European Facial Massage Techniques

By Melissa Busse

Many people hold stress in their face, neck and head areas. For this reason, European facial massages are growing in popularity among stressed, overworked individuals. Day spas offer facial massage as the finishing touch to a facial mask treatment, claiming that facial massage increases blood flow to the skin on the face, which decreases the appearance of wrinkles. Some European facial massage techniques include the use of facial cleansing and extraction, exfoliation, facial masks, use of moisturizers, light pressure strokes and symmetrical circle strokes.

A European facial massage can refresh a dulled complexion.

Cleansing and Extraction

All European facial massages begin with a facial cleanse. During the facial cleansing, foreign matter is removed from the skin, producing a clean, smooth surface for the extraction phase of the massage. Extraction is the process of removing any blackheads or pimples from the skin. Sometimes, the technician uses a magnifying glass to better identify any impurities that might not be visible otherwise.


Exfoliation involves the removal of rough, dead skin cells from the face. This is either done chemically with facial peels, or mechanically by applying abrasives to the skin. Exfoliation allows your new, healthy skin to show through.

Facial Masks

Typically, a facial mask is applied after the exfoliation process is completed. The type of facial mask is chosen based on your individual skin type and any special skin issues you may have, such as dry skin, acne-prone skin or aging skin.


After the facial mask has been removed, a generous amount of moisturizer is applied to the skin to help the massage technician more easily massage your face. As with the facial mask, the moisturizer that is chosen is typically based on your individual skin type.

Light Pressure Strokes

A light touch is important during European facial massages, because it relaxes the face. Often, varying pressure strokes are used on different areas of the face during a facial massage. For example, applying light pressure to the chin and neck is thought to help relieve tension in those areas. A slightly firmer touch is used when working around the hollows of the eyes in order to help relax the eye muscles.

Circular Strokes

Applying circular strokes during a facial massage is thought to help counteract gravity's affect on sagging skin. Upward, circular massage strokes help to move the facial muscles up, preventing them from sinking further. The circular strokes are performed symmetrically on both sides of the face.