Long before the no face-touching rule, I was a habitual face-toucher. Not so much eyes, nose, mouth but forehead, jaw, and the area between the brows called the ‘glabella’ (home to two vertical grooves known as the ‘elevens’).
These are all popular face massage spots and giving them a good knead with clean hands is a valued end-of-day bathroom ritual for me. Or in fact, any time of day when I can feel my jaw clenching or brow furrowing. There are lots of theories as to why we feel the need to touch our faces, but for me it comes down to one thing; comfort. Using facial rollers and electronic devices is all very well (and very effective), but part of the pleasure for me is the tactile skin-on-skin contact. But whether you touch your face or not, facial manipulation is proving a real tonic to these unpredictable times.
And that’s where Nadira V Persaud comes in. Nadira is a make-up artist and brand consultant, whose book Press Here! Face Workouts for Beginners* was launched earlier this month. Having grown up with holistic rituals and incorporated them into her practices, she’s brought her knowledge to these very simple de-stressing pressure and massage techniques that can be done at home, desk or on the move.
My personal favourites are the hands-free ‘Face Activator’ moves that involve you scrunching your face ‘into’ itself, then releasing with eyes wide open and tongue outstretched. (If nothing else they will make you laugh.) And the ‘Brow Press’ and ‘Frown Knuckling’ mini workouts that ‘iron’ out frown lines. There are also simple neck and shoulder warm-ups that are great for everyone, any time. I sent Nadira some questions to find out more about her book and her workouts…
Navaz: How long have you been using facial massage and pressure techniques for everyday wellbeing?
Nadira: I’ve been performing pressure techniques since my early teens, not long after my mother introduced me to a skincare routine. This is very common in the Caribbean and South America where my parents originate from and caring for your skin is not only topical, it’s a holistic ritual. These methods are second nature to me now as I’ve always incorporated an element of massage with pressure to my cleansing routine or to self-soothe when I feel stressed.
Do you use any particular oils, creams or tools?
I use my hands to apply pressure, using techniques such as ‘Pinch and Hold’ (below), literally pinching skin to help oxygenate which in turn can improve clarity. Or ‘Knuckling’, the use of knuckles to tackle tense muscles in hard to reach areas. Using hands is ideal but you could adapt using rollers and face blades, as the purpose is to activate muscles and release tension. Some techniques such as knuckling benefit from a little slip on the skin, therefore a face oil works well such as Skin Alchemists Sesenne Face Elixir, or Sofia Latif Face Oil, which aim to repair and nourish skin.
What’s your morning face workout routine?
My morning routine is an adaption of a lot of exercises throughout the book as I’m often clock watching. However, if I have more time I ensure strictly clean hands before my ‘Warm Up and Wake Up’ workout as it revives my skin and mentally prepares me for the day. The ‘Hair Pulling’ exercise (below) is a favourite as it’s surprising how much tenseness is held on the scalp.
What’s a good quick massage technique for the middle of the day when you’re overwhelmed with work (or life!) and need to ‘reset’?
‘Full Face Circulation’ (below) is an exercise I would regularly do in times of stress to instantly activate a majority of the most overworked muscles in the face. This requires no equipment and better still is a contortion exercise, without the need to touch your face and can be done anywhere.
What’s a simple workout for looking fresh faced and well rested?
My ‘Skin Illumination’ workout is ultimately about looking well-rested and getting glow back into the skin using a lot of pinching and sweeping techniques to increase blood flow to promote radiance. It can be most favourable with a face product such as Cosmetics a la Carte Skin Comfort Repair Cream for 24-hour glow and for under eyes Elequra Eye Architecture Cream for additional hydration and a firming effect. It’s a great workout to integrate into your daily routine if you want an alternative to non-surgical treatments, though I would also recommend selecting exercises that focus on areas of concern such as eyes, frown lines and jaw. On the whole, these workouts are about maintenance as well as improving refinement and clarity of the skin, though if time poor the Express Workouts are a good solution. I like ‘Speedy Glow and Lift’ for instant radiance and toning or ‘Speedy De-Stress’ which encourages a mindful moment of calm.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Bruce Weber
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