I Got A Lymphatic Drainage Facial Massage For The First Time – Here’s How I Got On

Is that a jawline?

I have a round face. It’s circular, it’s puffy, it’s never really had any sort of treatment to attempt to remedy these things.

So when skincare brand Sunday Riley invited me for a lymphatic drainage facial massage in Brown Thomas this month, I was there.

It had been so long since I’d had a facial, and I’d never had a lymphatic drainage facial. To be honest I didn’t know a lot about it. I knew of people who’d gotten lymphatic drainage around different parts of their body  – and that they swore by it – but that was as far as I’d gotten.

For those unfamiliar (like me), lymphatic drainage, or manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is the process of draining fluid called lymph and transporting it back into the bloodstream. It can also remove bodily waste and encourage the carrying of white blood cells around the body.

The treatment has more recently become associated with beauty routines, to reduce puffiness and swelling and improves circulation, particularly in the face. It has even been compared to a facelift with zero downtime by some… which seems extreme, but hey, whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

The Sunday Riley Signature Facial started off with a double cleanse, followed by a prebiotic hydration shot and exfoliating mask, using a range of products from the brand’s Wake Up With Me morning routine collection.

I’m used to using fragrance free skincare products – primarily because that tends to be what’s popular at the moment – but Sunday Riley’s products are made using a range of botanicals meaning a lot of their bits are naturally scented, leaving a trace of citrus, a mist of pear, or a light essence of lemongrass, depending on what product you’re using.

After my face was soothed and cleansed, the lymphatic drainage massage began. My therapist started on the right side of my face, beginning at the lower jaw and working her way up my face. And when I say working, I mean working. 

I hold a lot of tension in my jaw (and in my shoulders, my chest, my pelvis… you name it, I’m probably tense there), and I grind my teeth at night. Couple that with the fact that I was a drainage virgin and you’ve got a whole load of lymph nodes just begging to be touched, and a whole load of fluid in need of drainage.

The process took around 20 minutes in total, and felt sort of like a deep tissue massage but on my face. Any past facials I’ve had have been all light touch and layering products, so it was nice to experience a treatment that actually felt like it was doing something, rather than just leaving me glow-y and relaxed.

This facial did that… as well as making my skin feel like it had been removed, spun through a washing machine, and carefully placed back on my skull – in a good way. I felt refreshed and soothed, but also like my face had been scrubbed of any badness. My head felt lighter, and I looked a lot less puffy.

Before: peep the round, puffy head

The great thing about the treatment was that there was absolutely no downtime, so I could pop on a full face of makeup straight away and suss any difference.

My foundation literally glided onto my skin and it may have been my imagination, but it sort of looked like I actually had a jawline for once? Either way, my face felt refreshed and rejuvenated in a way it never had before. I was only delighted.

After: is that a jaw?

Now, I just need to get someone to come over to my house and do this once a week. Any takers?

Sunday Riley will be offering their Sunday Riley Signature Facials (€60 redeemable on Sunday Riley product) across 8 dates from April 27th – July 12th 2024 at the Brown Thomas Planet Beauty Stores. You can book yourself a slot here.