Do Facial Exercises Work?

by Gio
does facial exercise work

I remember first reading about facial exercise in a teen magazine. I must have been 16 or something. The article mentioned that these exercises helped maintain facial muscle tone and so, I dutifully sat in front of the mirror and started playing with my face.

I felt so silly! But, I was more than willing to put up with some embarrassment if these exercises really made my skin look better. But, after continuing for a few days and seeing no results whatsoever, I quit. 

Was it the right choice?

Hard to say. Talking about facial exercises is like opening a can of warms. There’s no scientific proof yet that facial exercises work, yet fans swear they help keep their skin wrinkle-free. Who’s right?!

Let’s try to unravel this mess, shall we?

Why Skin Ages And Sags

Fans of facial exercise claim that toning facial muscles prevents, stops, and even reverses sagging skin. Kind of like when you exercise your body. The more you do it, the more toned you get, and the smoother everything becomes.

But, this theory has a major flaw: lack of muscle tone is NOT what causes sagging and wrinkles. Even if you tone those muscles, you won’t be able to reverse aging.

So, what causes aging?

  • Bone and hormone loss
  • Depletion of collagen, elastin, and fat
  • Genetics
  • Gravity
  • Loosening of the ligaments that hold the muscles in place
  • Repetition of facial movements
  • Sun exposure

Related: 8 Science-Backed Ways To Rebuild Lost Collagen

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!).

Is Facial Exercise Bad For Skin?

See what I highlighted above? Repetition of facial movement causes wrinkles. And, when you’re exercising your face, you’re repeating the same movements over and over again. The experts agree.

Paula Begoun, in one of her articles about facial exercise, quotes Dr Wilma Bergfeld, Head of Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology at The Cleveland Clinic: “Though I don’t recommend them I do believe they could work in some controlled situations. However, you would never want to do anything that moves the facial skin, especially as it ages, or overmanipulate the skin, because it would create more wrinkling, increasing the loss of elasticity in the skin.”

Dr Oz and Dr Michael F. Roizen in their You: Being Beautiful book, agree: “Exercising the facial muscles is a sure way to increase wrinkles. The facial muscles pull on the skin to give you facial expressions. And the repetitive movements of the skin, over the years, combined with the normal thinning of the collagen and elastin of the dermis, will eventually crack the skin, causing wrinkles. Botox is the reverse of exercise; it paralyzes muscles and lessens wrinkles.”

This makes a lot of sense. Think about it: what are the areas of your face that have more fine lines and wrinkles? The forehead, and the areas around the eyes and mouth.

Why? Because you move them a lot. When you smile. When you frown. When you squint your eyes. When you purse your lips. Is it really wise to increase these repeated movements on purpose? Mmmm….

What Does The Science Says About Facial Exercise?

This is the frustrating part. Science isn’t saying anything about facial exercise, yet. So, both these theories

  • Facial exercise is good because it tones up the muscles
  • Facial exercise is bad because it causes wrinkles through repeated movements

are just that, theories. Until there’s a study that proves one of them, what should we believe and do?

Personally, I believe the truth, as is often the case, lies somewhere in the middle. I agree with Dr Bergfeld: facial exercise may help in controlled situations, but, if you do it alone, without proper supervision and control, you may do your skin more harm than good.

The Bottom Line

There is no scientific proof facial exercise works, but there’s some evidence that repeated facial movements can lead to wrinkles. Unless you know what you’re doing, don’t bother with facial exercise. You may make things worse.

Have you ever tried facial exercise? Share your thoughts win the comments below.



EyeGraffiti April 3, 2012 - 7:51 pm

Somehow knew that my poker-face would come in handy! Lol! Just kidding. I think there’s some beauty of getting older as well. Hopefully I could get old with some dignity!

beautifulwithbrains April 3, 2012 - 8:41 pm

EyeGraffiti, I agree with you. Aging is a natural process and we should learn to age with grace and dignity. And I don’t think that’s difficult to do if we take proper care of our skin and use sunscreen daily. 🙂

Petepan August 9, 2016 - 4:02 am

You just wait, once your neck sags and your eye bags hang you will either be under the knife or doing face exercises.

Gio August 30, 2016 - 7:58 pm

Petepan,that’s a possibility. But I like to think I will be able to accept my wrinkles gracefully. Wishful thinking, perhaps?

judy December 24, 2016 - 6:51 pm

Petepan, I agree. If you don’t want wrinkles now, believe me when I tell you, you won’t want them when you get older either. I am a proponent of graceful aging, without plastic surgery, etc.

Dee May 25, 2017 - 7:10 pm

Gio is WAY too young to be commenting on Aging Gracefully, JUST WAIT til Menopause then re comment

Gio May 27, 2017 - 5:47 pm

Dee, I take that as a compliment. It’s true, though, that my approach is more about prevention.

Janessa April 4, 2012 - 6:01 am

I always thought it was a bit ridiculous to do so and I am so glad you’ve warned me because while I’ve considered it dumb, I wasn’t against it. Hooray. Another day smarter thanks to giorgiawithbrains. 😀

beautifulwithbrains April 4, 2012 - 7:08 am

Janessa, it is a bit ridiculous indeed, isn’t it? I wouldn’t care much if it helped, but it only makes skin worse so it’s best not to try that at all. And aww, thanks. You’re making me blush. 😳

Janessa April 4, 2012 - 5:06 pm

:] You are literally one of the best bloggers (even YouTuber) who avidly responds to her readers! I have been watching YouTube for nearly 4 years and reading blogs for over 2 years haha. I guess videos may get a lot of non-reply-able responses like: “cool” “wow”… but you are one of the best! Some who reply to all their comments still don’t take as much time as you do to reply, in my honest opinion.

beautifulwithbrains April 4, 2012 - 8:47 pm

Janessa, aww thank you! It’s a pleasure for me to talk to you all. It’s you all that have made the blog become the wonderful little community it is and I’m really grateful for that. Besides, I think that if you all take the time to comment, then it’s only polite and fair that I respond. I know that some bloggers are busy and may not have the time to answer to every comment, but imo they should at least make an effort to answer a few. I’m really put off by bloggers who never answer comments, not even when their readers ask them questions. 😳

Janessa April 5, 2012 - 12:45 am

Yup, I agree with your last sentence, and the one before that and before that one too. (the whole thing basically) :] That’s the spirit! I hope that all your effort will one day pay you back with a wonderful surprise.

beautifulwithbrains April 5, 2012 - 6:00 am

Thank you. You are very kind, Janessa. 🙂

elvira walker May 17, 2018 - 5:18 pm

I do not agree. I have been doing facial exercises along with a good skin regimen for over a year, and my face has not broken, cracked or fallen. Exercise of the face is like exercising any other muscle. If done correctly, it responds in kind. My cheek bones have remained high and exercising my forehead has prevented lines. I have a few but not nearly as much. The only aging that is see is around my mouth and that is because I do not exercise the area as I should. My labial folds has also decreased. My eye lids have tightened up. All in all my face is tighter than if I had done nothing at all. Everything is not for everyone and experts do not know it all. Do not knock it if you haven’t tried it.

Rose July 25, 2018 - 9:40 pm

I wonder what the agenda is here. I suspect it has to do with doctors stating that facial exercises are harmful, so that people go to them instead and get their faces pumped up with botox and fillers. Now, that’s where the real danger is really at. And that’s not mentioning how these doctors line up their packets with thousands of dollars year after year. I’ve seen a lady on YouTube named Peta, who does these exercises and her face looks years younger not older. And she shows the pictures to prove it. Smh

CF April 5, 2012 - 2:14 am

Great post! What about facial massage we usually get during facial session? Will this contribute to wrinkles as well?

beautifulwithbrains April 5, 2012 - 6:11 am

CF, a facial massage is fine as long as it doesn’t include any pulling and tugging of the skin as that is what contributes to wrinkles.

Kimber March 2, 2013 - 7:02 pm

I’ve thought myself that facial excercises may worsen wrinkles, but I still like to do them. It’s more of a mental thing for me, it keeps my personality loose and my humor up to date, last thing I want to be is a tight-lipped, monotone person who never has any fun!

beautifulwithbrains March 3, 2013 - 9:29 pm

Kimber, I don’t think they are any good skin, but if they make you feel good, and you are aware of the potential side effects, then that’s ok.

John April 29, 2013 - 2:03 am

Wow I got a little scared after reading this lol. I’m 18 and have been doing facial exercises since last year. All I know is that I now have a well defined and toned face, much like Johnny Depp during his younger years. I don’t know if this works for everyone though. Haha I even got my hair styled to his to make sure I really do look like him in this picture :

beautifulwithbrains April 29, 2013 - 6:34 pm

John, sorry for scaring you! Facial muscles are different from those on the rest of the body, and I don’t really think you can tone them by exercising. You are still very young, and at your age, you should have a defined face anyway. If there was a change, it could also have been due to diet or skincare products. In any case, experts agree that facial movements, such as smiling and frowning, can increase wrinkles, so the least we move our facial muscles unnecessarily the better. But I’m glad you are pleased with the way you now look.

John May 3, 2013 - 1:37 pm

Wow that was a fast reply :O
Anyhow, I think the greatest change was going from a sort of chubby normal face to a toned face. I didn’t do any diet change but I guess the stress of my first college year made me lose some fats ;D

I also gained dimples on my left side; before when I smile only my right dimple appears. I do think it can cause wrinkles as when I smile and laugh, I notice this deep lines around my mouth. Think of mick jagger smiling on his 20s (1960 mick):

beautifulwithbrains May 5, 2013 - 3:50 pm

Yes, I think the stress would probably be the real cause rather than facial exercises.

Dimples are really cute. Any facial movement, such as smiling and frowning, can cause wrinkles in the long run, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do them. We should, but only when necessary. 😉

Petepan August 9, 2016 - 4:13 am

You really don’t think you can tone facial muscles. Interesting you would make a subjective statement, where is your objective out of the box thinking?
Have you heard Peta of Faceaerobics talk about “isolating” certain areas of the face so they do not wrinkle? If not you should take a look, if you are still skeptical then at least you did some objective research.

Gio August 30, 2016 - 8:00 pm

Petepan, I will take a look, but I trust science more than anything else. If someone does a study on facial exercises and they turn out to work, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong and change my tune.

josue November 15, 2016 - 3:39 am
Gio November 15, 2016 - 10:51 am

Josue, how fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

Sahra June 3, 2013 - 8:19 am

I’ve been doing facial exercise since 18 and I’m almost 30 now! I look better than 18. It might be hard to say as I’m still young for wrinkles, but it’s not the matter of wrinkles. It’s the toned celebrity-like features and the glow, and that’s why I still do it and intend to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s been 12 years and when I compare myself to my friends and families around my age.. it’s a big difference.

Although, it’s not just the facercise. It’s also good nutrition and continuous exercising, drinking lots of water, consuming fruits and veggies, using sunscreen, meditation, moisturizing and….

I don’t have a program and I’m not trying to advertise. I’m an engineer.

I think it works especially when you start it from younger age 🙂

beautifulwithbrains June 6, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Sahra, thank you for sharing your experience. I have to admit I’m still a bit sceptical about facial exercises because you seem to lead a very healthy lifestyle (and well done, by the way), so it may easily be your diet and exercise routine that are responsible for your young and glowy skin rather than facial exercises. Still, I’m glad you have found a routine that works well for you. 🙂

Tyler May 28, 2014 - 2:17 pm

I have done these exercises and found that they made my skin look nicer, but I would say to anyone who considers it to find a good routine and PULL LIGHTLY. I stretched my skin by pulling hard because it gave more instantaneous results. so I think that in the long run, gentle exercises might have a good outcome, but it is very possible I think to do damage as well.

Gio May 28, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Tyler, I’m glad they are working for you. I still have hesitations about them because, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can do more harm than good. It would be nice to see science supporting their effectiveness too, which sadly hasn’t happened yet.

Sahra June 3, 2013 - 8:28 am

One more thing, that picture about facial exercise is horrifying. She can damage her skin with that aggressive gesture. You’re not supposed to do it that way. Not very gentle, not very harsh either.

I didn’t follow any program either. I just came up with my own exercise routine by research (mainly internet), like I had hollow undereyes and I wanted to get rid of that, and it worked!

Good luck :X

beautifulwithbrains June 6, 2013 - 9:08 pm

Sahra, yes, that picture is a bit drastic, isn’t it? I hope no one will do that, it wouldn’t be good for their skin. And I’m glad you managed to get rid of your hollow undereyes. 🙂

Jago October 15, 2015 - 1:57 pm

Could you please tell me what specific exercises you did to get rid of the hollow eyes? This is my main (and only) reason im considering facial exercises! Its really bothering me… 26.

Nancy January 16, 2018 - 4:12 pm

Hi Sahra,
I’m very interested in your exercices because I have hollow eyes as well. Could you share the ones that work for you. I have looked everywhere and really would like to try that instead of surgery.

Asher June 27, 2013 - 11:27 am

I’ve been doing facial exercise during my 20s and I was totally wrinkle free.
now in my 30s I didn’t exercise for like a year. and I can see the face sagging.
Since I restarted exercise, my face is much better in shape.
I think it is continuous training and the type of exercise.
No need to overstress the face since those are relatively small muscles.
I mainly train the cheek muscles. Every 2-4 weeks. No stretching or other
horrifying workouts I have seen on youtube. A bit muscle can never be wrong.
What else helps against gravity other than muscles.

beautifulwithbrains June 30, 2013 - 9:42 am

Asher, the thing is that facial muscles are different from the other muscles in your body, as they don’t all attach to the bones, but to other muscles or under the skin. This means that by contracting the muscles even just a tiny bit you can make different expressions. But even if it were possible to tone the muscles, lack of tone is not what causes sagging so it is doubtful it would help much. Although I’m open to the possibility that, under particular circumstances, some kinds of exercises may have some beneficial effects, facial movements have been proven to contribute to the formation of wrinkles so, as a rule, they less you move your face, the better. Still, I’m glad it seemed to help your skin.

Nonie October 15, 2015 - 10:54 pm

Gio, you say the less you move your face the better. Does that mean you don’t believe in muscle atrophy that occurs when people don’t move their muscles? Also I notice you attribute success of keeping wrinkles and sag at bay to everything else (diet, skincare, lifestyle) but face exercises. I could see that being the case if everyone with a success story followed similar regimens or had similar lifestyles. What you find though is many people did not do anything right for most of their lives, yet they introduce face exercises late in their lives and they start to look better than their peers who often have to resort to intrusive treatments to achieve the same results.

