Photo courtesy of Kai Qiu
“Good sex, minimal stress, and twenty or so seconds of lip massage, whenever you remember to do it,” are the skin and spirit boosters New York aesthetician Jessica Bowers swears by. She even devotes a portion of her new lavish facial—it combines powerful skin treatments with sculpting face massage and Reiki, plus a tarot card reading at the end as you slip back into your shoes—at her West Village “skin-care speakeasy” to treating the lips, an often-overlooked area.
“Treat your lips right, and your entire face looks more youthful,” says Bowers, a single mom whose own plump lips and sparkling skin are her most powerful endorsement (in typical perverse facialist form, she says she’s too lazy to wash off makeup and so doesn’t bother with it). “I started including lip massage with my facials, and now, when clients get up off the table, their lips look so hydrated and supple, it’s the first thing they comment on. It can almost look like you got a touch of filler. Massage gets stagnant energy flowing and helps plump up lines. And it’s easy to do yourself.”
3 Steps to Cushiony-Smooth Lips
“I smooth off dry skin with the French Girl sugar lip scrub—you can make your own by blending sugar, honey, and coconut oil—that alone brings life to your lips. Work it in with your fingers, lightly pinching your lips and going in little circles; do whatever feels good. There’s no wrong way to massage,” says Bowers. It works just as beautifully with any intensely hydrating lip treatment to plump lips and help nourishing ingredients—like the mango butter, hyaluronic acid, and gently exfoliating papaya enzymes in the overnight lip mask from ILIA—sink in.
ILIA Lip Wrap Overnight Treatment Mask goop, $26
“I exfoliate with goop’s Microderm around the mouth, blending it in a bit more rigorously where there are wrinkles,” she says, “since exerting some friction stimulates skin and makes fine lines look a little softer.”
goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator goop, $125/$112 with subscription
“I smooth on goop lip balm. It’s rich, it’s packed with amazing ingredients, and it feels great on. Sometimes I’ll put some lip balm on and do a little massage, and that alone gives my lips a subtle hint of color,” says Bowers. “That’s my version of makeup.”
goop Beauty GOOPGENES Clean Nourishing Lip Balm goop, $20
HOW TO DO THE FACIAL AT HOME
If you can’t get to Bowers’s fabled skin speakeasy in New York, this is the next best thing.
Smooth away dirt, grime, dryness, and lingering makeup to get your brightest skin and to help any formulas you apply after to really sink in. Bowers loves to use goop Microderm for the entire face. “I like the way the little granules exfoliate, and I find that it’s especially great for mature skin and smoothing the look of lines,” she says. If skin needs a softer exfoliation, the new goop jelly cleanser is the perfect balance of gentle exfoliation and hydration, and Bowers also likes the enzyme cleanser from Dr. Sturm. “Whatever I use and any time I touch the face, I’m massaging it,” she says. “Massage gets things moving and makes skin look better instantly—and makes you feel more peaceful.”
Treat skin with cold
“If you can do one thing to your skin, trace an ice cube or a chilled espresso spoon over it—the cold is soothing and pore-tightening—or use cryo globes, which I love. I keep mine in the freezer, and I move them in an upward direction over the cheeks for a lifting effect and smooth them under the eyes to help with puffiness,” Bowers says. “You can do the globes over a sheet mask, too, so that you get the benefits of the cold, but it doesn’t feel as shocking.” This mask from naturopathic doctor Nigma Talib is swirled with prebiotics, marine collagen, and hyaluronic acid and is one of the most powerfully nourishing we’ve tried.
Massage in moisture
“I smooth on goop’s face oil, massaging it in with my fingers or with a little gua sha,” says Bowers, who likes the temporary skin-chiseling effect of the traditional Chinese skin therapy. “I love the way bakuchiol—one of the main ingredients—makes skin look, and the amazing quality of the oil.” One of the last treatments Bowers applies before releasing clients back out into the buzzing city streets is lip balm—taking a minute to massage it in, of course. This set contains three balms, two of them with pretty, sheer tints that are pure magic on any skin type.
Spread good energy—it shows up on your skin
“I have an abundant life, and I am so grateful. The more I appreciate and give, the more abundant life feels,” says Bowers, who says working in such close proximity to clients makes her conscious of energetic exchanges between people. “I sage my space, I have a big crystal I place on the pillow before clients come in, and I do Reiki on my hands before treatments, to hopefully help transmit good energy,” she says. “I do Reiki throughout all my treatments—I do a hand and arm massage, then grab the toes to bring some energy down there. I do think Reiki helps shift energy and promote calm. When people start snoring on the table, that’s the ultimate compliment—the best! I love this so much, it doesn’t feel like work for me. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”