Everything you need to know about face yoga
The benefits of yoga are already well-known. The ancient practice is a great form of exercise and the perfect way to decompress and stretch your body. Who doesn’t love a good Downward-Facing Dog? But, what if we told you that yoga could actually help reverse signs of aging on your face and promote healthy, glowing skin? Enter: face yoga, the skincare workout routine you didn’t know you needed, that can transform your face with no harsh chemicals or procedures, for free — no yoga studio membership required.
Here’s what you need to know about the facial exercises known as face yoga, whether or not they actually work, and how you can do them at home.
What is face yoga?
Face yoga is the practice of exercising the muscles in your face by massaging them in different directions, and holding them in positions that can, if done consistently, improve the appearance of wrinkles, tone your face muscles, and make your skin look healthier, younger, and brighter. Danielle Collins, the founder of Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga (an app that provides you with a personalized face yoga routine), told Healtline that face yoga “helps to lift and firm the muscles under the skin, which smooths lines and wrinkles. Massage helps to boost circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, and release tension.” (Lymphatic drainage can help improve the blood circulation in your face, making it look less puffy.)
Think about how tense the muscles in your face usually are when you’re not at rest. Whether your forehead is permanently bunched up while you look at your computer screen all day, or you’re subconsciously holding tension in your jaw, the way we hold our faces can often have a negative effect on our skin. With face yoga, you’re dedicating consistent time to smoothing out that tension and exercising your muscles, leading to not just healthier skin, but also, dedicated self-care time, which can have a huge mental health benefit in addition to a physical one.
Does face yoga actually work?
There’s not a ton of published research about the effectiveness of face yoga, but the research that does exist is promising. In a 2018 study published in JAMA Dermatology that focused on 16 women ages 45-60, researchers found that 30 minutes of face yoga for 20 weeks “seemed to improve mid-face and lower-face fullness,” resulting in plumper looking skin. However, consistency is key to the success of face yoga. “Because facial aging is due in part to muscle loss, if you can commit to a routine, exercise may strengthen those muscles, making the entire face look more firm and youthful,” Beauty Lab Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann told Good Housekeeping.
So, yes, it’s effective, but only when done consistently, and only if you’re expecting subtle results. Face yoga also shouldn’t substitute your regular skincare routine or the use of sunscreen — both practices with years of medical research that proves their effectiveness in reversing aging and keeping skin protected and healthy.
How to do face yoga at home
Like regular yoga, face yoga can be done from the comfort of your own home — no mat necessary. All you need is a mirror, your fingers, and a serum or moisturizer to help make your skin sleek, so your fingers can glide easily while you practice. Everyday Health suggests practicing face yoga for five to 10 minutes each day to start, eventually working up to 15-20.
There are endless face yoga tutorials on Youtube that can guide you on your skincare journey. It can be especially helpful to watch video tutorials of people doing face yoga when you’re just starting out, as some position descriptions can be a little confusing when you’re just searching for a list of exercises online.
You can also download a face yoga app! Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga app can generate a personalized routine just for you. You can register online here and download the app here. There are also dozens of face yoga apps in the app store that can provide step-by-step instructions at your fingertips.
No matter where you are in your skincare journey, face yoga is a simple, free, and effective step to integrate into your routine. Practicing daily isn’t just about improving the appearance of your skin — it’s also about showing up for yourself and dedicating a few minutes every day to your overall well being, especially if you’re breathing and meditating through your face yoga exercises.