Skincare & BEAUTY

11 Face Yoga Exercises for Anti-Aging, Slimming and More

If you’re at all tuned in to the Meghan Markle craze that has swept the globe since the royal wedding, you’ve probably heard about her unique facial exercise routine. In order to maintain her youthful, wide-awake “Markle Sparkle,” she and many celebrities (including Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, and Gwenyth Paltrow) have taken up “face yoga.”

Face yoga, or facial exercises, work by strengthening specific muscle groups to keep the skin on top plump and firm. Not only is face yoga a less invasive alternative to Botox and other facial fillers, but it’s also way cheaper (as in, free!). Though it might sound too good to be true, there are a lot of before and afters out there that make a compelling case. But we understand if you’re still skeptical, so read on to see what experts have to say about the benefits of facial exercises.

Does the Face Yoga Method Actually Work?

Unfortunately, there haven’t been many studies about the effectiveness of face yoga. Maybe scientists don’t care about fighting wrinkles? However, the practice is becoming more widespread and a couple of studies published last year showed promising results.

In the first study, a group of 40–65 year olds was trained on muscle-resistant facial exercises, and instructed to do the exercises every day for 30 minutes. After eight weeks, before and after photos were evaluated using the Merz-Carruthers Facial Aging Photoscales (MCFAP). When compared to their baseline photos, participants showed improved upper cheek fullness and their average estimated age decreased significantly.

The second study tried to take any human bias out of the equation by evaluating participants with a sonograph and laser scanning system to measure facial surface area and muscle thickness. Participants used a PAO device (a very interesting-looking Japanese facial exercise tool) for 30 seconds twice per day over the course of eight weeks. The findings were similar to the earlier study, in that facial muscle thickness increased for a more rejuvenated look.

If that’s not enough of a reason to give face yoga a shot, there are many other health benefits to facial exercises besides anti-aging.

Why You Should Try Face Yoga

There are numerous physical benefits to face yoga, which is why facial exercises are often recommended in recovery plans for people suffering from facial paralysis. Orofacial myofunctional therapy, as it’s formally known, is a system for repatterning the movement of the facial neuromuscular system. By teaching the face, mouth, tongue, and neck to coordinate properly, face exercises have been purported to help with health issues such as:

  • Neck pain
  • TMJ
  • Snoring
  • Headaches
  • Speech issues

Reduce wrinkles and get rid of headaches? Seems like the perfect solution! In addition, a study published last year found that facial exercises can even improve your mental health. Seniors in an assisted living facility attended 30-minute facial exercise programs twice a week over the course of 12 weeks. The conclusions suggested that these exercises improved their mental health, and that this type of therapy could be a useful alternative to physical exercise for people with low motor function.

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Below are our top five facial exercises for a more youthful appearance.

5 Facial Exercises for a Younger You

Warning — you may look and feel a little silly, so best to practice in the privacy of your own bathroom!

1. Forehead Smoother

drawing of woman smoothing forehead with knuckles

How-to:

  • Make a fist with both hands
  • With fingers facing toward you, place the knuckles of your middle fingers in the center of your forehead
  • Applying moderate pressure, slide fists to each side of the forehead ending at the temples

Helps with: Fine lines and wrinkles

How much: Repeat the exercise 6 times

Try in place of: Expensive Botox injections every three months

2. Double V

drawing of woman smoothing cheeks with face yoga

How-to:

  • Make a peace sign with both of your hands
  • Place your middle fingers on the inner edge of your eyebrows and your pointer fingers on the outer edge of your eyebrows
  • Apply moderate pressure, and look upwards while squinting

Helps with: Crow’s feet and drooping eyelids

How much: Repeat the exercise 8 times

Try in place of: Blepharoplasty, AKA eyelid lift

3. Natural Lip Plumper

drawing of woman doing lip plumping face yoga

How-to:

  • Sit down and tip your head back slightly
  • Pucker lips tightly and push forward
  • Hold the pose for 10 seconds before releasing

Helps with: Thin lips and lines in the corner of the mouth

How much: Repeat the exercise 5 times

Try in place of: Juvederm and other lip injections

4. Wide Awake

drawing of woman stretching eyes with face yoga

How-to:

