Yes, we mean quite literally ‘cupping’ your face, and it’s even backed by the likes of Kim Kardashian (we all know she loves a crazy-sounding skin ritual – ahem, vampire facials?), so in our never-ending quest for glowing skin and banishing ‘lockdown face‘ for good, we knew we had to look into facial cupping.
“In traditional Chinese medicine, cupping dispels stagnated blood and lymph to help improve respiratory and musculoskeletal disorders,” says Emma Coleman, award-winning aesthetics and dermatology nurse practitioner. “Glass cups are applied to appropriate areas of the body by Chinese medicine practitioners, by creating a vacuum with a naked flame.”
Nowadays though, the facial cupping trend sees beauty bloggers and Tik-Tok skinfluencers applying silicone cups and moving them across their faces. It’s billed as an at-home alternative to needles and tweakments that tackles everything from fine lines to acne, reduces inflammation and boosts radiance.
When asked the benefits of cupping, Tik-Toker Miranda Emma Bokon (@sageaesthetix) replied: “Helps with fine lines and wrinkles, tones the chin, jawline, neck, decreases puffinesses and improves nutrient delivery.”
Similarly, @wildlilyorganics posted a cupping demo with the caption: ‘NO FILLER NEEDED. Natural filler alternative: lift and sculpt’.
“Always apply a facial oil for glide. Support the skin with the opposite hand and gently glide from the Nasolabial fold up towards the temples. Repeat 4x. Do this 2-3 x/week.”
@giseleayora shared similar tips on how to try facial cupping at home, saying: “Tights jawline and lose double chin! Facial cupping works over time like exercise. Do this 2-3x a week. Tightens skin & removes toxins/ extra water weight.”
But not everyone has been getting on with DIY facial cupping. Users such as @megan_sester and @montykeates have shared clips showing their ‘face hickeys’ as a result of cupping, with large, dark purple-red marks appearing across their skin.
“When carried out professionally, cupping allows for circulation of blood and fluid, leading to improved nerve function,” says Emma. “But at-home facial cupping carries many risks, including burns, bruises, blisters, nerve damage, and ruptured blood vessels, plus it can worsen skin conditions.
“@megan_sester has caused pools of blood and fluid beneath her skin’s surface, which may lead to unsightly blisters over the next few days – probably not the result she was after.”
Emma points out that these DIY kits often contain silicone cups – not the glass ones used by professionals – so don’t have the same benefits. So, if you want to try facial cupping, particularly to help with skin complains like acne, best to leave it to the pros (even if we probs can’t book in with Kim K’s facialist).