I Have Puffy Skin, and These 3 At-Home Facial-Sculpting Tools Actually Help


(Image credit: @caitlinburnett__)

I blame my side-sleeping habit, but every morning, I wake up looking like a puffer fish—everything from my cheekbones to my jawline to my under-eyes feels a bit more swollen and less defined than I would like. This unfortunate happening sent me on a mission to find the best tools and methods for sculpting and contouring to bring some much-needed definition back to my face. I've tried just about every device under the sun at this point (cue Euphoria's Cassie self-care scene), some of which were total marketing gimmicks and some were actual miracle workers in helping my cheekbones reappear in the morning.

I noticed the biggest difference with three particular types of tools and have now cemented them into my routine. The key to each of these tools lies in both the technique and the proper skin prep: All three should be used with a face oil or serum to help them glide over skin without pulling or tugging. Below, I'm outlining the best at-home facial-sculpting tools for my fellow puffer fish out there, plus tips from a lymphatic-drainage expert on the best techniques for using each one. 


When I say this gives you an instant, natural face-lift, I mean it. Although this method is nothing new (it's a traditional Chinese medicine technique), it's new to my routine, and the only thing I regret is not trying it sooner. I do this two to three times a week now and have noticed a huge difference in the definition in my face. Using a face oil or serum to help the cups glide is key, and then keep them moving to avoid any marks—always in an upward and outward motion, following the natural contours of the face.


We all know that ice helps with swelling, so it makes sense that cryo or ice therapy would also help with depuffing the face. Whether you use an ice roller, cryo tools, or a face mask right out of the freezer, the sculpting benefits of cool temperatures are virtually instant. Oh, and it happens to feel great first thing in the morning. I like to use this method while I have my coffee, as the cooling effect lifts and helps wake me up. Just apply your favorite serum or oil first and then use the tool to bring definition back into your face. 

As far as techniques for rollers and cryo tools go, I asked lymphatic-drainage expert Angela Caglia for her tips. "Remove cryo [tool] from the freezer and quickly move in upward, outward directions on the face," she explains. "Apply the wands over shut eyes for two to three seconds to depuff upper lids. Then, glide under quickly three times and drop below your ears to drain fluid retention and puffiness. I would suggest [this method] be one to two minutes total for depuffing and contouring. It’s very invigorating and a great way to start the day. The freezing temperatures also give an instant glow to the skin with the stimulation of blood circulation." There you have it. Two birds, one tool. 


Another traditional Chinese medicine technique that works wonders for facial contouring is gua sha. It's been around for centuries but has become quite trendy in the wellness world recently—and for good reason. This method aids in lymphatic drainage and provides instant lift. "Hold the gua sha at a 15-degree angle close to the face with light pressure and glide upward and outward," explains Angela. "Remember to also use over an oil or moisturizer for an easy slip and to not tug on the delicate facial skin. To incorporate a supercharged depuff, I love to put my Rose Quartz gua sha in ice a few minutes before." 

Next: I tried the so-called best redness-reducing products—here are my honest reviews.

Caitlin Burnett
Contributing Editor