While application and product quality certainly play a large part in pulling off expert contours and a flawless base, good skin is the real secret to good makeup. “Your skin is your canvas,” confirms the facialist Kristina Holey. “And the better condition it is in, the more readily it can receive the serums and moisturizers you put on it, which will make any makeup you apply look better, too,” she says.
Spending more time cleansing your face while applying pressure can be so beneficial
One glance at the Bay Area-born, Paris-trained blonde’s impeccable complexion, and Holey’s point is compelling. “I don’t wear a lot of makeup,” she admits at her home in San Francisco, where she is seeing clients all month after spending the Fall in New York. Yet Holey’s skin still boasts the natural glow of a creamy highlighter and the rosy flush of the perfect pink blush—the happy aftereffect, she says, of years spent utilizing a series of facial massage techniques, which help decrease puffiness, enhance radiance, and stimulate contours.
For that kind of payoff, the process of mechanically moving stagnate lymphatic fluids around is easier than you might think. “I always stress to people that just spending more time cleansing your face while applying pressure can be so beneficial,” insists Holey, explaining that you can actually train your face into increased tightness and tone with just five minutes of massage a day. Below, the seasoned aesthetician shares her advice for better skin by way of some pressure-point pampering.
Cleanse With Care
“Don’t just put on your cleanser and wash it off real fast,” says Holey, who suggests using three fingers to massage soap into the skin with tiny, circular motions for no less than 4 minutes. “It’s important to utilize both cold and warm water,” she adds. “I usually start by dampening the skin with warmer water, then I’ll do a cold water rinse, then I’ll cleanse with warm water, and end with another cold water rinse.”
Step 2: Pick Oils
“Once your skin is clean, the most important thing is to make sure you have enough lubrication on your fingers so you’re not pulling or tugging at the skin,” says Holey, who prefers using oils to moisturize and massage. “If you have problematic skin and are prone to acne and clogged pores, I’d lean towards black cumin seed oil, or jojoba oil with some lavender,” she advises. “For more oily-prone skin, grape seed or jojoba oils are both great; for dry skin, avocado seed oil is really rich and nourishing while hempseed oil is good for sensitive, rosacea prone skin, and rose hip oil is amazing for more mature skin.”
Step 3: Start At The Top
“The idea is to move everything out and downward,” Holey explains, pointing out that she usually starts her massage at the forehead. “Using your first two fingers, sweep upwards from in between the eyebrows, all the way to the scalp. Then pull outward towards the temple.”
Step 4: Focus On The Eyes
“The eyes are an important second step in the massage because there is an area where lymphatic fluid drains in and drains out—specifically under the eye where puffiness can occur,” says Holey. “Start on the upper lid by pressing on the inner corner, which is where a lot of fluids begin. Then, using your middle finger, move up and out toward the outer corner and come underneath and all the way around, pressing the inner corner again. You can do this in a tapping motion, or a single sweeping motion,” she continues. “It’s really relaxing so it’s a nice thing to do in the morning—and at night.”
Step 5: Get Cheeky
“When you move to the cheekbones, directly under the eye contour area, start by pressing on the nose bone by the inner corner of the eye and running two or three fingers across the top of the cheekbones towards the temples,” Holey says. “There’s a big muscle there so it’s nice to massage that muscle in a shallow U shape towards the back of the ear, dragging everything down through the neck. Repeat this motion three times.”
Step 6: Mind Your Jawline
“With your right elbow up in the air, use your right hand to grab the left side of your jaw and walk your fingers—one at time—up and towards you, back and forth for about a minute on each side to really work that muscle,” says Holey. “Then, placing all four fingers directly under the chin, gently press and walk all the way out towards the ears. There are a lot of lymph nodes there that you are stimulating.”
Header image by Gabriela Herman. Article photo by Danielle Rubi.