The Truth About Facial Workouts

Posted by Victoria Kirby on

The latest fitness craze can be mastered while sitting on your sofa. Face workouts, also known as face yoga, are meant to tone and tighten your look the natural way, without invasive methods. Which sounds far-fetched—except that there is genuine science behind facial fitness, which has been around for longer than you may think. Facialists have long been using tools and massage techniques in combination with skincare to help the face appear tauter and more sculpted, and there’s evidence that facial exercise has real benefits.

A 2018 peer-reviewed study on women between the ages of 40 and 65 found that doing 20 weeks of facial exercises (daily for the first eight weeks, then every other day for 12 weeks) resulted in “significant improvement” in their facial fullness, according to the study. And the women who participated also saw “significant improvement” in nearly all of their facial features.

It's blissfully easy to hit the skin gym. You don’t have to break a sweat or block out a specific time in your day—you can do facial exercises while reading in bed, scrolling on your phone, and just going about your day. Here’s how to make face fitness part of your daily regimen.

What is facial exercise?

Just as exercising the muscles in our body can help us look toned and sculpted, the principle behind facial exercise is that stimulating and building the muscles in the face through a regimen of repetitive movements can help contour your features and maintain skin elasticity.

The underlying structure of the face—i.e. what lies beneath your skin and tissue—is composed mainly of muscle, bone, and fat. This structure holds up skin and adds volume and definition to your face. As we age, our face gradually loses volume, which leads to less defined features and sagging skin that’s lacking elasticity. Think of when a balloon starts to deflate and goes from round and smooth to flat and crinkly.

In theory, building up facial muscles could help hold up skin and maintain volume for longer to keep your face looking full and youthful.

How often should you do a facial workout?

As with all types of fitness, consistency is key to seeing results. In the 2018 study mentioned above, participants did 30 minutes of facial workouts every day for eight weeks, then every other day for an additional 12 weeks.

But most fans of face yoga say that doing just a few facial exercises, most of which take about a minute, every day is enough to see a change—so long as you stick with the regimen. And while you might notice a temporary improvement right off the bat that lasts a few hours, keep in mind that it takes about six to 12 weeks of consistent facial exercises to see set changes.

What’s the difference between facial massage and facial exercise?

While there is some similar finger work going on in both practices, they each yield different benefits. Facial massage boosts circulation and helps flush out excess fluids beneath skin to depuff, tighten, and bring a glow to your complexion. That said, facial massage is also believed to help tone facial muscles, so some regular kneading may help give you a tauter look.

What are some good facial exercises?

There’s a wide range of exercises circulating online for the face, eye area, and neck, depending on your desired goals. The 2018 study consisted of 32 distinct facial exercises developed by the founder of Happy Face Yoga. Two that stood out as being particularly beneficial are the Happy Cheeks Sculpting and The Eyebrow Lifter, each of which take about a minute to do.

  • Happy Cheeks Sculpting: Purse your lips together and hold them that way while smiling, which  raises up your cheek muscles. Place your fingertips at both corners of the mouth, then gently slide your fingers up to the top of your cheeks and hold them there for 20 seconds. Repeat two more times.
  • The Eyebrow Lifter: Press three fingertips right under each eyebrow and press up slightly to force your eyes open. Smile while trying to push your eyebrows down against your fingers. Close your eyes and roll them up toward the top of your head, holding for 20 seconds. Repeat three more times.

Are there any other ways to tone and tighten skin?

Products alone won’t build muscle, but you can get your skin to appear firmer and more defined with the right skincare formulas and tools. Our Liquid Gym system tightens, sculpts, and depuffs your skin with results that are visible in as little as two weeks. Our Liquid Gym Face Sculpting Serum features a skin-tightening complex of peptides, purified seaweed extract, and gotu kola extract, while our Liquid Gym Facial Roller and Gua Sha stainless steel tools work in conjunction with the serum to help your face appear more lifted and contoured.


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