When you hear the word workout, you might immediately think of various exercises dedicated to the body, whether it’s lifting weights at the gym or taking an indoor cycling class. However, a workout doesn’t have to be limited to our physique. Apparently, our faces can benefit from one, too. FaceGym is exactly what it sounds like—as its founder and creative director, Inge Theron, describes, it’s the original and only gym designed specifically for the face. That already sounded intriguing to me, but once I saw videos on FaceGym’s Instagram of people getting vigorous facial massages, the tension in my jaw practically screamed at me to try it. “It’s a truly unique concept; our facial workouts are based on the notion of working out the 40-plus forgotten muscles in the face. I call them the forgotten muscles, as many people don’t know we have so many but also haven’t connected the dots that if you train the muscles in your face consistently, they will retain memory and prevent sagging, much like working out your body,” explains Theron.
Curious to find out what exactly one of FaceGym's workout facials entails and how good the results are? Keep scrolling! I'm covering my experience plus everything you need to know about the trend below.
The benefits of facial workouts:
Facial massage is an ancient practice going back centuries, but it has made its way into mainstream beauty in the past decade (which is really not surprising considering the number of benefits it offers).
“Facial exercise and massage are key for the function of healthy muscles, skin, and skin metabolism,” says Theron. “If you’ve ever gone to a boot camp or worked out your body, you know the great benefits you get from regular workouts—your muscles strengthen, and the skin becomes tighter and healthier. It’s the same on your face, too.” She says that working on the cheekbones and jawline will result in enhanced facial features and more definition and contour in the face, while focusing on the eye area can help lift and firm the skin for bigger, brighter, and younger-looking eyes. And if you’re feeling puffy, just a few minutes of facial massage can help to drain away toxins and excess fluid buildup. “Facial workouts can boost our natural skin functions, too, increasing circulation, boosting the lymphatic system, and aiding more efficient detoxification, which is key to the health of our skin. The end result? Firm, toned muscles, enhanced contours, and a lifted, radiant complexion,” she says.
What happens when you get a facial workout at FaceGym:
While FaceGym offers a variety of facial workouts at its studios (which are located in New York, L.A., and London), from an express workout to one that utilizes radiofrequency, all of them involve its signature face-sculpting techniques. Theron says you can expect a combination of moves that include knuckling, pinching, and whipping strokes, using cutting-edge tech like electrical muscle stimulation, as well as the brand’s skincare line to work your facial muscles and help you to tone, tighten, lift, and sculpt them. “Our method is broken down into three sections, just like a gym workout. It’s super easy and familiar with what you’re already doing in the gym,” explains Theron. “Each session begins with a warm-up, which boosts blood circulation through the tissues and warms up the muscles ready to work out.” Next is cardio, which includes “fast-whipping techniques,” and Theron likens it to running on a treadmill. “These movements really help to stimulate circulation,” she adds. Finally is the recovery and cool-down, which involves softer sweeping and draining movements.
I visited the studio in L.A. to experience FaceGym’s Signature Sculpt, which uses the aforementioned signature techniques with the EMS technology in order to sculpt and contour the face while improving lymphatic drainage, stimulating circulation, and encouraging collagen production. Now, whenever I get a traditional facial, I look forward to the massage, but they usually don’t spend too much time on that. I don’t have TMJ, but I sometimes notice myself clenching my jaw, so the thought of actively working out those muscles to release stress and tension sounded amazing. (Of course, a more sculpted face wouldn’t hurt either.)
First was the warm-up with a Face Ball (similar to a tiny yoga ball), which would be pressed and stretched across my face to get the circulation going and relieve tension.
Next was the cardio, which consisted of the “whipping strokes” Theron had mentioned, followed by a more intense massage.
Finally was the cool-down, which involved the longer “draining” movements, a chilled stainless steel gua sha tool, and the electronic muscle stimulation tool (which would make parts of my face twitch).
One of my favorite parts of the session was when the trainer massaged my eye area and brow bone. (I must carry tension up there, too.) About halfway through the workout, I got to see how one side of my face looked compared to the other. The most noticeable was my cheek, which looked way less puffy than its sister. By the end, I felt free from all the tension that my resting bitch face likes to hold, with a more sculpted jaw and cheekbones.
When it comes to how long the results last, Theron says consistency is key. “If you train the muscles in your face consistently, they will start to build and retain memory so the results will be stronger and longer-lasting,” she explains. “Essentially, the more you do, the better the results will be.” What’s great is if you can’t make it to a studio, you can do your own workouts at home. FaceGym sells the tools it uses for its workouts online, and each one comes with its own QR code that enables the consumer to watch exclusive content, including trainer-led application videos.
How to get a facial workout at home: