Tried and Tested: The Botox Alternative That Really Works

We don’t all want Botox. So we tried and tested some natural workouts for our face. No needles (or downtime) required …

Boosting blood supply to nourish the skin, flushing toxins, restoring muscle tone and elasticity: can face sculpting possibly be as good as it sounds? I am in expert hands with Agnes Gajewska, an in-demand facialist who works part-time at Essentials Salon (Baggot Street, Dublin 2). She’s on a mission to convert Botox-reliant clients to consider alternatives. “I was sick of frozen faces and so began searching for natural, more realistic options,” she tells me. Her scalpel-free face-modelling treatment comprises cupping, aesthetic taping, osteopathic techniques and buccal massage. Gajewska starts with a back massage in the seated position because posture and neck tension both have a bearing on facial tension, with the jaw holding cortisol and emotional trauma. Much of the treatment relies on lymphatic drainage, and Gajewska applies aesthetic tape in a fan shape to my shoulders (which stays on for 24 hours) to facilitate the drainage of toxins and release of tension.

“Creams can improve texture, but so far there is no cream that can improve the tone and strength of the muscles,” explains Gajewska, who uses cupping and extensive facial massage to promote glowing skin. “The controlled suction under the cups stimulates blood flow and tissue drainage.” For the buccal massage, she massages both the inside and outside of the mouth, which in turn sculpts the contours of the face. A-list facialist Sarah Chapman also incorporates buccal massage into her bespoke therapies; it’s not sore or particularly weird. And it produces endorphins, which superficially lift signs of stress. A mirror reveals a firmer jawline and lifted brow. I can confirm face sculpting doesn’t eliminate fine lines completely but it definitely makes them look as if they’ve been ironed. Many of Gajewska’s regulars now alternate a monthly face sculpting session with a regular facial.

Penny McCormick

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