What’s the Deal With Face Slapping During Facials?

January 13, 2020
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | skincare.com by L'Oréal
What’s the Deal With Face Slapping During Facials?

As the saying goes: pain is beauty. But high heels and eyebrow waxing aside, is the phrase really all that literal? It turns out that there may be some truth to the tale. Allow us to explain. Some estheticians practice what’s known as a face-slapping technique, wherein they literally slap your face in quick motions to purportedly get blood flowing and amp up circulation. That being said, the debatably painful treatment isn’t used by practitioners across the board. In fact, lymphatic drainage, which is a gentle type of facial massage, is wildly popular in practice and could offer similar results. To get the low-down on facial massages, we turned to celebrity esthetician and author of Glow From Within, Joanna Vargas. Ahead, she shares everything you need to know about facial manipulation. 

What Is a Face-Slapping Massage? 

Face slapping is essentially an intense facial massage that is designed to activate the muscles in the face and increase oxygenation and circulation. “It’s a long-standing practice,” says Vargas. “If you give an invigorating massage to a client in the face, not only are you activating all of those healthy functions but the end results will have the skin looking tighter, more plump and rosier.” The fast-paced motion also works if you hold on to tension in your neck or shoulders, this technique can help the blood flow and provide a youthful-looking glow. 

What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? 

Face slapping isn’t the only option if you’re looking to boost circulation, oxygenation and nutrients, though. Lymphatic drainage, Vargas’ specialty, is an effective, very gentle, facial massage that focuses on a manipulation of the lymph, which is a fluid in the body that drains through the lymphatic system. “Lymphatic drainage massage is like trying to swim without having the water make waves — it’s a very gentle, across the surface of the skin technique that mimics the way the lymph pulsates through the vessels and lymph nodes,” says Vargas. She explains that this type of pulsating massage helps drain toxins, or old lymph, and bring in nutrients, via fresh lymph. As a result, the face will look more angular, contoured, de-puffed and healthier. Post-massage, clients will notice a difference right away, which is why the massage has become so popular on Instagram. That being said, continued treatments are critical for long-term results. 

Can You Practice Facial Massages at Home? 

The answer? You can and you should. Vargas says it’s helpful to get the blood and circulation flowing before hitting the pillow. “You want to do what you can to encourage the repair cycle before you go to sleep,” she adds. Vargas is a fan of using jade rollers and gua sha to release tension, but if you don’t have skin-care tools at-the-ready, your hands will work just as well. “If you feel like your skin is dry or dull or lifeless, you can do upward hand-over-hand massages on the neck, cheeks and forehead to bring fresh lymph and oxygenate the skin.” If under-eye puffiness is more your concern, she recommends massaging the area in outward circles from the inside corner toward the outside corner of the eye contour. 

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