I suppose I could understand your need for scientific proof because so much could go wrong and some results may seem too good to be true. But one thing I personally have made sure to do is not change anything in the way I live. Even when my face was ruined by a face exercise program, nothing in my life changed but the addition of that program, and when my face got better, again, the only change was introducing a new program. So for over 40 years of my life, I have not used special creams, got special treatments or gone under a knife. And in over 20 years of doing face exercises that experts say cause wrinkles, I have none to show for it. So either I am an anomaly or there is more to it than just healthy living, since I can easily google people whose lives are healthier than mine and who do have wrinkles and sag at my age. To say that our successes may be due to healthy living would be to ignore two years when my 5 times a day snack was butter, sugar and cocoa whipped into a smooth goo. To ignore the stresses I have suffered in the last ten years included losing 4 family members and caring for one with cancer and losing my job. Then there are my bad sleeping habits or poor water in-take. Did I mention my addiction to Coke? Oh and let us not mention that I did not start using sunscreen until around 2003 or there after, so all the years I basked in the sun on a beach or pool before then were without sunscreen or hat or sunglasses, as was the time in my 20’s when I tried AHAs before deciding I was too cheap to keep up with them–and we all know that you must use sunscreen over exfoliants. Well no one told me that. So no, my success is not because I do things right all the time. I often don’t. But I do stick with face exercises and they are the only explanation I can give for the changes in my face. Case in point, can you show me anyone who had an eye-lift from hereditary hooded eyes to what I have simply from diet or creams?,rrwsgttfrwkgtqqxwgbsbbbqbgb,vi/wqbfqsggbxsddddqdqtxksbwwbtw/3/31573/2988620/EvaFrasersProgramChangedMyEyes-vi.png

Furthermore, there are people like Peta who posts videos regularly on Youtube from her program Face Aerobics. She, like many people, did not start face exercises until after 50. A lot of people get serious about their health at 50 so maybe she also changed her lifestyle. But isn’t that a little too late to get the remarkable changes she has in her face if diet or lifestyle were the only explanation. How many people can you point out whose faces miraculously got younger looking at 50 and continue looking younger with each passing year from just a lifestyle change? I mean Peta’s face looks like she is aging backward (if you look at earlier videos vs now, you can see how her face has continually improved). That all success stories have had different paths is, I think, for anyone seeking an answer, a clue that eliminates the likelihood that it is skin care or diet or that keeps us young looking. It helps, but it is definitely not the reason face exercisers have good results.

If the only thing we have in common is face exercises, why can’t it be them? It would be like claiming that people who do P90-X look lean and cut because they eat well and don’t drink. That it has nothing to do with that intensive workout. See how irrational that would be?

Gio October 16, 2015 - 4:09 pm

Nonie, thank you for your comment. As always, it is very thought-provoking.

Of course, I don’t think we should let muscles atrophy. But we move facial muscles every day without even realising it. Sure, some more than others, but we do move them. My point is, as muscle movement has been proven to cause wrinkles, is it really smart to move them more than we naturally do?

If I attribute the results to anything else rather than facial exercises is because those other factors have been scientifically proven to work. When the same will happen to facial exercises, I’d be more than happy to revise my position. 🙂

My need for scientific proof stems from the profusion of charlatans and marketers. There are so many people telling us that this or that will improve our skin or life, and they turn out to be a waste of money. Facial exercises may work, but until I have scientific proof, I honestly don’t feel comfortable recommending them to my readers. Of course, I don’t mean to say that you, or the people who create facial exercise programmes are charlatans. I’m sure there are some bad apples, but most do genuinely believe in them. And maybe you’re right, and one day science will show it. Until then, I sceptically remain on the fence.

Paul November 26, 2017 - 2:39 am

First of all GIO, there is no harm intended but I felt the need to comment.

Why do I believe this article is silly and contradictory to its purpose:

GIO September 17, 2017 -“This is a science-based blog and people come here for the science so that’s what I focused on”

“WHY FACIAL EXERCISE IS BAD FOR SKIN” – this is very ‘matter of fact’ statement and since there is lack of a scientific “definite answer on the effects of facial exercise (GIO)”, how can you use statements like this in your blog. Half of what you say about facial exercise or without proper scientific validation and general hypothesis on facial exercises is your subjective opinion; where is the science!?

If you talk about the lack of science concerning facial exercises and the fact that scientists have a lack of knowledge around this topic, then why did you even create this blog if it’s meant to be based on science?

Dictionary definition of probably “almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.”

GIO – “don’t bother with facial exercises. You’d probably just make things worse.”
Again, your subjective opinion. Why does this matter? Because –

GIO November 25 2016 – “but with so many crooks around in every profession, I guess I just like to have the safety of scientific proof”
So, because you don’t have any scientific proof you then propound the idea something probably doesn’t work. Crooks may persuade/influence us to buy a product purely for their gain with lack of regard for others, but you are influencing others based on your lack of knowledge and, based on your subjective opinion, to avoid something when others have had benefits from it. Considering this is a “science-based blog, don’t you think this is rather careless of you?

GIO December 13, 2013 – “it’s hard to say for certain how much facial exercises could help”
There’s many statements like this from you and it really does sound like your slightly retracting from the article in question. That said, I’m glad that your blog did have a positive in-direct affect by the way of comments left from people such as Nonie. I’ve read comments by Nonie on other articles and she is a knowledgeable and positive proponent of facial exercise. Her and others have been very informative in the comments section.

However, if it wasn’t for any of these comments, this article would certainly put a lot of people off facial exercise just because you subjectively thought, from your lack of scientific data, that they were bad for you in ‘some’ way.

GIO March 25, 2015 – “I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t believe until she sees proof.”

Well, I’m one of those annoying people that picks holes in other people’s ability to objectively present their opinion to others in a way which is solely their opinion as not to carelessly influence in a potentially negative way. And if this was a non-science based blog, intended to present your opinion, I wouldn’t have written this.

Gio December 3, 2017 - 7:39 pm

Paul, science is based on exact data, not people’s personal experiences. I couldn’t find any scientific studies saying facial exercises work as claimed so what am I supposed to say, “hey, people, there are NO studies supporting the claims facial exercises work but that means they do so do them?!” Without scientific studies there is no way of knowing for sure. That’s why I suggest to people to look for other options.

I admit though that since writing this article may stance has somewhat changed. When I wrote it, I based it on the lack of scientific data. If I have NO proof, I can’t in all conscience recommend it to my readers. But since talking to people like Nonie and listening to the other side of the debate more, I’ve come to the conclusion that certain exercises MAY benefit skin in a controlled environment. But again, I’d like to know which movements are good and which ones aren’t. Nonie herself mentioned that one of the facial exercise programmes she tried made things worse and aged her.

Unfortunately, without studies both theories (they work, they don’t) are equally valid. But I sleep better at night telling my readers not to try random facial exercises rather than say go ahead and hear they tried one of the bad ones that make things worse.

yigal July 18, 2013 - 3:14 pm

I want to say that this thing is not a accurate Science. Because i sew a lot of people that this
Exercises help them and in anothet side a lot of people that claim that it’s not good.

beautifulwithbrains July 18, 2013 - 8:55 pm

Yigal, you’re right, this is not an exact science. Although everything we know about the science of skin and aging would point to this practice not being good for skin in the long run. Further proof is definitely needed. Judging on anecdotal evidence alone is not enough as there are so many factors that can influence the results. You may think that facial exercises help, when in fact your skin is in good condition because of the diet you’re following for instance.

yigal July 18, 2013 - 10:40 pm

Thanks for your rpley. I think that we have to do a real research
to check this “sport”. I mean for examlpe ask couple of doctors
not just the plastic surgical doctors . because a lot of people take
example form Jack lalanne , and thay see that he looked good
after all this years and he lived till 96 age. it’s difficult not
to belive that this sport maybe it’s good.( sorry about my english 🙂 )

beautifulwithbrains July 19, 2013 - 5:58 am

Yigal, I agree with you. When you see people with great skin who claim facial exercises help them stay young, it’s hard not to believe in their efficacy. But the thing is that, even if they genuinely believe so, their skin could be in great condition because they avoid the sun, or follow a healthy diet, or use good skincare products, or all of these together. Without a serious scientific study that’s capable of separating and identifying the role each variable has, this anecdotal evidence simply isn’t enough to say it works. We do know though that repeated movements over a long period of time causes wrinkles, so until science tells us more about the benefits (or lack of them) of facial exercises, I won’t do them.

Esther July 25, 2013 - 2:32 pm

Wish I had read this 4 weeks ago.
You’re right!
I’ve been doing facial exercises/contouring massage for 3 weeks and the wrinkles around my mouth look worse!
Any idea if I stop now I can reverse the result?

beautifulwithbrains July 25, 2013 - 7:19 pm

Esther, I’m so sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, once wrinkles have developed, it’s very difficult to get rid of them. I’d recommend you stop doing facial exercises straight away and start using a cream or serum with retinoids, which are the only ingredients scientifically proven to reduce wrinkles. They work really slowly though, so it may take weeks before you see a small improvement.

Nonie October 24, 2013 - 11:15 pm

Esther, there is hope after your bad experience. I have been there. I should mention that perhaps my reversal happened so quickly because I had years of toning under my belt so muscle memory worked in my favor. But if you do your homework and look for people who have had the problems you have now but improved them with exercise and see photos that show those results, then you can assume the same can be true for you.

I do want to mention that one mistake many people make with face exercise is try to spot train. They assume that to fix wrinkles in a certain area they need to do exercises for that area. Unfortunately that is not the case. Even I had come to think that way after I encountered that thinking in a program I did that suggested you work harder in the areas that needed fixing. But when I started the program I do now and tried to focus on my problem areas, I didn’t get any improvement. It was only when I did the entire program and worked all my face muscles as directed that everything fell into place. I believe the reason why spot training doesn’t work is because face muscles are interconnected. If muscles connected to those in the problem areas are weak and without good tone, then they will affect how the skin attached to the problem area looks. For instance, if your forehead muscles are not toned and your eyebrows are drooping a bit, that would make your eyelids have more overhang and thus look even more hooded. If you work your eyes without addressing your forehead, you may not get the impressive results in your eyes you would otherwise get if everything above your eyes was toned and lifted too.

I don’t know what program you have been doing, but if you have not been doing a full program, you probably may see a difference if you do the complete program. Also I hope it is a program whose founder is accessible by email so you can communicate with him or her as they designed the program and usually they can help address any issues you may be having with their program. Another way to decide if that’s the program for you is to find out if there are any others who’ve had the same issues as you and what it is they did to fix them.

I don’t know your age, but I’ve read on forums of people finding a face exercise program worked in one way but not in another and so they add on another program or start to use microcurrent gadgets. Just remember that every complete program is designed so that all the exercises complement each other to bring about good results. So even if you decide to do two programs, do them in their entirety. When I don’t have time to do the face program I do (CFF) I will usually do Tom’s program but again, I do it in full.

I hope this is helpful and gives you hope. Where there is a will, there will always be a way. So don’t give up hope!

Nonie October 24, 2013 - 7:48 am

Hi Beautiful With Brains:

I think the belief that face exercises cause wrinkles comes from not understanding the aim of face exercises and why a well designed program actually does the opposite.

When you do repeated movements, you create the same creases over and over again so that those creases become permanent folds. What a good face exercise program does is engage muscles that you don’t normally use so they too can strengthen and pull back on the ones that you have developed by regular use so that they open up the “permanent folds” to create a smooth and flat surface. Why engaging other muscles works is because face muscles are connected to each other and directly to the skin. So when you smile, specific muscles are contracted to create the expression and each time it is the same muscles…so they get a good workout. Others attached to them however do not get exercised as much so they weaken and make the contraction of the stronger muscles easier to happen and thus the creasing up of skin to happen. If other muscles that pull in an opposite direction get exercised so they too get strong, then they pull open the usually worked muscles and create a stronger pull with time, that opening up the crinkling of the skin caused by the previously much stronger muscle. Now it is important to note that the opening up the wrinkles would mean that they would at first look wider and so that can be frightening but eventually they flatten out to create a smooth and youthful look. You can see what I mean about wrinkles opening up and looking worse initially as they open up and flatten in the forehead of this guy:

If you look to doctors (especially cosmetic surgeons) to tell you whether face exercises work or not, you’ll be told they do not. Why? They make a killing by convincing people the only option they have is to go to them to rid their faces of wrinkles. I have been doing face exercises for over 20 years and while I have encountered a program that did make my face worse (so I don’t deny the fact that some face exercise programs can make your face worse and there is evidence of that all over the Web), prior to that bad experience, I had had 15 years of keeping my face looking as good as it did when I was 20 and in fact my hereditary hooded eyelids got a lift over those 15 years that you’d think I had eye surgery…and after the bad experience with a program that made gain signs of aging I never had before (bags and N/L lines and a soft face when previously I had excellent tone), I have been able to erase those problems with a new program and so look as good as I did before that bad experience: bags gone, muscle tone back, N/L lines smoothed out. Face exercises have worked so well for me that even if my 40’s I do not use any anti-aging topical products (retinols, copper peptides, etc) and I don’t need fillers, unlike a lot of my peers who have already had some cosmetic work done to smooth out wrinkles and fill out their faces.

beautifulwithbrains October 24, 2013 - 10:59 am

Nonie, thank you for sharing your experience. I have to say I am still not fully sold on the idea that you can exercise facial muscles as you do those on the rest of the body as they are different, but I’m open to the possibility that some facial exercises can do some good, if you know what you are doing. Your comment has made me want to do more research on this topic.

Can I ask you what kind of exercises you do that work so well for you, and what that bad programme that gave you awful results (I’m sorry for that by the way) involved? Just so that we can all better tell the difference and know what to avoid.

I agree with you that we should be weary of what plastic surgeons say. I don’t think they always lie, but they definitely have a vested interested. However, in this case, it’s the particular nature and structure of facial muscles, and the fact that repeated movements can cause wrinkles, that make me sceptical. But, as I said, I’ll dig deeper and, when I reach a conclusion, I’ll be sure to share it here.

iris rodriguez May 29, 2017 - 1:26 pm

Thank you for your advice would . I like to know what you think about microcurrent for the face. That is also a pulling of the skin. I hear so many good things about how it helps the skin but somehow it does not seem logical to me. What do you think?

Gio June 3, 2017 - 3:45 pm

Iris, I advise against all forms of pulling. There is no proof it doesn’t anything good for your skin.

