How to Give Yourself the Most Relaxing At-Home Facial Massage

Did you know there are 43 muscles in your face? They're pretty important muscles — if you consider everything they allow you to do, like smile and frown — and yet, they're often forgotten about. Try to think of the last time you gave yourself a good facial massage. Many people spend a lot of time on the outside of their face layering on products and creams for a lengthy skincare routine, but rarely take the extra step to indulge in a full massage routine.

Here's why you should: facial massages are beneficial in many ways. Not only do they help tone and sculpt your face by targeting those forgotten muscles, but they're also a great way to release tension held in your face and relax. To make a case for the self-care practice, and to walk you through how to do a facial massage at home, we tapped Inge Theron, founder and creative director of FaceGym, ahead.

How to Give Yourself a Facial Massage at Home

You'll see the best results if you practice facial massaging every day, with intermittent longer massages about once a week. "If you are able to incorporate at least five minutes into your morning and nightly skincare routines with extended 15- to 20-minute training sessions every three or four days, that will help train your muscles to keep you tightened, toned, and lifted," Theron said.

Fancy tools are great and all, but you can give yourself a good face massage using just your favorite serum and your hands. A serum will allow your fingers to move and glide over your skin without any tugging or pulling. You want a product that doesn't dry or absorb too quickly — Theron calls this "short play time."

Step #1: Start at the Chin

"Begin with whipping movements," Theron said. "Using your full fingers, 'flick' upward starting at the chin. This will wake up and activate the muscles."

Step #2: Move On to Your Laugh Lines

Then, it's time to move on to your "laugh lines" or nasolabial folds. "Using semifirm pressure, begin walking the fingers outward from the nose to smooth any wrinkles," Theron said.

Step #3: Continue to the Jawline

"For your jawline, use a gliding action outwards with thumbs and knuckles, starting at the chin and sliding outwards towards your ears," Theron said. "This relieves tension while sculpting." (This move feels exceptionally good if you hold a lot of stress here throughout the day.)

Step #4: Finish With Your Eyebrows

A natural fix for that lifted brow look you're seeing all over Instagram is a quick eyebrow massage. "For a natural brow lift, I use pinching movements starting at the inner brow, pinching upward and outward," Theron said.

The Best Facial Massage Technique For Stress and Tension

The Best Facial Massage Technique For Stress and Tension

While any and all forms of face massaging can help reduce stress because you're incorporating more time for self-care, you can target areas of high tension with certain techniques. "My two favorite moves to release stress and tension are the 'platysma stretch' and the 'deadlift,'" Theron said.

The platysma muscle runs from the corners of your mouth down to your pectorals in your chest. "In this stretch, you will feel your entire neck in tension, but by activating this muscle over time you will be able to correct any sagginess or thickness that has built up in your neck, as well as tone and lengthen it," Theron said. "Start by pushing your lower jaw forward by bringing your lower teeth in front of your upper teeth, now slowly raise your chin toward the ceiling in five counts and bringing your face back down. Keep holding the tension in your jaw and repeat for five to eight reps."

The "deadlift," as FaceGym calls it, works the frontalis muscle in your forehead and hairline. "The important thing to remember in this exercise is that even the smallest movement will activate the muscle, so rather than exaggerate the pose, focus on the small, individualized moves you are making," Theron said. This facial-massaging exercise helps relax your forehead muscles, which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles in the area.

"Begin by placing your hands above your forehead, index fingers touching and thumbs holding onto your temples," said Theron. "Now, use your frontalis muscle to lift your fingers up to the ceiling and bring them back down. Make sure you're not pulling up your forehead with your index fingers, but that you are pushing them up with your muscle alone."

Do this for 10 reps to strengthen the muscles in your forehead.

The Best Facial Massage Tools to Use

The Best Facial Massage Tools to Use

If you do have any tools at your disposal, they can be a great way to incorporate daily facial massages into your routine. "Gold rollers and Gua Sha stones are great entry-level tools that are easy to learn effective techniques with," Theron said. "Gold rollers are great for stimulating the skin and collagen production; I use mine before applying a serum so my skin is able to properly absorb all of the ingredients to maximize the benefits. I then use my Gua Sha after applying my moisturizer and before SPF. The moisturizer allows me to easily glide the Gua Sha over my skin in upward, outward, and downward patterns to promote lymphatic drainage."