November 09, 2018 5 min read 6 Comments

How To Do Lymphatic DrainageSo, you're a skincare lover. But you don't want to keep adding products to your routine for every single skin bugaboo you encounter: it's wasteful and needlessly complicated. Sure, you love nontoxic and eco-friendly skincare products that multitask and actually work, but did you know that you can do more for your skin, and it doesn't have to come in a bottle?!

Meet lymphatic drainage: a simple yet highly effective part of your skincare routine that helps with all skin types and concerns. It nourishes and supports your skin's natural functions for health and vibrance. You can get all the benefits of lymph drainage with your hands and a good oil cleanser, a high quality natural fiber dry brush and a soothing toner, a jade roller, or even a Gua Sha tool.

Before you go and haphazardly smoosh, brush, and/or rub a rock all over your face, know that lymph drainage does not work if done incorrectly (and can do more harm than good if you botch it). Proper technique is everything when it comes to lymphatic drainage. That's where we come in.

Here we share the benefits of lymph drainage, give you a mini crash course on understanding the lymphatic system, and give you detailed how-to instructions and videos on lymph drainage massage and dry brushing techniques for optimum benefits.

While it might be tempting to skip the background and go straight to the how-to, we highly recommend at least reading section #2 - Background: Our Lymphatic System - before watching the tutorials. When you understand how the lymphatic system works, the steps will make much more sense, and you won't need to worry about rote memorization.

  1. Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage (When Done Right)
  2. Background: Our Lymphatic System
  3. Facial Lymphatic Massage
  4. Facial Dry Brushing

Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage (When Done Right)

These benefits apply for: dry brushing, manual lymphatic massage, jade rolling, and Gua Sha
  • Improves a wide variety of skin issues and concerns:  clogged pores, acne, slowed healing, dull skin, dehydrated skin, and puffy skin
  • Improves cellular turnover and elasticity
  • Improves overall glow and radiance
  • Speeds healing time for acne, eczema, and other skin traumas
  • Speeds fading time for dark spots
  • Minimizes the appearance of fine lines
  • Improves allergy symptoms that present in the face and neck (e.g. congestion, puffy/watery/itchy eyes, etc.)

Here's the biggest thing I want you to remember: any lymph drainage practice has to start by opening up through the neck and collarbones first - or it doesn't work! We're here to help you so you can get all the benefits of lymph drainage without any of the guesswork.

Background: Our Lymphatic System

Lymphatic System Bright BodyThe lymphatic system runs parallel to the circulatory system. Instead of circulating blood, it circulates lymph, a colorless fluid containing white blood cells, that bathes the tissues and drains through the lymphatic system into the bloodstream. Think of it like one of the "janitors" of our bodies.

Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump. It relies on us physically moving (exercise, especially yoga) and physically manipulating (targeted lymphatic drainage) it to circulate. The lymph system does have lymph nodes, which help to filter the lymph (but not pump it) and produce new lymphocytes (new "janitors").

Lymph doesn't drain always drain properly on its own - sometimes lymph nodes become "congested" and/or swollen, affecting the flow of lymph in its vicinity. On the face and neck specifically, this can lead to: clogged pores, acne, slowed healing, dull skin, dehydrated skin, and puffy skin. The vast majority of skin concerns - no matter skin type, age, or tone - can benefit from lymphatic drainage.

When performing any kind of lymphatic drainage, you have to open up nodes lower down (since lymph follows gravity) before you can properly drain lymph above. When it comes to the face & neck, we must to open up the lymph nodes along the neck and collarbone first before the lymph in the face can properly drain.

Lymphatic drainage quiets our sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response) and engages our parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest). Any lymphatic drainage practice is contraindicated if you have a fever. You should also not do a lymphatic drainage practice if you have any upper respiratory infection. Also, if you have a heart condition, please be gentle with these practices.


Province Apothecary Facial Lymph Nodes




When it comes to the face in particular, everything connects to lymph nodes around the ears and then flushes down the neck.

That means: always start lymph drainage by opening up along the collarbones and neck first. Forgetting about your neck is the #1 mistake people make with any kind of lymph drainage or facial massage routine.


Facial Lymphatic Massage

Best done at nighttime since this practice is grounding and relaxing. It can take 20+ minutes to do a full facial massage. If you don't have that kind of time, at least focus on the neck for 2-5 minutes.

  1. Start by washing your hands! Apply either our Makeup Remover/Oil Cleanser or an Ayurvedic Facial Oil to lubricate the skin. Remember that you are not massaging the muscles, you're just massaging the skin and encouraging the lymph to move.
  2. Use light, slow, pumping movements along the paths demonstrated in the video below and in our downloadable PDF guide.
  3. Continue with the rest of your skin care routine.


Note: if you cause any pinkness or redness in the skin while massaging, you're using too much pressure and engaging the circulatory system, not the lymphatic system. If your goal is to drain lymph, your skin should not look flushed.

    Facial Dry Brushing

    Best done in the morning since this practice is stimulating. Plan to shower after you dry brush since you don't want to brush the skin after it has been softened by the warm water. It takes about 5 minutes to fully dry brush your face.

      1. Wash your hands. Use a soft natural fiber brush.
      2. Use very light, short "flicks" of the brush on your bare face along the paths demonstrated in the video below and in our downloadable PDF guide.
      3. Spritz your face with a gentle alcohol free toner to help cool, calm, and soothe the skin. Continue with the rest of your skincare routine.
    Dry Brush For Face Natural Fiber Dry Brush

    Note: dry brushing is NOT for exfoliation. If you cause any pinkness or redness in the skin while dry brushing, you're brushing too hard and engaging the circulatory system, not the lymphatic system. If your goal is to drain lymph, your skin should not look flushed.


    You can always dry brush on a bare face, but incorporating a facial oil can improve absorption of your skincare products and potentially boost the benefits of your lymph drainage routine.

    You've got a couple options if you're ready to upgrade your dry brush routine:

    1. On a bare face, dry brush first, then apply a facial oil, OR
    2. Apply a facial oil first then dry brush


    Repeat after me: I will never wet my brush. I clean my brush with powder.

    The best way to clean your dry brush is to dip it into arrowroot powder, diatomaceous earth, or bentonite clay, work it into the bristles, and then shake and tap it out. You can find those ingredients at most grocery stores or health food stores.

    To keep your brush as clean as possible, keep it stored in a drawer. You can even save the box it comes in and store it inside the box inside your drawer. Treat it like the fancy thing it is.


    Until next time,

    Gabi Day

    6 Responses


    February 26, 2020

    Looking for massage for head & neck post cancer


    February 26, 2020

    Is there a video yet? I’m really interested in that. I just heard that lymphatic drainage helps for all brain problems because it helps give your brain a clear pathway to drain toxins.

    Vicki Portune Hughes
    Vicki Portune Hughes

    February 26, 2020

    May I share this post & graphics (with credit to you) with my facial clients? It’s very useful and helpful. Thank you for posting! 😊

    Louise Oades
    Louise Oades

    February 26, 2020

    This was clear, and very helpful in running through the routine xx thank you louise


    July 29, 2019

    Do you have a recipe for lymphatic body wash for Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients.


    December 03, 2018

    Love this! This is so helpful! Thank you! I’m excited to see the videos 😊

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