Woman Pulling Face For Facial Yoga

Face Yoga: Beauty Booster or Total Bulls**t?

As I hold my temples, jut out my jaw, stretch my skin upwards, and try to practice calm fluid breathing whilst holding my face in a gremlin pose, I can’t help but wonder if I’m being punked. 

Maybe, this face yoga thing is not a rising trend but has actually been cleverly marketed only to me to get me to look utterly ridiculous on some hidden camera show. 

But no - No goofy miked-up Ashton Kutcher springs out from behind my sofa - which is kind of disappointing because my face is aching and we’re only halfway through the face yoga video. Right now, I’d take a bit of public humiliation just so I never have to do this again! Surprising really, to be feeling this way, because I’d been looking forward to trying a bit of face yoga.

Why Try Facial Yoga

Being all about natural solutions, the idea of toning muscles through exercise to achieve a more sculpted face shape was not only appealing but made total sense - on the face of it. I enjoy a bit of yoga myself. Apart from the physical workout aspect, it’s also a great way to connect body and spirit and calm my ever-flustered mind. So when I started seeing adverts for face yoga appear on my YouTube feed, I raised an eyebrow - which was useful because that was part of the warm-up.

Whilst I’ve always been reasonably pleased with my face shape, as we age we expect to lose some elasticity. Inevitably, when gravity has won over the breasts it’s going to go for the face next, resulting in skin sag and deeper crease lines. So, as much as I rage against fads and ‘miracle fixes’, whenever  I hear of a non-invasive, non-chemical way to stay looking youthful, my head pops out like a whack-a-mole, desperate to know more.

Does Facial Yoga Work?

Championed by notorious former mingers (sarcasm!) Gwyneth Paltrow and Megan Markle, facial yoga claims to strengthen facial muscles, adding definition and reducing drooping. Hence why many people insist facial exercises should be an essential part of our daily wellbeing rituals. And who's to say the stunning Paltrow and Markle wouldn't have dried up like the Atacama dessert or had chin skin stroking their collarbones if it weren't for facial yoga? That's the thing about anti-aging methods - when it's about prevention it's impossible to know what has or hasn't made a difference.

Woman Doing Face Yoga


Face yoga was not the relaxing, gentle, mind-awakening practice I’d hoped it would be though. In fact, it was difficult to follow, quite intense and made me feel pretty silly. Breathing through a facial stretch is a lot less calming than breathing through a warrior pose and I worried about the effect touching my face so much might have on my skin. But does it work?

When we exercise, we build and strengthen our muscles which makes them more defined. However, whilst it seems logical that doing this for facial muscles will produce similar results, it’s far from the same. We have over 50 muscles in our faces and they’re tiny. Designed to make small movements to change our facial expressions. Most research suggests that most of these muscles will likely be unaffected by facial exercises, even when done daily.

As a skin specialist, I’d also caution against too much contact with the delicate skin on our faces, even if our hands have been thoroughly washed. Anything that comes into contact with our skin, including itself, risks depleting our natural oils and promoting the spread of bacteria and dirt. Stimulating blood flow, through gentle massage or tapping, can have some short-term benefits for the skin and promote glow. However, be wary of stretching or pulling the skin on your face - it can result in micro-tears. You can learn more about micro tears in my Guide To Exfoliation.

Although studies vary there is really no solid evidence that facial exercises work to change muscle makeup. However, there is stronger evidence that wrinkles and lines may become more defined depending on our most common facial expressions.

Would We Really Be ‘Prettier If We Smiled More?’

Whilst facial expressions don’t cause wrinkles, they can develop earlier or become more prominent based on how we’ve moved our face. This is why we refer to certain creases as ‘frown lines’, ‘laughter lines,’ and ‘smile lines’. And these aren’t even unattractive. Sometimes they’re quite the opposite.

Kristin Scott Thomas has a couple of lines between her brows that give her an intellectual air - as if she’s spent many an afternoon engrossed in deeply complex academia. Andie MacDowell and Cameron Diaz have formed laughter lines that only serve to make their smiles more radiant. 

So, might it be wiser to skip the face yoga and focus on smiling more? On creating meaningful experiences rather than spending half an hour every day arranging our faces into 20+ tiki mask expressions? For me, I think it might be.

Woman Practicing Facial Yoga
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