Something caught my eye as I strolled through the beauty aisle of Walgreens the other day: a pale pink facial roller tucked away in plastic with the promise of providing a wrinkle-free face and a more lifted complexion. Facial “firming” devices had officially made it to the shelves of drugstores.
Truth be told, a 15-minute session with a jade roller won’t give you the sculpted cheekbones of your super model dreams, however, it can still serve a purpose, albeit in a temporary way.
“Facial massage may give a minimal, temporary improvement and facial contour by helping to eliminate excess fluid,” board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner previously told HuffPost.
This is in large part due to the body’s lymphatic system, a complex network of tissues, organs and nodes responsible for shuttling fluid throughout our circulatory system. If the fluid becomes stagnant, it can also be the reason for that undesirable morning puffiness you may experience from time to time.
Emily Wise, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of DermWellesley in Massachusetts, added that “massage in general can also help to improve circulation and stimulate blood flow and may lead to a temporary, more volumized and ‘glowy’ appearance.”
According to New York-based board-certified dermatologist Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology, facial tools can also be a way to promote relaxation.
“I think of it as a tool-assisted massage, and like a body massage, they can improve muscle tightness, decrease tension, headaches and clenching. All of which can make you feel more relaxed and improve your mood,” Jaber said.
Karina Sulzer, a revered Los Angeles-based esthetician and founder of Skin Gym, says the incorporation of a facial tool is, in many ways, an act of self care.
“It can be really calming and restorative when you take the time to focus on yourself and your skin, whether that be in the morning or before bed,” Sulzer said.
Jaber reminded us that these toning devices can’t do what professional treatments like laser resurfacing can do, but they can be great alternatives for those who want to try something out at home and have managed expectations about the results.
Keep reading to see the some of the many facial massage tools out there and the best ways to use them.
A vibrating tool that may make skin look more refreshed
This vibrating T-bar is one of Sulzer’s favorite tools because of the micro-sonic vibrational technology, specifically designed to mimic the effects of a professional massage. She recommended targeting areas like between the brows, along the cheeks and along the neck in upward sweeping motions. It also feels really good.
Get it from Skin Gym for $58.
A traditional Chinese tool made from a natural stone
Practiced for centuries throughout China, gua sha tools were used to improve lymphatic drainage, relieve muscle tension and encourage circulation to the skin. Crafted using naturally cooling jade, this gua sha is made by Mount Lai, an Asian woman-owned beauty brand dedicated to sustainability and keeping ancient traditions alive. Use with an oil or balm and hold the tool flat on your face before gently moving up and out.
Get it from Sephora for $28.
A stainless steel facial roller that’s both cooling and soothing
For facial puffiness, Sulzer said the Cryo roller is her go-to tool. The non-porous stainless steel is soothing for skin that is prone to irritation and can help disperse built-up fluid beneath the skin. “I like to pop this in the freezer before using for an extra de-puffing effect,” Sulzer said. The smaller roller on the opposite end can also be useful in targeting smaller areas like the under eye and between the brows.
Get it from Skin Gym for $33.
A light therapy wand
There is some evidence supporting light therapy’s potential effectiveness in encouraging collagen production and improving skin texture. Some users said they experienced more rejuvenated skin and fewer blemishes with regular use of SolaWave’s therapy wand, which uses low vibration, micro-currents and LED red light.
Get it from SolaWave for $114.
An innovative micro-current device
“I have patients that really love this device. [It] can improve the textural appearance of the skin and it tones nicely,” Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology, previously told HuffPost of the NuFace Trinity facial tool, which utilizes micro-current technology to potentially target volume loss and promote circulation. It also comes in a mini size, perfect for reaching smaller areas of the face.
Get it from Sephora for $339.
A nourishing oil to use with your facial tools
Applying an oil of some kind prior to using a facial device can provide the right amount of slip and prevent the tool from tugging at delicate areas of the skin. This 100% cold-pressed rose hip oil by The Ordinary is rich in fatty acids, which can hydrate and soften the skin and may improve elasticity.
Get it from Sephora for $9.80.
A set of facial cupping devices to help improve circulation
These durable and hand blown suctioning devices work by drawing more blood to the surface of the skin, making it temporarily appear more radiant. The four sizes make it easier to target different areas of the face and are best used by squeezing the bulb to establish a suction on your skin before gently gliding upwards along the face.
Get it from Amazon for $18.99.