I've had a bunch of chances to try cupping therapy, but I was always too afraid to rack up the tell-tale bruises down my back. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Kim Kardashian has tried cupping, which is known to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation, muscle knots, and swelling, all of which sound amazing. When I heard about DIY face cupping, I knew I had to try it. I love a good weird beauty treatment (I mean, the idea of doing it to myself kind of freaks me out, but I'm game), plus the benefits are supposed to be fantastic I ordered the Urban Tonics Facial Cupping Set ($35; lifeessencecouncil.com), which is described as "better than Botox and much less invasive," not to mention cheaper and much more convenient. I've considered Botox, but I'm afraid of that too — facial cupping definitely seems like the safer choice.
When I finally unpacked my at-home cupping set, I started getting nervous about it. I didn't even stop to think about possible bruising and I've heard cupping (on the body) kind of hurts. I obviously don't want crop-circle looking marks on my face and I know if it hurts, I won't do it again, but I figure "what the hell? I already opened the package."
I started by washing my face and applying oil from my forehead to my neck (this helps the suction cups glide easier). Unlike traditional cupping therapy, this kit's suction cups don't remain in the same spot the entire treatment (which is what can cause bruising). Instead, you run 'em along your face to increase blood flow. The key is to keep the cup moving at all times to prevent bruising.
The cups come with a handy little cheat sheet to show you where to treat your face. To create a suction, I pinched the silicone cups and place them on my skin. When I release the pinching, the cups create a suction and stick to my face. Now all I do is run them along the arrows seen on the chart above, while my skin is still suctioned.
It actually feels relaxing and isn't scary at all. I end up completing way more strokes than suggested (whoops) and can feel myself getting really relaxed. My face does get slightly red, but only in the areas that I've just treated and only for a few seconds. This is just because I'm getting the blood flowing, but it's not bruising, so I could hypothetically do it every day.
After just one use, facial cupping gave me a natural, bright rosy glow and my laugh lines seem much softer (this is the only reason I even considered Botox in the first place). Creating a suction on the surface of the skin produces fresh oxygenated blood, which promotes collagen production and yields an instant glow.
Now that I've gotten the hang of it, I can do it with one hand and without looking in the mirror. I've decided that facial cupping will become my new end-of-day ritual — I already made a space for them on my nightstand. I'm making it my goal to bust out the cups every night while I lay in bed and catch up on my shows.