  • Place your palms on the sides of your face, with your ring fingers on the ends of your eyebrows
  • Applying slight pressure, slowly lift your hands up and back to pull the skin
  • Drop your jaw to make your face as long as possible

Helps with: Eye bags and drooping brows

How much: Repeat the exercise 4 times

Try in place of: Dermal injections or facelifts

5. Natural Neck Lift

drawing of woman stretching neck to reduce wrinkles

How-to:

  • Tilt head back gently so you feel a stretch in your neck
  • Puff your lower lip out so you can feel the stretch intensify
  • Place your fingers on each side of your neck and stroke down to your collarbone

Helps with: Sagging neck and jaw

How much: Repeat the exercise 5 times

Try in place of: A costly and time-consuming neck lift

6 Face Exercises for Getting the Right Face Shape

If aging isn’t your only concern, there are other face yoga exercises that help with slimming or plumping certain areas. Take a look for six more of our favorite face exercises.

1. Blowfish

drawing of woman puffing out cheeks in face yoga pose

How-to:

  • Just like the name implies, keep your mouth closed and fill your cheeks up with as much air as possible
  • Hold the position for a full minute if you can
  • Slowly release the air by blowing out

Helps with: Sagging or thin cheeks

How much: Repeat the exercise 3 times

Pair with: Green tea and skincare products rich in green tea extract, as they’re full of anti-inflammatory properties

2. “O” Face

drawing of woman moving cheeks with her fingers

How-to:

  • No, not that “O”  face! Form an “o” shape with your mouth, as if you’re holding a Cheerio
  • Put your fingers on each of your cheekbones
  • Gently lift and lower your cheeks while holding your mouth position

Helps with: Thinning face

How much: Repeat the exercise 10 times

Pair with: Skincare products with blueberries as they’re rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin, a powerful age-defying ingredient

3. Cheek Sculptor

drawing of woman using face yoga to sculpt cheeks

How-to:

  • Purse your lips together and smile like you’re putting on blush
  • Place your fingers on either side of your mouth under the apples of your cheeks
  • Slide your fingers up so you’re lifting your cheeks, and hold for 30 seconds

Helps with: Plumping the face for a youthful glow

How much: Repeat the exercise 8 times

Pair with: Skincare products that contain aloe vera to improve facial elasticity. You can even try eating small amounts of aloe!

4. Lion Pose

drawing of woman sticking her tongue out doing face yoga

How-to:

  • This is definitely one of the silliest looking poses! Drop your jaw and open your mouth wide
  • Stick out your tongue and stretch it downward toward your chin
  • Breathe through your mouth and make a sound in your throat like a lion’s roar

Helps with: Lengthening and strengthening facial muscles for a toned appearance

How much: Repeat the exercise 5 times

Pair with: Skincare products that contain jojoba oil to help tone sensitive skin

5. Spit it Out

drawing of woman swishing her cheeks in face yoga pose

How-to:

  • Puff out your cheeks about halfway, like you have a mouthful of water
  • Swish the air around from cheek to cheek like you are going to spit the water out
  • Continue for two minutes

Helps with: Plumping cheeks and reducing double chin

How much: Repeat the exercise 3 times

Pair with: Skincare products with Vitamin C such as orange or lemon, as this antioxidant protects the skin from harmful pollutants

6. Big Yawn

drawing of woman yawning in face yoga pose

How-to:

  • With your mouth closed, pretend that you’re chewing a big bite of food
  • Then open mouth as wide as possible while keeping your tongue pressed to your lower teeth
  • Hold this pose for 10 seconds

Helps with: Reducing double chin and sculpting cheekbones

How much: Repeat the exercise 7 times

Pair with: Avocados and skincare products that contain avocado, as the high Vitamin A content helps you shed dead skin cells faster

Face Yoga Daily Tracker

When it comes to seeing results from face yoga, consistency is key! It’s important to do these exercises at least daily, and twice per day if possible. In order to help keep you on track, here’s a handy face yoga exercise tracker that you can print out each week.

You can also download our full guide to face yoga exercises and their benefits below:

Instead of spending a fortune on cosmetic surgery or dermal fillers, try spending 30 minutes a day strengthening your muscles with face yoga. It’s healthier, free, and, best of all, it actually works if you keep up with it! For more ways to age gracefully and feel confident in your skin, make sure you visit Rory.