Image courtesy of Irving Penn via Vogue

Image courtesy of Irving Penn via Vogue


By Katrina Froelich

6 · 9 · 2019


Cupping is an alternative therapy that, much like the name implies, uses suction cups to stimulate your skin and muscles. You might remember during the Olympics when all those athletes had weird circular bruises on their backs and shoulders… that’s cupping! Facial cupping, however, is a little bit different in that the cups are usually smaller and more gentle and are used as a way to rejuvinate the skin without leaving cup marks behind.

The question is, does it actually work and is it worth it?

This week I tried facial cupping, so you don’t have to! While you can do facial cupping treatments at home (you just need some tiny little suction cups), I decided to go to the experts at The Spa on Rodeo.

What it was like:

So facial cupping was not something that I had any prior experience with. I had no idea what to expect going in. I once tried jade rolling my face at home but my facial cupping experience was next-level. First, my facialist Gina gave me an all-over face massage before placing tiny little suction cups on my face. I immediately felt a slight pressure and then… literal fart noises. And naturally, I had to force myself to not laugh the entire time. I spent the first couple minutes just trying to hold in laughter and then the next couple minutes being so disappointed in myself for succumbing to 7th grade humor. I still really think farts are funny and I need to work on that.

After I got over the noises, the cupping was actually incredibly relaxing. The way that Gina moved the cups over my entire face felt amazing, and the direction of her movements was incredibly purposeful. For example, I grind my teeth and clench my jaw… a lot. She focused on those muscles and helped me relax my face more. At the end of the massage I legitimately noticed a slight change in my overall face-shape that was more flattering and entirely less menacing. I actually think my jawline looked more toned. Who knew?  

Facial cupping is not for treating acne like most facials. Rather it is supposed to target the muscles underneath the skin. According to skin care experts, facial cupping has been shown to increase oxygen-rich blood circulation, strengthen skin and connective tissues, stimulate cells responsible for collagen production and relax muscle tension.

The Results

So I was nervous that after the session I would have huge bruises on my face (like the ones you see on athletes) but I didn’t have a single bruise. Immediately after the session my face was a little red, but my face gets red really easily and the redness disappeared within 20 minutes. The skin on my face felt tighter and my jaw and forehead felt looser. I’ve been told by dermatologists (and my mom) that I carry a lot of tension in my face and I could actually feel the lack of tension as I was leaving the spa. It was a welcome feeling! Long term I can say that I am slowly feeling the tension creep back into my face (the result of stress no doubt) but I was pleased with the results! My face was more photogenic and I honestly think my smile looked nicer.

I Did It… Should You?

I got facial cupping so you wouldn't have to… but should you?

Out of all the facials I have gotten in my life, this is one of the first that actually deals with more than just acne and sun spots. As much as I love a good extraction (I watch Dr. Pimple Popper everyday, don’t @ me) it was nice to feel like my whole face was benefitting rather than just my skin.

There are spas all over LA that offer facial cupping procedures but the Spa on Rodeo is officially test-approved . You can also buy at-home facial cupping kits that provide you with all you need to cup your face as you please. But if you buy these kits don’t let them go to waste. The benefits of the treatment are only as good as you make them. So if your jade roller is still collecting dust, maybe reconsider the at-home route  – take if from someone who knows.