Facing the gym just took on a whole new meaning: New York City's Face Love Fitness is a workout center solely for the face. “We’re still trying to figure out what exactly to call it,” says co-founder Rachel Lang. “We like to think of it as a cross between a gym and a yoga studio.” That’s because the act of face exercise is something of a hybrid, too. The practice incorporates elements of facial massage combined with face-specific strength training. (But rest assured, it does not involve lifting tiny dumbbells with your eyebrows.)
In fact, “it’s all about creating resistance,” says Lang, who is trained as an esthetician. “There are 57 muscles in your face and they can respond to toning just like the muscles of your body.” That’s why she—and co-founders Heidi Frederick and Kate Gyllenhaal, a massage therapist and personal trainer, respectively—use alternating pulling and pressing movements as their treatment of choice. For example, says Lang, “We’ll place our fingers between the client's brows and push them apart while simultaneously telling her to use her face muscles to try to push them together."
So, what’s the upshot of all this poking and prodding? A tighter jawline and less potential for wrinkles, says Lang. “Face exercise has been shown to boost collagen production and skin elasticity, while also improving muscle mass over time. Keeping that plumpness wards off the formation of wrinkles.” New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner sees the logic. "With age, we lose not only fat and bone mass in our faces, but also muscle tone,” he says. "Facial exercises may help keep our muscles toned and fit and may actually slow down the appearance of facial aging.”
Obviously, despite the scientifically-backed benefits, face gyms have yet to reach Plant Fitness-like proportions. So, until they do, practice these at-home exercises, courtesy of FaceLove Fitness.
To chisel your jawline…
1. Make fists with your hands and place the flat part of the fist under your chin, tucking your elbows to create a resistance platform.
2. Lengthen your spine and slowly press your chin to your chest against the “platform" for five counts, repeating ten times.
3. Using the same formation, open your mouth and drop your chin onto the “platform” for for five counts, repeating ten times.
To combat crow’s feet…
1. Place the pads of your fingers so that your index finger is just under your lower eyelashes and your middle finger is just on top of your cheekbone.
2. Squint your eyes in an exaggerated way so that the cheeks rise up to press against the pads of the hands while holding the hands in place and hold for five counts, repeating ten times.
To unfurrow your brow…
1. Place your middle and index fingers at the inner edges of the brows and firmly pull your brows away from each other.
2. While pulling brows away from each other, use your face muscles to attempt to push them together, holding for five counts and repeating ten times.