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How to Look Younger without Surgery? Ask Gaga’s Facialist

Jommee Song facial massage techniques

Dana Patrick Photography

What’s the magic behind Joomee Song’s famous facials? We spoke with the expert aesthetician on why getting in touch with yourself is the best kept secret on how to look younger.

To find wellness rituals suited uniquely for each of us, we have taken a deep-dive into our DNA for the perfect diet as well as tapped the industry for the best natural skincare products. And for spa-enthusiasts looking to elevate their facial health and important how to’s to look younger, you must know about LA-based aesthetician Joomee Song.

ICONIC LIFE tapped the mind of Japanese-born Joomee Song, who has traveled the world with Lady Gaga and has been praised by Hollywood’s finest for her famous facials. She has also worked for some of the leading medical spas across the country, including the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel Air, catering to some of the most elite clients and their beauty needs.

Gaga told her that she has had facials all over the world, “but I can say that you are the best one I've ever had.

But what sets Song apart from other facialist’s who often opt for a trunk full of high-end products to look younger and savvy technology, is her approach to skin that begins from beneath. Song’s intuitive massages sculpt the face while draining fluids to reduce inflammation, ultimately changing how the face feels and functions, all under 60 minutes. Her four years on tour with Gaga as her on-call aesthetician included a response from the megastar that would forever change Song. Gaga told her that she has had facials all over the world, “but I can say that you are the best one I’ve ever had.”

Song’s relationship to skincare and achieving younger looking skin began as a young girl, which included avoiding sun exposure (due to an allergy) and ultimately preserving the beautiful skin she was born with. It also had something to do with the matriarch in her family whose skin routine has inspired her own.

Joomee Song's facial massage techniques to look younger

Dana Patrick Photography

“My grandmother, Hiroko, owned a kimono factory in Kyoto with her husband and after work she used to sit in the same chair each night to remove her makeup. No matter how busy her day was she would massage her face and take her time removing her makeup. I remember that so well,” says Song.

It has led Song to approach skincare “by building within,” using her years of training in Japan on how to look younger and across the US to inform her specific method that will have you glowing from the inside out. “When I worked at high-end medical spas, I realized that the results weren’t really meeting my own standards,” she says. “So, I decided to stop using their tools because oftentimes those choices only compromise the health and immune system of one’s skin.”

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Joomee Song discusses looking younger with facial massage

Kat Solko

“The only way to achieve the health of the skin is to deal with what you have underneath. When I touch people’s faces, we are all the same, no matter what you do or who you are.” And our skin’s problems are often very similar. “We carry so much inflammation and tension in our faces, and no matter if you use a $1,000 cream or a high-frequency machine, if you don’t have a healthy flow underneath, nothing will last,” she says.

Song’s one-of-a-kind facial technique that will help you achieve younger looking skin is named KAIKA, meaning “to bloom” in her native Japanese language. She is the only one in the US who uses this Japanese-made machine that creates a micro-current through the entire body. These effective machines are even used at cancer centers in Japan to treat chemotherapy patients to promote the healing process.

This stimulating treatment creates blood flow in the face leading to an increase in oxygen and nutrients that causes suppler and less inflamed skin.

facial massage techniques by Joomee Song

Kat Solko

Utilizing the technology to look younger in a new way, Song connects the machine to herself and the client, allowing the current to alternate between their bodies. “Micro current charges the mitochondria in our body, which is the powerplant to our cells. Our cells receive current from our mitochondria allowing them to communicate faster and more efficiently. When we get older, our bodies lose current, so just by laying on the bed while receiving the current is a recharge to the whole body,” says Song.

Pair this with Song’s superhuman yet delicate touch and the results are powerful. This stimulating treatment creates blood flow in the face leading to an increase in oxygen and nutrients that causes suppler and less inflamed skin.

