5 simple ways to give your face a workout

Get ready to raise your eyebrows with a gym session for the face.

Many people haven’t connected the dots that if you train the muscles in your face consistently through face massage, they will retain memory and prevent sagging – much like working out your body.

“They’re crucial to the way we look because essentially, they’re our skin’s scaffolding – it’s all about building a strong foundation to support what’s on top,” says Inge Theron, a former beauty journalist-turned-founder of FaceGym.

There’s not really anything new in the idea of massage having skin benefits but, in a culture that has so enthusiastically embraced the high-tech jab, peel and zap, Inge believes we’ve forgotten about some of the basic skin health principles that still hold tangible beauty merit.

The benefits of face massage? No downtime (though you might see a healthy post-workout flush), value for money (your fingers and some face oil is all you really need), it’s not invasive (though you can opt for tools like Gua Sha or a face ball if you want to be fancy) and the moves are simple to master.

The cons? It’s not a miracle face lift (you will actually need a face lift for that). Any elevation is temporary (thanks, gravity), but Inge insists that regular workouts will improve the general tone and texture of your complexion.

“It’s all about consistency. Repeat, repeat, repeat,” she says. “Just like you won’t get a six pack from doing three sit-ups, it’s the same with your face. The more you do, you’ll start to build muscle memory and that’s when you’ll see the strongest, long-lasting results.

Indeed, recent studies have proven facial massage techniques can help to promote collagen production. According to Inge, this is because the fibroblasts on skin are effectively “woken up” by massage and get back to work on making collagen.

“Massage boosts our skin’s natural functions, increasing circulation, boosting the lymphatic system, assisting detoxification and even releasing tension in our muscles,” says Inge. “All of this results in firmer,  toned muscles, enhanced contours and a lifted, radiant complexion.” 

If you’re new to facial massage, the FaceGym founder suggests incorporating 2-3 easy moves into your routine a few times a week or adding some massage movements to your cleansing routine. Chances are you’ll probably start to find the whipping and knuckling a little addictive, particularly if you have a tight jaw or tension in your forehead. As an added bonus, massaging will also help whatever product you’ve spent your hard-earned dollars on sink in a lot better!

Here are five easy facial workouts to target different areas and concerns.

Gua Sha Lymphatic Drainage

“It helps depuff, iron out fine lines, reduce facial tension, release blockages in the muscles, and aid lymphatic drainage all while working to sculpt and lift the face too. Leave it in the fridge overnight to refresh and soothe.”

How to: Use the ‘teeth’ to make light ‘hashtag’ movements on the cheeks and forehead. Use the indented section along the jawline, and the short edge around the eyes. Use light pressure. This is a great post-facial workout cool down.

The Brow Lift

“One of my favourite moves for opening and lifting the eyes.”

How to: Apply oil, then place the index and middle finger on each side of the bridge of the nose. Applying pressure,  split the fingers into a V-shape as you glide, one finger at a time, over the brow towards the temples. Repeat three times.

The Eye De-puffer

“It’s like the brow lift but the fingers move underneath the eyes and with less pressure so as not to drag the skin.”

How to: Place two fingers at the inner corner of the eye. Using gentle pressure, sweep the fingers underneath the eye towards the temples. Finish with a lift and pressure at the temples. Repeat three times.

Jawline Hooks

“A great move for enhancing the jaw and boosting the lymphatic system.”

How to: Apply moisturiser or facial oil for slip. Create a V-shaped hook with your index and middle finger, with the thumb tucked under. Place at the centre of the chin and move along each side of the jawline. Move the ‘hook’ along each side of the jawline, working slowly to contour and ease any tension. Use medium pressure and repeat for eight.

Cheek Whipping

“Cheek whipping is great for toning and tightening cheek muscles, increasing circulation and bringing oxygen to the skin. The more oxygen to the skin, the more glowy you look,” says Inge.

How to: Place one hand on chin to hold skin tight. Use your index and middle finger on the other hand and, using medium pressure, ‘whip’ the cheek in an upwards direction. Cover the whole cheek area. Take it slow and find your rhythm. Start with 30 seconds and work your way up to a minute on each side.

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