A couple of weeks ago, I had the best workout ever. I didn’t run on the treadmill. I didn’t do push-ups. I didn’t squat until my legs couldn’t take it anymore. Nope, I just lied down on a bed, and let someone else do all the hard work, toning and honing all my muscles for me.
My facial muscles, I mean. I went in for a session at FaceGym, a non-invasive facial treatment that, just like a workout, includes warm-up, cardio, strength, and cool-down phases. The whole thing is designed to aid lymphatic drainage and stimulate muscles to depuff, firm, and tone skin.
FaceGym is located in the heart of Selfridges’ Beauty Hall, so you may have your face massaged and kneaded in front of the whole world (or Selfridges’ shoppers, anyway). I say may because FaceGym also has a private room, big enough to accommodate only one client at the time. Luckily, that’s where I’m led.
Before my workout can begin, though, I have to sign the usual consent and medical forms, so the therapist would be aware of any issues that could potentially interfere with the treatment and tweak it accordingly.
My therapist, after taking a look at me and realising I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in who knows how long, also decides to concentrate her efforts around my eyes. They badly needed depuffing!
So, I lie down on the bed, and am covered with a blanket while my hair is kept out of the way with a headband. Prep over, it’s time to workout.
Phase 1: Warm Up
As I take a few deep breaths, the therapist gently pushes my shoulders away from my head to stretch and relax the muscles in my neck, before pressing down on my chest to aid lymphatic drainage.
Then, as she cleanses my skin, she performs knuckle twists around my eyes, cheeks, and jawline. This gets the blood flowing. She also massages my face, concentrating on those same areas, with a small ball. Having your face kneaded by a ball is a bit surreal, but also surprisingly nice and relaxing.
All this to loosen up the muscles a bit. Much like a regular workout. This is followed by a bit of exfoliation to remove dead cells and get the blood flowing. It’s an intense start, so different from the soothing gentle massages we’re using to, and perfect preparation for what’s coming next. Things are about to get even hotter.
Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).
Phase 2: Cardio
Immediately, the pace is much, much faster. With short, quick movements, the therapist’s fingers pinch, flick, and even whip my skin. I feel like I’m being slapped for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t hurt, but it makes me wonder if I’ve accidentally done something to piss her off, or if she’s having a bad day and is taking it out on my face.
But, nope. All this pinching, slapping, and kneading is necessary to “unstuck” the muscles. Apparently, those pesky things can get stuck together, and you need to separate them if you want to improve blood circulation to the area. Who knew? But, don’t worry. She keeps a close eye on your face to make sure that your skin doesn’t become irritated.
During this stage, she also applies a brightening serum. I can feel its silky texture glide smoothly on my skin, while its herbal scent is very relaxing. That’s just what’s needed during this super intense phase.
Truth be told, though, I like the intensity. I’m one of those people who likes a good, hard massage, so I find this phase not just bearable, but very pleasant, too. But, from here on, things begin to slow down a bit.
Phase 3: Strength
This phase alternates a flurry of quick, intense movements with slower, deeper kneading of the muscles to stimulate, lift, and depuff. The therapist starts at my jawline, moves to the center of my face, and works her way up towards my ears. My skin is being pushed and pulled up with a series of movements designed to both sculpt the face and untie any knotted muscles.
She also lightly massages my undereye area to further improve blood circulation and reduce puffiness. She then gently turns my head, and starts working on my neck using long and lean strokes. These too are micro-contouring techniques designed to lift and destress skin.
During this phase, the therapist also uses several devices on my face. One is a radio frequency device meant to boost collagen production, tighten and firm skin. At first, she puts it on the lowest setting, and then, with my permission, she turns it up a notch. We never put it on full power because my skin is too sensitive for that.
Already, I can feel it slightly sting when it moves around the corner of my eyes, where my skin is particularly delicate (lately, it’s been flaking there). Another device is the derma roller. Made of steel, it has raised bumps on its surface which help improve blood circulation even more.
Phase 4: Cool Down
Details now are a bit hazy. By this point, I was so relaxed, I almost fell asleep! I know, some of you may find it weird, as there’s little soothing about FaceGym. It’s a workout, after all, and those aren’t meant to be soothing. But, I told you, I like the intensity. I find that more relaxing than the soothing massages we’re used to.
Now, though, things are really starting to cool down. The therapist uses another device on my face: the jade roller. Its cooling effect soothes my skin, which is just what it needs after such a hot workout. Then, she lightly massages my skin. She concentrate around my eyes to further depuff them. Then, she spritzs frankincense water on my face. Its scent is delightful, and soothing, too.
After the workout, the therapist hands me a mirror. I hardly recognize myself. When I entered the little room, you could see I was overworked and undersleeping. My face was dull and my eyes so puffy. After FaceGym, the puffiness had almost disappeared. My face was much softer, and smoother. A bit more defined. And positively glowy, too.
There was a bit of redness, it’s true. As I said, my skin is now sensitive, and the workout intense. But that soon disappeared, while all the other positive effects lasted a few days.
Of course, there is a catch. Just like with any other form of exercise, consistency is key. You can’t do the workout once and expect its benefits to last forever. But, unlike most other forms of exercise, you can see a significant improvement right away, which is so satisfying. I can’t wait to go back!
Price & Availability
FaceGym Signature Workout: £40 at Selfridges