Words: Jodie Duddy
Hailed to be a non-invasive alternative to botox and fillers, ‘face yoga’ is the practice of exercising the face through a 20-minute daily routine to reveal a ‘tighter, plumper and more supple complexion’ in just over 2 months. It’s based on the same concept as toning the body in pursuit of muscular hypertrophy (increasing the volume of the facial muscles through exercise). This is said to prevent muscle loss that occurs naturally with age, meaning the muscles are more defined and the skin appears firmer.
Users have reported that doing a routine daily leaves them feeling relaxed, and that the positive effect on their skin is noticeable. Exercise to the face is thought to increase blood circulation, which in turn leads to more oxygen in the skin cells aiding renewal, which leads to fewer toxins and a glowier look. Some celebrities are rumoured to swear by ‘face yoga’ such as Meghan Markle who relies on techniques learned from Nichola Joss, a renowned British facialist.
Some have justified the practice by insisting that exercising the face can lead to a micro trauma which the body responds to by sending more collagen to the area, which in increased amounts makes the skin appear more youthful. However, this is difficult to quantify due to a lack of study into the area, and the presence of too many extraneous variables such as location, health related factors, diet and different skincare products being used by users.
A more concerning issue is the negative narrative of ageing that face yoga adds to. Indeed, the smile lines and crows feet which anti-ageing remedies aim to diminish are souvenirs of good times had. Smiling is an exercise for the face, hence the biggest cause of wrinkles around the mouth. But, we would never think to advise against smiling. And so, it seems strange that society then shames women into believing that the lines on their face are somehow ugly.
In total, if face yoga is believed by the individual without crushing their confidence – great! But, no-one needs to ‘unwrinkle’ the markers of life on their face.