Exercises for your face – and yes, they really do work.
I said yesterday that I’d write about facial exercises, so here goes.
I’ve only really tried one method, which is Facercise by Carole Maggio. I chose this because it got very good write-ups on Amazon, which was more than could be said for some of the other methods that are out there, such as Eva Fraser’s system.
Maggio owned a beauty salon in the US and came up with her system based on working the individual muscles of the face. Videos, DVDs and a book are available. I opted for the book.
When it arrived, I learned one new exercise each day, building up the routine incrementally as I went along. After a month of practising the full routine, I then began adding the advanced exercises one at a time.
To start with, it was curiously difficult. Sometimes you’re being asked to work a muscle you’ve never been conscious of before and this feels very strange. The exercises can also make your face feel weary, like when you’ve been laughing all evening. They’re not actually painful, though. And initially they take a lot longer than the 15 minutes suggested – half an hour is more like it – but you do get faster as you go along.
Some of the Amazon reviewers clearly had problems visualising exactly what was meant by some of the descriptions, and here the book does fall short – it’s extremely underillustrated. It’s also written in an irritating, cheerleaderish fashion, with dozens of non-sequiturs.
However, the shortcomings of the book aside, in my opinion the exercises do actually work.
The first thing I noticed – literally within a day or two – was that my skin felt firmer under my fingers, more substantial. Then, after a three days, my husband said was I doing something new with my skin, as it looked very good. Then other people began telling how well I was looking. Mmn. Not younger, as advertised, exactly, but certainly better.
The truth was, I hadn’t been looking at all well. After a serious illness, I’d lost 33 pounds in weight and although I was delighted by my new slim figure, my face had been looking haggard. The exercises seemed to get rid of this. Over the next few weeks (a very trying time during which I lost a job, sued an employer and a friend died suddenly), I continued to look less and less tired and drawn.
There are actual differences too, to my features. They are very subtle, and I heartily wish I’d taken comparison photos as suggested, but I’m quite convinced that my lips are very slightly fuller, cheeks plumper, chin tighter; my naso-labial fold has lightened and even my nose is slightly shorter. My husband – always a sceptic in these matters – says the exercises "have really tightened your face up and made the most of your bone structure", which is praise indeed from him.
In terms of pictures, these are about as close as I can get to comparisons, and they were taken about two years apart. The pic on the left shows me two years ago, post illness and recovery, but about a year before Facercise. The pic on the right was taken recently, after about a year of following the programme. Note how my cheeks appear fuller, especially under the cheekbone, and that the jawline is also more full. In my lower jaw I now have two large knots of muscle the size of walnuts, which helps fill out this narrow part of my face.
I don’t know if anyone else sees a difference, and where I don’t see one myself sadly, is the lines from mouth to chin – I would have liked an improvement here as I have a lousy overbite. But no matter. What I’ve got is good enough to be going on with, and for the cost of £15 it was well worth it.
I now do these exercises in sections, partly before I get up, partly in the bath and partly while watching telly. I also try to do them when I’m alone, as you have to pull some very ugly faces, and those which involve you touching your face, I do before applying makeup. I’m not what you’d call diligent though – you’re meant to do them twice a day and I’m sure it’s the better option, but once every other day is more my routine now.