Nonie October 24, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Hi Beautiful With Brains:

For 15 years, I did Eva Fraser’s Facial Fitness ( I chanced upon her book in a bookstore while looking for a book that could teach me makeup skills. The idea of toning the face to prevent aging (that’s what I understood face exercises to do then; now I know they just help you look your best at whatever age) appealed more to me than being able to hide flaws with makeup. I imagined my face without wrinkles in old age vs a wrinkly face with makeup and the former seemed like a better look. So I bought the book (the 1991 edition which happens to still be my favorite edition) and within weeks of starting the program at the age of 20, I could already feel the difference in my cheeks. They felt thicker compared to my best friend’s. If I pinched my cheek, I grabbed a chunk of flesh while when I did the same to my friend who was also 20, I seemed to grab thinner skin. (You can understand what I mean if you consider the difference you feel when you pinch an old person’s cheek vs that of a kid.) Another thing that happened so gradually that I didn’t even know it was happening was my hooded eyelids were transformed to where you’d not believe I ever had hooded eyes unless I showed you photos of my eyes as a baby and before I ever started face exercises.

Then in 2005, I came across a program called Flex Effect ( online and the before/after photos of the program founder blew me away. She was in her mid-fifties but looked like she was 30 or so. I just HAD to have her program. Her idea that building muscles in the face your face to take the place of the mass we lose with aging made sense to me and I imagined my already very nicely toned face becoming more like a porcelain doll not just in appearance but even to the tough. But after watching the DVD of the program, it scared me because it looked more aggressive than anything I had encountered before. But on talking to the program founder, she assured me that it was OK to be that aggressive and that that is how she got to where she is–and indeed I could see it was she on the DVD being aggressive and yet she looked so good from the photos on her kit and her website. Well in July of that year, I started the program but within days of doing it, my eyes started looking really bad. I called her in tears to tell her about this and she assured me that this was normal and one had to go through an “awkward stage” before getting good results and encouraged me to “work harder” to get through it. I wasn’t able to reach her again after that despite my efforts and after 4 months of her program and my face getting progressively worse and with no direction from her, I decided to quit. By then my face looked swollen and felt frumpy; I had heavy and no longer cheeks that hung and created N/L lines and I had puffy under eyes when I smiled and which looked very lined when I didn’t. Prior to this program, I had none of these issues. I expected my face to return to how it was before now that I had put a stop to the program that was changing my face–kinda like what happens with any exercise when you stop, and which is what I had learned was the case with face exercises–but instead, only the puffiness went down, leaving me with loose skin and lines I never had before (think of a deflated balloon). I hoped Eva’s program could return my face to normal, but it seemed unable to undo the mess that had been created by this program. You cannot begin to understand the sadness and regret that consumed me. And if this had been my first experience with face exercise, I’d never have touched them again with a ten-foot pole.

But I had lived 15 years of seeing face exercises make a positive difference to my face I didn’t lose all hope. 13 months after I stopped Flex Effect, Jan 2007, I started a program called Carolyn’s Facial Fitness. I had been corresponding with the program founder for a year by then trying to learn as much as I could about her program. Needless to say, my experience with Flex Effect had made me a little afraid of trying new things so it took me a while to get to where I was willing to try something new. That day was Jan 24, 2007. I mean, my face was not getting better by me doing nothing so what did I have to lose? So that’s when I started that program and I have been doing it since then. You can actually see the improvements the program has made to my face on the program website on the before/after page. Except for the August 2007 photos, I have no makeup in all my photos except for the drawn-in eyebrows in many of the photos. I think the circulation improved by face exercises is to thank for the improved clarity of my skin. I do eat well, but even with that, if your blood isn’t delivering nutrients to cells and whisking away toxins due to poor circulation, then your skin may not get the nourishment it needs and may not look its best.

Now, I know you said you wanted to know what program to avoid. I must mention that there are people who love Flex Effect and who say they have gotten good results from it, so it perhaps is just a case of different things working for different people. What’s more, the Flex Effect website has before/after photos that show how well the program has worked for others. My advice to anyone considering face exercises is not to take the advice of just one person or the results of just the founder but to seek out more information from the founders, from their websites, from forums where people who do programs share their experiences…and to look at before/after photos of as many people doing the programs as possible so as to get a good idea what you can expect from the programs. I also do not believe in the idea that “things must get worse before they get better” except in the case I shared before of a wrinkle opening up–which really isn’t getting worse since it’s en route to flattening out. So if you do a program and things don’t look right, stop and ask the program owner questions. And unless you see evidence of those changes having happened to someone else before and then see follow-up photos of the person’s face gradually improving and eventually looking good, then trust your instincts and do the sensible thing. To keep doing the same thing that gave certain results expecting something different is madness.

Some other websites that come to mind which you may want to check out in your research are:,,,,, and a good example of someone who has done face exercises along with practicing good lifestyle habits and is aging beautifully slowly is Oleda Baker:

beautifulwithbrains October 24, 2013 - 9:15 pm

Nonie, thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your story. Your pictures look very impressive indeed. I will definitely check out the links you shared.

Nonie October 25, 2013 - 8:20 am

You are welcome, Beautiful With Brains, and thank you for your kind compliment.

The following article offers more insight into the why face exercises do work to undo signs of aging: And there are more explanations and answers to question you might have on the FAQ page of that website. Also I am sure the program founders would only be too happy to help others understand the ins-and-out of their programs so do not hesitate to contact them with any questions you might have.

My best,


beautifulwithbrains October 25, 2013 - 2:14 pm

Nonie, I will, thank you! I will also talk to doctors and other experts cos I want to get as many opinions as possible and try and get a better understanding of how facial muscles work. Repeated movements can, after all, cause wrinkles, so I’m interested to figure out what kind of movements could potentially be good for the skin and which are to avoid.

Antome November 10, 2013 - 7:48 pm

That was what I was going to say, when I first saw the title :). That it probably depends on how these muscles get worked out and how the skin gets moved by them. Most of these sites say in fact the one of the main misconceptions about face exercises is that you have to squint and scrunch the skin, which is what’s to be avoided and what might worsen the state of things. Most of the exercises must be isotoniFor example eyes should not be squinted but one should just pulse the orbiculari oculi to smooth out crow feet and in theory reinforcing the muscles to contrast the effect, one should only frown while keeping the eyebrows from approximating and therefore wrikling.
Facial muscles are in fact attached to the skin and I read that platisma banding is linked to platisma muscle bands losing tone and cohesion hence separating and some exercises are aimed to prevent this, plus they say muscle workout stimulates collagen production. There are other factors though, as I also read not having excess fat adds to the effectiveness of exercises.
Afterall this is the Shapeyourface guy, 74 here (now 82, apparently still in great shape, best wishes) and gym seems to partly prevent and minimize sagging along with keeping the body fit and toned, and though sometimes I suspect he had some work done, especially as he has no eyecrease, seeing this we’d have to believe he had a whole body lift and tuck :D. There are more recent videos of him at 81, only slightly changed, simply with some human and almost reassuring signs of age, but yet his eyes have me skeptical, I always pictured him to have more squinted, expressive and Clint Eastwood-esque grit. Here some his videos in a part of his programs.

beautifulwithbrains November 14, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Antome, thank you for your comment. Although I’m open to the possibility that some facial exercises are good for skin, I still remain sceptical about the whole concept mainly because, despite having done a lot on research on the topic lately, I’m struggling to find evidence in its support that doesn’t come from facial exercise gurus.

I know some doctors have said that, in some controlled circumstances, they can work, but it’s hard to find precise information on what movements are good. Besides, wrinkles are caused by lots of factors such as sun exposure and loss of collagen and elastin and it’s difficult to see how exercises can prevent or fix this. But I’ll definitely keep doing more research.

Antome November 18, 2013 - 11:48 pm this link says exercise develop collagen which can potentially thicken our skin if the dedication is enough, and increase the human growth hormone contrasting its decrease as age goes by . It also illustrate some drawback when it comes to particular skin conditions, like reddish skin.
Tom Hagerty (btw i missed the link to the video I was talking of in my last message told facial exercise of frontalis and occipitalis muscle helped with his hair he said he was starting to lose at 19, but I still remain more skeptical about this as that photo is obviously unclear, he’s covering most of his hair and his hairline, anyhow seems thick and without any problem, just like the photos that followed, so it is possible he simply always had a thick angular hairline that he mistaken for recession.
Sun is a deciding factor, indeed his hand look much more their age because of it, and he admitted he didn’t take all precautions about this :), but who wants perfection?
thank you.

Antome November 18, 2013 - 11:52 pm

Not that I’m blindingly believing that link, simply quoting it and discussing its possible truth in it. Though I find it makes sense, certainty is another thing ;).

beautifulwithbrains November 22, 2013 - 11:14 pm

Thanks for the link. Exercising has many benefits indeed, but it’s the nature of facial muscles that is causing my confusion. We know that repeated muscle movements can cause wrinkles, so I’m curious what exercises you’d have to do to benefit rather than damage skin.

Unfortunately, most of the information on its benefits comes from facial exercises gurus, some of which make some outrageous claims that hurt everyone’s credibility.

But it’s good to discuss studies like this, and get as much information as possible so that we can make an informed decision. 🙂

Antome December 1, 2013 - 5:29 pm

That I know it’s not the muscle movement in itself that cause wrinkles, it’s repeated skin squashing and squinting, shalle them not being the only factors, obvioulsy, there is skin hydratation and care to name some. Could it be that the correlation linking wrinkles to muscle movement is how often the activity of these muscles, cause the skin to squint and fold. But I don’t see the link with muscle movement or tonicity itself.
I agree that some might be biased, as although they are not selling a product, they are selling a program as well, not all of them though.
Same can be said from sites paid by surgeon clinics, i dunno :D.
The principle behind it is that such exercises have to be planned to that no squint happens, it’s not like when us raise our brows or smile and squint our eyes.
Another principle is that, if I got it right, the part getting more wrinkles, like the crowfeet sone, might be due to an imbalance between antagonist or simply neighboring muscles that get “crushed” by the predominating muscles, passively, taking the skin with them.
I know the objection, one might say the frontalis in wrinkly forehead is well active, same for the orbicolari ori and other smiling muscles in people who developed deep nasolabial folds and that if it was a matter of muscle exercise they should have build collagen.
Not sure about it but I might consider, that casually exercised muscles with no antagonistic forces might not develop the same tonicity and anyhow don’t address the aforementioned imbalance between nearby muscles, creating simply a repeated habitual contraction.
Or in any case due to not preventing the squint, that outweight the benefits of exercising without squint and skin compression.
Some critical point so, to the scientific validity of this principle, would be whether actually the facial muscles get worked out by these aimed exercise more than the occasional smiling, frowning etc, and if exerting opposing forces not only prevents compression during exercise but also actually developes more muscle tonicity and hence more collagen.
The principle seems to work for the body.
Thank you.

beautifulwithbrains December 8, 2013 - 10:27 pm

If anyone, be their plastic surgeons, doctors, facial exercise gurus or whoever, is trying to sell you something, you should it take with a pinch of salt, and maintain a sceptical attitude until you’ve done your ow research. Just to be on the safe side. 🙂

That’s an interesting theory. The thing about the face though, is that when you’re moving the muscles, you stretch the skin, and that could cause wrinkles. Dr Schultz clearly explains how that happens here:

Having said that, I’m open to the possibility that certain movements may have a beneficial effect, but it’s hard to find out for sure which ones. You’d need to have a deep understanding of the anatomy of the face etc and that’s a very complicated topic that requires a lot of study.

Antome December 13, 2013 - 4:22 pm

Cool, I’ve listened to the video, it also makes sense, but I tend to believe they approach the subject by only one side, skipping many other aspects and doubts, which is a flaw that obviously applies to most face exercise gurus as well. The problem is the “guru” approach.
And that’s what I’m doing as well, taking it with a pinch of salt :).
The skin there, is treated as if it wasn’t a living tissue that can regenerate, and as if any kind of stimulation destroys it.
He says that muscles can’t tighten the face, but I read that an aspect of sagging is actually muscle releasing that takes the skin with itself, compress the neck, obviously it also goes along some actual skin releasing as well, so that’s not completely correct, as he himself says it works for the body, so, at least partially, in force of the same reason, it should work for the face. Not that I’m sure muscle tone alone can keep the face up, for example below the neck. It depends wether how much would be for the skin hanging between the muscle attachment and how much of it is due to the muscle releasing. The fact that fat is also a factor that contributes, makes me think: I saw that fat faces tend to sag more or in another way, so muscle relasing would be one of the weight contributing to it, aside from skin releasing alone.
As I said, the point would be whether or not is there a way of exercising facial muscle so that they really tone up, and planned so that the skin doesn’t get stressed to the point of outweighing the benefit of the *eventual* increase in collagen production. Granted collagen is only one of the factors on skin tone and health. I saw that skin compression (not sure about muscular imbalance) contributes much more than stretching to wrinkles, anyway.

beautifulwithbrains December 13, 2013 - 5:46 pm

Antome, there are just so many things that contribute to wrinkles that it’s hard to say for certain how much facial exercises could help. To make things worse, face muscles are a bit different from those on the rest of the face. That’s why you need a deep understanding of facial anatomy to know what movements you can do to improve wrinkles and which ones instead make them worse. It’s a very complicated topic, and it’s important to listen to all opinions so that we can form our own idea and get a better understanding of how it all works.

Nonie December 13, 2013 - 10:38 pm

The thing that differentiates skin above the neck with that below the neck is the skin of the face is directly attached to the muscles of the face. So the state of the muscles (tone or lack thereof) is reflected on the skin.

As we age, we lose facial fat which means loss of volume and therefore wrinkles and sag, but exercise seems to prevent these results. When I look at Carolyn in the video below, I see a face with better tone and fullness than anyone her age who hasn’t had fillers or surgery. Not only is her face void of wrinkles but also of sag and gauntness. I don’t know how anyone can deny these results unless they have something to lose.

Dr Schultz offers cosmetic procedures in his clinic so he probably hates it that some of us know how to prevent the need for fillers. He’d rather more people didn’t know what we know.

Now in case you think Carolyn simply has good genes and has never had loose saggy skin, you can see that this could not be farther from the truth as she had a jowly face at the age of 46


…and she had eye bags and saggy cheeks at the age of 53


In her late sixties, none of these exist, all because of face exercises!

Also these were my eyes in Jan 2007 when I smiled, notice the wrinkles:

And these were my eyes when I smiled in Jan 2009 after 2 years of doing Carolyn’s facial exercises program (no wrinkles):

For the record, I do not use eye creams, retinols or whatever anti-aging products people use around their eyes. The only thing I use around my eyes is Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. That has been the my eye regimen since my twenties (I am in my 40’s).

It is true that knowing what exercises to do to bring about results requires a good understanding of facial anatomy and physiology, which is why many face exercise founders work with scientists who are well-versed in those fields to design their program. Many use themselves as guinea pigs first to test out the exercises before releasing them to the public.

