As I quickly approach a big milestone birthday – I find myself more and more aware of lines that have appeared on my face. As much as makeup can transform you, your painting can only be as good as its canvass. Sure, I’ve tried and tested many, many, many face creams, oils and serums (all of which I’m sure has helped me so far!) this time round, I thought I would take the natural approach and try to slow down the hands of time through the latest celebrity craze, facial yoga. Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Anniston all swear by this exercise, so what exactly is it?
Face yoga is a series of exercises that promise to do for your face what yoga does for your body: relax and tone muscles. So, I set out to research if making these targeted facial expressions can really prevent — and even reverse — wrinkles and sagging.
Some dermatologists claim that repetitive movement creates creases in the skin, hence laughter and frown lines, however Annelise Hagen, a New York yoga instructor and author of “The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift”, says “relaxing the facial muscles, especially where we hold tension — like the jaw, brow, and forehead — can counteract the wrinkle-causing grimacing we do on a daily basis”.
Essentially face yoga is the simple process of relaxing your face, which ultimately smoothes those tension-filled expressions we make every day without even realizing it. Just by relaxing those contorted facial muscles you can give yourself a natural face lift.
Let’s take a look at what these exercises are…
Surprise me – To smooth your forehead
Widen your eyes, trying to expose as much of the white in your eye as you can. Hold that until your eyes start to water.
How it works: By holding this expression, Hagen says you’re exercising the muscles around your eyes and your forehead, erasing the negative effects of scowling by doing the opposite action.
Get cheeky – To firm your cheeks
Take a big breath through your mouth, then puff the breath from cheek to cheek like a bullfrog; then release.
How it works: This pose strengthens your cheek muscles and prevents them from becoming thinner and looking hollow. “If you look at people who play the saxophone, they always have firm cheeks. When you use a muscle in a specific way, it changes the facial appearance. So do this if you want toned, lifted, almost plump cheeks,” says Hagen.
Crow, crow, fly away – To get rid of crow’s feet
Imagine winking with your lower lid. Kind of hard, right? Hagen says it’ll take some practice, but your brain will learn how to do this quickly. First, lift and release your lower lid gently without moving any other facial muscles. Then add a little bit of fingertip pressure in the outer crease of the crow’s feet, which creates some pressure for the muscle to work against. Just make sure you don’t drag or pull the skin, says Hagen, since that area is very sensitive. You also want to make sure the skin is clean and slightly moisturized so it’s not tight.
How it works: By exercising the muscles around your eyes, you’re firming the skin to keep it from folding into itself, which creates wrinkles
Puppet face – To lift nasal labial folds
Smile with your teeth showing, then gently press your fingertips into the creases between your nose and lips. Lift the muscles up and press your fingertips down into the muscles for slight resistance.
How it works: One of the best signs of youth are plump, round cheeks, which is why people use injectables to fill the area. Instead, Hagen says to try this exercise, which will “strengthen the muscle so that it doesn’t become slack.” “When your fingertips push into facial muscles, the muscles push back, which is what makes them stronger and fuller,” she says
Baby bird – To prevent your chin and neck from sagging
Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, then smile and swallow while pointing your chin at the ceiling.
How it works: While you may never forget to slather SPF on your face, your neck may often get skipped — and that’s why the neck is one of the first places to show signs of aging. Hagen says this pose is “great at tightening the jaw, since you’re working out your chewing muscle and the platysma, which is the muscle that surrounds your upper chest, collarbone, and neck,” she says
Buddha face – To reset your face to a neutral, unlined state
Saying your “oms” can relax more than your mind, it may work to relax those lines on your face as well. Good news: This exercise is the easiest of all of the face yoga poses. Hagen says all you have to do is “imagine the face of Buddha superimposed over your face like a Photoshop filter.” Just close your eyes, visualize the point between your eyebrows, and make a very slight smile.
How it works: Hagen says this pose can “reset your facial habits” — almost like rebooting your computer. “Most people don’t realize they’re grimacing. It’s an unconscious thing. But repeated scowls create wrinkles. This pose helps offset those line-making expressions.”
(Images via www.yogaface.net)
So there’s not much to lose: Facial yoga is non-toxic, non-invasive and safe for anyone, plus it’s inexpensive and you can do it on your own time. Like any good workout, you must keep it consistent and regular for at least 3-5 months to really notice a difference. Which is perfect, because it’s just in time for the summer
If you have other facial exercises you do which works for you, or would like to share your experience, then please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
All feedback and suggestions are always welcome x