Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Facial Massages

If you’ve ever seen videos of people vigorously kneading their cheeks and jade-rolling their faces and wondered what the heck they’re doing, you’re in the right place. Consider this your crash course in facial massages: what they are, what they do and how to give yourself the ultimate treatment at home.

Facial Massages Feel Great, but Do They Actually Work?

woman giving herself a jawline facial massage
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What Is A Facial Massage, And Are There Actual Benefits?

Facial massages are exactly what they sound like: the act of massaging your face. Whether you’re only using your hands or getting help from a tool (e.g., a jade roller), the benefits include increased circulation, decreased puffiness, a more lifted visage and the melting away of any tension in your face.

Pros recommend doing it two to three times a week, and advise that you always start by smoothing on a few drops of facial oil or serum first so you don’t drag or tug at your skin.

woman doing facial massage
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How To Try It At Home

To give yourself a facial massage, use your thumb and index finger to gently pinch your eyebrows from inner to outer corners. Repeat five times. Then, take your index and middle fingers and rub them over your temples in a circular motion for a few seconds to release any tension. Next, using those same fingers, gently sweep them under your eyes, toward the center of your face, and then up and over your brows to create a circular shape. Repeat five times. And finally, glide your fingertips from your temples down the sides of your face and neck to push any accumulated fluids away. For extra-puffy days, take your knuckles and sweep them across your cheeks from your nose to your ears. 

woman giving herself an eye facial massage
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How To Target Specific Areas Of Your Face

And if you’re pressed for time and just need to troubleshoot certain areas, here are four easy facial-massage techniques broken down by each major region of your face.

-To Depuff Your Eyes:
Take your ring fingers and gently press and roll them along your brow bone from the inner to outer corners using a light (and we do mean light!) pressure; repeat under your eyes.

-To Smooth Your Forehead: Using your index and middle fingers, firmly press them between your brows and slide them up your forehead until you reach your hairline. Work your way outward until you’ve covered your entire forehead, and repeat as needed. (Tip: When you feel really congested, press and hold the area between your brows for a few extra seconds.)

-To Define Your Jawline: Make a peace sign with both hands and bend your fingers over to create "air quotes." Starting at your chin, cradle your jaw between your fingers on either side and slowly draw them up toward your ears in a sweeping motion.

-To Sculpt Your Cheekbones: Repeat the same movements you did for your jawline—just position your fingers underneath your cheekbones. Finish by lightly pinching the apples of your cheeks for a quick boost of circulation.

woman using jade roller for facial massage

How To Use A Jade Roller

Practiced for centuries, this East Asian skin-care tradition is believed to have healing properties (through the jade stone itself), while also promoting circulation to reduce puffiness and help serums better absorb into your skin.

Before you get started, we’d recommend popping your jade roller in the freezer for a few hours (this will augment the de-puffing benefits). After cleansing and applying any moisturizers, you’re ready to roll. Using a gentle pressure, roll the larger end in an upward motion along your cheeks, jawline and forehead. Then, flip the roller and use the smaller end to reach the areas underneath and above your eyes as well as the patch of skin between your eyebrows. 

woman doing gua sha facial massage

A Quick Guide To Gua Sha

Pronounced gwa sha, this treatment involves scraping a flat jade or rose quartz stone over the skin in firm strokes to relax stiff muscles and promote tissue drainage. The most important note for Gua Sha? Always start at the back and sides of your neck and end at your forehead into your scalp. This way, you’re creating a clear path for the fluids in your face to drain.

And if you’re wondering why someone would choose this over jade rolling, we’d say it’s personal preference—both are effective. We’ve just found better control with Gua Sha because of the way the tool fits in our hand. 

woman getting buccal facial massage

And If You're Ready For A Next-level Facial Massage

Consider a buccal treatment (à la Meghan Markle), which is definitely the most intense form of facial massage we’ve ever tried. Rather than simply addressing your skin from the outside like any other treatment, buccal involves massaging from inside your mouth, out—focusing on your cheeks, lips and jaw—to release tension and fluids from your face. Truthfully, it takes some adjusting to (we liken it to how a deep tissue or Shiatsu massage feels—a little uncomfortable at times), but the afterglow and immediate lift speak for themselves. 

Our parting words of advice? A little facial massage goes a long way.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...