Does celeb-favourite face yoga actually help in sculpting your face?

We find out if facial exercises really work to improve our appearance. 

Harper's Bazaar India

Like most skincare trends, I came across face yoga while scrolling my social media feed. New York-based beauty influencer, Ava Lee was talking about how massaging your face can help in tightening up skin, something she learned from her Korean mom, while she performed a series of facial exercises. She’s not the only one. Face yoga has been loved by multiple influencers and celebrities—Gwyneth Paltrow and Meghan Markle swear by it, and closer home, Malaika Arora has openly talked about the benefits of face yoga, and has even shared some of her favourite exercises on Instagram. 

While the practice has taken the beauty world by storm, there are many who are skeptical about its actual benefits. We delve deep into what face yoga is, what it does, and if it is helpful in toning up your facial muscles. 

What is facial yoga?

Like how yoga tones and strengthens our body, face yoga allegedly works on our face muscles. Long periods of time spent staring at our screens can make us hold a lot of tension in specific areas of our face. Exercising and massaging your facial muscles can help relieve any stress and tension that may be present, and also reduce puffiness by aiding in proper lymphatic drainage.

Does face yoga have any real benefits?

Even though face yoga has been gaining popularity and has become a staple in the skincare routines of many, there’s not much scientific proof that it has real effects on the skin. This is why most who extol its beneficial properties see it more as a de-stressing wellness practice than an actual way to get a contoured visage. 

To understand the impacts of facial yoga, it’s important to know how exercising our muscles work. When we train them, they adapt to the stress overtime and increase in volume. But when it comes to our face, it doesn’t work quite the same way. There is no evidence that our facial muscles actually responsd to stress by becoming toned, and even if they do, the effect is for a limited period. Essentially, you won’t be able to train your face in the way you would train your body to be beefier. 

At most, massaging your face will increase blood flow to the area, so if you’re looking for a way to look less puffy after an all-nighter or a stressful week, face yoga might do the trick. 

Beginner-level facial exercises to try

If you’re willing to give face yoga a chance, then these exercises are a good place to start.

For your cheekbones

Put your thumbs under your chin and put your pointer fingers at the corners of your mouth. Then, smile as you push your fingertips up—puffing up your cheeks.  

For your forehead

This is one of the most common facial exercises and is also called ‘the owl’. It involves making a big C shape with your hands and placing them around your eyes—imagine you’re holding invisible binoculars. Then, pull down your index fingers on the forehead while simultaneously forcing your eyebrows up and making your eyes wide. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat three to four times. 

For the eyes

Place your index fingers under your eyes and stroke gently, from the nose towards the temple. Repeat this a few times. This will help relax you eye area and help reduce puffiness.