Ab day, leg day...face day? Facial exercises that tone are the latest beauty-meets-fitness trend promising more radiant and youthful skin.

By Kylie Gilbert
September 21, 2015
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Photo: FaceLove Fitness

From bootcamp to barre to Pilates we have countless dedicated classes to keep every muscle in our body in tip-top shape. But what about our face? Well, as I recently learned, we have 57 muscles in our facial area that can (and should) be toned just like the rest of our body. And recently, I had the opportunity to do just that: try out a facial toning exercise class. Last week, I took a FaceLove Fitness class to celebrate the launch of Clinique's Sculptwear, a line of 'skin fitness for the face'. (Yes, it sounded crazy to us at first too!)

Created by Rachel Lang, an esthetician, and Heidi Frederick, a massage therapist, FaceLove Fitness is bringing major awareness to skin fitness. When we think of anti-aging, we're so focused on the expensive cleansers and serums (amazing in their own right), but according to Lang and Frederick, there's another majorly untapped source of youth. By ‘working out' our faces-essentially using the benefits of massage to exercise the muscles underneath the skin's surface-we can reportedly detoxify the skin, increase circulation and oxygen flow, and create more volume to diminish lines, helping to fight the skin thinning and muscle atrophy that naturally happens as we age (which starts as early as our mid-twenties!). The classes also claim to optimize our skin's performance to make the products we already use work even better. (On that note, see these Anti-Aging Solutions That Have Nothing to Do with Products or Surgery.)


So, what exactly did this workout-a guided 15-minute exercise to help train my face muscles-entail? Making lots and lots of strange faces, basically. I stuck my tongue out, sucked my lips in, puckered up, squinted, furrowed my brows, made bizarre reverse smiles, and more. Let's just say I received lots of wide-eyed stares in the 59th Street Bloomingdale's cosmetics department. Perhaps it was also because I was a 23-year-old amongst a group of seniors. (Although, the founders claim that their classes aren't designed for any particular age group, and the age of clients span from 20s to 80s.)

Common exercise equipment, like a Pilates circle and resistance bands were also involved in helping to strengthen and train our facial muscles. Roller contraptions-like a foam roller for your face-were used to promote blood circulation to the eye area and reduce dark circles and puffiness. We also used our hands as ‘free weights' to create resistance while we pulsed (kind of like a barre class) our eyebrows to stimulate the muscles behind the eyes, reportedly to keep them healthy, while brightening and softening lines around the eyes.

While this class was more of an instructional lesson to help introduce techniques that can be done on your own, other ‘workouts' offered by FaceLove resemble a spa-like experience where you lay in a chair and let the experts do the work for you. And as with a personal trainer, you can customize which areas you want to focus on.

My takeaways? No, I wasn't sore the next day, but I was a bit more aware of my face muscles in a way I had never been before. While I may not make face workouts a regular occurrence on my cal, I learned some easy exercises that seem well worth the five to 10-minute commitment per day. I also learned a lot about the benefits of facial massage in general, and how to implement it into my own bathroom routine. One key takeaway from the founders? Don't be afraid to be too rough and really get in there and massage the skin while applying your skin-care products-it'll get the blood flowing and keep your muscles working.


The class is currently only available at FaceLove Fitness' New York City pop-up shop (with a permanent 5th Avenue store in the works), but you can try it out yourself through YouTube videos (just search ‘facial massage') and by ordering massaging tools on Amazon. And with companies like Clinique and L'Occitane jumping on the face workout train, we're pretty sure that this skin care meets fitness trend is only just beginning to take off.


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