We make an effort to exercise our bodies, but we often neglect our face muscles when it comes to toning and strengthening. Facial yoga is one way to remedy that. Try these seven moves to make your skin glow and boost your overall health.
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Facial massage has become a huge trend in recent years with jade rollers and gua shas becoming mainstream and almost every influencer swearing by workouts for the face involving intense massage. Massaging the face can be just as relaxing as a more traditional body massage and it can help boost your skin’s radience because it encourages lymphatic drainage.
Facial yoga has similar benefits, as it combines massage and exercising to nourish the skin. “Facial yoga is about using the muscles and contracting the muscles to tone them,” explains Victoria Adams, a facial yoga expert.
“If you go to the gym you look after the body,” Victoria continues. “We kind of forget about the neck up and that’s what’s on show.”
Facial yoga helps your skin to produce more collagen, as well as improving skin elasticity as well as improving the effects of your skincare products.
Below, Victoria shares seven fundamental facial yoga movements that you can start to practice as a beginning. But before you start, you need to ensure you’re sitting comfortably and that your body is relaxed. “Your spine should feel long, your head is not pointing forward,” Victoria says.
“Your shoulders might be up around your ears - let them go. And imagine that bad posture we hold within the shoulders, we’re probably doing exactly the same thing with the face, maybe frowning between the eyebrows.”
The forehead toner
Take your index fingers and hold them upwards as if you’re telling someone off. Place them right above your eyebrows so there’s no space between the finger and the eyebrows.
Use the index fingers to try and pull the eyebrows down. Against that pulling down, raise your eyebrows as if you’re trying to look surprised.
Breathe there for three to five breaths.
The two opposing movements help the forehead muscle - known as the front alis - to contract while smoothing the skin on top of it. This helps blood flow to the area which helps to give you glowing skin.
Iron away the worry lines
Again, take your index fingers as if you’re telling someone out. Bring them three quarters out along the eyebrows so bringing them upwards from the outer corner of your eyes. Pull horizontally out to the side to feel a widening between the eyebrows.
Breathe in and out for three to five breaths and as you do, imagine that your breath is helping to iron the space out between the eyebrows.
The eye lifter
Curve your index fingers and thumbs into the shape of a ‘C’. Bring the index finger to the brow bone, just underneath your eyebrow. Let your thumb rest on the edge of the cheekbone, so you’re framing your eye.
Stretch the skin apart by bringing your index finger and thumb away from each other by about half a centimetre. Look down with your eyeball as much as you can. You should feel a slight ache in the upper inner corner of your eyes (if the pain feels uncomfortable, stop and close your eyes).
Hold for three to five breaths.
The cheekbone sculptor
Take both thumbs and create the thumbs up sign. Bring them to where the nostrils meet the cheekbones, pointing your thumbs down towards your chest. Curve the thumb pad underneath your cheekbones and move it outwards to the outside of your face, all the way up into the hairline just above your ears.
Move your tongue around the inside of the lips, making sure your reaching all of the corners you can reach to help stretch out the muscles in and around the lips.
Do this for three to five breaths.
The neck and jaw toner
Place one of your hands underneath your chin with your palm facing down. Push the hand up towards your chin and push your chin down to create some resistance.
You should feel the neck and jaw start to engage.
Stay there for three to five breaths.
The lymphatic drainer
Move the hand (with the index finger pressed against the head) from the top of your hairline to behind your ears right down to your collarbones. When you reach your collarbones, create a pulsing movement.
Do this for three to five breaths.
A common misconception is that we should massage our face in upward motions in order to remove puffiness but that isn’t always the case. Puffiness often comes from poor lymphatic drainage and you can help to improve this using different facial massage techniques like this one.
Victoria’s top tips for optimizing your facial yoga experience
You can practice facial yoga whenever you want but Victoria recommends doing it in the morning just before you apply your skincare to help the products absorb and so you have a time each day in which you remember to do it. “The most important thing [with facial yoga] is that we’re consistent because that’s when you start to see a difference,” Victoria says, adding that, “Even if you just did two to five minutes every day, you would see a huge difference after three days alone.”
Apply skincare products after facial massage
Practicing facial yoga before you apply your skincare products can be a great habit to get into as waking up your face in this way will help your skin to absorb the skincare products you apply. “Especially if you spend a lot of money on creams and things, you’ll get more of your money’s worth,” Victoria says.
Practice facial yoga at spare moments in the day
It’s good to have a set time in which you do your facial exercises everyday, but you can also use any extra time you have to do some of your favourite exercises. Whether that’s while you’re waiting for someone to enter a Zoom meeting, watching TV or sat in the passenger seat of a car.
Make sure your hands are clean
It’s crucial that you thoroughly clean your hands before touching your face to avoid the transfer of bacteria. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using anti-bacterial soap and warm water.
Victoria Adams, yoga teacher and health coach
Victoria has been teaching facial yoga for seven years and leading yoga retreats for ten years. She has worked with British olympians and has been featured on The Only Way Is Essex for her unique combination of Yin Yoga and Ashtanga.