If you're on a journey to achieving a smooth, youthful-looking, and glowing complexion, then you know that the options are endless. From incorporating anti-aging ingredients and advanced skincare devices into your routine to professional facial treatments, there are plenty of ways to reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness. One method that requires minimal tools, is free, and can be done anywhere is face yoga.
"Face yoga is a practice that focuses on the thoughtful movement of the muscles to create not only positive physical results but also to help integrate 'exercise' to build one's emotional well-being," says Shrankhla Holecek, an Ayurvedic expert and founder of UMA Oils.
The practice of face yoga is not only a relaxing skincare ritual, but it contributes to a smoother and more firm-looking complexion. Ahead, learn more about the benefits of face yoga and how to do it yourself.
What is face yoga?
"Face yoga is a series of facial massages that include moving and isolating facial muscles to tone and exercise," says Taylor Worden, a celebrity esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin. "It's great for anyone, especially for those that are scared of botox and fillers."
According to Holecek, these exercises are rooted in ancient yogic wisdom and can act as a way to improve physical and mental wellbeing. "Within Ayurveda, yoga is a practice that is not only about keeping the physical body in shape, but is a core way of strengthening one's connection within self and the environment one lives in," she says.
What are the benefits of face yoga?
Practicing facial yoga can have a positive impact on the elasticity and tone of your face, says Holecek. "The most immediate benefits of face yoga will be in the appearance of a more firmed visage, greater skin clarity, and an overall more rested appearance," she says.
Massaging the face stimulates the skin and muscles, which can also help improve circulation, relieve tension, reduce the look of puffiness, and strengthen the muscles for a more sculpted look, says Worden.
Holecek also says that increased circulation helps promote collagen production — a protein that gives skin that plump, youthful look. After consistently practicing facial yoga over time, you'll notice the skin become less saggy, more firm, and a smoother complexion overall.
In addition to the physical benefits, face yoga is also convenient. Unlike other facial done at a spa or an intensive anti-aging skincare routine, you can practice facial yoga anywhere at any time because the only tools required are your hands. It also helps to promote presence and offer a moment of self-care when doing the messages.
How to do face yoga?
To reap the full extent of benefits, you have to be consistent in your practice. "You have to do this six days a week for 20 to 30 minutes to see results," says Worden. The good part is, however, you can do it anywhere at any time.
If you aren't sure what type of exercises to do, there are YouTube videos and apps that make it easy to follow along. For example, the Face Yoga app offers a targeted routine based on your skin type and concerns. You can also start massaging your face and doing what feels good, says Holecek.
"There are few wrong ways to do face yoga," she says. "You can start just by following your intuition and working on parts of your face that seem like they need more TLC, such as the joint, near your earlobe, and where your upper and lower jaws meet." These are areas on the face that usually hold the most tension, so massaging it in a circular motion with gentle but firm pressure can help immediately relieve that tension.
For a more in-depth face yoga practice, you can follow Holecek's guide found on the UMA Oils site.
Step 1: Wake your face up
Reach back with your tongue as far as it will go and breathe evenly through a few breaths. It will feel a little strange at first—but it's totally worth it. This action helps your whole body become alert, especially your face muscles, which makes it a good choice to start with.
Step 2: . Crease out fine lines
Spend some time creasing out fine lines in the face, like the vertical lines between your brows. Use your forefinger and thumb to push your eyebrows away from each other, which is the opposite direction that they go when frowning or squinting. I find this works best when using a few drops of face oil with the motion.
Step 3: Stretch your eyelids
Eyelids tend to get heavier with age, so a little bit of stretching can help keep them healthy. Look upwards and raise your eyebrows at the same time. Then gently close your eyelids, while still looking up.
Step 4: Smooth out crows feet
Place your forefinger on the temple, and thumb on the top of your cheekbone, to gently stretch out crow's feet. This is another exercise that pairs well with the application of face oils.
Step 5: Ease laugh lines
This is a fun one to do in front of the mirror. Suck the insides of your cheeks in, almost like you're making a fish face. Hold for a few seconds, keeping your eyes wide open. Once your eyes start to water (which shouldn't hurt!), you may blink and release the pose.
Step 6: Define your jowls
Put two fingers to your closed lips to prevent air from escaping, and then fill your cheeks with air so they puff out. Hold for a few seconds then release with a soft exhale. This will raise everything in your face preventing the sagging in that area that comes with age.