We’ve all heard of face massage. Whether you’re DIY-ing it with your own hands, using a rose quartz roller, or turning to your monthly facial for a gentle pummelling, the benefits of face massage are endless.
Typically, the facial technique is all about stimulating your muscles from the surface, that is, until now. Confirmed by A-listers everywhere (apparently it’s the celeb secret to nabbing sculpted cheekbones before hitting the Oscars), ‘internal contouring’ or buccal massage is the latest face massage technique you’re going to love.
The difference? It’s all about massaging from the inside of your mouth. Yes, really.
The secret to everyone from Meghan Markle to Eva Chen’s gravity-defying jawlines, face massage from within your mouth – or, as A-list facialist Nichola Joss calls her bespoke technique: The Inner Facial – might sound invasive, but it seriously works.
‘It hurts like a mother but it really does temporarily change the shape of your face a bit – it’s like contouring from within’, explained Chen on The Cut podcast. ‘They put rubber gloves on, they put their hands deep into your mouth, almost where your cheek bone meets your eye socket and they run their fingers and pull the muscles in different directions. I started doing it recently and I have a love hate relationship with it.’
So what exactly is it? We quizzed Joss on the ins and outs (quite literally) of internal face massage…
What is internal face massage?
‘There’s one type of internal face massage called Buccal which is more of a holistic technique for getting rid of jaw tension and headaches. It also involves using two hands inside the mouth which I find too stressful on the lip and mouth area and also means you end up using symmetrical movements, which makes no sense as 99% of faces aren’t symmetrical. This is why I developed my own technique called The Inner Facial.
‘I work on each side of the face individually – for some clients I’ll work on one side more than the other because they want more symmetry.’
How does it work?
‘I always work standing to the side of client and then work in waves moving up the face, working on one side at a time. I use my index finger and my middle finger inside the mouth and then guide on the outside of the face using my thumb. I start at the mouth and work upwards towards the nose in a semi circle ‘C’ shape movement, following the natural contours of the face.
‘Then I work out towards the back of the jaw and along the cheekbone – that way I can start stimulating the lymphatic system more and really get to any tension points inside the mouth and those muscles that you can’t get to externally.
‘I don’t touch the gums or the teeth or the tongue or any soft tissue at all I just specifically work on the muscle structure.’
What are the benefits of internal face massage?
- Jaw tension and stress relief
- Alleviates headaches and migraines
- Contours and sculpts your face
- Reduces lines and wrinkles around the jaw area
- Stimulates the lymphatic system
- Re-balances and re-aligns the throat and third eye chakra
Does it hurt?
‘It can be uncomfortable, but this is normally because there’s such a build up of tension that needs to be released. It should never consistently hurt. The more regularly you have it done, the more your muscles get used to it.’
Can you do it at home?
‘Be wary of trying it on yourself – it’s better to go and have a professional treatment. If you want to try it, seek out pro advice and tips first. But ideally, don’t be sticking your fingers in your mouth!’
This article originally appeared on ELLE UK.