Evolution of facial gadgets
To be honest, I'm a gigantic sucker for gadgets of all kinds. If it's ever been on an infomercial or promises to make life better, I'm sold. Especially so when it comes to depuffing my face.
You see, as a woman of a certain age who's possessed raging sinus/allergy symptoms for basically life and now suffers from a sluggish lymphatic system, I know a thing or two about bloating... particularly right smack on top of my cheekbones. I'm talking "maybe I've been punched in the face" bags. All the time. No matter how much I sleep or drink water or apply 75 high-end eye products. They're there. So one thing I've learned to rely on: the facial gadget.
I've also been a licensed Esthetician for about 13 years, so I've got a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to lymphatic drainage, which will dramatically reduce if not eliminate any degree of puff. Good ole' facial massage will work, but gadgets make the process a little more fast and fun.
Let's start with the old cold spoons trick. You know, stick a couple of regular spoons from the silverware drawer into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes, then smack them onto the puffy under eye. They do a little something! Cold anything will help take down swelling as the body increases blood flow to the cold area to regulate it back to normal. So there's that. But cold spoons are no match for my designer baggage, and sometimes they stick to the skin...
Enter the jade roller, which I'm still a fan of, probably 5 years in. It feels incredible, I can use it any time of day for a little refresher, and it's super low-investment. I got a two pack on Amazon for $11.99 that were literally on a slow boat from China, but nevertheless have held up impeccably. I gave the second one away, so I've been on the original one this entire time. Great for traveling. Gentle. I would say it feels relaxing, helps to press in surface serums, and gives a minimal depuffing effect. I feel the most benefit from this one when I roll down my neck where I get the most lymphatic blockage. A solid option. These days, they're trending, with certainly better quality options on the market but that perform exactly like my $11.99 twofer.
Next up was the "ice face roller" which is basically a metal roller with a handle that has now lived in my freezer for about 4 years. I purchased it from some shifty skincare site that I can't remember the name of, and I still see them being promoted from time to time. Guess what. It still sticks to the skin like the spoons, and it squeaks like a little mouse with ever roll. Neeext.
After that was the discovery of the dry brush, first for body, and then this tiny knobby one for the face from Aveda. I was skeptical at first, and still never really got on board with their exact oil method, but have really loved having this little brush in my arsenal. The price was a bit steep, but I really could feel a difference from the textured surface of the brush as it moved over the areas of congestion in my face. Added bonus: the dry brushing itself does wonders for the texture of the skin. Highly recommend, mostly for this, but have noticed some light flushing of puff with this tool.
I tried Gua Sha, an traditional Chinese therapy that uses a stone or flat surface to "scrape" lightly across the face and sweep stagnant lymph, before it was super trending. I couldn't find a ton of information on it at the time, but I gave it a go with another Amazon special and it was "ok"... I actually have a couple of variations of these that I probably need to revisit. I keep them in my travel bag, although those are thankfully tucked away these days! Gua Sha works by physically flushing and rolling specific pathways on the face to encourage drainage and sculpting. The practice can be quite relaxing and a beautiful way to connect with you body energetically. Recent technique videos I've seen make it look super effective. Perfect for the low-tech kinda gal. I was honestly a bit intimidated by this one, as there are tons of different shapes and sizes of Gua Sha tools on the market. How are they different? Which one is best for me? One may never know.
The next few options stepped up the intensity of lymphatic drainage quite a bit. Arguably the wierdest: this gadget called the Facialift by Sarah Chapman London. I must've discovered this one as a result of some deep rabbit-hole search on facial massage. I remember ordering it from a UK site and waiting foreverrrr for it's arrival, and man... did it feel magical. I rolled my face, I rolled my neck, I rolled my face again. Now we're talking. It's designed to mimic massage techniques used by estheticians that were speaking my language, and they did a pretty good job here! Light pressure is great for moving stagnant lymph and fluid out of the face, so this one gave me visible results. Only problem: sometimes it wanted to drag on the skin, and I wanted to go a bit deeper. I'd recommend this one for a novice at-home facial massager.
