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Why You Should Start Your Day With A Facial Massage

Beauty

Some morning pampering? Don’t mind if we do

One of the first intentions I set for myself this year was to incorporate more self-care into my everyday routine, especially when it comes to my skin. While I already have a pretty extensive morning (and evening) skin-care ritual, I was seeking more than just slapping on product after product, eyes still half-closed.

I’ve read a bit about facial massages in the past, and I’ve seen makeup artists perform them on models’ faces backstage during Fashion Week's early shows, prepping their skin before makeup application. I was curious to find out more because, well, starting every day off with a massage? What could be more “self-care” than that?

I headed over to Brooklyn Herborium, the holistic skin-care sanctuary located in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of the borough, where co-founder and master aesthetician Emma Graves taught me how to give myself a massage and about the benefits of making it a daily habit.

As it turns out, there is a myriad of benefits that can be derived from the massage depending on the points the pressure is applied to (see diagram below), from improving circulation and product penetration to supporting stress hormones and aiding in better digestion.

Graves showed me a morning massage ritual to stimulate the energetic points on my face, which sends “positive messages” to the internal body systems and “in turn, promotes overall vibrancy.” It also helps the lymphatic system flush toxins out of the facial tissues, which improves the appearance of saggy or puffy skin.

It begins with Brooklyn Herborium’s unique Facial Point Stimulation technique, which is a simplified version of facial reflexology. It covers all of the major body systems, allowing you to “literally bring healing into your own hands,” says Graves. It then concludes with a simple swiping of the face, which promotes the movement of lymph (the body’s immune fluid) toward the lymph nodes. “The lymph vessels are much closer to the surface of the skin than blood vessels, therefore the touch is very light—almost like you’re casually stroking a cat.”

Think of it as the perfect routine with which to start your morning, and make it as simple or as complex as you’d like. “This particular massage is effective with just the fingertips, but can be made more enjoyable with a few optional add-ons,” says Graves. If you’re looking to enhance your massage, she suggests using your favorite moisturizer, such as a lotion, crème, or oil mixed, with water because it will give better slip and enhance product penetration.

You can also incorporate the use of facial tools, such as a crystal roller. “I have to admit that I have amassed a very Insta-friendly collection of facial massage tools over the years. Although they’re not necessary, they can add additional energy, clarity, luxury, and momentum to any beauty ritual,” she says.

Last, but not least? Graves suggests incorporating energy. “Vibrational frequencies permeate all things. They are measurable and accessible—no more magical or mystical than your iPhone. One frequency, in particular, has many names—Qi, Life Force, or Reiki—and is considered by many modalities and cultures to vibrate in a way that promotes healing and equanimity.” If you’re able to tap into this energy (which usually requires some training), Graves recommends putting it to use. “And if this sounds crazy to you, feel free to omit it!” she adds.

Curious to incorporate a little TLC into your morning? Watch as Graves walks me through the basic routine. While Brooklyn Herborium doesn’t believe there’s a specific way anything “should” be done, treat this as a general guideline for a truly beneficial and refreshing experience.

She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

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Here's how they're making sure it doesn't happen

Lauren Morelli, the showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix show Tales of the City, is fostering a space where multiple queer realities can be shown on-screen. She spoke with one of the cast members, trans actor Garcia (who plays Jake Rodriguez on the show), and, in the video above, they explore why it's wrong to treat queer stories as representative of the entire community. Tokenization is something that they both want to avoid at all costs, and they're on the right track.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

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Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
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We put non-binary activist Eddie Jarrel Jones and The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith in conversation with each other, and the two spoke some powerful truths about the continued gendering of products like makeup and clothing. Smith recalls that 30 years ago, the only way that he was able to experience the joys of playing with makeup was to work at a beauty counter. Even today, Jones notes that it's hard for non-binary femmes like them, or even trans women, to get that experience in stores.

In the video above, get a sense of why Smith created a genderless store, and see how important it is for people like Jones to have a space where they don't feel criticized for dressing like they want.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Charlotte Prager + Dani Okon
Edited by Gretta Wilson

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We put the two activists in conversation

Marlene Colburn, one of the founders of the Dyke March, and Naima Green, an artist currently working on a project and archive called Pur·suit, which will document queer people of all identities, agree that it's really hard to find lesbian spaces that aren't bars. Just as hard, it seems, is to find lesbian representation that isn't white. In the video above, the two talk about how they are creating space for queer people and what that looks like within two different generations.

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