11 months ago

The Botox Alternative That Really Works


We don’t all want Botox. So we tried and tested some natural workouts for our face. No needles (or downtime) required …

Sometimes it feels like everyone’s doing it. “Non-surgical” treatments, that is. But altering your face is not the only way to face the future. Just like the return to natural, filter-less make-up looks, we’re seeing a new popularity for what are really traditional treatments, such as acupuncture and facial massage. Net-a-Porter reports a sales increase of 100 per cent for facial tools such as rose quartz face rollers; by contrast, sales of high-tech tools like cleansing brushes and LED light devices are falling. A-list facialists, from Sarah Chapman to Nichola Joss, focus on facial massage, while Selfridges in London has waiting lists for its Suqqu Japanese Gankin massages.

Acupuncturist Amanda Nordell finds that many of her clients now are women who are looking to stop having injectables: “Facial cupping and acupuncture is a good intermediate treatment; the needles work on the same motor points used for Botox.” She sees lots of 30-year-olds who experience “peer pressure to get Botox” – and it’s not just women: more and more men are under the same pressure, she notes. Nordell combines complementary treatments such as facial cupping, gua sha and light therapy with acupuncture – it’s like Pilates for your face. With this holistic approach, you’ll find treatments help anxiety, sleep or hormonal issues as well as your skin.

Skin expert Michaella Boulder (Helen Mirren is a client) also advocates a hands-on approach. “Your face carries around 43 muscles that love to be massaged, just like your body. Using deep pressure when applying your skincare helps to encourage blood circulation to the surface of your skin, which will carry fresh oxygen and nutrients to feed it. And your skin will welcome the actives in your skincare far more readily.” Maximise benefits using tools: “Jade or rose quartz rollers and gua sha scrapers [try Odacité at SpaceNK] are superb at stimulating lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. They reduce puffiness and help to sculpt the facial contours, giving your face back its high cheekbones and reducing tension.” SH

The sculpting tool

Katie Brindle is something of a pioneer when it comes to face sculpting and her Hayo’u Beauty Restorer sessions are based on Chinese beauty techniques called Yang Shey; the Xiuyan jade tool is now part of my morning and evening routine. Use at home in conjunction with a facial oil (try Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face oil, from M&S). Press and hold on the face to reduce inflammation and aid lympathic drainage, or in upward strokes (the movement is called gua sha) to improve circulation. Finally, press the edge of the tool on acupuncture points. Chilling the tool in the fridge can add relief to puffy eyes (as well as raise a few eyebrows with fridge-raiders). www.hayoumethod.com. PMcC

The face workout

If in New York or London, book a “training session” at one of the many Face Gyms.
The fashion pack often call in for a Party Face workout, which guarantees a lift and glow before events. If you don’t mind being worked on publicly and have time to explore the tools or create a bespoke “training serum” to use with a gua sha tool, this works.

FOR A NATURAL LIFT … Amanda Nordell Dublin Wellness Centre, 28 South William Street, Dublin 2; www.amandanordell.comCosmetic Acupuncture Chinese medicine expert Maeve O’Sullivan comes highly recommended. At 43 Fitzwiliam Square, Dublin 2; www.escapadaretreat.comThe Bodywise Clinic’s natural facelift massage combines Japanese and Ayurveda techniques. From €59; 25 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2; www.thebodywiseclinic.ieINHIBIT FACE-LIFT by Natura Bissé is a massage procedure to increase microcirculation and soften lines. €160 at The K Spa, Straffan, Co Kildare; www.kclub.ie.

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