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Q: What is the difference between using a face moisturiser and facial massage cream to massage skin? – Xu Pei Shan, 32, lecturer

A: The primary function of a massage cream is to soothe and relax the skin, while the face moisturiser works to protect and nourish the skin, explains Yvonne Lim, trainer at Salon Professional Associates (SPA).

A face massage cream is like a lubricant that prevents friction on your skin to prolong the massage session, explains Angela Boh, Shiseido’s regional training director.

Massage creams tend to be oilier and glide more easily on skin than the usual face moisturisers, says Mah Mei Hui, managing director and pharmacist at The Skin Pharmacy.

Mei Hui adds: “Ideally, the massage cream should not be absorbed into skin too quickly; this way, you can massage for a longer time with just a small amount of cream.

After the massage, the massage cream can be washed off.” Face moisturisers absorb faster into our skin, so they cannot be used solely as a massage cream.

However, most women use their moisturisers to massage their face as the massage time is not long and these products do not leave any oily feel after.


Q: Are there different massage or application directions for different skincare products like a face cleanser, serum and moisturiser? – Alicia Sim, 23, marketing coordinator

A: According to Yvonne, the massage techniques don’t differ very much.

The salon manager and trainer of 16 years explains that the massage movements are mostly done in a circular motion and in an upward direction.

The steps may differ, however, depending on the products, adds Angela.


Q: Should I apply the massage directions in the day or night? – Melissa Huang-Collins, 25, sales executive

A: You should follow the application massage directions both in the day and night, in accordance to the product specifications, says Anna Rao, facial trainer from Spa Esprit.


Q: Aside from the notes in the direction leaflet, is there anything I should take note of when massaging my skincare? – Kalinder Singh, 31, executive assistant 

A: You can opt to “warm up” your skincare products slightly between your palms for about one to two seconds, “to create the ideal temperature to allow the best assimilation of the ingredients into skin”, says Leona Low, Clarins’ training manager.

Aside from your serums and creams, this step is also applicable for your cleansers and toners to optimise the performance of your skincare to give you better results.


Q: Are there different massage techniques specified for different skin types? – Aisah Salleh, 27, cafe manager

A: Leona explains that the principle of drainage in the skin is the same for all skin types, so everyone can follow the same techniques.

However, if your skin is more sensitive or acne-prone, Yvonne advises that you use a gentler pressure when massaging.


Q: When doing any sort of massaging action on my face, do I use my fingertips, my palms or both? – Lim Jia Hui, 29, human resource executive

A: Use the soft, padded part of your fingertips to massage skin, says Angela.

Her advice is to use the middle and ring fingers, which are easier to control and provide even pressure.

When massaging larger areas like the neck and decollete, it’s easier to use your palms, adds Anna.


This article was originally published in Simply Her September 2011.