Give your face a treat
Times newspaper Fashion Editor, Anna Murphy, moves in a world where women with frozen, stretched, artificially plumped-up faces are far from unusual. A world where, in her words in a recent feature in the Times magazine, there are a growing number of faces “that bear little relation to their original incarnation.”
Determined not to follow their example, Anna has been seeing a number of skin and facial experts and using an ancient Chinese facial self-massage technique called Gua Sha.
I was intrigued and to find out more, I visited the website of the practitioner she consulted, Katie Brindle. Reading how this simple technique stimulates the dermis to support collagen and elastin production and releases tension to relax facial muscles, and how it has been shown in studies to increase circulation and aid lymphatic flow, release congestion and soothe sore eyes and skin, resulting in a brighter, healthier, radiant complexion, I decided to give it a go.
The massage requires the use of what Katie calls the Hayo’u Beauty RestorerTM . A piece of shaped jade which has restorative, cooling properties, and which has been used in Chinese facial massage for thousands of years.
The procedure for using the jade massage tool couldn’t be more simple, or quick. The whole technique takes just over a minute to do. So it’s easy to fit it into your daily routine - either first thing in the morning or, as I do, just before bed.
First you apply a small amount of facial oil - Katie sells a one on the site which mixes camellia and palmarosa oils, infused with lotus flower, lemongrass and frankincense. I’ve used that and another, different one I already had, when it ran out.
You can start by pressing and holding the jade on and beneath the eyes, or over any areas you feel are tense or inflamed.
The massage itself involves sweeping the curved edge of the jade tool, first across your forehead, eight times in on each side
Then, continuing to use the curved edge of the tool, sweep it under the eye, from the nose out, eight times each side.
Next do the same along the cheek, from the edge of the mouth to the tip of the ear.
As you’re doing this, you’ll notice the skin where you sweep will turn red. This is the blood being brought to the surface, and key to the effectiveness of the ritual. The redness dies down in seconds.
Next use the heart-shaped top of the tool along your jaw line, sweeping it, yes, you’ve guessed, eight times each side from your chin to your ear lobe
And then, finally, using the curved edge again, sweep down your neck from your jaw eight times each side.
The last part of the ritual uses acupressure points believed to nourish your skin and complexion. Using the curved ends of the tool, press and rotate slowly on your forehead between your eyes, just under your eyebrows, below the centre of each eye, at the base of the nose on each side and in the centre of the chin.
And that’s it. You can see the whole thing in action in the video on Katie’s site
I’ve been using the technique every night for the past eight weeks or so, and although I wouldn’t say it’s transformed my skin, several people have commented how well I and my skin look, so I’m happy to give the routine some of the credit for that. I’m certainly going to keep going with it for the moment.
Anything that helps me make the best of myself as I age, doesn’t take much time or cost, and doesn’t involved any needles or facial freezing, is worth it in my book.
Do you have a beauty ritual that you swear by?
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