Boost your beauty regime with at-home massage. Lisa Haynes reveals the therapists' secret tricks and tips.
By Lisa Haynes
Many of us make the mistake of reserving massages as a 'treat' confined to spa visits and special occasions.
The truth is that you can reap the beauty rewards of massage in your home: after your morning cuppa, while you're watching television or just before you put your pyjamas on.
If you're not engaging in self-massage rituals, then you're missing out on the opportunity to develop younger-looking skin or a leaner body.
"If you spend time massaging skincare products into the skin instead of just rubbing them on, the ingredients are pushed to a deeper level in the skin to repair and replenish at a cellular level," explains Nichola Joss, Sanctuary Spa's skincare expert.
"People often neglect massage at home. It only adds a couple of extra minutes onto your daily routine and makes such a difference that everyone should start incorporating massage into their beauty regime."
Limber up your fingertips and palms for pampering with benefits.
Bright eyes Puffy bags, dark circles and laughter lines. The skin around your eyes is thinner and more fragile than anywhere else on the face so it requires extra TLC. Self-massage should be attempted with a softly-softly approach using your middle or ring finger, which apply less pressure than your forefinger.
"For bright, younger-looking eyes, massage the eye area daily to de-puff, stimulate the lymph glands and keep the whites of the eyes clear and sparkly," Joss advises.
"Eye cream needs to be gently pushed into the correct part of the eye contour to nourish, brighten and repair the delicate skin."
To mark the launch of Sanctuary Spa's Peptide Repair Eye Cream (£18, Boots), Joss has developed a six-step eye massage to keep fine lines and bags at bay.
:: Gently place a pea-sized amount of eye cream onto your middle finger.
:: Take your index fingers and place them on your temples.
:: Gently tap your middle finger from the outside of the cheek bone inwards along the upper cheek bone and into the eye area and the bridge of the nose. The tapping movements will gently massage the cream into the skin.
:: Moving upwards, apply more pressure and sweep along the eyebrow and brow bone to the outer corners of the eye. This will gently lift the brows and de-stress the muscle.
:: Repeat and circle the eye six times.
:: Finish by massaging any remaining product into the temple area.
Glowing face Whether it's talking, blinking or making facial expressions, our facial muscles are getting a constant workout. Manipulation of these muscles can improve the flow of blood for a more radiant, toned appearance.
"A home facial massage is simple and can be incorporated into your everyday skincare routine," suggests Susan Harmsworth, founder of ESPA.
"Always remember that all facial massage movements should be worked in an upward direction to lift the muscles, and outwards towards the lymph node to remove excess fluid and toxins from the system."
Warm up your facial muscles with Harmsworth's tips, using a product like ESPA's Regenerating Face Treatment Oil (£65, www.espaonline.com).
:: Pour a few drops of face oil onto your hands, warm between your palms and spread evenly.
:: Place your fingertips on your jawbone and, with light pressure, make a large, sweeping circle from the jaw line up either side of your nose to the centre of the forehead, out along the hairline and down the temples to meet at the jawbone. This gently stimulates energy and spreads the oil.
:: Use circular movements with the tips of the index, middle and ring fingers, starting at the chin and travelling along the jaw line and then up from the angles of the jaw to the temples.
:: Pinch the skin on each side of the nose, close to the base of the nostrils, moving first under the cheekbones and then up toward the tops of the ears.
:: Placing the tips of the middle fingers at the inner corners of the eyes, slide your fingers upward, pushing against the orbital bone, and then outward, just above the eyebrows, towards the ears.
:: Use circular movements to massage the forehead, starting just above the top of the nose, moving up towards the hairline, and then outwards until you reach the temples.
Body beautiful The more attention you pay to your skin, the more supple it is. Regular massage can even help diminish those cellulite dimples that just don't seem to shift - kneading the skin helps increase circulation, which lessens the lumps.
"A circulation-boosting massage is fantastic for helping skin feel firmer and more toned," says Karen Bevan-Brown, Liz Earle treatments expert.
"A DIY body massage can help to encourage lymphatic circulation, aid the removal of waste, toxins and excess fluid and reduce muscular tension."
Brown recommends following this five-step toning massage, using a product like Liz Earle's Energising Hip and Thigh Gel (£17.75, uk.lizearle.com).
:: Apply your body cream or gel with firm sweeping movements, using alternate hands from knees to hips, making sure to cover all the problem areas.
:: Finish by sweeping towards your groin area to help encourage lymphatic drainage.
:: Using your fingertips, perform circular movements, concentrating on areas that feel sluggish.
:: Follow with a slightly deeper massage technique. Clench your fists and use your knuckles to perform circular upward and outward movements - this is great for the hips, thighs and bottom.
:: Finish by using alternate clenched fists to lightly pound the outer thighs. This helps to stimulate the area and break down any build-up of waste.
Tried & Tested Lisa Haynes finds out why diamonds are a girl's best friend when it comes to facials.
Few spas draw a gasp of breath from the outside as well as the inside. The standalone eco-luxury Spa at Coworth Park does just that, resembling a giant space-age pod with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the spa with natural light and deliver countryside views. The plush relaxation is decked with naturalistic art and sculptures reflective of the parkland surroundings, and my treatment room has the same wow factor - all crisp white lines with a striking light feature hanging above the oversized squidgy bed. The products my therapist uses for the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial are equally as luxurious. Feeling thoroughly relaxed, the treatment begins with a double cleanse followed by a refreshing steam to really open up the pores. The main focus of this re-balancing facial is the diamond head infusion probe, which buffs away dead and dry skin for a light microdermabrasion, like a deep exfoliation that refines the texture of your skin. The probe is slightly scratchy but there is no discomfort or pain and certain areas, like around my nose, require extra attention. The process makes the skin more receptive to products and a tightening IV Lifting Pure Collagen Mask is applied and left on for 20 minutes during a heavenly, snooze-inducing face, scalp, neck and shoulder massage. I awake from my spa slumber just as the therapist is applying the finishing touch serum and IV Day Care anti-ageing cream, which includes diamond dust - an ingredient that's said to boost micro circulation to give your skin extra sparkle. Post-treatment, my skin feels distinctly smoother and firmer and I'm definitely sporting that post-facial glow. If you can't afford diamonds around your neck, this is the next best thing.
:: Carol Joy London Luxury Diamond Facial at Coworth Park, Ascot, is £100 for 65 minutes. Visit www.coworthpark.com/spa or call 01344 756756.
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Beauty bulletin :: Crowning glory Almost three quarters of women (73%) consider their hair to be their most important feature. One in 10 even confess they would allocate hair and beauty spend before food shopping, according to the 'hairsonality' survey by Bellezo. Almost half of the women questioned felt that wearing hair down increased their pulling power while those who preferred an up-do (22%) said they were less bothered by what others thought.
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