‘I tried Meghan Markle’s favourite anti-ageing facial’

When I’d heard about a facial that visibly firms, plumps and lifts from the inside out, I was first in line to try it.

My facial lines aren’t my major concern, but the shift in my face shape (ahem, sagging), is. And if this hard-to-get intraoral – that means inside your mouth -face sculpting technique is good enough for Meghan, Kate, Rita and Margot, it’s good enough for me.

While the celebs are booking in with Nichola Joss in London and NYC, our own Sydney-based dermal therapist Isabella Loneragan flew to Paris to be taught by the same elusive master and trainer of Sculptural Face Lifting and buccal, or intraoral technique, Yakov Gerschikovich.

The treatment

The Intrinsic Facial Experience by Isabella Loneragan at her Sydney clinic, The Dermal Diary, is like a full-service workout for your face – partly personal trainer and partly osteopath with a sprinkle of magician and esthetician. And the massage also undoes emotional stress that shows on our faces – so add in a therapist, too.

“It’s a very physical treatment – my hands are never off my client’, says Isabella. I agree.

After starting off with the traditional double cleanse, Isabella then applied an AHA toner and steam-activated non-abrasive fruit enzyme (which smelled lovely and fresh, rather than sickly and tropical) and mask. This is all super-charged by using ultrasonic infusion technology, low-frequency waves to really push the products into the skin, while boosting elastin and collagen for bouncier, more plump skin.

I also had an eye treatment to fluff up the lines around my eyes, making them smoother and, well, less lined. Although a little stingy at first, it made a difference.

Then the massage, or pummeling began, really getting into my facial muscles. “Like working on your biceps at the gym, pulling the same expressions works your facial muscles, but not in the direction you want”, says Isabella.

So true – since having the treatment, which made my face feel really very relaxed (despite the workout), I realised my natural resting face is a frown?! I subconsciously clench my teeth at the front of my mouth, making my mouth down turn. Not good.

The sculpting massage manually tones, strengthens and relaxes facial muscles, restoring my face to its (almost) natural state, plus releases the flow of lymph to flush out toxins.

After the intense sculpting massage, the five to ten minutes of magic happens. Intraoral or buccal massage technique works on the cheeks, lips, and nasolabial lines – kindly called laughter lines – all from the inside of your mouth. “This restores the natural posture to your face, like an osteo releasing tension”, explains Isabella.

With hands in gloves, and a set of thumbs inside my mouth and fingers on my face, Isabella quite intensively works through tight facial muscles along my lips, the back of my teeth (ouch – that’s where all the grinding and clenching happens) and cheeks to release sunken tissue, pulled in by overused muscles.

“Initially I work externally to lift the face manually and undo any emotional binds in the face – all muscles have muscle memory and reflect how you feel via muscles continually used. Releasing emotional blocks in the face – the down turn on your mouth, aptly named the depressor muscle, pulls the mouth down but I can release it so it’s not as tied down”, she tells me.

After an unusual but satisfyingly deep massage on relatively tiny muscles, my face feels flushed with renewed circulation, but relaxed, like the feeling after a great body massage.

The results

“The biggest benefit of the intra-oral element of the facial is stimulation around the mouth”, explains Isabella, “I pinch around, below and above the lips and mouth, and across the cheeks, and back of the teeth – a particularly tight spot on many people who clench or grind their teeth. It’s intrusive but inclusive in using the ability to manipulate the face”.

I haven’t tried fillers or Botox, but this seems to give the same visual effects, if not as long lasting.

On getting up from the couch, my skin looked pink – like it had been worked out, and definitely fuller. My laughter and mouth frown lines (unsure how you can have both at the same time, but it happens to the best of us) are definitely ironed out, and my cheeks look fuller and smoother. I’ve always been conscious of grinding and clenching my teeth, which is a really hard habit to break, so to have those muscles massaged and released felt fantastic.

This treatment as a one-off would work well for an event, but for me, my skin needed to calm down for a while afterwards. My circulation was definitely pumping, hence the lingering pinkness. Isabella tells me one treatment is perfect short term, but for longer term results, a course is recommended. “You can’t expect to look different after one visit to the gym, and this is the same”. If only it was that easy.


The Intrinsic Facial Experience, $260 (75 minute appointment, 60 minutes on the bed). www.thedermaldiary.com.