I’m always down for trying out novel wellness practices, and when I saw face yoga exercises featured on KUWTK (try to watch that clip without laughing) I was intrigued. I immediately googled before and afters and was amazing to see actually impressive results. Touted by Megan Markle as the secret to her pre-wedding glow, the practice originated in Japan and involves repeating specific movements to relax and tone muscles, boost circulation, and lift and tighten skin.
While working out the muscles in your face, the facial exercises increase blood circulation allowing for better oxygen flow to the cells of the skin equaling a clearer and more glowy complexion. Not only is it a less toxic and less invasive alternative to an actual facelift and facial fillers, but it’s also way cheaper—like free kinda cheap.
Just like with any workout, exercising your muscles increases tone over time. It’s the same with face yoga exercises! And as with most non-invasive skincare practices (like gua sha, lymphatic massage, or jade rolling), it’s a long game, with the best results showing after repeated use over time. Some see results anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
How Does It Work?
In one study, testers who facially exercised for 30 minutes daily over two months, then every other day for three months. When compared to their baseline photos, participants showed improved cheek fullness, lifted eyes and their average estimated age decreased significantly. Beyond smoothing lines, lifting the skin around the eyes, toning cheeks, and tightening necks, face yoga has also has been connected to reducing neck pain, TMJ, snoring, and headaches.
While I’m not sure I’m quite ready to add 30 minutes into my day of facial exercises, I’ve been using a few minutes after applying my moisturizer or while taking a quick work break at my desk to get a few stretches in and incorporate face yoga exercises into my skincare routine. One of our contributing editors Anne swears by the Glow Be App and I’ve also checked out the Facetory App—I love how easy these apps make it to follow along and get your daily exercises in. Fair warning: you will look a bit silly doing these. But worth it!
I’ve been keeping a few exercises in my back pocket to try whenever I have a spare moment. They’re simple, easy to remember, and just take a couple of minutes to complete. Read on for five go-to face yoga exercises to try, adapted from Fumiko Takatsu.
- Focus on your breath, since relaxing the face neck and shoulders is vital for maximum results.
- Make sure your skin is well hydrated before starting. The optimum time to try is right after finishing applying your skincare, morning or night.
- Make sure your hands are clean as you’ll be touching your face!
1. FOR CROW’S-FEET
Good for: dropping eyes, eye bags, puffiness, crow’s feet, and an alternative to botox.
- Press both middle fingers together at the inner corner of the eyebrows, then with the index fingers, apply pressure to the outer corners of the eyebrows.
- Look to the ceiling, and lift the skin below the eyes upwards into a strong squint, and then relax.
- Repeat six more times and finish by squeezing eyes shut tightly for 10 seconds.
2. FOR FOREHEAD WRINKLES
Good for: horizontal forehead lines and vertical lines between the eyes, and an alternative to botox.
- Place both hands on the forehead facing inwards and spread all of the fingers out between the eyebrows and hairline.
- Gently sweep the fingers outwards across the forehead, applying light pressure to tighten the skin. Relax and repeat five times.
- Using the index and middle finger at the innermost corner of the eyebrows. Apply firm pressure, then begin to spread fingers slightly apart horizontally.
- Relax and repeat five times.
3. FOR EYEBROW LIFT
Good for: Deep eye hollows and drooping eyebrows, it is an alternative to an eyebrow lift.
- Place an index finger under each eye, pointing towards the nose.
- Hide the teeth and form an ‘o’ with your mouth.
- Flutter the upper eyelids while gazing at the ceiling for 30 seconds.
4. FOR NECK AND JAWLINE
Good for: Lines and loose skin on the neck, it is an alternative to a neck lift.
- Turn your chin to the upper right side at a forty-five-degree angle. Pucker your mouth as if you were going to kiss someone. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat three times. Then do the same move on the left side.
- Next, jut the lower lip out as far as possible to pull the corners of the mouth down. Place your fingertips on the collarbone with the chin pointed upwards. Hold for four deep breaths.
5. FOR CHEEKS
Good for: Cheek lines and sagging skin, it is an alternative to lower facelift and fillers.
- Make an ‘O’ shape with the mouth, hiding your teeth with your lips.
- Smile widely while keeping the teeth hidden and repeat six times.
- Next, hold the smile shape while placing one index finger on the chin. Then start to move the jaw up and down as the head tilts gently back. Relax and repeat twice more.
This post was originally published on July 14, 2020, and has since been updated.