Education, Physical Health, Trends, Wellness / Self-Care

What is Facial Cupping? We investigate

Chiseled cheekbones anyone?

words by: Natasha Marsh
Sep 2, 2021

During a summer wellness event a few weeks ago, I found myself fan-girling over the host’s radiant complexion and hydrated skin. Once she completed her welcome and dished out the agenda for the day, I marched up to her and picked her brain on her beauty routine.


To my shock: she’s an avid facial cupper. Prior to this conversation, I had heard about facial cupping a few times via Instagram but I had never directly seen the benefits. Curious to see the effects for myself, I did some research. If you’re curious about this trendy treatment, read on.


What is facial cupping?

Originating in China during the Tang Dynasty, facial cupping has actually been around for centuries. However, it became popular in the West in the last decade. But what is it?


Not to be confused with a massage that puts pressure on the tissue for tension release, cupping uses suction cups to encourage blood and lymph flow, minimize puffiness and melt away lingering stress. More technically, the suction pulls blood into the fascia area (the thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place) below the surface of the skin, creating new vessel formation.


What are the benefits of facial cupping?

Many facial cuppers enjoy this treatment for the oxygen-rich blood circulation that the treatment promotes. Circulation is one of the main, and hidden, tools to glowing and youthful-looking skin. In fact, poor circulation or lack there of, can lead to acne, infection, and illness.


Facial cupping helps strength the skin and connective tissues, by stimulating collagen production and relaxing muscle tension. Cupping also works great the morning after a night of partying, when you’re scrambling to a Zoom call. Simply rub some eye cream on and suction out the puffiness.


After a couple times of cupping you’ll notice brighter skin, minimal acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, less puffiness and a toned jawline.


Ok, so how do I cup?

Luckily, the 1o to 15 minute process is quite easy. First apply a generous layer of cream or lotion to the area you will treat. Next, grab a suction cup and drag the cup toward your ear (behind your lymphatic drainage).


Are there any risks?

First things first, be gentle. If you apply too much suction power or keep the suction cups on for longer than 15 minutes, it might result in bruises. To combat that, experts recommend applying a rich cream or flavored oil for maximum slip and minimal friction. Make sure you also never cup over open wounds or inflamed skin.


You’ll also want to avoid the throat and neck area as pressure from those veins can damage the arteries.


Case in point, facial cupping promotes circulation, decreases puffiness, and restores the lymphatic system. Although you can safely practice at-home with facial cupping kits, it might be best to see a trained professional who has a gentle and experienced hand.

If you want to learn more about wellness/grooming trends, read up on “slugging” and chebula skincare.


Photo via Caroline Sincaruk