Star. I also felt like I’d got the relaxation and tension relief of a massage, which is a nice added bonus. While there’s no comparison to getting the treatment IRL — The Ned’s Cowshed Club Spa, where the treatment takes place, is refreshingly unstuffy and fun — you can give yourself a facial massage at home. I asked Annee de Mamiel how, and her words of wisdom don’t disappoint.
“Always begin with the breath. A lot of tension build up comes from stress and the breath can engage the parasympathetic nervous system and begin to slow things down. Begin to know you skin and muscles, taking time to feel them.”
“Add Smooth Restorative Cleansing Balm over cleansed face, neck and décolletage. Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and take a centring breath. Begin releasing the day’s stressors with a deep exhalation.”
“Begin by crossing wrists and reaching behind the opposite ears (so your right hand is behind the left ear, and left hand is behind the right ear). With the full length of your fingers, stroke down to the collarbone with a deep pressure. Repeat 3 times.
“Turn your head to the right. Beginning with your right hand, reach across to the opposite collarbone and using your whole hand, sweep upward from the décolletage to the jaw, alternating hands 2-3 times on the same side until the neck is covered. Repeat on other side.”
“With your hands in prayer position, place the finger tips of the index finger below the jaw and the middle finger above the jaw, cradling the chin. Begin by moving your fingers outwards and upwards, using the jaw as a guide.
“Continuing the movement, the middle finger goes in front of the ear up to the temple, and the index finger and thumb move behind the ear, finishing the movement with a downward sweep to the collarbone. Repeat 3 times.”
“Using the pads of your three middle fingers, start at the centre of the chin and jawline with firm circular movements, working the whole cheek area: first, centre of chin to bottom of ear, along jaw. Next, corner of mouth to middle of ear. Finally, corner of nose to top of ear. To finish, sweep downward to collarbone. Repeat 3 times. Then use your knuckles to gently knead all over the masseter (big muscle of the jaw).”
“Place hands on either side of the nose in prayer position. Sweep firmly upward, then along the brow bone in one continuous stroke, moving outward and then under the eye, back towards the nose. Repeat 3 times.
“Then sweep under the eye from nose to temple and downward along the inside of the ear to the collarbone. Repeat 3 times.”
“Using the pads of your three middle fingers, with both hands begin at the centre in between the eyebrows. Make zig zag movements over the forehead, moving toward the temples. Finish with a downward sweep in front of the ears to the collarbone. Repeat 3 times.”
“Stroke hands firmly down into your décolletage with a flat hand. Cup your hands and cover your nose for a deep breath. Soak a cloth with warm water and gently remove the cleansing balm. Pause, breathe, see and feel the difference.”