Facial exercises or face yoga have become a popular way of maintaining a younger and fresher appearance way into old age. People who are not willing to undergo surgical face lifting and other invasive techniques turn to facial exercises as a go-to method for erasing years off their faces.
To me, natural appearance is always a better option than surgical face lifting, even if there are some wrinkles and sagging of the face. Botox and surgical lifting may eliminate the signs of aging, but produce faces that look like puppets’ faces and to me, they look scary.
Facial exercises energize your face, provide for a natural facelift, and make wrinkles less apparent. They do not make you look 20 again, but that’s perfectly fine. They do, however, transform you into a yummy-looking woman in her 40s, 50s, or whatever your age may be.
Facial Exercises and Science
So far, there have not been many studies performed on facial exercises, but there is one worth mentioning. This study included middle-aged women (ages from 40 to 65) who were doing facial exercises for 20 weeks, 30 min every day.
The results are encouraging. All these women looked younger by the end of the study. Their upper and lower cheeks became fuller, nasolabial folds and marionette lines decreased, and the appearance of their necks improved.
What about the satisfaction of women in the study? The women noticed a significant improvement in 18 of 20 facial features, which was a good motivation to make the exercises their permanent habit.
Although the exercises have such a positive effect, I would like to point out some things you should pay special attention to in order to maximize your results. As an experienced face yogi myself, I have described the things I wish I knew before I started with my facial yoga program.
Mistake No. 1: Giving Up Too Quickly
This is probably the number one mistake that people make when trying to improve their appearance with the help of facial exercises.
In today’s society, we all want results immediately. We have lost the patience to persevere when results are dripping in slowly. So people might stick to a facial exercise routine for a few days or even weeks, and then they give up because the wrinkle that they wanted to get rid of is still there.
In the study that I mentioned earlier, there were 33 candidates who entered the study, 6 refused to participate, and only 16 women made it until the end. I believe that this is a good demonstration of how difficult it is to hang in there and do the routine. Let alone if you don’t see anything happening!
How can you go about this problem?
Most facial exercise programs advise you to take before and after pictures. Changes are usually so subtle that you can’t spot them with the naked eye. However, they are there!
It’s like watching the clock handle, wanting to see it move. No matter how hard you try, it will appear still to your eyes. But if you let go and check your watch a few minutes later, the clock handle will surely have moved.
This is the same tactic that you will use in your facial exercises: take a before photo, wait for a few weeks, do the exercises every day, and then take a new photo. You could see a change after a few weeks or months, however, it may take a few months longer. Just trust that changes are going to happen.
I used to be very discouraged when I signed up or a six-week program and then… nothing happened. However, I refused to give in. I realized that some people get results just after a few days or even weeks, and some have to wait for them for half a year.
Even if you belong to the second group (I surely do), just hang in there. Sooner or later someone is going to say to you: “Wow, you look different. Have you changed your hair or something?” (It happened to me after 3 months of practice).
Mistake No. 2: Not Moisturizing Your Face Prior to Exercise
I used to think that this rule was baloney, but I changed my mind.
When your skin is younger, it contains a lot of collagen, elastine, and moisture – if you pinch it, it comes into place quickly, as if nothing had happened.
However, with age, the skin loses its elasticity – the older you are, the longer the evidence of pinching your skin is going to stay. Pinch the skin on your hand now to check how long it takes to smoothen out again (if you want to apply some hand cream now, don’t worry, I will wait).
In order to prevent any unwanted stretching of your skin, you want to help it out a little – before practice, moisturize the skin well. If any wrinkles are being formed during the practice, they will not be put into your skin memory 8and those wrinkles will not be included in your permanent wrinkle portfolio).
By moisturizing your skin, you will help it be more elastic and resilient during the exercise routine.
Mistake No. 3: Not Doing Exercises for the Whole Face
It’s important that your exercise routine takes care of the entire face. That way, your face will get toned evenly and no area of the face will get out of balance or be left behind.
To make you understand this better, you have to be aware that the entire face ages. This means that the bones lose their density, muscles get weaker, skin loses elasticity, the eyes sink into the scalp, while the nose gets bigger and bigger as we age.
Facial exercises address all those problems, but you need to dedicate your time to every area of your face, not just the area you find most disturbing.
Moreover, the face is a comprehensive unit where all muscles cooperate – you are suffering from jowls because gravity is pulling down your entire face, not just the masseter muscle (the muscle covering the neck and jawline).
So remember that your face is a whole and the results will come faster!
Mistake No. 4: Forgetting About the Scalp
We have talked about the importance of exercising your entire face, but we didn’t mention the scalp. Why?
Because it is so important that it requires a separate point.
The face is just one half of our head – do not forget to exercise the other half as well – it is just as important for your appearance as the front part.
Imagine that you want to make the muscles of the face toned, but you forget about the back of the head, which remains flabby. The exercises won’t be very effective, will they?
Imagine that the back of the head functions like a ponytail, pulling all the muscles of the face together.
Now you may be wondering what the best exercises for the back of the head are.
One of the best exercises is moving your ears – some people can do this without problems, others think that they could never do it. But in fact, all of us can do it, we just need a bit of practice.
How to wiggle your ears:
Tilt your head slightly to the back – this is how you will be able to feel the back of your head more. Alternatively, lie down.
Concentrate on your ears and try to move them. Even if you don’t see any ear movement, you should feel the tension in the back of your head.
Mistake No. 5: Forgetting to Relax the Muscles
After each exercise, do not forget to relax the muscles.
Each body workout requires a relaxation phase at the end. We all know that. If you don’t relax the muscles after a good workout, your muscles will get sore.
The same applies to the face. If you don’t relax the facial muscles, they can stay tense. Tense muscles translate into more wrinkles and sagging. You want to avoid that at all costs.
So how do you relax facial muscles?
After feeling the burn of the exercise, blow out the air and vibrate the lips – making a strange horse sound.
Another way is to massage the muscle after practice.
Mistake No. 6: Not Draining the Lymph
You have probably already heard about lymphatic drainage massage. Some people wonder why it is good for, while others wonder if they should perform face massage or facial exercise.
In my opinion, you should do both.
The main task of the lymphatic system is to drain the toxins and excess fluids out of the face. The lymph should flow similarly as blood flows through your body.
Unfortunately, the lymphatic system does not have an organ that would have a comparable role to the heart – nothing moves the lymph around. As a result, the lymph just stays there, making you look puffy. Since the fluid is heavy, it also pulls your face down and contributes to sagging.
What can you do?
When you get up in the morning, there is usually a lot of lymph accumulated since you have hardly been moving during your sleep.
Therefore, first thing in the morning, you should perform a lymph drainage massage. My favorite is the Tanaka facial massage, and I have already written a post about it. It’s an easy practice that takes only a few minutes but gives excellent results.
I also recommend that you work out in the morning – you don’t have to go overboard with it if you don’t have time or you don’t feel like it. A few basic exercises will do. I usually do a few sun salutations every morning – it gets my blood flowing, it clears my lymph and is a great introduction into a new day.
I hope that these tips help you stay on your path of a natural facelift. Facial exercises are a great way to achieve a more youthful appearance, and also to improve your overall health. So please stick with them.
If you want to learn more about facial exercises, you can read my post on the Face Yoga Method, my favorite exercise program.