The anti-ageing home work your lines want you to do
IAs Natascha Hawke investigates the 3,000-year-old facelift that you can do at
home, we can’t help but think this is a history lesson you’ll like the sound of... magine a world without pillow cheeks, trout pouts and wind tunnel faces, where our eternal quest for youth is achieved simply by adding 30 minutes on to a daily gym session to concentrate on our faces. Exercising, them, that is.
Sound like another flaky fad? Well it’s a no-brainer according to a new wave of therapists across the globe who are dedicated to helping us regain (or maintain) the youthful, plumped-up face we once owned by controversially shunning the popular face-freezing, or invasive approaches of Botox or fillers in favour of a more natural approach – and result – by focusing underneath the skin on the 50 or so muscles that sculpt the face.
Based on the concept that just as we have to work out regularly to maintain a lean, toned physique by keeping our muscles active, the same should apply to the muscles in our face. “We know that when we go to the gym our muscles tone and tighten and the skin pulls tight around them, lifting and smoothing. Apply this method to the face and the same happens. It’s not rocket science,” says Inge Theron, founder of Face Gym, which launched at London’s Selfridges department store in May this year.
During her time spent travelling the globe writing the Financial Times’s Spa Junkie beauty column, reviewing therapies from Botox to placenta facials, Inge experienced some distressing treatments that had less than desirable results and was inspired to look for alternative options in the fight against ageing that didn’t involve needles or anything invasive.
“I was going to get older, I was put off injectables and I didn’t want another needle near my face. Even with all the beauty creams in the world with dragon’s blood, lamb placenta, snake venom – your skin can only do so much. You can heal brown spots with cream, but when it comes to the actual facelifting there’s little you can do,” she says. “If you don’t want to do Botox, what else is there?” So she decided to do some research.
By spending time with some of the world’s top holistic therapists such as Joëlle Ciocco, a biochemist in Paris devoted to the study of the skin’s ecosystem, Dr Robert Klein, an acupuncturist who wrote the book The Empress’s Secret (www. theempressssecret.com) and Yamuna Zake whose Body Rolling and Body Logic practices are popular with high-profile celebrities, Inge combined what she learnt to develop the treatments at Face Gym.
“I distilled the very best of a hundred different facials and massages, focusing on lengthening, toning and tightening. It’s simple, and it’s just like the gym.”
The basis of Face Gym is a 30-minute programme that consists of a warm-up (cleansing), cardio (sweating the skin with pummelling), strength (focusing on problem areas) and a cool down (a cold roller is applied). Her ‘trainers’ use techniques such as pummelling and facial flicking to lift cheeks, drain excess fluid and tone problem areas such as jowls, stimulating the muscles and boosting collagen and cell renewal – essentially waking up the face. After a basic workout, there are more intense options with a machine that’s similar to a Slendertone but for your face, called the Pure Lift, which “strengthens the muscles, like when you do a tummy crunch”.
So, why exercise our faces? As we age, we lose the plump roundness known as convexities. “Convexities are what make you youthful,” says celebrity dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD. “That is critical. If you look at the cheekbones, the forehead,
‘Going to the gym our muscles tone and tighten and skin pulls tight - the same applies to the face’