Have you recently looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “When did gravity happen to my face?” Around the age of 40, many of us start to notice that our eyelids have sagged; our faces look puffy under our eyes or angry around the mouth; or we’ve developed a wattle under our chin.
Many women will run to the plastic surgeon and get surgical facelifts; however, there are many of us who do not want to go that route. We would like to lift, tighten and tone what we already have, reduce wrinkles and have healthy, beautiful skin again.
The men and women who belong to Gen X are beginning to turn 40, and their older counterparts, the baby boomers, are well into middle age and beyond.
Facial massage represents an appealing way to roll back the years, for consumers in favor of holistic, nonsurgical methods.
Face Toning Massage is a stimulating, vigorous, luxurious, safe and effective method of treating the problem of sluggish, aging and environmentally damaged skin.
This method will retrain the client’s facial muscles by firming and lifting them, thereby tightening and toning the skin, especially around the eyes and mouth.
How does it work? Blood circulation is stimulated by massage therapy, which helps the skin cultivate a youthful glow. Additionally, there are many muscles beneath the skin of the face and head. The muscles of the face are subject to repetitive movements—such as frowning or squinting—that deplete the muscles of energy, and then can develop deep creases on the face.
Facial massage is also relaxing, which promotes stress reduction.
The Face Toning Massage that I have been performing and teaching for more than 20 years has resulted in repeat clients every time I give the treatment. My clients have experienced enhanced muscle tone and noticeable improvements to their skin, face and neck with the very first treatment.
After preparing the client’s face for massage by wiping off any makeup with a warm, moist towel and applying lotion, I perform various strokes to the face, eye area, jowls, laugh lines, smile lines, neck and décolletage. After I complete the strokes, I repeat the sequence two more times. This trains and circulates the skin and muscles.
You have to watch your pressure around the eye area, as this skin can be thin. I usually use a two to three pressure on a scale of one to 10, and perhaps lighten to a one to two for women who are past menopause and lack much collagen in the skin. You can overstretch the skin if you use too much pressure or push-and-pull on the skin.
I offer and recommend a series of facial toning massage over six weeks. I take before photos without makeup and then another photo after the six weeks. We re-evaluate the progress—and I tell you truthfully that every client has signed up for another six weeks. They absolutely love how their skin and muscles look after the series. Many of my clients look like they lost five to 10 years off their faces, and are ecstatic.
I offer a one-hour treatment that includes warm, moist towels for the face and neck; and a hand and foot massage that includes warm towels to the feet.
I also offer a 30-minute treatment that focuses just on the facial toning. Many of my clients choose this by purchasing a package of six and receiving a discount.
The good news with regular facial toning massage is you can maintain the tone. The not-so-great news: If you stop the massages, the skin and muscles will forget to stay up and will eventually sag and loosen again.
Face Toning Massage should be a regular massage routine for your clients once a week, or every two weeks, forever.
The Massage Techniques
1. Pec wave: Fingertips gliding back and forth on left pec to right pec, 10 times. Lighten up over sternum.
2. Hand-over-hand neck scoop: One side of the neck at a time, using flats of all fingers, alternately lift up skin at the carotid and take it to the cheek area. Eight times on right, eight times on left (bringing blood up into the face).
3. Chin wave: Thumbs under chin, pull up wattle, without letting go; bring skin up with fingers, pausing at the cheekbone. One loop over cheekbones and continue bringing it up and over the temple, ending at eyebrows. (Loop-di-loop.) Repeat five times.
4. Three-way chin glide: Using middle fingers, on each side of the mouth, lift firmly and quickly upward from chin to outside lip line. Loop-di-loop over cheeks and end at forehead. Repeat five times. Using same motion, fingers move one half-inch out from jaw, lifting upward, ending at the cheekbone. Loop-di-loop, repeating five times. Using the same motion, place fingers at chin, lifting closely past lip line, ending at nostrils. Loop-di-loop, repeating five times.
5. Eye orbit T.P.: Using your index fingers, hold at eye orbit point for five seconds. This will release sinus frontalis; release slowly.
