How to give yourself a facial massage: with expert tips from Su-Man

— by Alyson Walsh



Do you remember the lovely Su-Man? Facialist to the stars, including Juliette Binoche and er, me. Alright, so I’ve seen her three times in two years but let a woman dream, why don’t you. Anyhow, now that I’m in the process of upgrading my beauty routine (I recently bought a top coat nail polish, for the first time in my life), I plan to have a
regular facial massage. As Su-Man, 48, points out my current approach, ‘Is like living off McDonalds and eating salad once a year.’ OK, point taken. And the good news is that my facialist now works at the fancy pants Away Spa at the W Hotel once a week (much nearer to That’s Not My Age Mansions, so, apart from the expense, I have no excuse).

Away Spa. W Hotel.


Oddly, as a virtual stranger to the spa world, I wasn’t intimidated by the flashy surroundings. Arriving early, I was escorted to the changing room and told I could use the sauna. Where I met a lovely man – naked apart from what looked like a carefully positioned hand towel. Feeling a bit uncomfortable anyway in my belted towelling bath robe, I tried not to stare.

I’d forgotten how fabulous Su-Man’s treatments really are. She’s very firm, pummeling tired muscles until the face looks plumped up and younger. Yes, younger. An effect that lasts for a day or so. ‘It’s the discipline that let’s people down,’ Su-Man said, pointedly, ‘Just like any other part of your body the face needs to do exercises to stimulate muscles and keep it toned. It helps improve the circulation and unblock tensions.’ Of course, I knew that.

‘You need to spend more time taking care of yourself,’ she added, ‘I clean my face twice a day, apply toner, serum and moisturiser – but each time I put something on my face, I massage the muscles for a few seconds to make them firm and bouncy. So, 5-7 minutes is my daily skincare routine.’ Feeling  inadequate, I begged for extra help and Su-Man very kindly sent me her DIY massage routine:

Follow this sequence after cleansing your face. All the exercises are easier to do sitting down.
1) With elbows resting on a table, massage the face with moisturizer. Using the heels of both palms, start from
the chin moving along the jaw bone up to the base of the ear 36
times  (I ask you to do each massage 36 times. The reason for this is that in Chinese culture the number six is considered a “lucky” number).
2) Take the heels of both your hands from the edge of your nostrils and press along in one continuous line underneath the cheekbones up to the edge of your ears. Again, 36 times and
always, in one direction. Never press downwards. You want to lift the face muscles up – not down!!
3) Take the middle fingers of both hands and press the area between your eyes and nose, at the very top of your nose. Press gently but firmly downwards following the nose line to the side of your nostrils. Do this 36 times. This also clears the sinuses and helps to improve your breathing.
4) Make two small claws with your four fingers of each hand. Put them together on the middle of your forehead and press quite firmly (without pulling the skin) in an outward direction, smoothly, until the temples. 36 times and again, only in one direction.
5) Tap around the eye sockets with your fingertips, use the natural weight of the fingers. Do not tap too hard! Six times above the eye socket and six times below. Do not tap the eyelids! They are too delicate and this can damage the eyes. This exercise reduces any puffiness or swelling above or below the eyes. Once a day is enough. To finish off this exercise you can continue tapping all over the face. But you only need to do this a few times.
6) Finally,after finishing the above exercises, take the fingertips
of both hands, and tap everywhere on the scalp and cranium quiet
strongly (using the natural weight of your fingers). Please note: it is not good to touch your face after this exercise as you can transfer dust and dirt from your hair.

When you have finished this sequence, I suggest you drink a glass of warm water to help the chi flow. Once a week, I recommend that you exfoliate and use a face mask.

Hope this all makes sense. I highly recommend a trip to Su-Man who will skilfully demonstrate the exercises and make you look younger. Haven’t started my new beauty regime yet, but Su-Man if you’re reading this, I’m on the case.


Bookings: [email protected] or W Away Spa 0207 758 1071


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    Do you remember the lovely Su-Man? Facialist to the stars, including Juliette Binoche and er, me.