Why Your Face Deserves A Workout Too
UPDATED JANUARY 2023
Think Of Your Face Like Your Body
“Facial workouts are more important than you think. Our body needs movement to stay healthy and our faces are no different – they are home to lots of muscles which are often neglected. You want to be massaging your face daily to improve blood flow – this provides essential nutrients to the skin, speeds up cell turnover to boost collagen levels and floods the skin with all the oxygen it needs. The results are brighter, tighter and healthier-looking skin.” – Sophie Perry, lifestyle creator & FaceGym education manager
Know The Benefits
“There are many reasons facial exercises are important but, first and foremost, they're a great way to support the ageing process. By easing facial tension, they help to support the muscles, increasing blood and lymphatic flow, and allow you to take a moment for yourself. When you spend time massaging the facial muscles, you immediately start working the lymphatic system, which keeps the body free from toxins and fluids. A thorough massage will improve the contours of your face by allowing muscles to sit where they should. Massage will also improve tone and texture, refine pores, remove congestion and keep your complexion clear. Expect to see a more lifted appearance if you do it regularly.” – Abigail James, facialist & skincare expert
Don’t Over Complicate It
“You can’t really go wrong with facial exercises. Some people overcomplicate them when it’s really as simple as working outwards from the centre, and following the contours of your face up towards the hairline. Try not to work down the face, instead keeping your motions upwards at all times to support the muscle tissue. A common misconception is that being too firm will cause your skin to stretch or produce wrinkles. This isn’t the case. The only non-negotiable is using a product to make sure your skin has enough slip. Try a facial oil or balm and keep the pressure light if you’re a beginner. You can definitely be firmer under the cheekbones, along the jawline and on the forehead though.” – Nichola Joss, skincare expert & A-list facialist
Understand The Techniques
“Big, circular movements using your fingers or knuckles are best. They can be done fast or slow, deep or light, and all over the face. This method doesn’t need to follow a specific routine and is accessible to anyone who is new to facial massage. You can create different methods using the tips of your fingers, or the full length of them. You can ease off with the pressure or be firmer: flicking, pinching, plucking, tapping or criss-crossing – they're all methods you can use, so be playful. Gua sha tools are great, too.” – Abigail
“One of my favourite techniques is known as the ‘jaw sculpt’. Using your index and middle fingers like scissors, you bend them to create rabbit-like ears. Then work your opposite hand to the opposite side of your face, pinching the chin with the two fingers, firmly gliding all the way outwards towards your ear. You can repeat this eight to ten times each side. Another good technique is to use the outer edge of your hands, elbows touching, glide your hands from your mouth, underneath the cheekbone right up to the hairline in a V shape. This will help plump your cheekbones, providing you use a firm pressure. Again, repeat eight to ten times.” – Michaella Bolder, skincare expert
Remember Your Neck
“Repetitive long, sweeping motions should always start at the centre of your face, working outwards and ending down the neck – this is the most important area for drainage. Sweeping under the cheeks and down to the neck is essential for promoting healthier blood flow and getting rid of toxic waste, which is what’s behind puffiness and dullness. Always follow the flow of your lymphatic system when you do a facial workout – it’s the best way to aid your body’s natural detoxification process. Take a lighter approach around your neck – the technique you use should never feel uncomfortable and work with intention.” – Sophie
Keep It Consistent
“Just like exercise for the body, you need to be consistent with facial massage. It takes patience, but if you have 15 minutes to mindlessly scroll through your phone, you have time to massage your face. Remember, our faces are made up of muscles working in all directions on a very physical level, so you need to help these overworked tissues when you can.” – Abigail
“You should massage your face every day. I like to perform facial exercises at night when you have more time to unwind and indulge. Aim for a slight pink flush when you use the firm pressure recommended. Make sure you work extra hard on those areas that typically collect tension, including the jaw and above and around your eyebrows. Make sure you open the lymphatic system first by pulsing behind the ears for ten counts. Always finish your massage with a gentle glide down to the sides of the neck to drain everything away.” – Michaella
Maintain Some Slip
“When you do perform a facial massage, you should make sure you have enough slip so you can glide effortlessly around the face – so use a facial balm or oil. This will also lead to less reddening of the skin. Always work underneath your muscles, not over the bone and stick to a medium pressure to release any tension. If you’re trying ‘facial yoga’ this doesn’t require any slip – just your hands isolating specific muscles is enough. I like to combine facial yoga with a general massage to really sculpt and lift.” – Sophie
One Quick Routine To Try Now
“There are several routines you can try at home, but this is the one I always give my clients,” says Nichola. “It’s easy, can be done every day and offers visible results by encouraging a more nutritious, oxygenated blood flow to your skin cells and muscle tissue.”
Apply your favourite facial oil to the palms of your hands and rub them together gently. Place your palms onto the cheeks and side of the face, gently pressing in the oil. Take your palm and place it onto the forehead pressing any remaining oil in. Then, use your other palm to sweep down from under your ears toward the centre of the neck, ending at the opposite shoulder. Do the same the other side, repeating three times each way. This will open your lymphatic system.
Working from the bridge of the nose, use your fingers to sweep outwards and upwards towards the hairline and forehead. Do this six times.
Take your index and your middle finger and hold the jaw between the two fingers. Firmly, start from the chin upwards and as you go, gently bend the knuckles, sweeping up towards the edge of your jawline. Do this six times.
Taking the heels of the palms of the hand, gently press under the cheekbones and push the palms in and hold for a count of six.
Now it’s time to work the eye area. Place your index fingers on your temples, gently supporting the skin and pulling slightly towards the hairline. Keep that finger in place, take your middle finger and gently sweep under the eye area towards the bridge of the nose. Then, using more pressure, slowly work upwards from the bridge along the eyebrow. Repeat this six times.
Finish by massaging the face using your fingertips in a circular motion – always working outwards and upwards.
For more skincare tips, tutorials & advice, follow @MichaellaBolder, @NicholaJoss, @SophieAnnePerry & @AbigailJames1
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