Ab day, leg day...face day? Facial exercises that tone are the latest beauty-meets-fitness trend promising more radiant and youthful skin
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 Bloomingdales cosmetics department. Perhaps also because I was a 23-year-old amongst a group of seniors. (Although, the founders claim that their classes are aren't designed for any particular age group, and clients span the ages of 20s to 80s.)
Common exercise equipment, like a Pilates circle and resistance bands were also involved in helping to strengthen and train our face 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 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 more of a spa experience where you lay in a chair and let the experts do the work for you. 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 on my calendar, 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, and how to implement it into my own routine. In the past, I was afraid to be too rough while applying any of my skincare products, but now I’m not afraid to really get in there and massage my skin as I wash my face to get the blood flowing and keep my 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 skincare meets fitness trend is only just beginning to take off.