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Facial-Cupping Is The Self-Care Trend You Didn’t Know You Needed

Self-care Sunday is amazing, in theory.

Beauty & Fashion

Self-care Sunday is amazing, in theory. But in reality, being a professional working woman can leave hardly anytime for self-care. So many of us desperately crave a quiet night at home, a hot bath while deep conditioning our hair and have to balance that with making time for Sunday brunch with friends. By working long hours, after-hours and trying to hold on to some sliver of a social life, we put a hefty tax on the time that could be used taking care of ourselves.

Because of this, I'm always investigating new ways to up my skincare routine in any way that is low-maintenance and helps me along my journey to optimal health. I recently attended a facial cupping workshop hosted by New York-based naturopathic practitioner, acupuncturist, and herbalist, Dr. Naika Apeakorang. In the very quaint and cozy Natural Feeling Spa, we were introduced to this ancient beauty secret that improves circulation, heals and regenerates tissue, restores energy, and has been around for more than 5,000 years.

If taking a silicone suction cup to the face sounds intimidating, believe me it's not. Instead, it's an almost instant skin and natural beauty booster you didn't know you needed.

Here's are a few reasons to give it a try:

Facial cupping is a stress reliever.

Getty Images

Facial cupping is like a deep tissue massage for your face. Dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles are just a few ways stress shows up on our face. The practice of facial cupping requires using suction cups directly on skin to promote circulation and relieve muscle tension. Our face is full of nerves and pleasure points and yet we spend very little time, or none at all, addressing all the stress we carry in our most outward appearance and interactions with the rest of the world. Facial cupping can decrease anxiety and be a mood enhancer. Meaning how we look has a lot to do with how we feel. Less stress and anxiety means healthy, glowing skin.

Facial cupping promotes glowing skin.

Another way that facial cupping promotes healthy, glowing skin is by increasing blood circulation, stimulating collagen and encouraging elasticity in the skin. The main function of the blood is to carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, which includes the face. The suction of cupping brings blood to the top of your skin, revitalizing the skin, giving the face a natural contour and enhancing your natural beauty.

"What you put in your body is just as important, if not more important, than what you put on your body," Dr. Apeakorang said. She suggests eating more fruits with antioxidants, like beets and blueberries, that have nutrients that contribute to clear and luminous skin. She also encourages dandelion and burdock root to support blood health, which in combination would further result in flawless skin.

Facial cupping helps with congestion.

Getty Images

Spring season is drawing near! Facial cupping can help relieve allergy symptoms such as sinus congestion. Congestion of the face and body can be areas of thickened lymph, which blocks drainage and creates more congestion. Facial cupping improves drainage and relieves congestion by way of lymphatic liquefaction and drainage.

Facial cupping is detoxifying.

The lymphatic system plays a key role in health. Muscle movement is needed to push lymph fluid through the body. A lack of movement can result in a lazy lymphatic system and an unwanted buildup of toxins. Facial cupping stimulates the lymphatic vessels and facilitates toxin elimination.

Facial cupping deepens your skincare routine.

Facial cupping improves product absorption and nutrient delivery to the skin. The suction of the rubber cup opens up your pores and makes product seep in deeply. By increasing the depth and efficacy of skincare products, it directly helps reduce the appearance of acne scarring and blemishes.

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Featured image by Getty Images

Originally published on April 9, 2019

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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