Key Takeaways

  1. A lymphatic drainage facial massage helps release stagnant lymph fluid that causes puffiness and swelling in the face and neck. You can perform this massage easily at home with just your fingers.
  2. Focus on key areas like the nasolabial folds, jowls, jawline, and neck where lymph tends to pool. Use light, sweeping motions to gently move the fluid.
  3. Supplement your DIY facial massage with tools like gua sha stones, and conducting gel

Your lymphatic system goes by several names, from the highway to the immune system to my personal favorite, the body’s garbage disposal system! There are hundreds of pea-sized lymph nodes in your lymphatic system, and each one filters lymph, a colorless fluid that eventually drains back into the bloodstream. But what about when that lymph fluid doesn’t drain?

Enter a lymphatic drainage facial massage! As the name might suggest, a lymphatic drainage massage works to release stagnant lymph that has collected in pockets of the face. In today’s guide on DIY lymphatic drainage massage, I’ll share step-by-step instructions on releasing that stubborn lymph, along with my top tips for performing a PRO facial from home!

What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Facial Massage? 

The adult body is home to approximately 600 lymph nodes—but even hundreds of these little pitstops for lymph don’t stand a chance against an accumulation of fluid! When something disrupts the lymphatic system, like high levels of stress-related cortisol that impede lymphatic flow, lymph begins to gather in tissue pockets beneath the skin. The face, jowls, and neck can swell as a result.

A lymphatic drainage facial massage, often referred to as manual lymphatic drainage, manipulates areas of the body close to the lymph nodes to release lymph buildup and reduce the subsequent swelling. Studies show individuals ages 60 and below benefit from lymphatic drainage massage; however, most don’t realize you can perform a DIY lymphatic drainage massage from home! 

Your At-Home Lymphatic Draining Massage Guide

Unlike our cardiovascular system, our lymphatic system does not have a heartbeat. It moves when we move… and if we don’t move, that lymph will just collect into pools of puffiness! The majority of facial lymph tends to gather immediately under the jawline up to the ears, where the lymph nodes are located. Here’s my at-home lymphatic drainage massage guide to help eliminate that fluid! 

1. Release Nasolabial Folds (Smile Lines)

Kick off a DIY lymphatic drainage massage by releasing the nasolabial folds, the creases that extend from both sides of your nose (naso) to the corners of your mouth (labial). Also known as laugh or smile lines, these creases often result from stagnant lymph in the cheeks. Ride along the ridge of your cheekbones using just your fingers (or knuckles, if you have long nails) with light pressure, sweeping from the corners of the nose, back up the cheeks, and down to the corners of your mouth. 

2. Work the Jowls and Jawline

The next step in an at-home lymphatic drainage massage is a quick jaw-lifting treatment that detoxifies the jowls and depuffs the face. Remember that tons of lymph nodes exist along and underneath the chin and jaw. When paired with the natural signs of aging, those nodes filter less lymph. A detoxifying facial massage with gua sha techniques, shown above, simply glides along the jawline to sweep the lymph out of that area and enhance circulation to lift and tighten the skin. 

3. Drain Lymph in the Neck 

The last step in a DIY lymphatic drainage massage is to direct all the excess lymph back to your lymph nodes, where it can ultimately be recycled back into your bloodstream. Because we all spend so much time staring down at devices nowadays (hello, turkey neck!), it’s essential to release fluid gathered in the neck to depuff the face. With a simple pinching method, move up and down the big, ropey sternocleidomastoid muscle that runs along both sides of the neck up to the front of the ear.

Pro Tips for DIY Lymphatic Drainage Massage 

You know I wouldn’t direct you on how to complete a DIY lymphatic drainage massage without a few expert tips! Like any facial massage, it’s essential to begin with a clean face and hands. It’s also vital to keep your skin lubricated so your hands (or skincare devices!) can easily glide across the face. Avoid any harsh tugging or pulling motions that can deepen the appearance of fine lines. 

To round out your at-home lymphatic drainage massage, keep these three pro tools handy: 


Unlock Expert Advice to Amp Up Lymphatic Drainage

As a licensed master esthetician for more than two decades, I can tell you this: If you do an at-home lymphatic drainage massage once, you’ll be hooked for good! So, go ahead and unlock additional pro tips on facial massage and lymphatic drainage by joining the Christine Byer Beauty Club. Inside, you can unlock exclusive savings and the opportunity to win a free consultation. I hope to see you there!