Try This On Yo’ Face! Tanaka Facial Massage

Monday January 12, 2015 | Beauty Skin Care Wellness

Here is a beauty practice that doesn’t require spending any money.

Facial massage is an ancient technique that has a rational basis behind its application.

Adding facial massage to your daily beauty routine can help with the following:

- Drain lymphatic fluids
- Improve circulation
- Tone facial muscles

Thus helping to reduce puffiness, lift the sagging of the jowls, and reduce the formation of wrinkles on your face!

yukoku

The Tanaka Technique

The method I use is the Tanaka facial massage, which was created by Japanese makeup artist Yukuku Tanaka.

You can learn the Tanaka technique by watching these videos:

Tanaka Face Massage – Part 1
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 2
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 3
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 4

Although there are many of the Tanaka massage videos floating around on YouTube, I wanted to give a shoutout of thanks to Stephanie of Epic Beauty Guide who took on the the task of translating the videos into English.

If you watch the videos, there are some things that you may notice:

  • The massage is done according to a very specific sequence
  • Getting the right amount of pressure is important, “between pain and comfort”
  • For the sake of symmetry, always do to one side exactly what you did to the other
  • Yukuku Tanaka looks like a stern-faced Michael Jackson

Why I Think It Works

The reason for following the sequence according to the instructions and applying the proper amount of pressure is in order to facilitate the drainage of lymphatic fluids from your face.

Look at this illustration of the human anatomy:

lymph

[Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918. Source.]

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Ok, it may not be the most up to date illustration of the lymphatic system. But you get the idea.

There are lymph nodes in front of your ears, behind your ears, around your mouth, under your jaw line and down along your neck.

The movements of the Tanaka massage follow a path that hits the superficial nodes (the ones close to the surface of the skin) and moves the fluid down towards your chest.

Now you should be aware that lymphatic massage is a method that was developed and is used for people with lymphatic issues. It hasn’t been scientifically studied for its anti-aging benefits.

But personally, I do the massages on a regular basis and I’ve noticed that my jowls, which were starting to sag a bit, look better.

Also, if you suffer from puffiness because of allergies and sinus issues (like me), the massage can certainly help to reduce puffiness.

tanaka

How Often To Do This

Although the massage can be done safely every day, I do this about three times a week.

Usually it’s while I’m performing my nighttime routing using a creamy cleanser (like the sweet Aloree cleansing milk) or when I’m applying my nighttime moisturizer.

If your skin responds well to natural oils, then I would recommend using sweet almond oil or coconut oil.

Some words of caution

It’s very important to follow the sequence as shown in the video. If you don’t do it properly, it can lead to facial sagging.

Always keep symmetry in mind.

Also, it’s important to apply the proper amount of pressure so you are massaging the muscles and not just tugging at the skin.

If you are concerned about pulling the skin around the eyes, try applying pressure with the pads of your fingers on the space between your eye and brow bone. It will have the same effect of draining fluids and reducing puffy eyes.

And one last thing: if your skin is prone to acne, you may want to slowly try out the massage.

If it’s leading to more breakouts, I would suggest stopping or reducing the amount of time that you perform the massage.

In Closing…

No matter your age, I hope you bring the practice of facial massage into your life.

It can be a very relaxing and pleasant addition to your nightly or morning routine :)

And do let us know how it works for you!

My Truest True Love: Rose Floral Water

Sunday May 4, 2014 | Beauty Skin Care

Simplicity In Skincare

Aroma Zone Rose Hydrolate

Nothing embodies simplicity and beauty in skincare like a pure rose floral water.

Floral water, more generally known as hydrosol, is the condensate water left over after extracting the essential oils from flowers and plants through the process of steam distillation.

The water retains the aromatic essences of the plant plus many of the hydrophilic parts of the plant that are not captured in the extraction of the essential oil.

Hydrosols carry the scent of the plant, though the fragrance is much softer and more rounded. As such, it is wonderful for aromatherapy.

It is often the first thing you will find in the ingredients list of many natural cosmetic products, though it may go under the name of essential water or water distillate.

There is a whole universe of floral and herbal waters to discover, each with their own unique properties.

But above all, my favorite is Rose Floral Water.

A Rose Is A Rose

A rose is a rose

It’s almost a cliché how much roses have come to symbolize beauty and romance.

But there is something in all of us that knows beauty when we see it.

What may not be so obvious is the many ways roses can be used.

