Do you get a stiff jaw from holding tension in your face? I know that’s where a lot of my stress goes but it only occurs to me on the odd occasion I have a face massage (usually as part of a facial) how springy, relaxed and plumped my face looks afterwards and how tense it was before). So why I never thought to isolate the massage bit and implement a bit of DIY, we’ll never know. There's no need now because luxury Japanese beauty brand Suqqu (make-up artist Mary Greenwell says their “cream foundation is still the best foundation out there.”) has done it for us and created a three-minute facial massage technique which, when used every day at home, is said to banish muscle tension, drain lymph nodes and enhance blood circulation all with the long-term goal in mind of preventing sagging and wrinkles.
The Suqqu counter exclusively at Oxford Street’s Selfridges is in the store’s Living Beauty section (just past Clarins turn right). On arrival the pretty assistant manageress Nagi Kawakata explains the Gankin facial massage was developed by ex-Suqqu beautician Yukuko Tanaka (who now runs Y Method) to animate and enliven actors’ features on camera. Integral to the massage is a thick, creamy oil-based Musculate Massage Cream (this year’s limited edition is a potent jasmine scent) to protect the skin from the intense pressure of the massage. I assume any good face massage oil will do, but Nagi assures me this is not the case.
Nagi neatly prepares cotton pads to remove my mascara before cleansing my face and neck; towels are tucked around my neckline and placed over my front like a bib. She checks if I'm okay with intense pressure on my face, pressing soft fingertips onto my forehead and temples, smoothing them over my jaw, cheeks and brows. The pressure is quite hard and a bit sore on my stiff jaw muscles, but still it feels good. The massage is short, not more than five minutes. While wiping away the excess cream with a sponge cloth, Nagi notes the tension in my jaw, especially the right side, which she says may not show up now but in later years will manifest itself as sagginess. She also mentions how much of the massage cream my dehydrated skin has munched up (looking much plumper and fresh already), before applying the newly launched Refined Flow Stretch Mask to my face. It's a sheet mask with holes for eyes and nose, and although wet and slimy, feels cooling and fresh on my skin, especially as Nagi treats my neck and hands to more massage.
10 minutes later the mask comes off and my skin is a picture of plumped dewiness. I am most pleased.
2 days later, I am religiously practicing the technique – using the Gankin Massage Step Sheet and a small sample pot of massage cream – before both my morning shower and bedtime. Already my jaw is less sensitive and easier to move, my eyes and cheeks look lifted and my face is brighter and more defined. It takes a touch of effort and routine, but I’m up for it. I’m loving this fantastically simple and effective DIY beauty trick.
Suqqu Gankin Massage – £30 at Selfridges, includes a make-over (Redeemable against purchase of Musculate Massage Cream, £60). Limited-edition jasmine scent Musculate Massage Cream comes with jasmine candle. Download Gankin Massage Step Sheet PDF.
Written by Julia Rebaudo for beautywoome.com.