What is face cupping?
Not to be confused with the Insta-pics posted by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow showing post-cupping backs covered in red marks (the result of using rigid glass cups to create suction), face cupping uses small, pliable cups that are worked over the skin and muscles to gently lift, stretch and massage. “It does everything from draining puffiness to toning the face,” explains aesthetician Antonia Burrell, who created her cupping kit “to mimic my face-lifting technique so clients can use it at home when they can’t come in to see me.”
How to cup like a professional
Using enough oil on the skin is key – the first time I cupped, I used a bit of cream and ended up with a red suction mark (embarrassingly like a teenage love bite) down the side of my face. Also, use an oil that isn’t instantly absorbed (richer night oils are good) so the cup runs easily over your face. Other than that, face cupping is so simple that it passes what Burrell calls “the Netflix test” – meaning that it’s easy enough to do while watching television.
“Holding the cup, squeeze it before putting it on the skin so you create light suction,” she explains. “Then gently lift the cup and glide it up over the skin – by slightly lifting you get that stretch on the facial muscles. Sometimes the lines we see aren’t aging but slack, unused muscles or tiredness, and this works by releasing tension in the face.” The cup does the work as you glide it up and over the skin. “If you want to lift the face, glide the cup from the jawline directly upwards to the cheekbones, and again working from the brow straight up to the hair line,” says Burrell. For a sculpting effect, work the cup upwards and outwards at an angle, “from the center of the face, out at a 45-degree angle along the jaw, under the cheekbone and then along the cheekbone.”
Face cupping facts
Ideally, carry out your cupping routine two to three times a week for 10-15 minutes. Do it on clean, oiled skin at night, which will relax both you and your face: “We hold emotion, including anger and sadness, in our facial muscles; it’s what gives us that tight, pinched look,” says Burrell.
Personally, I recommend a few minutes’ cupping in the morning, as its contouring and sculpting effect is quite incredible. Try doing one side of your face, working first upwards and then outwards, and you will see the difference – cheekbones look more ‘cut’ and brows look lifted. For something so simple, it really is quite amazing.
How to face cup: A video guide
The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.