A massage is always the best part about a facial, when the esthetician slowly glides fingers across your face, pausing and pressing down at pressure points.
Sometimes the best beauty secrets are the simplest ones – and even the oldest ones. Elegant jade rollers date back to seventh-century China and are having a moment of rediscovery right now. At the beginning of this year, Val Garland, renowned makeup artist, British Vogue contributing beauty editor and L’Oreal Paris Global Makeup Director posted a video on her Instagram feed (@thevalgarland) showing a model getting “rolled” while in the makeup chair.
These rollers (like Herbivore Botanical’s Jade Facial Roller) are hand-held facial massagers consisting of an oblong solid jade stone, about one to two inches in width, attached to a handle much like a paint roller, allowing the stone to freely roll across the top of the face. Some versions – including the one featured in Garland’s video – have replaced jade with 24k gold. Others have taken it even further by introducing a textured surface to amplify the massaging action.
And it really is all about the massage. It’s always the best part about a facial, when the esthetician slowly glides fingers across your face, pausing and pressing down at pressure points. It not only brings the rosy glow back to your cheeks, but it also has longer lasting benefits like increasing circulation, releasing tension, and even helping products to absorb deeper into the skin.
It’s a simple act, but one we routinely neglect – which is probably why the jade roller has found popularity with a whole new generation of beauty lovers discovering this tool and technique for the first time. And while there are many variations on the facial massager, the general guidelines remain the same regardless of how expensive or high-tech your gadget might be.
Always begin by thoroughly cleansing the skin first. If you haven’t exfoliated in a while, this is the time to do it. Follow your usual skincare routine (toner, essence, serum, etc.) but make sure whatever you use as the “base” for your massage has good slip. A facial oil is ideal – just like a massage therapist uses oil to massage your body – since you don’t want any friction or tugging during the facial treatment.
Always use gentle strokes with soft pressure. Let the device do the work. Start at the base of the neck, working in outward, sweeping motions, gradually moving upwards to the face. Use the same directional motions here, following the contours of the face. Visualize all those excess fluids and toxins flushing away and rely on your intuition when maneuvering around your face. Overall, it should feel pleasurable and relaxing. You might find some sweet spots, especially if you haven’t had a facial massage in a long time and it’s fine to linger on those areas but if anything hurts, you’re using too much pressure.
Of course, there are plenty of facial oils on the market to choose from. Some personal favourites include the incredibly inexpensive yet effective 100% Organic Cold-pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil by The Ordinary, as well as Clarins’ Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil and Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil. But other products are starting to capitalize on the facial massage trend and are combining product and tool.
Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Lift and Firm Sculpting Gel comes with a roller applicator. Squeeze the tube to dispense a small amount of gel and roll the product over the face. The roller is metal, which feels amazingly cooling especially under morning puffy eyes. I like to do half a face at a time, partly to allow the roller to cool between uses and partly to admire the side-by-side comparison. While I’m generally a big fan of Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide products including this one, it must be noted that massage alone can’t lift or firm (this would require a microcurrent tool or surgery). However, it does absolutely de-puff and bring out contours, giving the appearance of lifting and firming, even if temporarily.
While many would argue that the simple roller can’t be improved upon for delivering an effective facial massage, Clarisonic would not be one of them. They’ve taken this simple, manual device and added their own brand of ultrasonic vibrations to bring this tool firmly into the 21st century. Their Uplift Firming Massage Head is a three-pronged detachable head that fits onto their smart profile device. The shape actually hugs most contours of the face extremely well, even navigating the nose and eye socket areas deftly, despite the device’s larger size.
Because the Clarisonic vibrates rather than rolls, it’s particularly vital to use a slippy, oily product here in order to glide over the skin. However, I also did use this device with face masks – lightly tapping the device in tiny advancements – to help the products better absorb into my skin. The vibrations were extremely effective in this application as well.
Ultimately, the goal is to boost circulation and flush out excess fluids so your face looks brighter and healthier. Don’t forget that your fingers are probably still the best tools for this. Even if you use a roller or Clarisonic, finish off with your fingers – nothing beats skin on skin.
Photos: Herbivore Botanicals Jade Facial Roller, courtesy of products featured