My fellow fitness enthusiasts will feel me on this one: How many times a week do you tell yourself you need to go to the gym? I'm constantly jumping through hoops in my schedule to find time to work out because even after a few days off, my body craves movement and physical activity. But think about this: Out of all those times you've put those legs, arms, abs, and bum to work in the gym, have you ever thought about working out your facial muscles? And I'm not talking about yapping at the mouth—that's a different activity.
This is not a drill: A FaceGym does exist. Yes, a London-based experience that's like an intense, sweaty, full-body workout for your face. Sounds taboo, right? I was captivated the moment I heard that I could partake in a cardio session for my face, and to be honest, a little scared, too. I'm a self-proclaimed facial treatment fanatic—I've done chemical peels, micro-needling, micro-current facials—the list goes on. The inner beauty editor in me is game to try it all. So when I heard about this noninvasive treatment that promises to tone, tighten, and sculpt my face muscles in minutes, I jumped at the opportunity. Below, I tapped FaceGym founder Inge Theron for all the details.
Meet the Expert
- Inge Theron is the London-based founder of FaceGym.
- Michele Farber, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
Keep reading to learn more about this must-try face workout.
What Is FaceGym?
FaceGym is a workout, not a facial, that uses high-energy kneading movements and cutting-edge technology meant to tone and tighten 40 muscles in the face. Before my face hit the gym, I talked to the founder to get the lowdown on this innovative treatment. I was curious about how this genius idea came to be.
"Prior to FaceGym, I traveled the world trialing beauty treatments," says Theron. "When a botched thread surgical procedure left me with visible blue threads running through each of my cheeks, I realized there must be a more effective, safer way to achieve results. I stripped it back to basics and thought, we need to work out our face muscles just like our body muscles."
With that, she created FaceGym. Unlike going to a regular gym, all you have to do is lie back and let your personal face trainer do the hard work for you. Theron explains that besides using their hands, FaceGym experts also use a tool called FaceGym Pro, which is a unique electrical muscle stimulation device that emits mild yet forceful electrical waves meant to stimulate muscles, contour cheekbones, and restore skin's elasticity. "FaceGym is unlike any facial on the market. Instead of extracting pores or working on the skin, our face workouts work on the muscles behind the skin to refresh and revitalize the skin but also to lift, tone, and contour," says Theron. "Stronger muscles mean tighter, firmer skin and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles." Depending on the treatment you get, prices range from $60 to $285.
Benefits of FaceGym
According to Theron, the benefits of FaceGym are aplenty:
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Promotes collagen production
- Visibly tones and lifts the face
"Our signature technique uses vigorous knuckling movements and high-energy whipping strokes to stimulate blood circulations, collagen production, and cell renewal to lift, tone, and tighten the face," explains Theron. "It gets your skin sweating and detoxed, leaving it toned and energized."
I say yes to all of the above, so I was 100 percent down for this sweat sesh.
How to Prepare for FaceGym
Face workouts need to be done on clean, makeup-free skin, so be sure your face is properly cleansed and lightly moisturized. Also, any workout you do to your face should be done with clean hands.
What to Expect at FaceGym
I was fortunate to preview FaceGym before its services hit the U.S. (more on that later). I walked into the dimly lit room reminiscent of an empty warehouse, and music was blasting. Not the classical music you're used to in a facial spa though—fun music. The large, open space featured a large reclining mirror in the middle next to a large vanity mirror decked out with FaceGym skin products. I sat down, and the FaceGym specialist started going to work on my face.
First up, the warmup. My trainer used her fingers and knuckles to apply pressure to my face to wake up my face muscles. She did this by using hand techniques like knuckling, face-balling, high-speed hand-whipping, flicking, and pinching my face and neck area. By the time she was done, all the muscles in my face felt alert and stretched out.
Next was a heavy focus on my jawline area—a part of my face that carries the most tension because of talking, chewing, and clenching. Using a FaceGym movement known as deep-finger sculpting and lifting, she massaged both sides of my jaw in an upward motion for about 10 minutes to increase stimulation. Afterward, my tight and stressed muscles felt loose. It was a legitimate detox session that was a little more intense than usual. I wouldn't say my skin actually sweat, but it definitely wasn't relaxing or calming. It was truly like a workout.
Next was cardio (aka muscle manipulation). Sidebar: My skin was the most shook during this part of the session. My trainer used a "micro-contouring technique" with a tool that essentially lifted my jaw, cheekbone, and eye area. I literally felt my face muscles moving with every direction the tool went—it was invigorating, weird, and cool at the same time. It was not painful. It was rather stimulating, actually, and felt like a muscle magnet with slightly more intensity. I'd love to use this tool on tired mornings when eye puffiness creeps in because it would knock that right out.
Afterward, every part of my face felt lifted. After completing one side of my face, the trainer showed me a mirror, and one of my eyebrows was legitimately one to two inches higher than the other. Crazy—but amazing.
Afterward, the trainer applied a few oil-based FaceGym serums and moisturizers followed by the electrical muscle stimulation device. This oxygen blaster was used to restore moisture in my skin, stimulate my muscles even more, and redefine my bone structure. The noise of the machine was scarier than it felt, which was like gentle electrical shocks. To be honest, this was the most intense part of the workout. Finally, it was cool-down time. My trainer pulled out a jade roller and it felt cooling, which took the heat off of my face from my workout.
The entire process took about 45 minutes. Afterward, my bone structure looked more defined, my brows were lifted, and my cheekbones were naturally contoured. It was a nonsurgical facelift and contour—sans needles and makeup. I was obsessed and could not stop taking selfies. I didn't wear makeup for a whole week because I didn't need to. My skin felt firm, strong, and snatched (in a good way). My face felt similar to how toned your body feels after a great workout.
"The effects are temporary, as stimulating the facial muscles will temporarily improve tone and make skin appear more plump," says board-certified dermatologist Michele Farber, MD. "There is theoretical risk of increased wrinkling as increased muscle movement can cause wrinkling. There is not great scientific evidence backing facial workouts."
And of course, if you have severely sensitive skin, you'll want to let your trainer know. Other than that, there's no known side effects to face workouts.
It is recommended to use a jade roller as the final step of your FaceGym workout. The claim is that it drains away toxins in the skin and cools down muscles—similar to stretching out your body after an intense workout.
The Final Takeaway
Basically, I'm addicted to the instant effect it had on my face. I know, I know, I sound like a stereotypical millennial who craves immediate gratification. But I'm fine with that because this answered so many of my skin's prayers. Who doesn't want to walk out of a room with their face more lifted, more defined, and more toned? To experience FaceGym for yourself, the brand expanded its London-based services to the U.S. with studios in Los Angeles and New York City.