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A Facial Isn't Complete Without This Add-on

Why the most important part of a facial might surprise you.

When spas are attempting to lure you to try a new facial treatment, their sales pitch usually focuses on the designer brands behind the cleansers and creams or a high-tech machine that can turn back the hands of time. But most aestheticians will tell you that one vital part of the treatment rarely gets mentioned at all: The facial massage. 

Dr. Ranjan Kapoor, the Spa & Wellness Director at Six Senses Yao Noi in Thailand, insists that the massage is the most important part of a facial treatment, especially if you’re looking to combat the appearance of fine lines and other signs of aging. “A massage can improve blood circulation on facial muscles and help in the production of collagen and elastin muscle fibers,” Dr. Kapoor points out. 

The anti-aging perk is but one of many advantages: Therapists administer all sorts of massage techniques that correspond with specific skincare benefits. For example, a lymphatic draining — a light-touch massage that’s meant to rid the skin of toxins and excess water — is included in most facials at AWAY Spa in Austin, Texas not only because it reduces puffiness but also because it helps boost the immune system, which means less breakouts and blemishes. 

Virginia Bryan, one of the top aestheticians at AWAY, says the massage is actually necessary to take full advantage of the high-end products used during a facial.  “Massaging the skin helps stimulate blood flow,” Bryan explains. “This opens up the pores, which increases the skin’s ability to absorb the serums and moisturizers.”

And Dr. Kapoor reminds us that the face is a complex network of pressure points, most of which we don’t ever use in daily life. “There are 300 pressure points on the face that relate to every part of the body,” he says. “So when you have a good facial massage you impact every organ of the body in a good way.”

Here, six spas with facials where the massage is the star of the show: