The perks of facial massage are certainly more than skin-deep.
When it comes to the world of beauty, the focus is typically on lotions and potions and all sorts of topical products. There’s one element that’s often overlooked: human touch. That’s exactly the idea behind FaceLove (lovefacelove.com), a unique blend of holistic beauty and wellness, founded on the healing power of touch. Located in New York City, the treatment is a combination of facial massage, exercise and acupressure that’s designed to leave people feeling centered, rejuvenated and glowing.
“I believe that beauty from the inside out is accessible more than ever,” says Rachel Lang, founder and CEO of FaceLove. “If one can cultivate space to practice self-love and recognize there is more to give if the self is replenished versus depleted, the mind, body and face will respond. It is so empowering to know that self-love is manufactured by you and not just in a beauty product or procedure.”
Lang tells us all about FaceLove and taking beauty into your own hands.
Q: What was your background in the wellness industry before launching FaceLove?
Rachel Lang (RL): As a licensed esthetician for over 25 years, it began with a private practice for seven years where I was known for my water facial, which was a product-free facial based on massage, created for my clients who were sensitive to products. I noticed incredible results, such as brighter, firmer skin; softer fine lines; fewer breakouts; and more detoxifying benefits.
It led me to really study indigenous techniques from around the world, having noticed what an effect the power of touch can have on the skin, mind and body. This led me to discover face exercise among other techniques, such as Korean face massage, Japanese tsubo point, traditional Chinese acupressure, and ayurvedic head massage and reflexology. I was then hired to work as a spa specialist for the Aveda Corporation to design techniques that supported product launches but also advanced their spa education department.
Until launching FaceLove, I had always encouraged facialists to develop their own touch blueprint and brand and style to stand out in such a competitive market. All the best products and gadgets are amplified by a high-touch approach to beauty, wellness and skin care.
Q: Why did you decide to launch FaceLove?
RL: I stepped away from the business to start a family but realized that I was still so passionate about the power of touch! In an everyday way as a mom, it’s easy to see how transformative, developmental and nurturing it is for my kids, but it opened up the big picture for me to see that in our high-tech world. We are actually touch deprived, and beauty and health are closely affected by how well we optimize the use of all our senses.
New York City did not need another spa, and the skin-care industry did not need a new magic serum, nor did I want people to pay me for something they could already do themselves with a gadget or a product. I wanted to create a profound empowering human-to-human contact experience that blended the unusual with the understood—high-touch, meaning focused, intense, high quality of touch, and ultimate stress relief and radiance, thanks to increased circulation.
I also felt that spas are expensive, sometimes mediocre and take a lot of time. We offer an affordable, accessible service of 30 minutes for $45. It can be done without changing into spa wear and over your makeup. You don’t look like you had a spa service after—you just have a glow and a smile ready for your next meeting or event.
Q: How does facial massage lead to glowing skin and improve skin’s overall health?
RL: The sense of touch is one of the skin’s primary responsibilities, along with protection, elimination and temperature regulation. This is why the power of touch is so fundamental in caring for and strengthening the quality of the skin. Light, medium or firm touch all benefit the function and performance of the skin.
As we get older and systems, functions and mechanisms slow down, [I believe] the best way to offset this natural aging process is to activate through movement. Exercise does this for the body, and we know that resistance training improves muscle tone and firms skin while improving bone density. Bone loss and muscle atrophy lead to skin sagging, whether in the body or the face.
A light massage feeds skin cells with fresh nourishment while exfoliating, and a medium massage increases cell metabolism, encouraging healthier youthful cells to the surface of the skin sooner and increasing collagen production—improving flexibility in the skin. A firm massage accesses the muscular structure just underneath the surface of the skin, which is attached to bone and skin. Muscle stimulation increases all of the above benefits to the skin and produces positive chemicals, which generates overall well-being visibly. Muscle toning through massage and movement also frees up the tension so that vital circulation can reach every cell. It creates space and flow for the skin’s overall health.
Q: How are stress and wellness related to skin and your outward appearance?
RL: Stress affects how our face and body look from posture to expression. When the mind is busy and preoccupied by stress, the muscles hold tension [that’s visible in] rounded-shoulder tension or tightness in the face. [The latter can lead] to discoloration, opaque complexion or asymmetry, all of which restrict circulation and cause damage at a cellular level.
Q: Is human touch and massage more important now than ever?
RL: We are tactile creatures. The TRI (Touch Research Institute) has done studies proving that massage can be an antidepressant, help with weight-loss management and improve longevity. They have cited that premature babies who are massaged gain weight twice as fast as those who are not massaged. [Touch] is how we express the most primal communication that the body innately understands.
Q: Can you perform facial massage on yourself to get the perks at home?
RL: The sense of touch is the best age-resistance tool you can use to care for your face and body. We’ve created simple, small rituals that deliver visible rejuvenation for the face, mind and body that can be done at home. Here is a facial massage that can be applied during cleansing or moisturizing:
1. Begin with a small amount of your favorite face-care product on the pads of your fingers and distribute evenly on both hands. Place the product on your fingertips on your chin, both cheeks and forehead.
2. Begin to outline the eyes with the pads of your fingers on both hands, moving from the center line to the perimeter of the face, around and underneath the eye and up through the bridge of the nose. Repeat three to five times.
3. Move up and out in a circular motion from the tops of your cheeks to the perimeter of your hairline. Repeat three to five times.
4. Using the pads of your fingers, make small upward circles on your chin.
5. Place one hand over the other and press the finger pads of both hands between your eyebrows with firm pressure. Sliding your hands upward from your fingertips to your palms toward your hairline really gives a lifting sensation to the space in between your eyebrows.
6. Massage your jaw muscles with both hands, working up past either side of your ears and back down. Repeat five to 10 times, changing angles and pressure to release jaw tension and activate circulation around your ears, which increases stress relief and detoxing.
Photography: Ridofranz, Thinkstock; gitusik, Adobe Stock