Style Beauty

Thursday 20 June 2019

Ruth Griffin: Green goddess

Green beauty treatments

Aveda Stress Fix range
Aveda Stress Fix range
Lydia Sasse

Ruth Griffin

For the month of September, in this column I have been taking a look at the growing appetite and industry for Conscious Cosmetics. In exploring the rising demand for all-natural, responsible skincare and beauty products - which are kinder to both our skin and our environment than chemical-laden alternatives - I have tested a host of skincare and make-up products available from salons, department stores and health food stores across the country. Over the past four weeks, I have highlighted vegan beauty lines, the new trend for adaptogens, petro-chemical-free products and soil-to-skin thinking in cosmetics.

Today, in the final instalment of the Conscious Cosmetics series, I'm taking a different tack - looking not at products you can buy, but instead at the 'green' beauty treatments available in salons. From crystals to cupping, facial massage and yoga to sound therapies and facial acupuncture, green treatments will appeal to those who want to boost their skin and overall wellbeing, without reaching for Botox and fillers.

These therapies rely on using ancient techniques to aid the body and skin to heal itself. Celebrity fans of the various techniques include Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry and Miranda Kerr. But do they actually work for real women? Yes, in my experience. I found all of the treatments that I've listed today effective as well as being unbelievably relaxing.

Be mindful, however, that they work incrementally - so you'll only notice a difference after a few sessions. The facial acupuncture was the exception to this: there was a visible and significant reduction in my eye bag swelling and puffiness to my face immediately after my treatment, but it only lasted a day. A series of up to 10 sessions is recommended for longer-lasting effects. Read on to see which therapy will transform you into a glowing, green goddess.

Six of the best... green beauty treatments



How does it work?

Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different internal organs or areas in the body. The idea is that reflexology helps the body to restore its balance naturally through massaging these pressure points.

Best for?

Insomniacs, anyone suffering from anxiety.

Price point?

From €50 per session.


How does it work?

Made famous by 'wellness' enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow, this is actually an ancient form of massage that creates suction and vacuum pressure to soften tight muscles and lift connective tissue. This brings hydration and blood flow to body tissues, moves deep inflammation to the skin surface for release, and drains excess fluids and toxins.

Best for? Anyone suffering from chronic muscle pain and stiffness, cellulite, anxiety or headaches.

Price point? From €60 per session.

Healing crystal facial

How does it work?

The use of stones in beauty therapies has a 5,000-year-old history. The use of jade rollers and hot stone massages is well established, but recently the use of crystals in facials and massages is becoming more popular, with fans including Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry and Miranda Kerr. Stones and crystals are said to aid healing and ritual relaxation.

Best for?

Anyone who loves their facials and is curious about using stones in their beauty rituals, and anyone who uses a jade roller in their skincare routine.

Price point?

From €60 per session.

Facial massage

How does it work?

The body- and mind-boosting effects of an all-over massage are well known, and now you can apply the same benefits to your face. Facial massage and LDM (lymphatic drainage massage) are proven to help with puffy eyes, sagging jowls, acne-prone skin and circulation. Best for? Everyone, but especially good for mature skin, and those with sagging jawlines and puffy eyes.

Price point?

You don't have to book a costly salon treatment to get the benefits of facial massage, it's something you can incorporate into your own skincare routine at home. See Alexandra Soveral's YouTube tutorial for a one-minute demo.

Facial acupuncture

How does it work?

Cosmetic facial acupuncture places tiny needles in the face and at certain points on the body for the purpose of skin rejuvenation. Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, facial acupuncture works to increase the circulation of energy and blood to the face, which helps to combat the signs of ageing.

Best for?

Those who want to give their skin a boost without fillers or surgery. Great for sagging jawlines, and those who grind their teeth. I found it brilliant for my baggy eye area. Also good for treating acne, eczema, and rosacea.

Price point?

From €100 per session.

Sound therapy massage

How does it work?

This is a massage, followed by Tibetan singing bowls - round metal bowls that create a distinctive tone and vibration - being placed on different parts of your body and gonged gently. As the bowls vibrate, they send waves of vibration throughout the body that cause deep levels of relaxation by slowing brain waves. Vibration is known to have an analgesic effect and is often used in the treatment of chronic pain.

Best for?

Everyone! I floated out of the salon after my sound therapy massage. Amazing!

Price point?

Price €50 per session.

Ask the expert: Lydia Sasse

Lydia Sasse

Lydia is a yoga teacher and wellness coach, and the woman behind the Wandering Into Wellness podcast. Here, she gives us the lowdown on the beauty benefits of facial yoga…

What is facial yoga?

Facial yoga is part of the Sukshma vyayama yoga tradition, also known as the 'yoga of micro-movements'. It focuses on bringing heightened awareness to where we hold our stress, so that we can learn to release that tension and gain greater control over our muscles. Face yoga involves simple repetitive movements of the facial muscles. A lot of the facial yoga poses also involve benefits to the skin quality itself, such as increased lymphatic drainage, circulation and collagen production resulting in more youthful looking, glowing skin.

What are the benefits?

Unlike the rest of our body, the skin on our face is attached directly to the muscles below without a padding of fat in-between. This means that when the muscles atrophy from lack of use and age, they begin to sag and then drag the skin of our face down with them. This results in some of the 'typical' signs of ageing, such as sagging eye lids, pouches under the eyes, hollowed cheeks and jowls around the neck. With regular practice, facial yoga teaches us to tone and plump those muscles, which in turn leaves the skin covering them smoother, pumper and with less obvious wrinkles. You will also learn the places that you typically hold tension in your face, for example furrowed brow, clenched jaw or tight neck, and learn how to undo those patterns. This can result in less tension headaches, better posture and less teeth grinding.

Is it hard to do?

You can get the basics down instantly but getting the movement refined enough that you don't bunch up the rest of the face takes longer. The great thing is you can do them anywhere: at traffic lights in the car, waiting for the kettle to boil… It is a tiny commitment: an ideal amount is five minutes per day. 

Do you need to go to a class?

It's always best to learn from a practitioner in my opinion as they can give you direct pointers on how to do the poses correctly. I have a workshop coming up in Yoga Dublin on October 13 called Yoga For Your Skin: Glow From Within. I also have mini video tutorials on my YouTube channel, Yoga With Lydia. 

To book Lydia's workshop,  see, and find her on Instagram @yogawithlydia




Weekend Magazine

Editors Choice

Also in this section