Get on top of your beauty A-game by mastering the art of at-home massage

It’s long been the antidote to stress and tension, but did you know that massage has the power to improve your beauty regime, too?

Not only does it ease muscles and boost circulation, it also encourages lymphatic drainage. Rich in white blood cells, lymph fluid moves through our bodies just under the skin, ridding it of waste and bacteria.

Without massage, lymph can become stagnant over time and stop doing its beauty-boosting job.

After the year we’ve had and with beauty treatments having been off-limits for so long, it’s time to get dynamic with your digits to get that lymph flowing again.

First thing in the morning, last thing at night or simply when you need a screen break, here’s how to get hands-on at home.


Tired, heavy legs and cellulite can be a tell-tale sign that your lymphatic system is sluggish. Lymph only moves when you move, or you move it using massage.

“Lymphatic massage activates your lymph nodes and helps them flush bacteria and toxins through the lymph network to be eliminated from your body,” explains Kate Shapland, founder of Legology.

THE METHOD: You only need a light pressure to release congestion and just five minutes a day is fine. Long, sweeping strokes when applying body lotion will do the job or use a body brush. “It’s about gently coaxing the lymph along to encourage it to remove toxins, not pummelling away fat,” says Kate.

TOOL KIT: Hayo’u Method Body Tapper, £28, simply tap down the front, back and inside of the thighs to keep lymph moving during the day. Mio Peachy Cheeks Bum Booster Cream, £22, blends caffeine and plant proteins to help smooth and firm.


Shedding strands can be a sign your scalp isn’t getting the attention it needs.

“Crystal combs have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to stimulate the scalp,” says Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle.

THE METHOD: Apply oil to a dry scalp and, using a comb or fingers, start at your hair line with short press and stroke movements. Rock the comb sideways at the nape of your neck to direct toxins to drainage points.

TOOL KIT: Fable & Mane Holiroots Hair Oil, £29, contains vitamin-C-and-antioxidant-rich amla fruit. Glow Bar Rose Quartz Crystal Comb, £39.99, will take your scalp rub to the next level – and look gorgeous on your bedside table.


Tiredness, stress and ageing always show around the eyes, but massage can help.

“Massaging around the eye area smooths and plumps the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and puffiness,” explains Katie.

THE METHOD: “Using your fingers, start with gentle tapping in circular motions around the eye to increase blood flow. Then slowly sweep outwards from the bridge of the nose to the temples to reduce puffiness,” says Mary Whitefield, lead facialist at Glow Bar. A roller tool will also work, but pop it in the fridge first to get even better results.

TOOL KIT: Kitsch Ice Roller, £14, when kept in the fridge helps pep-up circulation and get toxins moving. Upcircle Eye Cream , £14.99, contains anti-inflammatory maple bark extract. Press it in as you tap.


“Stagnant lymph can cause inflammatory breakouts,” says Mary.

“Massage helps loosen dead skin cells and increases blood flow, delivering nutrients and boosting collagen production.”

THE METHOD: You have lymph nodes behind the ear and at the base of your neck, so get waste moving in that direction. “Apply a non-comedogenic oil and pinch the skin along the jaw to your ears 5-10 times. Then move your thumb from the back of your ears down your throat,” says celebrity facialist Ada Ooi. 

TOOL KIT: Face Gym Multi-Sculpt High Performance Gua Sha, £45, is a neat tool that hugs the face’s contours for effective massage and draining, depuffing and softening lines. Indeed Squalane Facial Oil, £19.99, helps to balance oil production and creates the perfect slip for massage. 


Beauty writer Becci Vallis tested the Hayo’u Method Body Tapper.

“I’ve always applied body cream or body oil – partly to hydrate my skin, partly to chivvy lymph along. When I heard about the body tapper, I thought it would be another beauty novelty, but I’ve found myself using it regularly.

"It’s a pleasant feeling, like a self-massage, plus it can get to areas of your back and shoulders that are tricky to reach. I was told it was good to use after exercise, so as well as tapping top to toe before I shower, I try to remember to do it after yoga.

"Since incorporating it into my daily routine, I’ve definitely felt more ‘zingy’ and sprightly – almost like that post-exercise rush when everything internally is flowing freely.”

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