I don’t need to understand how digestion works in order to seek out direction from a successful gastroenterologist. Just as when seeking a surgeon, I don’t need to know the ins and outs of how he works before I entrust my body to him. Usually all it takes is word or mouth, good and plentiful reviews, and visual evidence of what the doctor has achieved to feel comfortable going to him or her. Similarly, I didn’t need to understand facial anatomy to benefit from the direction of the professionals in the field of face exercises. IMO to know what exercises to do is as easy as finding a well-established program with enough evidence of results and results that are to your liking and using the same advisement you use to select a doctor, or any service provider really, then go with it.

If to do face exercises required me to be an expert in face anatomy, I personally would not have bothered with it. Ironically, the only time I bothered my head trying to learn facial muscles and to understand what exercises targeted them was betweem July 2005 and November 2005 and that was when I experienced the negative effects of face exercises. The program I did made a point of mentioning the muscles with every exercise but that knowledge didn’t help me in either avoiding problems or in fixing them. By contrast, for 15 years when I did Eva Fraser’s program and for the last almost 7 years when I have done Carolyn’s, I have remained oblivious to what muscles are targeted by what exercises and in both cases, I have have had good success. Go figure.

Of course if the reason for understaning how the exercises work is purely for one’s interest and not as a prerequisite to deciding whether exercises work or not, then OK, I get that. But if one only surrenders to those things one fully grasps, then one would need to master many fields to be an expert in them before seeing a doc, taking the car to the mechanic, calling the electrician or plumper, etc.

Katerina June 8, 2015 - 12:39 pm

Hi there, I just noticed your article. I’d just like to add my testimony, that I have used a facial exerciser on and off for over fifteen years. Having struggled with skin problem it has saved my life! Not only does exercise stimulate and create collagen, but it stimulates the lymph to remove wastes from the skin, increases oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the skin (just like regular exercise) and creates volume through increased muscles size that DOES smooth wrinkles. I’ve gone on and off the treatments enough times to observe the effect and it does work. Having said that I haven’t used all machines and surely some might stimulate muscles in an incorrect combination or way that might create wrinkles (I don’t know?). I do know that how I use the machine and on what areas create different angles and contours in my face and volume in different areas. But all in all, Its the best and safest thing I’ve ever used beauty wise (and I’ve tried it all). It’s the thing I always go back to and people always comment that I look younger and fresher afterwards. It’s been particularly good for removing wrinkles under the eyes. Definitely recommend it!

Gio June 8, 2015 - 1:43 pm

Katerina, thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s always interesting to hear from someone who has done facial exercises. I’m glad your experience was positive. Sadly, not everyone can say the same, which is why I would like to know more about the science behind facial exercises before recommending them. Otherwise, you may do your skin some serious harm.

Katerina June 8, 2015 - 2:14 pm

It’s good work to do. It’s a huge problem at the moment, you only have to look at the message boards for those who have been damaged by cosmetic devices. I think its admirable that you are concerned with the science, its very important. And a good service. I was a little worried that you quoted Dr Oz though…. the quote is incorrect. And far from sagood source. Admittedly, regardless of how careful one is, with regards to sources it is still minefield with many ill informed doctors giving wrong advice on message boards like RealSelf. So its tricky. Did you find studies that showed that facial exercises were damaging? I think repeated facial exercises tend to create wrinkles because they use the same muscles in repetitive expressions over and over and don’t exercise others smaller or opposing muscles to balance, which get weaker – but I’m not sure on that. What I can say from first hand experience is that while the logic follows about botox. The thing about botox is that it paralyses the muscle, which means that not only does oxygen have a hard time reaching the muscle but waste products can’t move out via the lymph. This is bad news for the skin. And the muscle in many cases (I was one of them) atrophies. I had dents in my face around my eyes where this happened. Not to mention my hair falling out! I wouldn’t promote it after reading many of the horror stories online. Thanks for bringing these topics into public eye and discussion.

Gio June 9, 2015 - 4:00 pm

Usually, I’m not a fan of Dr Oz either. This time, though, I believe he’s right. I’ve heard from many sources that repeated facial movements can cause wrinkles, and I’m worried that facial exercises could have the same effects, at least when done wrong. Your theory about why this sometimes happens may be right. Problem is, there aren’t really any studies confirming or denying the benefits of facial exercises. I have only come across one that supported its benefits, but was done on a small sample. I really wish more studies were done on them so we can know for sure if they work, and if so, what exercises we should do to get the best results.

I don’t like botox either. To me, anything that freezes skin is so not a good idea. For now I’ll stick to my retinol and antioxidant serums, and a healthy diet.

Tina August 25, 2016 - 12:39 pm

Hi Katerina & Gio. Thank you Gio for the article & Katerina for sharing your experience. I too am a facial exerciser and have seen wrinkles appear but am told that they come to the surface and then eventually flatten out. I was told that if I was concerned to give it a rest for 3 weeks & try again. I do find that if you overdo it it shows on your face. Katerina, could you tell me which facial exerciser you use?

Katerina August 31, 2016 - 12:58 pm

Hi Tina, I’ve used two different brands of machines and tried the natural method of facial exercise. Interestingly they all produce different results in terms of the shape of my face and the muscles that are worked. The brand of machine I use is Tua – I have the Trend and the Viso. I’ve found the Viso better for when I have more fat on my face as it creates beautiful contours and creates the appearance of slimming the face. Seems like the Viso is better at creating volume for me. But everyones’ face is different. I’m 35 and started using it when I was 20. I don’t have any wrinkles on my face at all and I’m pretty sure this is why.

Yoga One November 15, 2013 - 10:42 pm

I chanced upon this website & had to read about why anyone would be saying face exercises are bad for the skin. What I see here is pretty much par for my experience – those who have never tried them and are spending their time thinking about it are suspicious, those who have used them love them and see the results. At 57 I am wrinkle and sag free with glowing skin. I have been using facial exercises for 23 years. Yes, I eat well and have a healthy lifestyle, always have. And yes, if I take a break from the exercises only while still eating & living well, such as when on a vacation, my face begins to wrinkle & sag, only to return to it’s lovely state when I begin face exercises again.

If I had never given birth to a baby then I could hardly call myself a good source for talking about childbirth no matter how many experts (who had also never given birth) I interviewed. My kindly meant suggestion is that the same goes for facial exercise, and many other things – we cannot really know what we have not experienced. To theorize about any thing is very very different from actually knowing something about it.

beautifulwithbrains November 17, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Yoga One, you do make a very good point. You never know what something really is like until you try it. However, in this blog, I try and look at skincare topics from a scientific point of view, and base my opinions on scientific studies and research. And so far, I haven’t find any claiming that facial exercises have any benefits for the skin. I’ve only found a couple of experts saying they can work in some controlled situations. Therefore, I’m very hesitant to recommend to my readers something (whether it’s facial exercises, a moisturizer or a beauty treatment) that has only anecdotal evidence supporting it, especially in a case like this where, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could do more harm than good. Repeated movements can cause wrinkles after all. In any case, I’ll keep digging and, should I find any scientific proof that facial exercises work as claimed, I’ll gladly change my mind and update this post. Until then, I remain sceptical.

ellieg November 17, 2013 - 6:05 pm

Maybe you’re right… Although I have been doing them for about 4 years and look younger than my real age. BUT slightly concerned about the quote from the botox doctor. Botox is really bad for the muscles. It causes atrophy which means that the muscles literally waste away through lack of use. The earlier you start botox, the more risk that you will age prematurely. The other thing is that facial exercises do not necessarily help with wrinkles. What they do help with is facial sagging. Sagging is definitely affected by the tone of the muscles in the face. Sagging also makes us look older than having wrinkles does. And this is where exercising can help. I doubt anyone would commission studies on facial exercises because there is no money in it (unlike botox). However, there are plenty of before and after photos, including on websites such as Tina Richards showing the results that facial exercises can bring.

beautifulwithbrains November 17, 2013 - 9:23 pm

Ellieg, I don’t like botox either. It will temporarily erase wrinkles, but I don’t like the idea of paralysing muscles. In that long run, that may hurt your skin too.

I’m also sceptical of the photos on those websites. A lot look genuine, but it’s just so easy to airbrush a photo these days, you know? Hopefully, someone will commission a study on it one day. I’m not sure there’s no money in it. There are lots of skincare guru promoting facial exercises and it would definitely be in their interest to have a study confirming their teachings.

Also, a lot of facial sagging is due to the loss of collagen and elastin, and I can’t really see how exercises would fix that. But I’m open to the possibility that, if done right, they may help a bit. I just wish there were more information about the benefits that came from other sources rather than facial exercise gurus.

Nonie November 17, 2013 - 10:17 pm

Hi beautifulwithbrains:

I think what people are willing to invest money in is in procedures that keep being needed so they can be guaranteed continued income. Take, for instance, fillers or more invasive cosmetic surgery. Not only do they cost money but the doctors who do these procedures can expect you to return for an update or a do-over because filllers wear off and aging continues so even facelifts need tweaking after some time. (Not to mention the dysmophia that seems to accompany these procedures making people think they need more and more till they turn into freaks.) The Botox docs especially can expect their patients to have sag in the future from muscle atrophy while in the meantime keep the money coming by getting folks addicted to having mannequin faces. So cosmetic surgeons make a killing from people who go to them. Also making a lot of money are the companies making topical products that promise lift and smoothing out of wrinkles. If they do work, they are products you have to keep using religiously to maintain those results. So again, they are guaranteed repeat customers.

Let us compare that with face exercises. For 15 years I maintained the tone I had in my face at the age of twenty and even inadvertently gave myself an unplanned eyelift that rivals blephs and I did that for the price of a book that was under 20 Sterling Pounds. What’s more, if I had not experimented with a program that undid all that good work, I may still have been benefiting from that book. In over 20 years, outside of the face exercise programs/books I have bought, I have paid for one facia which was a massage with oils almost 20 years ago and not visited a cosmetic surgeon for anything, not even a peel or microdermabrasion. I also do not use anti-aging products (retinols/retin-A, copper peptides, eye creams, etc) except for sunblock. Because of face exercises, I have managed to avoid spending money and contributing to the pool of these huge industries that profit from people’s insecurities. I also rarely wear makeup because I feel beautiful without it. I am not against it; I just don’t find it a necessity…so again, I am not helping the cosmetics industry.

So if scientists took the time to do studies on face exercises, it would put a lot of their peers out of work and perhaps cost them sponsorships. They have nothing to gain from proving face exercises work. I suspect deep inside they know they do work which is why you don’t see them lining up to prove scientifically that they don’t. It is easier (safer)/wiser to plant seeds of doubts while magnifying the benefits of the quick nip and tuck they are selling, like the immediate results you would get. Why would scientists, with all the time and money invested in their fields, want anyone to know what they are selling was not your only option? That would be like a restaurateur informing you that you would get food just as good as what he serves if you went to his competitor’s eatery next door, and that not only would the food be comparatively good but also way cheaper than his. What’s more, there is a chance you may never need to spend another penny after that one visit because you would continue to get more of the same for days to come. Not exactly good business practice or smart, is it?

The Flex Effect website has a page with articles on face exercises by scientists that you may find interesting:

Antome November 18, 2013 - 11:59 pm

Are you doing the same with your body? As it’s true that on those who regularly worked out (not always competitors do it with that objectives, I read, that’s why some of them let it go eventually) their muscles, not only kept more of their muscle tone, but also the skin benefited it, and sagged much less in their sixties, especially in their arms.
I’m only 27 and a guy, but it’s never too early, as regardless of aesthetic it’s benefical, even to mind, to stay active.
Until now, though, I’m not a great example on this regard, I don’t have much consistence or method :).

Nonie November 19, 2013 - 3:08 am

Hi Antome:

I don’t know if you were asking me of if your question was open to all.

I am ashamed to say that I haven’t been as committed to body exercise as I have to face exercises. I used to be overweight as a teen and back then I worked out religiously doing Jane Fonda, Yoga, trying to shed the pounds. I was very fit but instead of becoming slim, I mostly got firm. It wasn’t until I was about 20 (also when I started face exercises) that I had figured out a method to lose weight dietwise using a combo of all the research I had done. It included eating breakfast like a queen, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper; more protein than carbs (I didn’t even know of Atkins diet; got this tip from my mom who is a nutritionist) and of course lots of fruits and veggies. SlimFast was also a shake I discovered then and since I know the importance of a balanced diet and hated the headache balancing diet and nutrition posed, I love the simplicity of a meal in a drink. It was also at that time that I fell in love with swimming (since I hated any exercises that involved jumping and with swimming I didn’t have to feel my weight so could workout forever) and swam daily. I used to wear baggy clothes and never used scales or tape measures so I had no idea how much weight I had lost until I went shopping for an outfit and found that first 4 or 5 sizes I tried going down didn’t fit. I was actually down to a size 6! Once I lost weight, I acquired another challenge: While I loved being smaller, I hated that I had what I considered a male physique (broad shoulders, narrow hips with big thighs thrown in for good measure). Everyone I talked to about changing my shape told me it could not be done. But I had learned by then that some exercises build and some tone so I embarked on a personal mission to prove the experts wrong by changing my shape. I combed through magazines, books, videos for ideas to get me what I wanted to be. I finally hit my goal of changing my cone shape to an hourglass to my satisfaction around about 2003/2004. My cheap butt didn’t want to pay gym memberships so I had made it with home workouts. Anyway, I missed swimming and so at the beginning of each year, from 2003-2005, I would pretend to be a newbie and earn myself a 2 week pass at the gym. I would use that week to swim every other day and work out at home on the alternate days. The rest of the year I worked out every other day at home…or tried to. Sometimes I would go for months without working out…but you’re right, muscle memory is your friend because it would not take me long to get back to where I’d like to be physically once I got back on track.

In the last 5 years or so, however, I have become so lazy and am 15 lbs heavier than I was in 2005. The thing is, my way of eating and my knowing what exercises to do makes keeping my shape not difficult and is partly to blame fo my complacency. Plus I still wear the same clothes I wore when I was 15 lbs lighter and have stayed at this weight even when I have thought I looked a little less than OK. Also I seem to have a habit of working hard to prove the “impossible” is possible, and then I just sit on the knowledge instead of using it. I act as if I was doing an experiment to prove a theory and now that I have proven it, my work here is finished. LOL I only wake up to the fact that I need to get up and move when I see infomercials of fitness programs that remind me how unfit I have become (And I end up doing Step Aerobics), or I watch a dancing show and find myself boo hooing coz the ladies look so good and so flexible…just beautiful(!) (You can bet your bottom dollar I will do Yoga that night) or when friends ask me for ideas and I feel so guilty at the poor example I am to those who look up to me (And then I do the workouts I suggest just so I can show them what can be accomplished if they stick with them).

