Face Yoga: We Put This Face-Sculpting Hack To The Test

Is It Worth The Trouble?


Hack: Face Yoga — a routine set of facial exercises to work out the muscles of your face and sculpt in all the right places. Didn’t know you were supposed to exercise the muscles of the face? Thought the Gua Sha was the one-step miracle solution to all your qualms with the natural progression of aging? Same here. But worry not, because I’m here to investigate the science behind Face Yoga and put it into action. 

The idea behind the popular hack is that by working out certain muscles of the face that are typically underused — in collaboration with relaxing the muscles that are overused (with facial massages and tools such as the Gua Sha) — one can achieve less prominent fine lines and wrinkles as well as slow down the development of more signs of aging. In short, it aims to “tighten” the face through a series of exercises you can incorporate into your daily skin regimen.

Who is it good for? Everyone! Whether you’re in your early adulthood or well into it, facial exercises are a good idea. If you’re looking to preserve your youthful appearance for longer, facial exercises and massages are a good alternative to the so-called “preventative” Botox. Freezing certain muscles might be tempting (and no shame to those who do opt for that option), but it’s nice to know of less invasive alternatives. And for those who already have a number of fine lines and wrinkles, facial exercises can improve and smooth their appearance. Implementing retinol in your skincare routine alongside this method might also lead to more dramatic results.


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Evidence: When it comes to this hack, evidence is mixed and mostly anecdotal, though some research has been made into its validity. While the idea behind face yoga is compelling, Healthline says that working out muscles of the face will stretch out the skin, not tighten it, and is therefore counterintuitive. People who study facial exercises, including influencers on youtube who share their expertise with the world, refute this claim by explaining that if you do the exercises correctly no skin is being stretched in damaging ways.

Also in favor of face yoga is Dr. Murad Alam, professor of dermatology and lead author of a Northwestern Medicine study that backs the validity of consistent facial exercises. “Exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” says Dr. Alam. He explains that the exercises, done regularly, strengthen the muscles under the skin, creating a firmer and more toned look. “Individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way for looking younger.”

My routine: I snuck in the time for facial exercises in the morning, after cleansing my face and before doing my facial massages (which I don’t do religiously, skipping days here and there). I slathered oil on my face and carried out a specific routine every day for three weeks, and kept an eye out for results. Let’s keep in mind I’m in my early twenties and haven’t yet developed any prominent signs of aging, so the results couldn’t be too drastic in that respect. I was mostly hoping to see more sculpted cheekbones and higher brows.

Does it live up to expectations? Yes… and no? 

Once again, I feel I need to clarify that these exercises couldn’t have changed my face too much. I knew from the start that any changes would be subtle and likely to be felt more than seen. And if I really wanted to see changes in how sculpted my face looked, I would need to consistently do face yoga for months. Which I will consider doing, because the results I did notice were enough to pique my intrigue. Could I achieve more impressive results given more time? 

To be honest, I didn’t start seeing results immediately (as one always irrationally hopes for), but after a couple of days of doing it alongside the facial massages my face did feel tighter. This might be a placebo effect and delusional hope, or it might be real and palpable change. Who’s to say? I was feeling optimistic, I’ll admit, in the early days. After a week and a half, I felt as if my cheekbones looked tighter and more prominent in the mirror, and as if generally there were less flab and more tone to my usually round face. The photos I took regularly backed this up, to an extent.

Overall: By the end of the three weeks I could see (by closely and obsessively studying the before and after pictures on my phone) that my face looked slightly more even and symmetrical. Not too stark a difference, but notable to the critical eye of one’s own scrutiny. I also note that on days where I combined the exercises with the massages were the ones that left my skin looking more “sculpted,” whereas when I skipped out on massaging my face I felt accomplished but still puffy from sleep. 

Try it out for yourself if you’re looking for new ways to feel good about yourself! It’s not a bad way to save some money on Botox, and might lead somewhere in the long run. 

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