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How to give yourself a facial massage.


With Katie White


The founder of London skin studio re:lax shares her self-care expertise on relieving tension and stress through facial massage.   

If you thought massages were all about easing knots in your neck and back, think again. Your face holds more tension than you might realise—and massaging it can do everything from reducing wrinkles to boosting your immune system.

“People underestimate how much their facial muscles work,” says Katie White, skin coach, nutritional therapist and founder of London-based skin studio re:lax. “Facial massage encourages microcirculation, healthy skin cell renewal and the production of collagen and elastin, which keeps the skin firm and hydrated.” 

It also encourages lymphatic drainage, which not only ‘depuffs’ the skin, but also removes toxins. It’s a self-care ritual we could all do with right now—whether you do it for just one minute, or more. Here, Katie reveals how to do it yourself. 

Preparation is key: before getting started, make sure you have cleansed skin, clean hands and either an oil or a moisturiser. I like plant-based facial oils, but you could also use sweet almond oil as a cost-effective alternative—just avoid anything synthetic. If you’re using moisturiser, you’ll use a little more as it sinks in quicker. If the massage is for anti-ageing purposes, do it in front of the mirror. For something more relaxing, try it in bed or on the sofa. 

It’s also important to be mindful of pressure. The right amount is different for everyone, so watch out for skin getting hot, prickly, or very red as you don’t want to burst blood vessels. You can apply more force when working with bigger muscles around the jaw, but avoid pressing too hard and using too much friction.  

01. The first and final move:  


Start from the neck and work up to the top of the head. The first technique begins underneath the ear, behind the jawbone. There are a lot of lymph nodes here, so if you feel run down, dehydrated or hungover, this area can feel tender. Create a fist with each hand and use a downwards motion, moving the fist from below the ear towards the collarbone. Come back up and repeat a few times. This is also the move to end the massage with.


02. The chin pinch:   


Press your thumbs and index fingers together into a heart sign. Pop the thumbs underneath the chin and rest the top bits of the ‘heart’ on top of it, pinching the chin. As you pinch, separate the hands and move outwards to the side of the face, running along the jaw. Repeat around 5-10 times. This has a sculpting effect. 


03. Jaw circles:


Time to massage the masseter muscle—the major jaw muscle we use to chew food. If you can’t find it, clench your teeth together and the jaw muscle will pop out. Make sure there’s a bit of space between the top and bottom jaw so you don’t contract a muscle you’re trying to release. Use circular motions to work into the muscle for as long as it feels good.


04. The cheek lift:


Using flat palms, start with your fingertips in the centre of each jawbone and work the heels of your hands up until they are underneath the cheekbone. Try and keep the upward motion light and fast. This lifting move works wonders if you’ve just woken up and want to have more colour in your face.


05. The sinus decongester:


This one is great for decongesting the sinuses and depuffing the area underneath the eyes. Bend your index fingers into little lobster claws, with the tops of your hands facing the ceiling. Place the ‘claws’ underneath either side of the nose and stroke the sides of your fingers out along the cheekbone towards the side of the ears.


06. Forehead spirals:


Create a fist with one hand and use the baby knuckles (just above the fingernails) to do fast, circular motions along the whole of the forehead. Move from side to side in big circles and use light pressure. This move reduces wrinkles on the forehead and in-between the eyebrows.


07. Repeat step one to finish the massage.




Katie White is the founder of London skin studio re:lax. She is also a skin coach, nutritional therapist and holistic therapist.


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