Yes every few months I will get serious and go all gung-ho but most times I think I only work out for under 10 minutes a day using workouts from memory or not at all. *shameface* So as far as you not having consistency in the body fitness department, welcome to the club.

beautifulwithbrains November 22, 2013 - 10:55 pm

Nonie, I see your point. I do believe science and doctors, but am always sceptical of what cosmetic surgeons say. After all, they need to make you feel like you need botox or fillers or whatever if they want to stay in business. And I feel like these treatments often make women look worse, not better.

But even if it wasn’t convenient for them to do studies on facial exercises, what about independent scientists? Thousands of dollars every year are thrown away in silly studies to prove what everyone already knows, so hopefully someone will think about testing this too. Maybe some facial exercise guru can help finance it? It would surely be in their interest to do so, if facial exercises really work.

Thank you for the link. I will check it out this weekend, when I’ll continue my research.

Nonie November 23, 2013 - 2:56 am

I hear you beautifulwithbrains, but face exercise gurus are running small businesses without oodles of money to throw away on a research to prove something they already know to be true. If I were a face exercise founder, to be honest, I wouldn’t even do it for free. What for? It’s not like they are hurting for customers. If anything, it probably is good for them that they are the only ones in the know as it means they are in demand. Many people who initially committed to cosmetic surgery end up turning to them. Even people who still get cosmetic work, end up contacting them for upkeep. And it is not all scientists who dismiss them as not being legit. Only those with something to lose. On the show The Doctors, they had Cynthia Rowland on there to talk about face exercises

Think about this, face exercises have been around since the early 1990’s and except for a few of the gurus, most don’t spend a lot of money advertising or going on tours, and that is because they are still getting clients w/o going out of their way to make a lot of noise. Once people find out about them, and commit to them…these people become free ads for them because the results don’t lie. In fact, I believe there are more face exercisers around the world than are known. There are celebrities who use both cosmetic surgery and face exercises. And I have heard of surgeons who aren’t paranoid about losing their clients who even recommended face exercises before surgery. Because just as the body heals better after surgery if it is in good shape, so does the face. You may wonder why anyone would get surgery if they have the option of face exercises. It is because not all exercises are made the same and sometimes people do not quite get the results they hoped for or they can no longer wait for the slow progress of face exercises. Oleda Baker, who is a face exercise proponent has been doing them since she was very young. She had eye surgery in her 30’s but that is it. The rest of her success has been from face exercises. So in some cases they can work hand-in-hand.

I have read Madonna, Madeleine Stowe, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Hammond, Jennifer Aniston, Cindy Crawford do facial exercises; maybe not all do them exclusively, but they do believe in them or they would not do them. And there could be more who just don’t tell. And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. In the first 15 years when I did face exercises, between the ages of 20 and 35, I never told a soul I did them (only my family knew but they didn’t take them seriously so it was never brought up). So I had this wonderful secret that only I knew and it felt good that while all around me were aging, I was still looking “the same”. It used to make me smile when people would gasp in disbelief when I told them my age and it still does. And I still don’t tell my secret when people I meet in real life tell me I look so good for my age, unless they press me to reveal my secret and happen to be close friends. Usually I just graciously accept the compliment, coz really it is less headache that trying to convince people that is all I do. Better to just let them think I have good genes or whatever. So really, if people do not believe us, it takes nothing from us. Think about it, I haven’t thrown away thousands of dollars like those who don’t know what I know. Why would I or any fitness gurus want to waste money to prove to naysayers that the exercises work? People can either believe and therefore be as lucky as we have been, or don’t and keep doing their thing and continue looking “unnatural” with every tweak. And I don’t say that to be mean. All the people I mentioned in the first line of this paragraph have been described as having had a “good surgeon” because their “lift” looks very natural. Even if they may get some work done, I bet my bottom dollar, the “naturalness” of their look comes from the areas in their faces that have been toned with exercise.

TBH, I cannot think of any independent scientists who would have the time or would benefit from proving face exercises work. If they are involved in the world of the face and aging, chances are they are already invested in something that makes them money. If they are not involved in the face, surely they must have things in their field they would rather spend their money on. It makes better sense for them to stick to what has been working and to continue to focus on developing their current business…than to risk proving that people can have an alternative to what they have to offer, if they happen to be involved in antiaging. Once they prove it, how would they recover their money? I don’t think good business people invest in projects that won’t keep on giving. In short, you have people who believe in face exercises and benefit from them, and those who don’t and prefer to go to cosmetic surgeons. And the world goes on. Just like you have the Right Wing in government and the Left Wing. You don’t see Independents, wanting to invest money to research either of the two main parties to find out which one is truthful.

So perhaps people like you, beautifulwithbrains, would be the ones who can finance this sort of research because you are genuinely curious to know the truth and are not already invested in something else. Or you could take the same journey some founders did, like maybe take a course in facial anatomy and do your own research. Most gurus either used themselves as guinea pigs then worked with scientists qualified in anatomy and physiology to design their programs or they actually studied the subject. A lot of them have made this a lifetime career and only careet because they are 100% convinced, but it wasn’t until they themselves tried it out. If you aren’t interested in doing the science, you could try a free program. Elaine of Faceworks UK is offering a 14-day free trial of her program. So here’s one opportunity to find out first hand, if you know of any guinea pig you could use for the experiment. Perhaps a friend with wrinkles and sag who may be game to try out a free method that may work.

On RealSelf, I came across a discussion on face exercises and got to correspond with the lady who started the discussion. I got to see her photos and I was floored. She is a scientist by trade, but not in anatomy. However, curiosity got the better of her and while she had had some cosmetic injections previously that made her look worse, she used her understanding of muscle development and facial anatomy to transform her face in a way that blew me away. She is in her early 40’s but looks like she could be in her teens or early twenties. Her former gaunt face with N/L lines and tear troughs has been lifted and filled out nicely. And what made me respect her even more is she used trial and error to figure this thing out. She has photos of her “failures” and then as she learned more, she changed that. She shares her info freely and seems to really understand face exercises so well that she says she usually recommends specific exercises to people she meets. I have mad respect for her because even with my 20 years of doing face exercises, the whole subject is too complex for me to even care to understand it. When I did try, it was when my face was damaged and all that happened was I got more and more frustrated. So finding someone who has never done face exercises or bought a program who has simply maniacally studied whatever she could find online about the face, its movements and the theories of exercise founders and the free exercises she could find, and using all this info to give herself a full face lift in a couple of years, is probably the best proof of face exercises effectiveness I have ever seen. You can read about her exercises, her experience and that of a few people who have tried out her program here:

beautifulwithbrains December 8, 2013 - 10:52 pm

Nonie, I understand that a lot of facial exercises gurus don’t have the resources to commission such a study, especially because, as you said, they’re not lacking customers. Still, I think it can only be good for them to have studies confirming facial exercises work. That would shut up the sceptics, and enhance their credibility.

I would definitely love to commission a study on this. Unfortunately, I lack the money, but if I ever win the lottery, it’d be something I’d do. Cos I’m really curious to know. I have an inquisitive but sceptic mind that needs scientific proof to believe something works, and when I find that proof, I have no problem with changing my opinion.

The second option, researching the anatomy of the face and the science behind these exercises, is also something I’d like to do. It’s just such a complicated topic and it requires lots of time and dedication, but I’m confident that little by little I may get a better understanding of how it all works.

I’ll go check out the real self and faceworks links now. 🙂

Antome December 1, 2013 - 5:34 pm

Yes, we need to find indipendent studies.

beautifulwithbrains December 4, 2013 - 8:43 pm

Antone, I so agree! One day, hopefully!

Gio December 20, 2013 - 5:16 pm

Nonie, I’m replying here to the comment you left on 13th December (and sorry about the delay, btw) because we seem to have run out of space up there.

I agree that you don’t necessarily have to know how something works to do it or hire someone to do it for you. However, as a blogger who looks at beauty issues from a scientific point of view, I feel like I need to understand how the products and treatments I recommend work. I owe that to my readers. Plus, I also like learning new things. 🙂

It’s true that as we age, we lose facial fat, but that’s not the only cause of wrinkles. There’s also sun exposure, genetics, hormone and bone loss, etc, and I can’t really see how facial exercises could prevent those things. They could help prevent some of the damage from fat loss, but I doubt they can do more than that,

It’s true that Dr Schultz offers cosmetic procedures in his clinic, but I’ve found that usually, his advice, is valid. In any case, one could use the same logic to disbelieve what facial exercise gurus say. I’m sure most of them are experts who have spent lots of time and effort in creating their programmes and promote them in an honest way. But it’s just so easy to airbrush a photo these days, so when you come across one that makes incredible claims (some people do like to exaggerate, but this is true in any field), you can’t help but wonder.

That’s way it is important to do independent studies. When you have a vested interest in something, there’s always the risk you will lie or exaggerate the truth (I’m not saying that everyone does this, only that some do), so we need someone independent that can do a study freely, with no strings attached and no hidden agenda.

Nonie December 21, 2013 - 8:21 am

I think the key point is “when you have a vested interest”. So if it were the face exercises gurus here telling you that their programs work, then you could use the same argument I am using of why Dr Schultz may be discrediting face exercises. Except it is mere customers who have benefited from the exercise who have nothing to gain financially or otherwise telling you that the exercises work.

What’s more, if face exercises caused wrinkles, shouldn’t I be replete with them considering I have been doing face exercises for over 20 years? However, at the age of 44, I don’t have wrinkles or sag. In fact, for someone who doesn’t use any anti-aging topicals except sunscreen, I think I am proof that this is one theory Dr Schultz has got wrong. It isn’t that face exercises cause wrinkles. It is a bad combo of exercises or a badly designed program that may cause wrinkles. A well-designed program with a good combo of exercises will not.

When people go online and randomly select face exercises, they risk having problems because you cannot spot train with face exercises. Unless one has actually studied the face anatomy to fully understand how the muscles relate to each other, I doubt one can make wise choices of what combo of exercises to do. There are FULL programs available for free and they are what people should do, if not willing to buy a program. But don’t just believe the hype. Ask for photographic evidence of good results from the program owner. You cannot spot train the face. The network of muscles needs to be addressed in full, otherwise you risk getting a bad build or even getting problems you never had because every face muscle is attached to another and to skin and is affected by whatever you do to any other and the results show up on your skin.

Gio December 22, 2013 - 9:35 pm

Nonie, I agree that you can’t fully trust what anyone who has a vested interest in something has to say about it. Customer recommendations are much more helpful but, often, the problem with them is they don’t often take into considerations all possible variables.

For instance, you say that you only use facial exercises and sunscreen. Would your skin still be in the same great condition it is now if you had only done facial exercises but had never used sunscreen or, in that case, would you have developed some wrinkles? How much does your lack of wrinkles depends on facial exercises and how much on sunscreen? And then there are other factors to consider like genetics, diet etc. You see how complicated this can get? You could tell someone about the beneficial effects of facial exercises and they will start doing them, but because they don’t use sunscreen or follow a different diet from you for example, they could experience different results. That’s why I’d like to see some studies. They’d take into consideration all variables and tell you exactly how facial exercises help.

I agree, though, that you should be very careful when shopping for facial exercises online. If you don’t do them correctly, they’re definitely gonna cause more harm than good.

Nonie December 23, 2013 - 2:46 am

Well, your questions are pretty easy to answer. I did not use sunscreen before my 30’s because no one in my life talked about it and I didn’t join forums where it was discussed until I was in my 30’s and you have seen how flawless my face was at 35. In my teens and younger, my family would go on vacation to warm climates and I used no sunscreen so would get darker. So I have only used sunscreen for the last ten years or so. I am sure you know women who are about 30 years old who cannot smile without crow’s feet or parentheses forming around their mouths, sunscreen or no sunscreen. I had no such thing even before sunscreen came into my life. And I don’t now. Thanks to face exercises.

I have also shown you that after doing a face exercise program that did not agree with me and that gave me wrinkles (my skincare regimen was still the same) I eliminated those wrinkles with face exercises. Not sunscreen, not Botox, not fillers, not retin-A or copper peptides or any other anti-aging product. The only thing that changed in my life was I started a new face exercise program, and at 44, I am completely free of the wrinkles I had at 37. Face exercises did that.

You mention genes. Well, no better way than to look at my family, particularly the girls in my family. It is true black people have the benefit of melanin to keep us from wrinkling as easily as other paler skins, hence the phrase “black don’t crack”, but below is a photo of my sister’s eyes beside my own. She was in her early 20’s while I was in my 30’s. My eyes look more toned than hers and so our genes do not keep our faces looking like mine does. Face exercises do that.

On EDS forum I have shared photos of how hooded eyelids run in my family, yet I look as if I had an upper blepharoplasty. Sunscreen, genes, diet did not do that. Face exercises did.

Also, the argument that I might be lucky coz the stars may just be aligned in my favor coz I was born just right, eat just right, live just right would hold some water if there was not all the evidence of other people who are not me who have also had the same success. If you look at progress photos or read reviews, you have so many people from many different walks of life all sharing the same success. The issues of studies IMO is a non-factor when the evidence speaks for itself. If there is one thing common among people who do face exercises is we look good and very natural. Madelaine Stowe was recently a covergirl and even cosmetic surgeons commented on how natural she looked. While they tried to explain her looks as being 100% due to cosmetic work, she said she does face exercises. She may get Botox between her eyebrows, but IMO the reason she looks “natural” is because of face exercises. Many other celebrities do not look as natural as she. Face exercises do not try to make you look 20, the way some celebs might aim to get work to look like. They simply make you look the best you could look at your age hence the “natural” effect.

Carolyn Cleaves who owns the program I do started face exercises because she saw how her own mom’s cosmetic surgery made her look progressively odd. Initially the change was good but even lifts get old and need tweaking and with every tweak her mom just did not look right. So Carolyn sought out an alternative because she did not want to go her mom’s route. So pray do tell, why would her mom have needed surgery if her genes were the non-aging kind? And as we have seen, Carolyn’s face at 46 and 53 showed signs of aging more than it does now in her 60’s. She may have lived a very healthy lifestyle and used sunblock all her life, I don’t know. But regardless of what her life was like, she was not immune to aging because she was showing signs of aging as early as her 40’s. Yet since she started face exercises she has looked younger with every passing year. In fact, I can show you people younger than her who are health freaks who do not have the smooth, toned face she has…and I will bet my bottom dollar they do not do face exercieses or have not done them for years.

Another example of face exercise successes: Tonya Zavasta. ( You may argue that her raw diet is to thank for her face looking the same at 56 as it was at 41, but even a Google search for raw foodists who do not do face exercises will not show you a non-aging face like Tonya’s.

