Hand-in-Cheek

The Inner Facial by Nichola Joss is a surefire way of discovering muscles in your face that you never knew existed.

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Inside Serge Normant's salon in Chelsea, New York.
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If you've ever wondered what it would feel like to have someone's latex-clad fingers stretch out your jaw muscles, wonder no more! I have lived this exact experience and I am here to report that it's just about as painful as it sounds. But there's a method to the madness. While, yes, Kate Moss's cheekbones are 98 percent hereditary, the other two percent presumably come at the hands of Nichola Joss, London-based celebrity facialist extraordinaire. With a degree in biology and physiology, a beauty diploma, and having completed an apprenticeship in Malaysia with a local lymphatic drainage therapist, Joss has a pretty in-depth understanding of the human body.

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In the video above, Nichola Joss explains the process and theory behind each step of the Inside-Out Facial, and then demonstrates (!).

Joss is in New York City for a few days of back-to-back appointments, but thankfully she has a last-minute opening. And having heard the rumors about the wonders of her signature Inner Facial, I hurry over. With a soothing voice and her own set of enviable cheekbones, Joss leads me into a private room on the second floor of the Serge Normant hair salon in Chelsea, which is filled with an impressive amount of fiddle-leaf fig trees and natural light.

Upstairs at Serge Normant.

As Joss prepares the, tools, if you will—black gloves and obsidian wands at the ready!—I strip down to the essentials and climb onto the massage chair. When you're lying in the same seat that's cradled Gisele Bündchen, Cate Blanchett, and Gwyneth Paltrow, you know that you're not only in good hands, but also in a good chair. (Seriously, it's lined with sheepskin.)

Joss patiently walks me through each step she's about to perform, beginning with a traditional facial massage before moving to the inside of my mouth. She calmly explains how she's going to use both hands to work along the jawline and pull the tension out of the tiny muscles that line my face. "As you pull these muscles," she explains, "they become softer, and sit higher up, giving you that lifted appearance." As she drags her knuckles along the inside of my jawline (yep!), I try to look serene because I'm being filmed, but don't let my expression fool you. Believe me when I say this is not a type of pain you've ever experienced before. It's almost like trying to extract a particularly tough wad of gum tangled deep in your hair—if each strand were directly connected to your central nervous system.

First-floor reception of the Chelsea salon.

As I arrive back at the office, all aglow from re-energized skin and facial oils, the Sweet team oohs and aahs over my newfound cheekbones, which, unless everyone is humoring me, are visibly higher and rejuvenated. And, sure, my face is sore for the next few days, but I feel like a million bucks. And no, I didn't keep up with the nightly facial massages Joss taught me, but every once in awhile, when I'm on the subway or in a meeting, I'll subtly dig my thumbs under my cheekbones for a little on-the-go boost. Only once did I stick my fingers in my mouth and try to pull my own jaw muscles…and that won't be happening again. Not unlike dental work, it's a job best left to the professionals. But would I let Joss's hands back in if I had the chance? Absolutely.

Bespoke Sculpting Inner Facial by Nichola Joss, $356 for 60 minutes, nicholajoss.com.

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