For example, rose water can be used in cooking. Many North African recipes call for rose water. I’m thinking especially of those small rose-flavored Algerian nougats. Mmm

When it comes to skincare, rose floral water has many beautifying properties.

It has a toning, hydrating and nourishing effect on the skin.

It can soothe inflamed skin and calm allergic reactions. Because of this, rose water can be a real godsend for people with sensitive skin.

Before applying moisturizer, your skin should be slightly damp in order to enhance absorption and seal moisture. And rose water is perfect for this.

For hot days, after exposing your skin to the sun, you can take a chilled bottle of rose water and spritz it on your face. Seriously, you must try this! The sensation is incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating.

In aromatherapy, the soothing scent can help relieve anxiety. In fact, the main reason why I love rose floral water is because it smells so divine.

Of course, not all floral waters are created equal. So when looking for rose water, I recommend you look for ones that are labeled as “pure hydrosol” or “pure hydrolate.”

Many products labeled as “floral waters” may be nothing but regular water mixed with essential oils. But true hydrolates are obtained through the process of steam distillation which I described above. 

A True Hydrolate

Aroma Zone Rose Hydrolate
One of the purest rose floral waters I’ve ever come across is the Damascus Rose Pure Hydrolate by Aroma Zone.

The scent is amazingly natural. You can’t mistake it for anything else. It’s rose! In all its glorious watery essence.

The brand, Aroma Zone, is not really a brand but a specialty shop in Paris. They sell the most basic natural ingredients & equipment with which you can make your own beauty products.

Normally, it doesn’t take long for a hydrolate to lose its aromatic properties. But the quality of the roses used in this bottle (grown and picked by organic, fair trade farmers in Morocco) and the technique involved in the distilling process must have been rather superior, because it has managed to maintain its aromatic essences for months.

Also, keeping hydrolates in the fridge helps to preserve them for much longer.

Nowadays, with the proliferation of so many super complex skincare products that boast of the most cutting edge technology and the rarest plant from the remotest corners of the world…

Sometimes it’s just nice to go back to basics…

Rose floral water. Ingredient: Rose.

Discovering Ayla, A Beauty Micro Shop in San Francisco

Saturday December 7, 2013 | Beauty Events

Last night I attended a charming and intimate holiday soirée hosted by Ayla, a small beauty shop in San Francisco.

Ayla Beauty Shop

The event featured a one-on-one skincare evaluation, dark chocolate squares for nibbling, light sips of champagne, and a brief makeup lesson on holiday looks by the rather knowledgeable makeup artist of The Organic Pharmacy.

The Organic Pharmacy Makeup

[Makeup lessons by The Organic Pharmacy’s top makeup artist]

The Ayla beauty shop offers a small and carefully selected collection of topnotch skincare products that are very niche and hard to find.

In fact, the shop itself was not that easiest thing in the world to find. It’s certainly a hidden gem, tucked in the back of a narrow driveway next to a massage therapy salon in San Francisco’s Japantown.

When I asked Dara, the founder of Ayla, about the story behind her skincare shop, she told me that effectiveness was the most valued attribute in her products.

What’s more, she only features products if they are safe and eco-responsible and mildly formulated to suit reactive and sensitive of skin types.

 Kahini Skincare
[The Argan oil used in Kahina products are of the finest quality. Tempted to try Kahina argan oil next.]

You can imagine how happy I was to find a beauty shop like this!

Ever since I moved back to the U.S., I’ve been doing most of my skincare shopping at Whole Foods. But honestly, who wants to buy their skincare products next to their cheeses and meats?

In all seriousness, my real complaint is that I’ve been buying super expensive natural and organic products from Whole Foods that do not quite deliver the same results that I became used to with the natural and organic skincare products in France.

Ayla features products of the quality level that I’m looking for. And not only that, they provide personalized skincare evaluations and recommendations.

Organic Glam

[Organic Glam Makeup line by The Organic Pharmacy]

As a beauty blogger, I have a habit of picking the brains of people who are deep in the world of beauty. So of course, I had to ask Dara all about her skincare routine and her favorite cleanser, moisturizer, toner and sun protection and all that jazz.

But also, as someone who dreams of someday opening my own small natural and organic beauty shop featuring some of the best skincare products from around the world, it was just really nice to meet another entrepreneur who is living and making her dream come true.

I left the Ayla shop last night with an amazing new moisturizer in my hand, less lunch money in my pocket, and lots of bright new ideas and inspiration for Ziba :)