Our faces reflect many things: years of stress, stored emotions, habitual expressions, and muscular tension. Collectively, these can leave their mark. Although there are over 50 muscles in the face, most of these don’t get used and therefore atrophy–so it’s no wonder that our faces begin to sag over time.
While the cosmetic surgery industry continues to advertise the fix-it-quick solutions with Botox, collagen injections, or fillers, European women have been privy to other natural remedies, including the uplifting facial–a natural technique that improves skin and muscle tone–without expensive injections or going under the knife.
Mariona Vilanova, founder of Therapeutic Beauty Treatments (which has three locations in Spain), has been providing European beauties with uplifting facials for more than six years. While she customizes her treatments depending on each client’s age and skin type, in general, she combines many techniques of the ancient Japanese massage (also called Kenkou or Kobido) with facial reflexology (Dien Chan) and Facial Shiatsu. The lymphatic drainage process completes the massage, which stimulates muscle circulation, rejuvenates cells, removes toxins, and reduces or eliminates the retention of liquids (which can contribute to bags under the eyes and a double chin).
Often, Mariona also mixes in crystal healing, aromatherapy, music/or sounds, as well as organic products that let the skin breathe, such as her preferred line, Le Pure (all of the products in this line are vegan and cruelty-free).
After an uplifting facial, you can expect firmer skin tone, enhanced definition in the face, and boosted circulation (read: glow!) for an overall radiant and dewy look. You will also likely feel re-energized and relaxed.
If you are thinking that this is only a treatment for women who have already begun to notice sagging skin, think again. The uplifting facial is beneficial for both men and women, and even those as young as 25 will benefit from this natural, non-invasive anti-aging treatment.
For maximum results, it’s best to commit to a regular massage routine–the effects are cumulative (plus, you deserve it!). In addition to improved facial muscle tone, massage promotes more efficient product absorption, and the enhanced blood circulation means more effective nutrient delivery to the skin. In other words, regular massage helps your skin look better by treating it from the inside and outside. Mariona recommends one session a week for 8-9 consecutive weeks and then maintaining a session once every three weeks after that.
Of course, not all of us have abundant access to our local facialist, so she offers these tips to try at home:
- Work the skin from the center of the face outwards; then, massage upwards along the jaw line, up and under the cheek bone area, and along the upper lip line.
- For lymphatic drainage: start with small circular motions using the fingertips, working from the center of the face outwards and upwards, and drawing the thumbs down the sides of the neck and under the ears to stimulate the lymphatic system. Then, use deeper massage movements for drainage and also to de-puff, de-stress, and relax the muscles.
Additional self-massage tips include:
- Always work with clean hands and a clean face.
- Never massage skin that’s injured or actively breaking out.
- Apply firm but gentle pressure.
- Never pull or drag skin–especially in a downward motion–this has the opposite effect of what we’re going for!
- If you have uncontrolled hypertension, check with your doctor before performing self-massage.
You can also combine your DIY uplifting facial massage with an organic, non-comedogenic facial oil. For an aromatherapeutic experience, add a few drops of a skin-safe essential oil. (Pure chamomile is a great choice for reducing inflammation!) Just be sure to follow these tips for essential oil safety.
Have you tried this amazing Spanish beauty secret?
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Photo: Mariona Vilanova, Mary Hood Luttrell