And how do you explain Oleda? Her healthy lifestyle? What about Yogis, fitness gurus who live a healthy lifestyle and eat well and take good care of their bodies, do they look as good as Oleda has where she seems to look almost as she did at 38 forty+ years later?

To me it is not as complicated as you are making it out to be. You do not need to have scientists do controlled studies. Just look at people who follow good health habits and compare their faces with people their age doing the same thing but also doing face exercises. The only thing all the people in face exercise before/after photos have in common is not genes, diet, use of sunscreen, etc. The only thing they have in common is they do face exercises. Yet the same story is told by their photos: they look better with passing time. You cannot say the same thing about those who don’t do face exercises unless they are getting work done on them cosmetically.

Even if someone has sun damage so they may be the poster child for wrinkles galore, an increase in tone of the face would definitely improve the person’s looks and enhance any resurfacing procedure or skin regeneration topicals the person might have. There is a beautiful lady on Youtube with very beautiful skin who does skincare videos and reviews product. But the sag in her face IMO really takes away from her looks. The way her face appears to wobble coz od loose skin makes me wish she knew the programs I have done and invested the time to do them. I think she tried one face exercise program but gave up because according to her, it did not work. IMO I think she quit too soon. You cannot expect over 20 years of never working facial muscles to be undone overnight. If nothing is getting worse, you need to stick with the program if you are ever to see results. What have you got to lose? Even just the circulation improved by face exercises would help bring nourishment to your face and whisk away toxins.

But I can only tell people where the oasis is, I cannot make them drink of it. And their continued dehydration or search for water elsewhere because they won’t drink and quench their thirst for they await an expert to tell them if it is a real oasis, does not affect me one way or another.

Gio December 23, 2013 - 9:48 pm

Nonie, I didn’t mean to say that facial exercises didn’t help your skin. If that’s how it sounded, I’m sorry. I just meant to say that there are so many variables to consider, and so many different things that can contribute, in different amounts, to a wrinkle-free face.

As I said, I have an inquisitive, scientific mind. I’m a very sceptical person in general and need scientific proof to believe something works. Not everyone is like me, and, if they want to try facial exercises, that’s fine. If it works for them, great. But I just can’t help but wish to see some scientific data that backs up these claims. Still, now the holidays are here, I will hopefully have more time to study facial anatomy and the theory behind these exercises, so who knows, my opinion may change in the future.

Nonie December 24, 2013 - 12:19 am

Hi Gio:

Oh no apology necessary. I did not take your comments to mean my skin wasn’t helped, but my response was to show that some of the variables that you stated were not necessarily in the favor of some of us. Like I don’t come from a gene pool that doesn’t get sag or wrinkles. We may not get wrinkles all over the face as people who have sun damage and less melanin might, but smiling without wrinkles forming is not a natural occurrence in my family nor is absence of hooded eyelids. Then I pointed out that success with face exercises happens to people with all sorts of backgrounds and suggested a good way to test the validity of our claims was to consider people who are meticulous with their health as one may suspect we are, and compare whether they are aging as well as we are.

In other words, I understood where you were coming from. Those were very valid questions and I was trying my best to answer them and hopefully show you that regardless of variables, some changes cannot be attributed to anything but exercise, esp in a case where all variables remain the same and then when only exercise is introduced to a status that was not changing, suddenly there is a change.

Part of why I did not try anything else outside of face exercises no matter how unhappy I was with my face in 2007 was not only had they alone served me well before so it was worth a shot, but I was avoiding the confusion of not knowing whether the exercises were working or not. I wanted to see their effectiveness when used by themselves; and you have seen how effective they were in 8 months: got rid of N/L lines and of the bags and wrinkles under my eyes. Until my 2007 experience the only positive effects of face exercises that I had personally experienced was the maintenance of a youthful face. I never before had issues that needed fixing so my knowledge of that side of face exercises had been just from hearsay. But now I have actually experienced that side of face exercises that does not just maintain but also fixes issues once they are there. And you can’t beat first-hand knowledge. So when a scientist like Dr Schultz with all the confidence in the world tells me that face exercises will cause wrinkles and explains his stand using what he deems logic or scientific fact when the truth of the matter is I got rid of wrinkles with face exercises, you can see why I doubt any scientist will ever tell you the truth. They have too much to lose admitting that instead of paying for cosmetic procedures repeatedly for years on end, you can just pay a small fee for a program that will serve you for life.

Maybe one day some generous soul who is just as curious as you will donate toward you doing the research.

Gio December 24, 2013 - 11:26 am

Nonie, you obviously had a wonderful experience with facial exercises, so I can see why you would be sceptical of scientists like Dr Schultz. I don’t know if his theory is 100% correct, but it made sense to me. Of course, lots of things that seem logic turn out to be incorrect, which is why it is important to have studies confirming or denying these theories. Still, in their absence, we can only gather as much information as possible from all sources and draw our own conclusions.

I really hope so. I wish I had the money so I could commission a study myself.

Nonie December 26, 2013 - 10:32 am

Dr Schultz theory seems logically to make sense. After all, if you tend to frown, chances are you will be stuck with an angry looking face. The repeated scrunching up of your face causes that look to be fixed. So yes, at face value he seems to be onto something. There is also my experience and that many others who did Flex Effect and we ended up with more wrinkles, lines and an ugly build we never had before. So that seems to agree with his theory.

However, my aging with Flex Effect face exercises happened between July 2005 and November 2005. Had that been my first experience with face exercises, I would be on the same page as Dr Schult and I would have the proof to show it. Except that was 4 months out of now 20+ years. Not only did 15 years prior of face exercises not give me wrinkles, but the last 7 years of doing another face exercise program, after I got wrinkles from Flex Effect, have erased my wrinkles and given me a youthful face in my 40’s. Face exercises from two different programs, not including the one that served me well for 15 years, have not given me wrinkles but have kept them at bay.

So it is not a matter of being skeptical. Skepticism would imply I just had a hunch or reservations. I have more than that: I have PROOF that when Dr Schultz says face exercises cause wrinkles, he is making a sweeping statement that is not true. That would be like saying “All Germans are evil” based on what one knows of Adolf Hitler. Just because you know of a handful of evil people from a group of people doesn’t mean the whole group is evil. That is the sort of statement careless people with limited knowledge would make. One who makes assumptions that Germans are bad based on Hilter’s record has obviously never heard of the goodness of people like Oskar Schindler who was a German very unlike Hitler. Similarly, Dr Schultz is basing his theory on what he has seen (eg frowning causes wrinkles and his injecting Botox to stop frowning smooths them out), but he obviously has not been exp0sed to the results many of us have gotten from well-designed face exercise programs.

So while I can admit that people can get wrinkles from a bad combo of face exercises, I also know that people can erase and prevent wrinkles with a good combo of exercises. So when Dr Schultz says face exercises cause wrinkles, it is as narrow-minded a view as saying all Catholic priests are child molesters based on what we know of the culprits of yester years.

And for a scientist, I find it somewhat embarrassing. If there is one thing I do love about science is the fact that when anomalies exist, a hypothesis is questioned and a return to the drawing table to try to understand why the difference is the norm. Instead, Dr Schultz and co prefer to turn a blind eye to the evidence that seems to defy their theory. They are not curious why it is that some people seem to look better with face exercises. They don’t care to know. In fact, they would rather not. By standing to their not-true-statements, they are guaranteed patients seeking Botox and fillers. In fact, it is in their favor that people don’t get to know which exercises work and which ones don’t because the game of Russian Roulette means mistakes will br made and therefore a new crop of patients seeking correction for what a bad combo of exercises did to them.

When I got puffy eyes from Flex Effect, there was a doctor who didn’t think there was anything outside of surgery that could fix that. He thought the bags were from fat as may be seen in old people. I refused to accept this deduction because I did not agree that I could develop bags that old people have overnight. But I have also not been one to believe everything I am told, just because someone has a list of credentials. Had I been so gullible and one who doesn’t question authority some of the things I have been able to prove possible after they were deemed impossible would not be.

So yeah, there is truth, half-truth and lies. What Dr Schultz tells is a half-truth perhaps due to limited knowledge, but more likely due to his vested interest in people relying on cosmetic procedures such as those he offers. There is no big money to be made in face exercises.

Gio December 28, 2013 - 9:09 pm

Nonie, it is true that Dr Schultz has a vested interest. However, in his defence, scientists don’t believe what they see, they believe what studies prove. Therefore, as amazing as your results are, to them this is only anecdotal evidence and they don’t tend to value that very much. Only when studies will have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that face exercises work, they will change their tune. And so far, they haven’t (although that may be because they haven’t been seriously studied yet).

Nonie December 29, 2013 - 3:54 am

That is exactly it, scienties haven’t studied face exercises yet to be able to give an educated opinion. Dr Schultz cites a study done on animals as the basis of his theory but I doubt the animals were doing FACE EXERCISES. You need to think like a human to be able to systematically work the muscles of the face in a way that effects a change. The argument that pulling on skin will destroy its elasticity or that creasing it will create wrinkles ignores the fact that with facial skin, you have muscles directly attached to them so how elasticity of skin on the body is affected when stretched by say obesity will be different from how facial skin which is directly attached to muscle is affected by stretch. Also with the body, you can tone muscle and have slack skin hanging away from the toned muscles. With the face, tone in the muscle will be reflected on the skin as it is directly attached to it. Animals cannot do face exercises unless they know to flex a muscle while making a certain movements with their “fingers” and to control the movement or hold it. Then there is the specific massages that are essential to an elegant build. I’d love to see the animals that did all this and to know what program it is they were trying because we all know not all programs are made the same.

So Dr Schultz is making assumptions without any proof. None of the scientists who say face exercises make wrinkles worse have actually done direct experiments to prove this. I actually prefer the doctors who are honest enough to admit their theories are based on the fact that no one has done any experiments to prove otherwise. They do not dismiss them without proof. They, like you, Gio, are of the opinion that without proof, they cannot endorse them. And if Dr Schultz isn’t just using guesswork but is going by results of people who have had bad experiences with face exercises, then they might as well accept that ab workouts give big bellies because it can happen and has happened. The reason why it doesn’t always happen is because people who get toned flat abs practice proper form. So the right combo of exercises is necessary for good results to come out of face exercises. If an experiment gives differing results, a good scientist digs deeper to find out why. He doesn’t just go by results that seem to support his guesswork.

If I were a scientist and on face value thought like Dr Schultz, before I opened my mouth to make sweeping statements, I would consider figuring out what differentiates the successful people from those who aren’t successful with face exercises. Why hasn’t he considered that proper form or the precise exercise might be the issue? It is like he made up his mind and then sought out proof to support his theory. He and other doctors shamelessly encourage people to get rat poison injected into their foreheads to paralyze the muscles knowing each time that this will lead to atrophy of the muscles. One just needs do a search for Botox reviews on to see how many people have bad experiences with this. That doctors who are expected to “first do no harm” can be so selfish and money-driven to resort to risky measures that pacify people for the moment while long-term these people will need more help for the same problem just boggles my mind. Of course one selling point is you need less and less over time. Why? Because it’s cumulative. And you can’t really believe that putting unnatural things to your body that obviously do not get metabolized out fully or you would need more of the same, can be safe? I don’t need a degree in medicine to know this is not safe. Yet these docs have no qualms doing it. Rather than research safer methods, they would rather make a quick buck.

Even if it were true that face exercises do create wrinkles, considering we know how good exercises are, wouldn’t it make sense for scientists to spend as much time as they do improving drugs to eliminate problems as much as possible finding out how to make face exercises safe? But why would they bother when they won’t get rich from them? There is no argument that can convince that doctors really believe face exercises are bad. They just do not want to think about them. PERIOD.

So yes, scientists do make conclusions based on scientific facts. So until they show me the research they have done to prove face exercises cause wrinkles and can prove without a shadow of doubt that it isn’t a bad combo of exercise as well as bad form that is to blame, then they can spare me with their misleading theories. Like I said, they have a lot to gain if people don’t do face exercises, which is why they will speak ill of them without any proof.

Gio December 29, 2013 - 9:36 pm

Nonie, Dr Schultz acknowledges that that study has limitations. But the thing is that, as long as we lack studies on facial exercises, we all have to propose theories based on the few facts we know. Like repetitive movements such as frowning can cause wrinkles, and Dr Schultz believes the study he cited may provide an answer as to why that happens. Whether he’s right or not, only time and studies will tell. I also think he believes that the people who had good results with facial exercises have good skin because of other factors, such as wearing sunscreen or following a good diet, which are things proven to help. That’s why he’s not wondering why they work for some and not for others. He believes he already knows the answer. I’m just trying to explain where I think he’s coming from btw.

Unfortunately, there are lots of studies showing the efficacy and safety of botox, at least when used by a professional who knows what he/she’s doing, so it’s no wonder that dermatologists prefer to recommend that. But like you, I don’t like this sort of thing. Freezing a muscle may not be dangerous, but there’s just something wrong about it. Not to mention the side effects, like the huge amounts of money you’ll have to spend for the rest of your life (or however long you’re having it done) or the fact it hinders communication by preventing you from expressing your emotions on your face.

I agree, though, that, because there is no proof one way or the other, these experts should dig deeper. It would be wonderful if they would commission studies on them, as they probably have the right connections and expertise to do so. Sadly, I don’t think they are interested.

Nonie December 21, 2013 - 8:34 am

I meant to say face muscles are either attached to other face muscles or to skin, so you can imagine how a change in one affects how the others behave and therefore how the skin behaves. To get an elegant build, you need to really understand exactly how to target every essential muscle so all get evenly toned. Knowing their locations and names is not enough. You also need to know how to bring about the right change in the muscles so as effect the right change on the surface. Not a minor feat which is why I leave that task to the experts.

Gio December 22, 2013 - 9:39 pm

Nonie, that’s so true. I’m still a bit sceptical about facial exercises (although I’m still researching them so that I can have a better understanding of them), but if you want to try them, definitely do your research so that you can find a guru that truly understands how facial anatomy works, or you may seriously damage your skin.

Nonie December 29, 2013 - 11:17 pm

Gio, I will answer you here because apparently space has run out.

I challenge Dr Schultz theory about “other factors” being at play because the same “other factors” he states have not helped people who are not doing face exercises. I can show you someone who leads a healthier life than I, whose family seems to have awesome genes, but even with her being a little younger than me, she still has sag and wrinkles that I do not have or have ERASED with face exercises.