Things escalated quickly when I splurged on a NuFace Trinity Facial Training Device, complete with the targeted eye attachment. It's a damn miracle-worker. You can literally see your own face lifted into perfection if you use the device on one side at the time. It works by using microcurrent technology, which is mega-trending in the holistic/wellness space these days. It's an amazing thing that basically gives CPR to muscles and perks everything up, even when used on the body! NuFace recommends that you complete the recommended routine consistently (I believe 5 days a week) for 60 days, and then move into maintenance a couple times a week. Most definitely gets results. The downside for me was the actual 20+ minute commitment that involved avoiding all oils on the skin when in use, and applying a layer of gel to increase conductivity, which then needs to be rinsed... I found myself skipping days of use because I didn't have enough time to use it in the morning before work and was often too tired to use it at night. I didn't see remarkable lymphatic drainage as much as lifting. In a perfect world, I'd use my NuFace every day and look like I was 12. In reality, I use it every few months out of guilt for the spend.
Next: The FaceBlaster. Love, love, love this little dude. I first discovered the original FasciaBlaster (I like the small Mini 2 version) and was absolutely floored for what it did to my legs, and the full-body detox results I got. Phenomenal. This technology uses a pronged massager to flush below the surface of whatever surface of a body part you blast. It helps to break up deposits in the fascia, can dramatically flush lymph right along with it. My limbs had never looked better when I was first on the Blasting train, and I literally felt like I had been going to the sauna after a couple weeks of use. Imagine what happened when I started using it AFTER a sauna! That's a different post, but there is a wealth of knowledge on their site for how to use properly and what to expect. Naturally I was on the waitlist for months before the smaller FaceBlaster version launched. This thing is no joke. Since you manually control the pressure of the Blaster, you can really dig in where you need to. I was able to rid my face of some serious tension knots in my jaw, which visibly sculpted my cheekbones. I used my FaceBlaster morning and night under my jaw and down the throat to flush lymph. I've literally gotten rid of migraines with this tool, and there's an entire protocol for it from the company. It's super travel friendly. Pro-tip: it feels amazing on the soles of your feet. I think there should be one in every home in America! Seriously, thank me later! Disclaimer: if you go all-in on the body, expect bruising (as their website explains). Also, cellulite will return if you stop using, so there's that.
Facial cupping. I was introduced to this technique this year by my incredible healer that is a master of cupping, acupuncture, and all things Traditional Chinese Medicine. Always aware of my sinus pressure, she taught me how to use these small, plastic suction cups to relieve tension and swelling in the face. The technique is really similar to the Gua Sha in that you apply pressure from the center of the face outward (generally), which rolls fluid to the appropriate drainage ports so that toxins can be flushed out. Pretty easy to use... these work great with a bit of facial oil underneath to keep them gliding. And NO, they won't bruise your face the way traditional cupping can mark your back. But I was advised to definitely keep them moving. Less is more with this practice, but they do really work well for under eye bags. Small investment, travel friendly. Not in my daily practice, but a solid option.
Finally, my most recent and heaviest obsession, the Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift. Heart eyes forever for this babe. I hadn't used a Clarisonic brush for cleansing in a couple of years, although I used to swear by them. After burning up my 3rd one I decided to give them a rest... but the new massager attachment on this one caught my attention. I decided to give it a try to see how effective it would be for lymphatic drainage. It. Is. Incredible. It's truly a highlight of my day. So relaxing, and so effective. I can use it as my last step in the routine with my serums and oils all slathered on, and it supposedly helps them penetrate deeply into the skin. Sometimes I will go through more than one timed cycle. Immediately afterward, I can feel my sinus open up and even draining. I've never had a more impactful gadget, and I regret nothing in way of splurge... only that we didn't meet sooner. I've actually enjoyed using the cleaning brush as well, even though it's annoying to change the top since the device usually stays on my vanity in the other room rather than near the sink. Nevertheless, my pores are looking more refined, and my face literally shows the difference with this fancy vibrator. So here's the deal. Some people are now using a regular ole' under $20 vibrator to do the same thing. Does it work as well? Is it using ultrasonic technology? Couldn't tell you. But you will have to pry my Clarisonic Smart Profile Uplift from my dying hands.
I would LOVE to hear what facial gadgets you've tried and loved! Let me know if you try any of the above or have any questions.