I Tried a Virtual Face Massage...and the Results Were Actually Pretty Great

virtual facial new hero
Jenny Jin for PureWow/Twenty20

Once upon a time, long, long ago, at the start of stay-at-home orders, I wrote about what self-care means during a quarantine. (Tl;dr It had nothing to do with CBD bath bombs or sheet masking.)

That was then, this is now.

Three months have passed and so much has happened in that time...and yet, so much else has remained exactly the same. Namely, my surroundings. I am still home. Still sitting at the same makeshift desk in my kitchen. You would be correct in assuming that my “desk” is my kitchen table.

As we’ve entered phase 100 of quarantine, I have found myself searching for new ways to self-soothe at home. Which is how, on one recent afternoon, I found myself face-to-phone with Yolanda Mata (aka Yoliglo, a beloved aesthetician to beauty community and brand ambassador for Tatcha). She was going to walk me through a virtual facial.

Truthfully, I didn’t have very high expectations to start. The best part about getting a facial is being able to lie back and get pampered, right? So the idea of just being coached through the steps didn’t sound all that relaxing to me. Alas, it’s not like I had any plans (lol) and I was, at the very least, excited to connect with Yoli.

Our FaceTime facial started with the usual exchange of pleasantries, which pretty much boils down to, “2020 has been crazy, right?”

Cue awkward laughter. Begin virtual facial.

“What would you like to focus on today?” she asked.

“Everything feels tense and my eyes are strained from staring at screens all day,” I replied. “Also, my face is pretty puffy right now.” (Or always.)

She nodded and instructed me to take three deep inhales with her. We breathed slowly together before prepping our skin with a generous coat of face oil.

Next, she had me gather my hands into fists. Using a gentle sweeping motion, we moved our knuckles across our foreheads a few times, left to right, right to left, before sliding them down the sides of our faces and neck, ending at the clavicle.

“This will help with lymphatic drainage,” she explained as we repeated this several more times.

Then, she told me to take my middle and ring fingers and press them gently underneath my eyes, moving from the inside, out. We pressed in unison for a minute or two before transitioning to a vigorous round of sweeping our fingertips above and underneath our eyes. If you're having trouble visualizing this move, picture John Travolta's famous dance scene in Pulp Fiction.

Next, it was time to work on the tension around the jawline. Taking our middle and ring fingers again, we massaged the sides of our faces, focusing on the area that’s directly adjacent to the lower earlobes (where your jaw unclenches). We continued massaging this area using small circular motions.

The highlight of the whole thing was when she told me to make a claw with my pointer and middle fingers. (To do this, make a peace sign and bend your fingertips as if you’re mid-air quote.) Now place your finger claws against your face so that the middle finger lies flush against your under-eyes and the pointer finger hits the fleshy part of your cheeks. Glide them outward, applying even pressure.

“I could do this forever,” I told her, so we take some extra time here.

After a few blissful minutes, we ended our FaceTime facial with another round of deep breaths. I was surprised by how relaxed I felt immediately afterward. I also noticed my puffiness had gone down considerably and the glow, which I admit could partially be attributed to the slick of oil on my face, was undeniable. Most notably, I was calmer and less clenched.

I realize in that moment just how nice it is to take a break and have a virtual call with someone that involves no other goal or agenda than to simply unwind together. It doesn’t replace the feeling of getting a facial in person, just as my weekly Zooms don’t replace actually seeing my family, but it’s nice nonetheless.

If you want to try a virtual facial yourself, Yoli has a few guided tutorials on her Instagram. Months into quarantine and we're really putting the self into self-care, y'all. On that note, you're doing amazing, sweetie.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023
Jenny Jin

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...
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