Did you know that there are more than 40 muscles in your face alone? Your legs do the walking, your arms do the heavy lifting, but the face does a lot more than you think. It smiles at a joke, winks at that cutie from across the bar, maybe even kisses that cutie from across the bar. If you really think about it, we don’t give our mug muscles the credit—or the care—they deserve. New York’s newest self-care spot, FaceGym, is about to change all that.
Yes, you read that correctly: FaceGym. It’s a workout…for your face. Don’t let that voice in your head that’s screaming “gimmick!” keep you from reading further. When I saw the Facebook advertisement of a woman lightly slapping a client’s cheeks (hold on, I’ll explain), my eye-roll was more dramatic than a scene on The Bachelor. You can’t go to the gym for your face, right? Well, according to founder Inge Theron, you’re very wrong. Clearly, I had to see for myself.
I booked my appointment the day after our company holiday party; after a long night of dancing, regretful karaoke-ing, and J.G. Melon burger eating, I was in desperate need of a pick-me-up. I walked into the FaceGym studio, located on the second floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, and was immediately greeted by my “trainer,” Kaitlyn. She asked if I had any problem areas on my face. I answered by pointing to the recent bout of breakouts dotting my cheeks. (Walking into Saks that morning sans makeup was my own personal nightmare.)
“No problem. We have something that can help with that,” she said. You have this skeptic’s attention.
First came the “warm-up,” which included a series of stretch maneuvers for my neck and shoulders. She added a cooling clear skin training serum and pressed it in with a mini exercise ball, which continued to stretch the muscles in my forehead, cheeks, and chin. Was it weird having a ball pressed into my head? Sure was. Did it feel amazing? Sure did. This was followed by a friction-activated L-carnitine serum and a couple swipes of a gold derma roller, which has tiny needles—don’t worry, you don’t feel them—to help eliminate fine lines and boost collagen.That’s not me. / Photo courtesy of FaceGym
Then the “cardio.” On any other day, I hate cardio. Today was no such day. Remember that “light slapping” I mentioned earlier? I expected discomfort, but the finger tapping instead made it feel like my cheeks were doing wind sprints. Kaitlyn quickly informed me that these rapid, repetitive motions help increase blood circulation.
The most crucial—and transformative—part of the workout is the sculpting. Kaitlyn worked at the muscles using her fingers to knead, pinch, and lift every area of my face. When asked if there was a particular area I wanted her to focus on, I came up blank. Had I been talking to a chiropractor, I could have pointed to several spots on my neck and back and said take your pick. It turns out there was a lot more going on in my face then I thought, including tightness in my lower jaw from chewing, teeth grinding, and the side effects of the holiday party. “I can usually tell when a client had a couple drinks the night before. Their muscles feel sort of crunchy from dehydration,” said Kaitlyn. I guess I now know where all of my whiskey gingers go.
When she moved on to massaging the higher points of my face, I took the opportunity to ask a few Qs, like who exactly is the genius innovator who created this? Theron developed the program after becoming frustrated with her own workout routine. She got her body into great shape by following a good diet and exercise plan, but she didn’t understand why her face didn’t feel or look the same way. Her life changed when a facelift procedure kept her from leaving the house. For two years, she studied face massaging and noninvasive ways to achieve the results of a natural face framing by concentrating on the muscles first and the skin second. Says Theron: “We don’t think twice about toning our muscles at the gym; why think differently about the face?”
If I weren’t already thinking differently at this point, the PureLift treatment that followed would have done me in. The electric muscle stimulator was used to lift and tone my face, alternating between low, medium, and high frequencies for five minutes on each side. If you compared this to a normal day at the gym, this step is the equivalent of 600 burpees…for your cheeks. The pulses stimulated muscles I never knew I had. Kaitlyn would press the device to my neck, and my ears would tingle. I felt a poking sensation on my hairline when she touched the area between my eyebrows. And when I looked in the mirror afterward, I couldn’t believe my eyes. My cheeks were more pronounced and there was a natural contour visible that definitely wasn’t there before.
For a whopping $90, FaceGym might be more of a once-a-month thing for most. But with results lasting up to two weeks or more, it’s definitely worth budgeting for. As for me, the opportunity to get a workout in without breaking a sweat is priceless. Even five days later, my cheeks still look sculpted to the gods.
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