Does Your Face Need a Workout?
These days, it seems, there is a workout for every single part of your body. Looking to tone your core? Crunch it up. Glutes need scome sculpting? Hit the barre. Micro-managing our bodies has become part and parcel of being fit. Our fave new workout on the block? It's for a pretty surprising part of your body: your face. Face Love Fitness, based in NYC, is a boutique fitness clinic where founders Rachel Lang and Heidi Frederick bring their years of experience as aestheticians and massage therapists to their unique spin on skincare. Meeting Lang, it's clear to see that her background is her passion: her easy smile, gorgeous skin and healing hands speak of her dedication to beauty and wellness. The program she's developed with Frederick is a one-stop shop for tuning up the face: the massage-heavy technique they employ engages and activates the 57 muscles of the face with targeted interval training exercises, improving circulation above the neck and throughout the face, leaving it energized, plumped up from within and absolutely radiant. It's basically the fountain of youth, and there's not a needle in sight.
Why do we need to work our facial muscles? Turns out it's key for anti-aging and maintaining skin tone. "It's amazing preventative care. We're stuck in such a tech moment right now, staring at devices for long periods of time, which can cause our facial muscles to get tense and block circulation, literally creating a bottleneck.", Lang says. Face Love's signature treatments include their Firmfit Touch targeted massage, acupressure face reflexology, and massage for the shoulders and neck, all which improve the flow of blood and oxygen to the cells of the skin. It's relatively low-tech, employing zero product save for some aromatherapy inhalation at the start and close of each session, and simple tools like exercise bands, textured silicone ball rollers, a Pilates resistance ring, and cooling jade rollers. From hot spots like the forehead, eye area and mouth to the chin and jawline, the exercises which Lang guided us through focused on exerting the muscles and then relaxing them (think squinting your eyes and raising your eyebrows in a pulsing movement for 5 counts, or puckering your mouth tightly and then smiling big and wide). Your face definitely feels like it's working, but there's never a crazy sensation of fatigue. Does it feel funny? Kinda. It's odd to focus so much active attention on the face, and to be so involved in the process—a normal facial is passive, where you're just laying prone while you're poked and prodded. A Face Love session requires you to be present and do the work, just like a gym session does, but the results are totally worth it: in the days after our session, our skin was seriously younger looking, our eyes looked more awake, our jawline more defined.
You might think that the target audience for a face workout is an older client who is concerned about aging, but Lang says that they have plenty of Millennial clients who are worried that smiling is going to make them wrinkly. "There's this anti-smiling movement out there—it's crazy! It's been said that 5 minutes of great laughter can release as the same amount endorphins as five hours of excercise—we know joy is a good skincare product." If you're looking to improve your skin, perhaps now is the time to step away from the arsenal of products you've been chained to and instead employ a bit of Face Love's expertise. Give those abs a break and start training your face instead. And smile!