6. Eyebrow stroke: Using middle or index fingers, stroke upward quickly along entire right eyebrow five times and repeat on left. Start at innermost and work out.
7a. Eyelid lift: Using your right middle finger, pull up innermost lid on right eye straight up to eyebrow and trap the skin with your left middle finger. Don’t let go of the lift. Hold for one second and repeat five times.
7b. Repeat from innermost lid, lifting and trapping the skin to center of the eyebrow, holding one second, and repeat five times.
7c. Repeat from innermost lid, lifting and trapping the skin to outermost eyebrow, holding one second and repeat five times. Don’t pull sideways, lifting up, about a 45-degree angle. Repeat all to the left eye.
8. Undereye circling: Using index fingers, under each eye, small loops away from eyes, at bag area from nose to ears, three times. Starting on right undereye (bag area), index fingers chase from bridge of the nose to the ear, three times. Repeat on left. Using index and middle fingers, double finger loops (bag area) from bridge of the nose to the ears (both sides at once) three times.
9. Jaw/jowl flick: Starting at the chin, using your index and middle fingers under the jaw and thumbs on top of jawbone. Pinch and follow along the jaw line quickly, flicking upward at the end of the jawbone. Repeat five times.
10. Repeat hand-over-hand neck scoop: Start on right eight times and repeat on left eight times. (Bring more blood up into the face.)
11. Sideways and up-cheek flick: Using middle fingers, brisk side-to-side movement (nose to ears, ears to nose) to right cheek, alternating hands. Moving quickly, do at least 20 times. Using same middle fingers, change direction to upward flicks at the cheekbones, moving quickly, at least 20 times. Repeat both moves on left cheek.
12. Figure 8: Using index and middle fingers on both hands. Start at center forehead, fingertips together and move very lightly down the sides of the nose, past the lip corners and circling under chin, firmly pulling upward from the wattle, along the cheeks and returning to forehead. Do a continuous movement, repeating five times.
13. Eye circling: Using middle fingers, starting at innermost brow line on right eye, circle outside eye orbit in clockwise manner, returning to innermost brow line. Repeat circles on left eye orbit and go counterclockwise, returning to innermost brow line. Alternate right and left six times.
14. Forehead crisscross: Using middle fingers on both hands. Start at center of forehead, just above the eyebrows. Crisscross your fingers tightly together, moving up to the hairline. Crisscross in two places above the right eyebrow, do center again, and two more above the right eyebrow.
15. Pac-Man: Using the middle finger and thumb of left hand to pinch open and close the right cheek area, feed cheek skin to the open fingers with right middle finger into Pac-Man’s mouth. “Chomp” your way three times across the cheek to the ears. Do five times. Change hands and move to left cheek and repeat five times.
16. Scissors squeeze: Using index and middle fingers of both hands, squeeze and pluck up the cheeks between your fingers at the same time. Repeat five times.
17. Around the world: Using the flats of all fingertips, start at the chin, alternating your hands, and pull upward at the side of the face going clockwise. (Your hands are chasing each other.) Use very light pressure on the way down, firmly on the way up. Repeat five times and then trace the face counterclockwise, five times.
18. Forehead lift: Using alternating palms of your hands, lift the forehead skin up, starting above the eyebrows and ending at the hairline. Repeat eight times.
19. Under-chin scoop: Using the middle and ring fingers of your alternating hands, quickly scoop and lift wattle outward, repeating eight times.
20. Cheek snap: Using the middle fingers on each side, alternate your hands, plucking up from jawbone, ending at cheekbone. Repeat eight times.
21. Finish with a smoothing stroke.
22. Repeat entire massage sequence two more times. This should be the end of the first 30 minutes.
About the Author
Kelly Lott, L.M.T., M.T.I., C.I.M.I., is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved continuing education provider. She has been a nationwide certified massage therapy instructor for 19 years and massage therapist for 25 years specializing in holistic treatments for migraines and headaches, and Face Toning and prenatal massage. She was inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in 2016 at the World Massage Festival.