Although results are visible on the first day, Song says that after three sessions clients can expect to have younger looking skin that appears distinctly more chiseled. “My main focus when people want to make their face less puffy is to address your sinuses, which are near your nose and eyes. We clear the pathways, so you breathe better and results in your cheeks and eyes becoming more defined.”

The longer-lasting effects can mean an easier time breathing, better sleep and feeling more clear-headed. A journalist from The Cut magazine experienced a KAIKA massage firsthand and reported feeling more vibrant, relaxed and that her breathing had improved overnight. It is clear why Lady Gaga depended on her skills to keep her sinus-free and singing like a star.

Song’s approach to beauty and younger looking skin is not to drastically alter the features of her client’s faces but enhancing what is already there. The more friction and chemicals you expose your skin to, the more inflammation will happen, which leads to signs of aging. “Our skin is only half a millimeter thin, about the width of five pieces of paper, and that’s all you have from the minute you are born until the minute you pass,” she says.

“So, take care of that skin because you cannot replace it.” Those interested in experiencing a facial from Song firsthand can visit Faceworks Inc., her boutique storefront in LA’s Brentwood neighborhood, where she is busy taking clients on a referral-based system.

Trending practices like face Yoga to help with younger looking skin can sometimes cause more tension, leading to clogged sinuses, so ensure you are balancing muscle strengthening with facial massage. Song always encourages moderation. “We are all taught to scrub, exfoliate, cleanse obsessively and use like ten products, but those beliefs are the main cause of skin damage nowadays,” says Song.

Joomee Song's book The Worlds Most Magical Facial

Joome is also published, releasing “The World’s Most Magical Facial” in August of 2020 in Japan, sharing her philosophy on achieving great skin. An edition in English is expected this year.

Her new skincare line Strata, expected to debut in September, is designed to be applied after cleansing to restructure the fundamental make up of one’s skin; giving back that which has been lost, so your skin will absorb and remain hydrated all day. Nodding to her roots in Kobe, Japan she has utilized a local ingredient called Alpha GG, which is found in Sake (yes, the alcoholic beverage) that determines its Umami factor (either spicy or mild). What is special about this ingredient is its glycerin molecules with glucose (the starch from rice) attached to it that helps to repair, hydrate and activate cellular turnover.

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Joomee Song and Grandmother on how to look younger

Joomee with her Grandmother

Song’s two young daughters remind her of the importance of teaching the next generation about personal self-care. This means not adhering to the beauty industries expectations, the promotion of endless products to achieve younger looking skin and by not applying other people’s specific skincare routines to your own (cue Vogue’s celebrity-led Beauty Secrets videos). She recommends using a gentle cleanser every day, applying sunscreen before going outside, drinking plenty of water and incorporating facial massage to understand your skin on a more intimate level.

Remembering her grandmother’s routine, Song says “she was not just removing makeup, she was removing her stress. When she passed at 86, she had the most beautiful skin. It can really be that simple.” We can’t think of a better time than now to take a moment for our self-care, beginning with the gentle touch from our own two hands to recognize the state of our being, the one beneath the surface.

GETTING IN TOUCH
how to look younger naturally with facial massage

Kat Solko

Song’s how-to Instagram videos for facial massage are an excellent place to start your journey towards healthier and younger looking skin. For just three to five minutes a day, this time is used to determine your skin’s texture, tightness and tension, recognizing the subtle changes our face undergoes each day.
 
Tools: By using your own two hands + the natural oils, sweat or water on your face while bathing, you can simplify your routine and cut out the need for excess products. Of course, you can always incorporate a lotion or serum if that suits you. And while it can be good to use a gua shua stone (traditional Chinese self-care tool) or a jade roller during your routine, Song always recommends using your own fingers to massage your face afterwards.
 
Techniques: It’s important that you don’t have a technical approach to facial massage, instead using your intuition while moving across your skin. Song encourages us to ask ourselves: “What did I do, eat and think about that may have impacted the way my face feels?” Converse with yourself. And she encourages us to always finish with the mantra: “I did a good job today.”

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