Also as I said, for at least 30 years of my life, I used no sunscreen EVER! I also got overweight within a couple of months or so in my teens from eating a mixture of sugar, cocoa and butter 5 times a day and could not shed that weight for the rest of my teens no matter what I did. BTW, I used make that gooey junk food in a cup and eat it with a spoon or spread it on bread. I did suffer from systemic candidiasis too. So I haven’t always had a healthy body nor have I always eaten healthily. But there are people who have used sunscreen all their lives, eaten well all their lives, but they still find they need cosmetic surgery down the road. Their skin may glow, but they still get sag and wrinkles. I did a quick search for “healthiest celebrities” so I could find people whose photos are easy to look up and this page came up: We already know that Botox is to thank for most of their upper faces but their lower faces do not look like those of people who do face exercises coz Botox cannot prevent sag. And these are people who probably get facials and take every precaution to keep themselves looking their best because they are in the public eye. Madonna does face exercises along with whatever work she’s had done BTW. In all the photos at that link, her face looks most flawless IMO. Granted she’s not as old as Donna Karan but she is older than many of the other ladies posted whose faces do not look as good as hers.

Also Dr Schultz claiming “other things” are responsible for the good results people get from face exercises would be as lame as dismissing that the main reason fitness models look so good is they work out. It would be like watching all the success stories of P90X or Insanity and claiming that people would still get those results if they only just focused on the diet part of the work out. Come one now! There is not discounting other factors like diet are important. But we know health gurus who look sickly and ancient in their faces no matter how healthy their internal environment may be. Compare them with Tonya Zavasta who eats healthily and does face exercises! I mean, how obtuse can he be that he will argue every point just so as to maintain that face exercises are bad. EVERYONE including those with half a brain know that repeated creasing cause wrinkles. Just like everyone knows if you stay folded in a fetal position for a long time you’ll get stiff. Common sense can tell you that if you stretch out, you probably will not be stiff and will limber up. Similarly if you open up the wrinkles by creasing the face in a different direction, why is it so hard to see how this may have the same effect as folding a piece of paper in a direction opposite to that which it was folded and how that opens up the crease? Also you have muscles directly under the skin. If you suck your tummy in, you will see folds form on your belly. If you stick you tummy out, you will see those folds open up. Why is this so hard for a scientist to see that an increase in muscle size albeit small can push out on wrinkles? Also if he does believe that cells are living and that fibroblasts stimulation can produce collagen, why is it so hard to consider that this may be a possibility with face exercises?

I am sorry but Dr Schultz may have a degree in medicine, but that doesn’t make him a genius. He has no authority on a topic he hasn’t studied so his babbling about face exercises is hot air IMO.

As for Botox being safe… I suppose that’s kinda like how texting while driving is relatively safe if you’re careful! LOL I don’t think there is any medication I have read about whose “most important information” lists all the negative things that could happen the way this drug does. Here’s a website on its safety:

Not to mention that no one knows its long-term effect yet. Paralyzing muscles or numbing nerves does not sound like a healthy thing to do so I don’t need anyone to tell me that it’s bananas to even try to claim it’s safe. As more research is done on it, findings to me don’t seem to sing praises of it being safe ( ) I particularly love how candid that^^ article is about the main reason Dr Schultz et al are all for Botox instead of safer methods like massage: It is a cash cow!

Also Allergan the company that makes Botox seems so shady the more I read about it:
In fact, what made me start reading up on it was when a victim of Botox’s negative effects contacted them and was then sent information confirming that yes such things can happen. How very comforting to get this info when your life just got screwed up. Apparently a lot of this info is supposed to be read before you get the shots…but I know people who get them who have never been given the info or advised of it. It’s no wonder… I mean, why would a doctor who can already smell $$$ coming his way provide you with info that may make you flee?

Why in the name of all sanity are people being subjected to a poison that could cause so many problem and already has? I see no other reason except that this Russian Roulette game makes doctors and the companies behind the product rich. Money talks…so as long as the powers that be have clout, then sweeping stuff under the carpet and pulling wool over people’s eyes will be the way to go.

Now on this point we do agree:

I agree, though, that, because there is no proof one way or the other, these experts should dig deeper. It would be wonderful if they would commission studies on them, as they probably have the right connections and expertise to do so. Sadly, I don’t think they are interested.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath for any scientists to research face exercises. I tell you now, if I were a cosmetic surgeon making a killing by injecting people with stuff, I too would be making every effort not to stop this flow of income, even if it meant pulling wool over people’s eyes. So yes, I too would not be interested in doing studies on a system that threatens my livelihood.

Gio January 14, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Nonie, sorry for taking so long to reply to your comment. I haven’t been home much during the holidays so I’m behind with my emails and comments again.

Having dated a biotechnician for about 12 years now, I know all too well that scientific people don’t believe anything that hasn’t been proved in several well-conducted studies. As amazing as your results and as sensible the points you make are, to them it is just anecdotal evidence and thus worthless. I understand that for some people, you included, this can be very frustrating, but it is also a way of thinking that has allowed science to make lots of important discoveries and bust some common myths. That’s why, regardless of whether Dr Schultz is right or wrong here, I believe he doesn’t have any hidden agenda. He’s simply reasoning like a scientist, and they need more, scientific, proof to believe something. That sunscreen, for instance, works at preventing premature aging has been proved, hence why he attributes the positive results to it rather than to facial exercises. I’m sure that, should exercises turn out to work too, he will change his tune.

About Botox. I don’t like it anymore than you do, but it is true that so far, I haven’t found a study that shows it causes any nasty diseases, hence why I said it is safe. That it has side effects, it’s undeniable, but then any medicine, even aspirin, does. In fact, I have never taken a medicine that didn’t come with a long list of potential side effects. It’s true though that very few people are aware of them, and few doctors bother to mention them. Botox has become so common and normal that no one thinks it can be bad for you. Although I’m personally more concerned with its psychological side effects, like distorting the image you have of yourself, leading you to think that if you don’t get botox you are old and ugly and thus worthless. Or the fact that it hinders communication.

I agree that those who make lots of money by selling botox and other fillers aren’t interested in researching facial exercises, but hopefully there are some independent scientists out there willing to conduct studies on the topic.

Nonie January 15, 2014 - 12:55 am

Science was my forte when I was growing up so I do understand how scientists think and work. My issue with people like Dr Schultz is not that he does not believe face exercises work but it is that without any scientific proof, he claims they don’t. There is nothing scientific about that. He has not taken any of the people who do them and examined them to be able to speak with authority on them. He would do well to take a few seats and just admit like other scientist that there is not enough info to support them. But to claim with such confidence that they do not work when he has no proof is not scientific; it is BS. That would be like someone who has never had a headache claiming painkillers don’t stop the pain of headaches. How the heck would he know? Unless he has actually done some tests and monitored a headache’s response to painkillers, he has no authority making such claims. Dr Schultz does not get a pass for guesswork. In fact IMO he is an embarrassment to be making claims without proof.

And your last paragraph explains what I have been saying all along. Botox is something he makes a killing from. And that is why when it comes to face exercises, he is not doing test to prove they don’t work. Deep down he knows they do. He’d rather keep his day job and keep getting paid. That to me is as clear as crystal. But you obviously have a lot of respect for him and it seems we will never agree on this. So how about we just agree to disagree. I live for the day these haughty know-it-alls eat humble pie. It won’t be the first time the medical community has been shamed to admitting something they dismissed as poppycock was actually beneficial. In the meantime, I love that those of us who do face exercises have a secret that many don’t know about. Yesterday I told someone I was 44, she responded with “34? You look younger than that and are still a baby anyway.” Ha! And Dr Schutlz is supposed to be an authority on how aging face exercises are. Puhlease!

Gio January 17, 2014 - 3:03 pm

Nonie, I understand where you are coming from and your frustrations. But with so many quacks around, in many fields, a lot of scientists tend, like Dr Schultz, to dismiss something that hasn’t been scientifically proven yet without a second thought. It’s just how many of them think.

Yes, I do respect Dr Schultz. I’ve followed him for years, and usually, his advice is accurate and useful. He also has the ability to explain even complex issues in an easy way, which makes dermatology accessible to everyone. Even if he should be wrong on face exercises, it doesn’t mean that he’s not very knowleadgeable in his field.

But just because I respect him, it doesn’t mean that he’s always right, or that I believe everything he says. I mentioned him here only because his opinion was based on a study, which he himself said wasn’t conclusive. But in absence of definite proof, we have to come up with theories based on the bits and bobs we know. Whether they’re right or wrong, only time will tell. And should facial exercises turn out to be effective, who knows, maybe he’ll come up with his own programme.

Nonie January 17, 2014 - 11:53 pm

Hi Gio:

I am actually not frustrated at all. What Dr Schultz believes or doesn’t believe does not affect me in one way or another. I am only posting my opinion so anyone open-minded can see another point of view and perhaps question the folly in scientists coming up with theories based on guesswork and not tests. I know there are people who have considered face exercises only to be talked out of them by someone like Dr Schultz, so I am posting for the few who don’t let titles fool them into thinking that what the bearer says is necessarily gospel. I have not questioned Dr Schultz knowledge of anything he covered in his studies of Dermatology, and since he never studied face exercises, then he really is pretty clueless on them IMO. As I shared some months ago, I have never been one to believe everything someone says just because he happens to have been right about other things. To err is human and Dr Schultz is not exempt regardless of how many times he has got the face theory right. JMHO

Gio January 21, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Nonie, I agree that we should always keep an open mind about everything and never blindly believe what anyone says. We should listen to everyone and get our information from as many sources as possible, so that we can draw our own conclusions. And hopefully, one day soon science will give a definite answer on the effects of facial exercise, ending all the confusion and misinformation that now surround it.

Parvi November 7, 2014 - 12:42 am

I have been practicing facial exercises for 15 years. Now age 58, with my regime being good diet & lifestyle, basic organic skin products, and 5x/week facial exercises, most people think I am 45. Clearly, facial exercises have not been bad for my skin, rather they have been utterly fabulous!!! I am wrinkle free, toned, lifted. It feels great!!!

Gio November 7, 2014 - 6:52 pm

Parvi, thank you for sharing your experience. I’m glad it is working well for you. My problem is that, without studies to support claims that facial exercises are good, it’s impossible to tell whether that’s responsible for how young your skin looks. It may be that your diet and lifestyle play a more important role than facial exercises.

Sally December 20, 2014 - 5:44 pm

I’ve been doing a variety of facial exercises for about 4 years, and I look younger than I did 10 years ago (I’m 47). They have particularly helped the area beneath my eyes, jawline, neck, and smile lines.

The only way to know is to try them, not by listening to dermos who want to sell their wares.

When I do exercises that would crease the skin, I hold the skin gently taught to during that time so the crease in the upper layer of skin does not occur, while receiving the benefits of increased blood flow, firming, and tightening of the layers beneath.

There is no sensical reason that they should not work well. How can moving your body be bad? Rediculous.

Just try them, commit for a period of weeks if not months. If nothing else, like any exercise, they help you become aware of the form and function of your face. You will learn which movements cause repeated creasing of the skin. I have almost completely done away with no.11 lines just by becoming more aware and not making the expressions that caused them. And they were bad. REmember, your skin is not static, but a dynamic, living thing.

Good luck.

Gio December 20, 2014 - 8:14 pm

Sally, thank you for sharing your experience. I admit I’m still a bit sceptical. We know that repeating the same facial movements, such as pursing lips while smoking, too many times can create wrinkles, which is why dermatologists believe that facial exercises are bad too. I suppose there could be some use in moving those facial muscles that aren’t much used, but I’d like tor see some scientific studies confirm the alleged beneficial effects of these exercises, and which ones work best before committing. I think this is a case in which, if you don’t know what you are doing, you could make things worse. But I’m glad that these exercises are working well for you.

Pastelita January 6, 2015 - 3:35 pm

Dear all,

Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion, experience and resource links on this topic.

Gio, I’m happy to hear about your standpoint, since I’ve never viewed this matter in that angle. Food for thoughts always welcome!

I suspect nasty consequences from facial exercises might be due to combination of poorly designed exercises, incorrect practice and/ or lack of warm-up. Let me break this down!

I’ve been practicing on and off Eva Fraser and Fumiko Takatsu facial exercises for a few years but got very serious and regular since October 2014. Still, I do not agree with all their recommendations because my sportive background brings out critical mind.

As an avid sport bunny, I’ve experienced that body exercises done improperly may strain muscles, dislocate joints, rip ligaments, mess-up with posture alignment and so on.
The motto “perfect practice makes perfect” is much more preferred, rather than “practice makes perfect” only.

However, practice apart, exercises themselves must be designed with respects to the nature of human body. Infamous examples such as crunches or waist twists with dead straight legs will damage your lower back, no matter how well you’re crunching or twisting! Actually, knees must be slightly bent to spare your spine.

Exercises should neither hurt, nor be brutal. Say, aerobics or stretching to your maximum potential will give you best results, as long as you’re not damaging your body.

Regardless of my current face exercising level, I’d warm-up my eyes and neck beforehand. Even the most accomplished athletes never ever skip warm-ups!

Following that general introduction, I believe the same may apply to face exercises.

A few months ago, I set up a program, exactly the way one would organize a fitness plan.
At 1st place, I made sure these exercises did not thug, pull or overstretch the skin.
Same as body training, I favor challenging, yet harmless exercises to decrease the risk of undesired effects.
Then, cloning religiously the instructor’s demo from the very start is fundamental indeed because you do not want to develop unhealthy habits. Once installed, those are tremendously difficult to kick off, trust me!

I’ve decided to start from scratch with basic workouts to stimulate all face muscles indiscriminately.
Once those were perfectly mastered, I’ve moved on to more targeted exercises to improve some specific areas.
Respecting my own pace is a sure way to keep me motivated and to progress. Therefore I’m taking all the time in the world whilst learning any new workout 🙂

Eva Fraser is absolutely right in saying that rushing right away into advanced workouts in the hope of faster results is fruitless.
A frown smoothing workout on a stiff face will have no effect whatsoever. Worst case scenario, this may lead to draped forehead, which is exactly the opposite of the wanted results!

Fumiko Takatsu doesn’t particularly focus on that point, hence I prefer to adapt her advice according to my own knowledge of muscle training.

To draw a parallel picture with body exercising, attempting a front split whereas your body has not been trained under professional supervision will lead to ruptured tissues.

In the past, I made a similar mistake by trying a tricky orbital exercises, without weeks of prepping ahead. Instead of getting rid of under-eye lines, I got them worse! As soon as I stopped those, everything went back to normal within 2 weeks, ufff!
From this experience, I believe negative consequences can be reversed, fortunately.

