Lymphatic drainage massage is the holy grail technique to reduce puffiness around the face and brighten skin. And, it’s a super easy practice you can do at home. Not only does facial massage benefits your skin but it’s also a great form of meditative self-care.
Ella Baché’s Queensland state trainer, Sharrin Proffitt, has created an easy-to-follow guide for lymphatic drainage massage so you’re not flying blind with technique.
“The lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating waste and toxins from the body,” Proffitt said. “Sometimes, it can become a little bit sluggish resulting in your skin looking a bit dull and puffy as well so this kind of massage will really help drain these toxins away out to the lymph nodes and reduce any puffiness, making the skin look a bit brighter and more refreshed.”
Social media is filled with beauty enthusiasts using gua sha tools for lymphatic drainage massage, and while these can definitely be helpful, you can still achieve similar results with just your hands.
Proffitt includes this massage technique in her daily morning routine, but feel free to do it whenever you have the time. Before diving in, make sure you’ve got a face oil or moisturiser ready to go.
“It’s really important to use some kind of oil or massage medium on the skin while you do this massage otherwise if you do this on dry skin, it’ll just feel like your hands are dragging across the skin,” Proffitt.
When it comes to the massage technique, Proffitt recommends draining outwards.
“For each movement that you’re doing, you want to be draining outwards towards the lymph nodes which are found in the bottom front and behind the ears right down the back of the neck and right into just above the collarbone, there’s a little pressure point just beside the clavicle bone,” she said. “From the centre of the face, always working in sweeping motions outwards.”
How to perform lymphatic drainage massage
Proffitt’s instructions are as follows:
- Firstly, I’m going to put a few pumps or drops into the palm of my hand and apply the Ella Baché Radiance+ Treatment Oil just gently by pressing it over the skin.
- Starting on the top centre of your forehead, simply move your middle and pointer fingers on both hands down each side at the same time, draining down to the temples. You’re going to repeat each of these movements three to five times.
- Then, moving down the face, start just above and between your eyebrows and move out again towards the temples. The pressure should be light and gentle as our lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin so there’s no need to apply any deep pressure with this kind of massage.
- Then, move down over the eyebrows using two fingers, drain and glide over the eyebrows or you can lightly pinch the top of your brow bone with your thumb and pointer finger. The pinching feels really nice and it’s great at relieving tension, especially under the eye contour area, draining outwards towards temples.
- Moving to the under-eye area, use a light touch with your ring fingers to do a light and slow pumping/patting movement. The ring finger is ideal for around the eye contact eye contour area as it’s gentle, it’ll ensure that you’re using the right amount of pressure. Do a light rolling movement when you’re slowly patting as this will ensure that you’re using the right action. Do this three to five times, moving from the corner of your eye coming out to the temple.
- Now that we’ve taken care of the eye contour area at the temples, we need to drain from the temples down to the lymph nodes just in front of the ears using (your forefinger and middle finger) a light pressure and moving your fingers down without pulling the skin (three to five times).
- Now we’re going to start at the bridge of the nose and do a lovely draining movement across the cheekbones, it’s great for the sinuses as well. (repeat three to five times).
- Slowly working your way down the face, move from the centre of the face out below the cheekbones and back up to just in front of the ears.
- From here, we go from the corner of the lips — draining back to the point just underneath the earlobes.
- Then coming down, you can use all your fingers to lightly pump along the jawline, finishing behind the ears. We have lymph nodes along our jawlines so this is a great drainage movement — it feels amazing too.
- From here, we want to start draining down the neck. I recommend crossing your hands over and using sweeping movements from the back to the front of the neck.
- Then move hands behind the ears and drain straight down the neck towards the shoulders, finishing at the point just above the clavicle.
- To finish, just do some small pumping movements across the decolletage area to complete the routine.
If you’d prefer visual instructions, there is also a handy how-to video: