BEAUTY

Ready to work your skin into shape? Michaela Wil­liams on the rou­tine that lets you om your way to your best com­plex­ion ever

Friday - - Contents -

The se­cret to smooth, flaw­less skin is not in a bot­tle, but in fa­cial yoga.

Ever since yoga na­maste-ed its way into pop cul­ture and made the leap from your aun­tie’s favourite ex­er­cise to be­com­ing the ul­ti­mate pas­time of an ac­tivewear-clad Gwyneth Pal­trow and friends, the cen­turies-old holis­tic prac­tice has helped loosen hip ab­duc­tors, in­creased core strength, and in­tro­duced at least four go-to poses for In­sta­grammable beach hol­i­day snaps. And given that yoga de­liv­ers age-de­fy­ing ben­e­fits for the body, it’s not too large of a leap to sug­gest that your face could see sim­i­lar in­vig­o­rat­ing re­sults, thanks to a regime ded­i­cated to the com­plex­ion.

While ‘The Gi­raffe’ and ‘The Swan Neck’ both sound like le­git­i­mate body-bend­ing poses, they’re both at­trib­uted to the art of face yoga. Count­ing Stella Mc­Cart­ney, Naomi Camp­bell and Jen­nifer Anis­ton among its celebrity fol­low­ers, the mat-free method makes a pretty com­pelling ar­gu­ment for en­cour­ag­ing good skin health. Danielle Collins, creator of the Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method (find the moves on her app), de­scribes it as ‘a nat­u­ral face lift’, promis­ing re­sults for the dili­gent. The Bri­tish spe­cial­ist says her method, de­vel­oped along­side years of ex­pe­ri­ence as a yoga in­struc­tor, can even re­duce the call of a face-lift or Botox nee­dle, with her clients find­ing them­selves hap­pier in their own skin.

Face yoga ‘is a nat­u­ral way of look­ing and feel­ing younger and health­ier with an added sense of re­lax­ation and well-be­ing,’ ex­plains Collins. ‘It is a com­bi­na­tion of face ex­er­cises, face mas­sage, face acu­pres­sure and face re­lax­ation, [and] also fo­cuses on well-be­ing tech­niques for the mind, body and soul.’ The Lon­don-based ther­a­pist says that her rou­tine takes just 20 min­utes to com­plete, with ten min­utes each ded­i­cated to your face’s up­per and lower por­tions, and work­ing all 57 mus­cles in the face and neck.

It’s fair to say that we’re no strangers to tri­fling skin­care trends (hello, vam­pire fa­cials, snail slime creams and nightin­gale poop masques), but face yoga goes one bet­ter, with its roots firmly planted in both the holis­tic prac­tice, and tra­di­tional mas­sage tech­niques. Face yoga works with the mus­cles on the bot­tom layer and the col­la­gen, elastin and con­nec­tive tis­sue in the mid­dle layer of skin, so it gives your face struc­ture, sup­port and strength as well as lift­ing, firm­ing and smooth­ing. ‘Our faces ben­e­fit from ex­er­cis­ing the mus­cles,’ ex­plains Collins. ‘It is also im­por­tant to re­lax these mus­cles to smooth the skin.’ She says that the gen­tle move­ment helps to re­duce and pre­vent lines and wrin­kles, by en­cour­ag­ing pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen and elastin in the face, which plump and firm, and boost­ing cir­cu­la­tion for an im­me­di­ate healthy glow. We won’t be bin­ning our night cream in favour of pulling funny faces ei­ther, with the slow move­ments work­ing as an ideal com­pan­ion to your usual mois­tur­is­ing rou­tine, en­hanc­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of both the prod­uct and the ex­er­cises.

EYE­BROW-RAIS­ING

‘Many skin­care prod­ucts just sit on the top layer of skin, which means your skin gets hy­drated but you don’t see re­sults in terms of lift­ing, firm­ing and smooth­ing,’ ex­plains Collins. She says that a rich oil or cream will ab­sorb into the skin bet­ter thanks to the repet­i­tive mo­tions, and warmth of your hands and face, al­low­ing the prod­uct to sink deeper into the skin.

Mas­sag­ing and stretch­ing the face is hardly a new con­cept, with spas and sa­lons in­cor­po­rat­ing their own tech­niques into treat­ments. Iryna Holo­van, founder of Splen­dida Ladies Sa­lon and Spa Club in Dubai, says that she in­cludes an as­pect of mas­sage in each of her spa’s fa­cial treat­ments, due to a mul­ti­tude of ben­e­fits. ‘Fa­cial mas­sage helps to lift the mus­cles of the face, to brighten and tone up the skin [and] it also helps the treat­ment in­gre­di­ents to pen­e­trate deeper into the skin tis­sues for a bet­ter re­sult,’ she points out. ‘It im­proves the nat­u­ral pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen

and elastin [adding to] the elas­tic­ity and soft­ness of the skin, as well as re­duc­ing the fine lines and wrin­kles. It also im­proves fa­cial blood cir­cu­la­tion and helps re­duces mi­graines.’

Holo­van com­bines a num­ber of fa­cial stretch­ing and mas­sag­ing tech­niques: Ef­fleurage (light tap­ping or pound­ing of the skin), vi­bra­tion (a fine tremu­lous move­ment made by hands to cause the skin to vi­brate) and fric­tion (a repet­i­tive, non-glid­ing tech­nique that pro­duces move­ment be­tween the fi­bres of dense tis­sue).

But tak­ing to fa­cial yoga with a lit­tle too much vigour could have the op­po­site ef­fect, warns Re­nata Muszula. The beauty ad­vi­sor and trainer for skin­care brand Bio­droga MD, which launches its fa­cials at Browz in The Mall, Jumeirah soon, says that rough han­dling can re­duce elas­tic­ity, dam­age the skin’s col­la­gen and break cap­il­lar­ies.

‘Pulling at the skin is not good for its flex­i­bil­ity and tex­ture,’ she says. ‘It is im­por­tant to be very soft and very gen­tle with the face, and not to roughly pull or poke it.’ Muszula agrees that face yoga has skin-firm­ing and de-stress­ing ben­e­fits, but says it’s im­por­tant to know how to per­form the move­ments cor­rectly. ‘The skin on the face and neck is very fine, and it’s best to be shown by a pro how to han­dle it. We would use an essence, and would ap­ply it at the base of the neck and stroke up­wards to help tighten the skin in that di­rec­tion. If you were to pull down, this would do more harm than good.’

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