By now, you’ve likely heard of buccal fat removal. And if you’re a fellow self-proclaimed beauty lover with a penchant for falling into Internet rabbit holes — you know too much about buccal fat at this point. In layman’s terms: buccal fat is the specific pocket of your cheek between your cheekbones and jaw that essentially dictates the shape of your face. You know it best as the spot you contour with your favorite shade stick. Or the part you suck in when you purse your lips for a photo (as a millennial, I am cursed to forever automatically pose in “duck face” whenever a camera glances my direction). Though it wasn’t on my beauty bingo card, somehow this pocket of cheek fat has captured the attention of the beauty zeitgeist and everyone has been talking about it this year. Namely, what to do with it. To keep or not to keep, that is the question. When contouring is not enough, the buzzy new cosmetic surgery of buccal fat removal has come to offer a more permanent solution. If you’re seduced by the siren call of a snatched, sculpted face, but wary of going under the knife, facial sculpting tools can give non-invasive, at-home results — without getting rid of your buccal fat.
Facial tools have been on the market for a long time. You probably have a face roller or a gua sha in your fridge as we speak. They’ve also been part of beauty rituals for centuries and featured heavily in ancient, Eastern medicine. Suffice it to say, they’re more than just an ephemeral beauty trend. But as beauty standards shift towards more sculpted-looking features, people are looking for at-home solutions to contour their skin without layers and layers of makeup. That’s where facial sculpting tools come in.
The industry has come a long way since jade rollers first became mainstream. Now, facial sculpting tools are versatile and high-tech, using a variety of techniques to get you spa-like results at home. Some tools use suction to lift and contour your face, while others use vibration or heat to break down fat cells and promote lymphatic drainage. There are also tools that combine microcurrents, LED lights, and heat for a multi-pronged approach.
Facial sculpting tools offer a way to transform your face over time, and more naturally than cosmetic procedures. They also provide anti-aging benefits to defy the effects of gravity by pulling your skin upwards and smoothing fine lines and less elastic skin on the cheeks, chin, jawline, and neck.
But as thorough as my research rabbit holes get, I thought I’d get an expert opinion. To explain all things buccal fat, lymphatic drainage, and facial sculpting to me — in the simplest terms possible — I consulted Elina Wang, CEO & Co-Founder of ESW Beauty; and Amy Falcon, medical aesthetician at Miami Plastic Surgery.
TLDR: yes, you can get a super-snatched, sculpted face at home. It just takes a lot of time. And ruthlessly disciplined consistency. Time to get habit-stacking, everyone! Read on to discover the ins and outs of facial sculpting tools and how they can transform your face.
Falcon: Facial sculpting tools like gua sha, jade rollers, and facial massage devices can definitely help to contour your face and give you a more sculpted appearance. They work by applying pressure to your facial muscles, which helps to relieve tension and promote circulation. This can help to reduce puffiness and define your facial structure.
Wang: Yes they do work, but it takes time. My favorite sculpting tool is the Gua Sha, a multifunctional tool that can sculpt, relieve tension, firm and smooth the skin, and boost circulation. It will not be a product where you can achieve a fully chiseled face overnight, but if you use it consistently, you will begin to see results in two weeks.
Can you achieve a more sculpted face at home?
Wang: Clinical procedures always provide a more permanent and instant result that at-home tools cannot replicate as quickly. But if you use at-home tools consistently, you can achieve similar results over time. Oftentimes even if you do go through a facial sculpting procedure, it is recommended to use at-home tools to maintain the appearance.
Falcon: It’s definitely possible to achieve a more sculpted appearance at home using facial sculpting tools and techniques! However, it’s important to keep in mind that buccal fat removal is a more invasive procedure that can’t be replicated with at-home treatments. Some facial sculpting tools that can help you achieve a more sculpted appearance include gua sha, jade rollers, facial massage devices, and facial cupping sets.
While facial sculpting tools can help to maintain a more sculpted appearance over time, they’re not designed to produce permanent results. Think of them more as a way to enhance your natural features and keep your skin looking its best.
Any caution for using facial sculpting tools?
Falcon: Overuse or improper use of these tools can lead to skin irritation, bruising, or other adverse effects. It’s also important to keep the tools clean and sanitized to prevent the spread of bacteria. If you’re not sure how to use a particular facial sculpting tool, it’s always a good idea to consult with a licensed esthetician or skincare professional.
What are the best facial sculpting tools?
Falcon: Both electro current and lymphatic drainage practices can be effective in promoting a more sculpted facial appearance. Electrocurrent treatments use low-level electrical currents to stimulate your facial muscles, which can help to tone and tighten your skin. Lymphatic drainage practices, on the other hand, involve gentle massage techniques that can reduce puffiness and promote a more defined facial structure.
Wang: Using a mix of both an electric current device, such as the NuFace device, which is a favorite of mine, or a self-lymphatic drainage massage, which can be achieved with a Gua Sha, are the best pair. Once in a while, going to an in-person lymphatic drainage massage can be effective if you have an important event to attend and want quick results, but in general, for overall improvement, being consistent at home is the way to go.
Best manual facial sculpting tools
Wang: Using a Gua Sha will provide long-lasting results, but similar to being consistent with exercising and eating healthy, using a Gua Sha often, I recommend daily, and having it become a routine in your lifestyle is how you will achieve the sculpted look for your face.
For the best gua shas and other facial sculpting tools, try:
Best microcurrent facial sculpting tools
Falcon: One of the non-invasive options I recommend is the microcurrent facial. It uses a low-level electrical current to stimulate the facial muscles, promoting muscle tone and firmness. This treatment can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, lift and firm sagging skin, and enhance skin radiance. It’s a gentle and relaxing treatment that requires no downtime, and the results can last up to several days.
Another non-invasive option that I recommend is radiofrequency skin tightening. This treatment uses radiofrequency energy to heat the deeper layers of skin, promoting collagen production and skin tightening. It can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, lift and firm sagging skin, and enhance skin texture. It’s a comfortable and safe treatment that requires no downtime, and the results can last up to several months.
To replicate these treatments at home, try: