SIGNATURE GESTURES IN SKINCARE
In its simplest definition, a beauty ritual is a series of actions performed regularly, part of the ceremony of beauty, an ode to radiant skin. These gestures, carried out as part of a meditative moment of self-care, nourish and soothe, stimulate and revitalise. Beauty tools have been an intrinsic part of this ritual for millennia, and are likely to be for even more, as the proven practices of the past merge with the advanced scientific skincare of the future.
Evidence of massaging beauty tools has emerged throughout the ages, and across the spectrum of the world’s cultures. In ancient Greece and Rome, Mesopotamia and Egypt, long tools made of wood, bone or metal were used during massage for tapping and stimulating the skin.
The implements of beauty have also been used to help balance the skin’s energy, as evidenced by the ancestral tradition of gua sha. While the term has come to represent the flat curvilinear stone used in facial massage, it originally referred to the technique itself. In traditional Chinese treatments, gua sha characterizes the action of vigorous rubbing with the stone, which is said to promote the circulation of the body’s qi, or energy, revitalizing blood and boosting health and well-being. Flat tools made of ceramic, stone, marble, jade, or quartz crystal – even metal spoons – were used by practitioners to release qi in a process that could be somewhat strenuous for contemporary Western tastes. In contemporary usage, for facial massage, gua sha is used with a gentle touch, as is the facial roller, employed to cool, soothe and refresh the skin. Used for generations as way to reduce inflammation, today this skincare tool has the added benefit of enhancing the capacity of active ingredients to penetrate the skin.
In early 20th century, the Institute of Beauty in Paris began enthusiastically promoting the benefits of their facial massage rollers in stimulating circulation and contouring the face and neck. Yet these were rarefied objects, not to be used at home. Instead, these beauty tools were exclusively for salon use, to be wielded only by a trained professional.
It is unsurprising that skincare tools have been valued by such diverse cultures and times, for they are not merely part of a relaxing ritual. Beauty tools get results. Facial massage helps impart energy to the skin by stimulating circulation. Oxygenated blood can better nourish cells and tissue, contributing to skin’s renewal and regeneration, revealed by the coveted healthy glow. Studies have shown that when fibroblasts, the cells that produce collagen and elastin, are stimulated by massage, they produce more protein, plumping the skin and making it more elastic. Facial massage also detoxifies skin by activating lymphatic drainage, which in turn eliminates excess fluids, reduces puffiness and gives the face a more sculpted appearance. These actions contribute in turn to an improvement in the skin’s texture, as well as its firmness, resulting in the refined smoothness that so beautifully reflects light.
Inspired by ancient rituals, La Prairie’s Pure Gold nighttime ceremony begins with a signature gesture using the Nocturnal Massage Stone, made from a single piece of sculpted marble, that accompanies the Pure Gold Radiance Nocturnal Balm. After cleansing and toning, Pure Gold Radiance Concentrate, or alternatively, a small amount of the Pure Gold Radiance Nocturnal Balm is applied to the skin as a base for the immersive ceremony. A series of specially conceived massage strokes using the cooling Nocturnal Massage Stone follow to stimulate microcirculation and lymphatic flow, allow a free flow of energy and an exchange of nutrients and oxygen in the skin, increase lymphatic drainage and soothe facial muscles by releasing the daily build-up of tension.