All About Facial Cupping + How To Do It DIY Style

When there’s a promise of eternal youthful radiance, glowing skin (sans Glossier highlighters) and plumped up fine lines, minus the usual invasive surgical procedures or toxic fillers, you can be assured my ears perked up. Facial cupping is the holistic beauty trend circulating through the wellness industry right now, and like any wellness editor obsessed with natural beauty, I just had to try it out – immediately.

What is Facial Cupping?

You may have heard of, or perhaps even tried, traditional cupping before. The TCM practice with its tell-tale blue/black circle marks, is widely used for the treatment of muscular aches and tension relief. Indeed, the internet melted down the first-time Michael Phelps was seen sporting  spots poolside.

Facial cupping is a non-invasive beauty practice, which much like its ancient Eastern modality cousin, increases circulation to the tissues cups are allied to, effectively energising and invigorating the skin. The reverse suction action, created by the direct placement of glass cups on the skin, enhances blood flow to the areas – bringing with it fresh oxygen and nutrients – while stimulating lymph drainage to discard excess waste from the cells.

It’s basically fast-tracking a process that your body naturally does, but can always use a little assistance on when things get stagnant, puffy and overloaded by the chemical toxic load we throw at our bodies, all day, every day.

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How does Facial Cupping work?

Either performed in-salon by a trained specialist/beauty esthetician, or if you’re like me, at-home DIY style with a kit you bought on Amazon – cupping involves taking small glass cups, which have a silicon bubble attached to the end, to the face and suctioning them onto the skin. The sucking sensation lifts facial tissues gently into the dome, and in doing so flushes the skin with enhanced blood flow, much in the same way as a massage does. As you moved around the face, lifting and plumping the skin, the extra fluid waste causing puffiness is drained away from the cells, leaving you radiantly glowing and with slightly more pronounced cheekbones.

Now with all things that seem too good to be true, a word of warning – the lifting and plumping action will have an immediate effect, but not a lasting one. However if you combine the self-care beauty ritual alongside an effective beauty regime you should see an improvement to the radiance and brightness of the skin.

But, the bruising though?!

I’ll admit, this was my first fear too. Having had cupping performed on my back before which left me sporting spots for weeks afterwards, I wasn’t sure if any beauty protocol was worth rocking tiny dome bruises on my face for the next fortnight. My worries were unfounded though – when carried out correctly, the specially designed cups should glide across your face in constant motion, ensuring zero bruising, but all the wellness, complexion enhancing benefits!

How To DIY Facial Cupping At Home

Before you begin cupping your precious face, you’ll want to warm up the lymphatic system and prepare the face for its treatment. Start by ensuring you have a thoroughly cleansed face and once dry, apply your favourite serum to the skin. This is a crucial step as you’ll need a lubricating base to help the cups glide smoothly to avoid causing damage the skin. As you’re applying the serum, give the chest and neck region, towards the lymph nodes a generous TLC massage – this opens the nodes and prepares them to accept the toxic dump you’re about to shuttle in.

The Cupping Action

To get going with the cupping action, you want to start with the larger of the two cups and begin along the jawline, sweeping up along the chin, sides of the mouth and cheekbones towards the ears. Always moving from the centre of the face out, short sweeps will draw the cups upwards and then from the ears/temple points, you want to draw the cups down, alongside the sides of the face, towards the neck and downwards. This encourages the correct flow of lymphatic fluid. Repeat a similar action across the forehead, sweeping the cups from the brow bone, out to the sides of the temples and down. Taking the smaller cup, you can apply shorter sweeps to the fine lines around the mouth, or near the eye region, being particularly careful with the delicate skin surrounding the eyes.

Remember the key is to have shorter strokes, to avoid overstretching the skin and always keep those cups moving to avoid any risk of bruising.

Maybe wise to avoid the cup situation if….

If you’re anything like me, you’ll become obsessed and want to be cupping, plumping and suctioning you face all the time for those glorious facelift feels. But be warned, too much facial cupping can cause damage to the skins elasticity (exactly what you don't want to happen).

For beginners, its recommended you spend around 5-10 minutes on the holistic beauty ritual, performing it 2-3x a week for effective results.

Additionally, the immediate effect to the skin will be one of slight pinkness, as blood flow is increased to the area, and there may be a gentle warming sensation. If you notice irritation or sustained red-ness, or you have particularly sensitive skin, facial cupping may not be the treatment for you.

Two weeks of at-home DIY Facial cupping

I've been trying out facial cupping 3x a week for the past two weeks to see how my skin responds. There is an obvious immediate plumping effect – my skin feels smoother and lifted in all the right places, plus I've had numerous friends comment that my complexion is glowing – which is exactly what I was hoping to hear! Obviously, in such a short time I haven't seen any drastic changes and my skin is purging a little at the moment (#hormonalacneissues) but I feel like the process is helping boost radiance....goodbye dull, lifeless skin! Plus, it's just a really enjoyable ritual in the morning, it's quite a soothing, mindful practice and a nice way of putting a little extra self-care into the everyday! 

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