ROAD TEST: I tried an at-home cupping facial. Here's what happened.

Me and 'cupping' go way back. Having spent years standing in kitchens chef-ing (then years more lugging around two kids!) cupping therapy was a delicious treat for my sore, stiff shoulders and back. 

Involving fire, glass orbs, and alien-abduction-esque bruising, though, you’d be readily forgiven for not being immediately keen on putting that sh*t anywhere near your face.

Fear not, however, as facial cupping is substantially less intense!

Watch: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while you sleep. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Using a soft, silicone sucker, and a gentle 'gliding' motion, facial cupping has been purported to have a wide range of benefits - of which, lifting, sculpting, stimulating and brightening are just a mere few!

The mild suction pulls blood up into the fascia, creating new vessel formations and improving tissue generation, while the long upward strokes stimulate drainage of the lymphatic system. 

Overall, enhanced circulation equates to a clearer, more radiant complexion and cleared lymph stagnation results in a more contoured visage. At a surface level, facial cupping can even improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, with the suction reducing their depth.


I mean, all this sounds bloody great, but does it actually work? 

Acutely aware I’d be risking some rather embarrassing face hickies if I happened to f*ck it up, I decided that, regardless, it would be rude not to find out for myself. Risk vs reward, right?

In-salon facials always thoroughly prep the skin first, so my little at-home jobby was going to be no different. 

Cleansing and exfoliating was a must, but rather than doing two separate steps I combined them to appease my laziness and optimise my efficiency. 

Image: Supplied/Carly Sophia


My two favourite things at the moment are my Cosmedix Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser, $78, and Sabbia Co Charcoal Konjac Sponge, $18.99, but you can do this step with any of your tried-and-true faves.

Image: Supplied/Carly Sophia

Next, I popped on a Charcoal Adaptogen Mask, $49.99, containing reishi and gotu kola extracts to completely clear out my pores. Because this is a whole ass 'facial' after all, I even mixed it up in a coconut shell. Sah fancy! 


After removing this with a warm, damp muslin cloth, I spritzed my skin with a hydrating mist and went about layering my serums before it dried.

Image: Supplied/Carly Sophia

Forever chasing the ultimate glow, I first applied a Vitamin C and collagen serum to plump and hydrate. Because this formula also contains hyaluronic acid, which is essentially a 'moisture magnet,' it’s best to press into slightly damp skin to ensure its imparting hydration - not taking it away. 


After waiting 60 seconds for this to absorb, I then spritzed a little more hydrating mist and followed up with a brightening niacinamide serum to improve skin tone and texture.

Vitamin C and niacinamide are besties, FYI! Using a Vitamin C product before applying anything containing niacinamide makes the cells more receptive and helps it to penetrate deeper!

Now for the most exciting bit! The cupping! 

Now, I have been told in no uncertain terms that it is IMPERATIVE your face is sufficiently lubed up with a favoured facial oil prior to starting. 

This slippery-ness is what is going to help the cups to glide across your skin like a graceful figure skater, for it is when the suction lingers in one place you are actually cruising for a bruising. 

Generously slathering myself in a whole ass pipette of antioxidant repair oil, which promises a 'super charged glow' I pinch the mid-section of the cup and start from the bottom up. 

The initial 'grab' of skin is instantly satisfying, and I slide the cup from my chin along my jawline and then up towards my temple. Leaving a faintly pink track in its wake, I can see the path the cup should follow next.

@carlyfcknsophia ✨ Skincare Tutorial ✨ demonstrating facial cupping using the @Sabbia Co face tool for @Mamamia Beauty article #skintok #guasha #cuppingtherapy #facialmassage #facialcupping #lymphaticdrainage #lymphaticmassage #beautytok ♬ Indian Summer - HOAX

Having read approximately zero instructions, I simply followed the guiding principles of 'up' and 'away'. 

Akin to Gua Sha, working your way upwards opens the drainage pathways allowing toxins to drain back down. I repeat this motion from the corners of my mouth, then from nasolabial folds, to ear, then across my cheekbones and into my hairline - acutely aware that were the cup to remain idle in any one place I may give myself an undesired 'love bite'.


For my forehead, I began between my eyes and slid up over my brow bones, then worked my way upwards, again in an arc until I was well up into my hairline. 

Once done, my skin felt warm and slightly prickly - but in a good way! - and after scrutinising my reflection I was smug to see that no discolouration or bruising had occurred!

The verdict.

Honestly? Sold. It felt reeeeally nice - the suction and slight 'tugging' sensation gently dragging any tension and inflammation away from my face. 

I legitimately believe my cheekbones were more prominent, after - hollows beneath them much more defined, and jawbone significantly more 'sharp'. I also noticed a reduction in dark circles beneath my eyes.

The first time I used it I did give myself a weenie little love bite on my temple, but that’s because I let the cup loiter there, so, my bad! I’ve used this three to four times over about 10 days now and my skin really is looking radiant!

I would be incredibly interested in the longer term results, but for an instant hit of contour and regular glow maintenance I will definitely use this a couple of times a week. 

I actually think I will purchase another cup, so I can do both sides of my face at the same time. Like I said before - efficiency! *Wink* 

To see more from Carly, you can connect via her Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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