Get better skin with facial cupping and dry brushing

An expert weighs in on facial cupping and dry brushing.

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Botox injections have increased in popularity in the last 10 years. With celebrities like Kim Kardashian singing its praises and stars on hit shows like Selling Sunset regularly promoting their Botox maintenance, it’s no surprise that people are buying in.

But there’s a natural alternative for those who prefer their face free of chemicals, who can’t afford regular expensive treatments, or don’t want to risk the potential for complications.

We spoke with face yoga expert and holistic face lifting teacher Sophia Ha about facial cupping and dry brushing and their natural benefits.

Facial Cupping: What to Know

Facial cupping is an ancient practice that’s been revived to modern appeal. It’s fantastic for stimulating collagen production, minimizing deep expression lines and wrinkles, plumping the skin, improving complexion, and sculpting the face, including toning the jawline and diminishing a sagging chin, says Ha, who shares that it has even helped decrease the appearance of cystic acne scars for some of her clients.

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Aesthetic benefits aside, facial cupping may have therapeutic benefits as well, specifically reducing fascial tension and improving lymphatic health, which may help treat certain conditions such as sinusitis. Facial cupping may also have stress-relieving benefits. “Because there are so many nerves connected to the fascia and the skin, when we touch our faces, we’re quite literally connecting with our peripheral nervous system” and that has a calming effect similar to getting a soothing massage, says Ha.

Facial cupping involves specific techniques, depending on the goal. The good news is that facial cupping is easy to learn. The key is in using a gliding upward and outward motion. Ha advises learning from a certified professional as doing it incorrectly may cause facial bruising or be ineffective.

She recommends starting with a gentle suction and cupping for 5 to 10 minutes every day for the first week to see how your skin responds. Then, in the second and third weeks, practice two to three times a week. As your skin becomes more familiar with the practice, then you can start using a deeper suction.

Ha says that some of her clients see results within the first week, but generally, people see changes by the third week if they practice consistently and correctly.

As with any treatment, it’s important to check with your doctor to ensure it’s safe for you to use, particularly if you’re pregnant or have a health condition. You may want to avoid cupping if your skin bruises easily or you’re experiencing eczema or rosacea. Those with sensitive skin may find it can irritate their skin. “Essentially the rule is, if you notice your skin is getting irritated, stop [cupping],” says Ha.
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Dry Brushing: What to Know

Dry brushing and facial cupping are a really great complement to one another – you generally want to do face brushing in the morning to wake up the skin and then do cupping in the evening, says Ha.

Dry brushing involves using a very soft brush on dry skin to help exfoliate dead, dull skin cells on the surface of the face. Along with being an exfoliator, which helps to remove toxins and promote healthier skin cell turnover, dry brushing can help stimulate blood flow and collagen production to firm the skin, reduce puffiness and inflammation, minimize pores and fine lines and help with skin radiance, says Ha.

Similar to cupping, there are specific techniques involved with dry brushing that involve having an understanding of the lymphatic lines, the pressure to use the brush, and the direction in which to move the brush.

“I’ve seen people doing circular movements on their face,” says Ha, which she says is a no-no. “Imagine when you’re sweeping the floor, you probably wouldn’t sweep in circles.” Generally, the technique would be to move from the centre of the face toward the ear to brush away the dead skin cells.

She recommends dry brushing the face daily with a high-quality natural bristle brush, but for those who have sensitive skin, pay attention to frequency and how your skin reacts – perhaps face brushing two to three times a week may work better. And if there are any rashes or open wounds, avoid brushing until the skin heals.

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Holistic facial techniques may take regular practice but once you know what you’re doing, you can take charge of your appearance naturally and reap the benefits.

If you want to explore cupping and/or using a dry brush, here are some ideas to get you started.

It’s Facial Cupping and Dry Brushing 101 in this starter package that includes facial cups, body cups (for cellulite treatment), dry brush, oil and online video course taught by holistic facelifting teacher Sophia Ha. If you want to feel confident that you’re doing the techniques correctly and effectively for your home practice, this package may be just the ticket.
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The Canadian company is a trusted brand for plant-powered skincare and works with growers across different provinces to select the best ingredients. So, naturally, Province Apothecary’s facial cupping kit, made with high-quality silicone, would be up to snuff.
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Face Yoga Renew’s facial cupping set is made with medical-grade silicone and comes with a bonus: rosehip oil for the face. A perfect combo as rosehip oil may help tighten pores, reduce inflammation and brighten the skin.


Hoping to dry brush beyond the face? This dry brush set comes with three different boar bristle brushes – one for the face, one for the body and one for those hard-to-reach places. It’s a budget-friendly 3-in-1 set for some at-home pampering.


Made with soft goat hair bristles, this facial dry brush by Face Yoga Renew is ideal for even the most delicate skin. It also features a thick bamboo handle that is easy to hold and maneuver and sustainably produced.
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Province Apothecary facial dry brush comes in an ethically collected solid oak handle and features soft goat hair bristles. When it comes to this trusted brand, you know it will be a quality facial brush to use.

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