Benefits may be reversible too in my opinion. After all, when I don’t practice any physical activity for a while, I can tell my body feels so fluffy and unfit lol

Besides, as part of any physical exercising, it’s essential to allow yourself some resting time (1 or twice/ week for me). This phase is not a waste of time at all – on the contrary, letting your muscle recover = better performance.

Now, you may wonder how my face looks like upon devoted face exercises? Overall, my features appear toned, alert and better-defined; my eyes more awake, my cheekbones chiseled, my jaw line sharp.

In general, I enjoy alternating a variety of exercises that engage several group muscles at once (for maintenance) with exercises that concentrate on more isolated areas (for further education).
It really works for me, now that I gained more “muscle mechanism” consciousness.

To illustrate, Eva Fraser “Intermediate workout” is great to improve symmetry as a whole – whilst Fumiko Takatsu’s signature “Ultimate Non Surgical Face Lift” decreases the depth and length of naso-labial folds.

As you’re saying Gio, one method cannot be a fix-it-all of course. Pressure points, gentle massage, hygiene etc. definitely complement one another and participate in great results overall.

Gimme a shout if you want more details on the above and I’ll be glad to share a more complete picture of my facial skin care routine.
If so, let me know whether you prefer me to post this below or on another discussion thread you consider more relevant 🙂


Gio January 6, 2015 - 9:18 pm

Pastelita, thanks a lot for sharing your experience. This can be a very confusing topic. There is no scientific research that supports facial exercise is good yet (mainly because none was ever conducted, at least to the best of my knowledge) and so many quacks that promote exercises that can be harmful. It’s quite difficult to determine what works and what doesn’t.

You really do need a deep and extensive knowledge to create a programme that works, which is why I’m eagerly awaiting for someone to conduct some studies and tells us once and for all what really works. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall for the hype, do the wrong exercises, and end up with more wrinkles.

I’d love to hear more about your routine. You can post it in here, so everyone will be able to see it. 🙂

Rose January 12, 2015 - 4:02 pm

Hi, I’m sixteen, and not worried about aging skin yet…….
I have done some research on the internet and did find a lot of proof on how facial exercises help
There is this woman on and she has some face yoga exercises that I followed to help my chubby cheeks, and after about a week it seemed to work a little bit. My question is, if I continue the exercises for say another few weeks or a month, (until I’m happy with my cheeks) then will this speed up my aging or anything like that? Also some celebrities like Jennifer Aniston do facial exercises and she seems to remain young though that could just be genetics.

Gio January 12, 2015 - 5:33 pm

Rose, I never believe what celebrities say. Their looks are never down to just one thing, as they have an army of people making sure they look their best. 🙂

As for the exercises aging your skin, there’s no clear answer yet. We know that repeating certain movements overtime, such as smiling, can cause wrinkles in the long run, but some people who do facial exercises report an improvement in their skin and no premature aging. So I guess it depends on what kinds of exercises you do, what muscles are involved, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about anatomy to know if those you do have any side effects or not, sorry.

Rose January 13, 2015 - 4:58 am

Yes that’s true, I agree celebrities are not a reliable source. Facial exercises don’t have much proof that they work so I guess if I don’t see much of an improvement, I’ll stop.
Thank you for your answer!

Gio January 13, 2015 - 8:47 pm

You’re welcome. Let me know how it goes and how well they work for you. 🙂

Nonie January 12, 2015 - 8:10 pm

Hi Rose:

I am on the same page as Gio. It is hard to know the long term effects of a program without actually seeing the results of others who have done the particular program. I also have not “met” anyone as young as you doing face exercises. I worry that your face may still be developing and so I am not sure whether what you see now is really a “final” result. (When young people complain about chubby cheeks, I just want to hug them and assure them that they are so lucky to have that mass because it will work well for them as they get older. It really is not greener on the other side of the fence; if only I could make you see that!). Nevertheless, I am no pro when it comes to face exercises, despite my many years of doing them; so I still rely on the experts for advice when I find myself unsure as you are.

Have you been in touch with the woman who owns the program you do? She would be the best person to ask these questions as it is her program and she probably has witnessed how it has worked for others. I always tell people not to go it alone or seek help elsewhere without first asking the master of the program they do.

My belief is that face exercises work like body exercises. Assuming you are doing a good program, you will tone up and look the best you can look at your age. If you stop, you won’t look worse than before you started, your face will just go back to being how it would be if you had never started face exercises. This is very much like body exercises: if you exercise your body and get toned up, you can maintain that look by continuing with your workouts. If you stop working out, you will get flabby and lose tone and become what you would have been had you never started working out in the first place. And just like the body muscles, face muscles have memory. So if you do them and stop, when you do start working out again, your face will respond faster than someone who had never worked their face out before, just like what happens with the body.

Another belief I have is, to get good results, you cannot pick and choose some exercises from a complete program and work only certain areas of your face. Facial muscles are interconnected so you need to work them all since tone in one area will affect how those muscles pull on others, and therefore your skin and its outward appearance. You want to makes sure you work all the facial muscles PROPERLY so that they all can tone up and lift your face up uniformly. So making sure you are doing the complete program and not just parts of it is very important.

So my suggestion is first you should find out if you are too young to be doing face exercises, considering you are still “growing” and then ask the author of your program the other questions you asked us.

Rose January 13, 2015 - 4:56 am

Thank you for your answer! I do actually know a lot of other people my age who have done facial exercises, so I don’t think it will be much of a problem.
The woman at faceyogamethod is a trained professional, I have not been in touch with her though, but I might try that and ask her about it.
And I know chubby cheeks are better for you in the long run, (my mom is proof of that) and I’m not trying to get rid of the fat. I’m just trying to make my jaws and cheekbones a little more defined by training the muscles. Like if are doing body toning exercises only instead of cardio and any other fat burning exercises. You won’t lose any fat, but you will look a little more defined because of the muscles underneath.

Kim March 24, 2015 - 5:26 pm

facial exercises do work if you know what you are doing. If you have the right tools like a derma roller and the right oils, exercises rejuvenate the skin. I am 47 and my skin looks great!

Gio March 24, 2015 - 7:47 pm

Kim, I’m glad that’s working well for you. But I’d love to see some scientific study to confirm its benefits. So far, we only have anecdotal evidence, sadly.

Kim March 25, 2015 - 12:16 pm

It is all common sense! If you use a muscle regularly, exercise it and get the blood flowing freely, enhancement occurs! There are older body builders that have the muscle tone of a youth. It is the same with your face. Exercise, use a derma microneedle to get the collagen flowing to rejuvenate the skin and hydrate with serums/lotions, your skin is healthy. If you ignore it, of course it will age!!!! You don’t need a scientific for that!

Gio March 25, 2015 - 7:37 pm

Kim, I need scientific proof for anything. I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t believe until she sees proof. 🙂

And so far, science says that repeated facial movements cause wrinkles, which is why I’m sceptical re facial exercises. Some exercises may help, but I would like to know which and why so as not to damage my skin.

Nonie April 7, 2015 - 2:24 am

Hi Gio:

I know you are always interested in studies or research done on face exercises, so when I came across this one, I thought you might find it interesting.

I can confirm that smiling in various directions (toward ears, toward temples, toward outer corners of the eyes, then part smiling and snarling so I am aiming for center of eyes, then snarling…) but doing it all in 5 short movements or so was the first sign to me in my 20’s that face exercises work. It is an exercise in Eva Fraser’s program and it wasn’t long after I had been doing that exercise that I noticed an increased firmness in my cheeks. It was so major a change, that I would be very aware of it when I smiled. Instead of just smiling and thinking only of what amused me, I’d be distracted by this interesting change in my cheeks. I also noticed that when I would try to pinch my cheek, I’d grab a chunk of muscle (I might have already share this before). My best friend was my age but wasn’t doing any face exercises and I remember pinching her cheeks to compare and finding that I seemed to grab less flesh. While I don’t do Eva Fraser anymore, I can still vouch for face exercises firming up the face. I don’t know if I shared these images before but you can see that in 7 years of doing the program I do now (Carolyn’s Facial Fitness), my cheeks are not only firmer but fuller in my 40’s than they were in my 30’s:


Gio April 8, 2015 - 7:21 pm

Nonie, thank you for the link and for sharing your experience.The study is quite small, only a handful of participants, but it does seem to prove that facial exercises,. when done correctly, can firm skin somewhat. However, it also states they can’t remove wrinkles completely. But the results are,. overall, promising, and I hope that soon more research will be done on facial exercises to further highlight how they affect skin.

Ruth June 4, 2015 - 2:02 am

Not much info about the dangers of facial exercise. I have had my skin loose elasticity because of facial exercises and now when I smile I have crows feet, lines under my eyes and around my mouth corners. Any suggestions about how I can reverse this problem?

Ruth June 4, 2015 - 2:07 am

Please ignore my previous post. I could not edit after posting it. Thanks for the information about the dangers of facial exercise. There is not much information on the internet that shows how dangerous it can be so happy you wrote this. I tried facial exercise after seeing many good reviews but it didn’t work for me. It caused my skin to become loose and when I smile I see crows feet, lines under my eyes and at my mouth corners. They were not there before. Any advise on how to reverse them?

Gio June 4, 2015 - 12:25 pm

Ruth, I’m so sorry facial exercises made things worse for you. Once skin loses elasticity there’s not much you can do to bring it back. I’d suggest using a serum or moisturizer with ingredients that can boost collagen production, like retinol and vitamin c. That should help a bit.

Nonie June 4, 2015 - 10:42 pm

Ruth, may I ask how old you are? While our skin is less elastic as we age, all may not be lost. I had a similar experience to you when I was 35 going on 36 and since that was the first time in all my life that I developed loose skin that wrinkles and lines when I smiled, and stopping the program that caused the lines didn’t give me back the face I had before that horrible experience, I didn’t know if my face would ever recover. But it has.

Why I say all may not be lost is there are people who would have thought they had lost their elasticity because their skin was loose and folded over itself, but they have managed to change that with face exercise so they look younger when they are older.

I do think it’s just a matter of finding a good combination of exercises and having an instructor who cares enough to be available to give support and perhaps tweak the program as needed to address your issues.

Going it alone or finding samples of exercises online that promise miracles IMO is a recipe for problems, because unless you understand the anatomy and physiology of facial muscles, then you would not know what combination of exercise you need to use ensure all muscles get worked out so that you are not leaving out related muscles whose tone will affect the overall outward appearance of your face.

If you decide to try face exercises again, just take your time deciding on a program. Do your research and don’t believe everything you read online. While photos are the best clue as to what a program can achieve, a couple years or so, I found websites that were using fake before/after photos. It’s a shame because I really do think that the program(s) could have had actual success stories even though the changes may not have been as remarkable as cosmetic surgery changes. And that, to me, is actually a good thing as subtle changes create a natural appearance, as opposed to that oh-so-obvious work’s-been-done appearance.

You ask how to reverse the problems you had, I think your best bet is to talk to someone who has been able to help others achieve the results you are looking for. I was reading the reviews on Faceworks UK website and some people who had been doing other programs with little success seem pleased. I just wish the reviews were accompanied with photos. I always worry that views vary so what is considered a huge change by one may not be that amazing to another, you know? But actually seeing what they mean helps to put things in perspective. CFF is the program that helped me and it too has reviews of people having had a bad experience with another program but corrected them with CFF. I mention these success stories to assure you that your bad experience does not have to be the end of the story.

I can totally understand you not wanting to risk it anymore. Heck, even though I had had 15 years of good experience with face exercises before the bad experience, those 4 months of a bad experience scared me so much that it took me 13 months to build up the courage to try another program. In that time I corresponded with the owner to find out all I could and just make sure it felt right. Once bitten, twice shy!

Otherwise you could look into other solutions like microneedling. I have no experience whatsoever in it but Dr Des Fernandes is almost 70 if not already there and he is the guru of microneedling and his skin is a great testament to the effectiveness of the procedure:

Best wishes,


Elaine Bartlett August 30, 2016 - 1:04 pm

Hi Noni, it’s Elaine from Faceworks :). We’d LOVE to have more photos but people are very shy. I agree it’s nice to see the changes. All our reviews are genuine though x

Nonie August 31, 2016 - 8:59 am

Hi Elaine:

I hope those who are not shy and who have already submitted photos will do like you have and submit updates. Seeing progressive results I find is one way to know how effective a program is. Some programs that are aggressive may cause initial swelling that can make earlier photos show fullness that is not the true story. In fact, it was seeing cumulative results in the program I do that led me to choose it, because unlike the previous one that promised things would get better after that ugly stage yet there was no photographic evidence of this having been true of others (ie, a midway ugly look before the great thereafter), I was able to see that people’s face got progressively better. One of my favorite photo essays I the one I summarize here:,rtsqfrwfkfbsgwdxwgbsbbbqbgb,vi/skwfgrttsxbsfsskdbqxbsbfrdbrr/3/31573/1292267/Marilyn-vi.png

This lady^ (Marilyn) looks like she could be the daughter of her former self from 3 years previously. And while everyone’s journey is different, I think progress photos give newbies an idea of what to expect and enlightens them to the fact that everyone’s journey is different.

Hopefully we will see more of your clients’ photos. Yours tell a beautiful story and it is always exciting to visit your website and see a new photo. Please keep it up.



Nonie June 9, 2015 - 10:24 pm

Sadly, there is no incentive to prove face exercises work. The people who would be able to finance such an extensive study with a huge sampling are the people who would lose out if everyone turned to face exercises and not miracles in a jar, a few injections, or a little nip and tuck. So I doubt there will ever be any studies done.

If studies were done, I doubt they would prove the exercises don’t work, and that may be precisely why they are not being done. If truly it was believed they didn’t work, what better way to shut the lot of us up than to have it in a published scientific report that they don’t work. I mean, they could post X-rays of how damaged the facial anatomy is in everyone who does face exercises and show that even when it looks good, it isn’t.

Methinks the truth is, common sense and logic say they ought to work. I mean muscles improve in tone if worked the right way so why not facial ones. But how is this information going to benefit
the cosmetic industry that has been making a killing without this info? Can you imagine if everyone who gets fillers suddenly stopped because they realized they didn’t need them? What about the more expensive procedures that are done every day? And don’t forget the anti-aging creams that plump skin up and smooth out wrinkles–the ones I haven’t yet used because, thanks to face exercises, I have not felt a need for them. Imagine if everyone who is dependent on all cosmetic industry money-making products and services suddenly realized they could do without them.

Nah…there’s too much at stake to risk losing when the current alternative isn’t hurting anyone. Ignorance is bliss is definitely the preferred status quo. And face exercise proponents are not hurting either due to lack of studies, so it’s a win-win situation for all.

Gio June 10, 2015 - 7:10 am

‘You’re probably right there.The studies that get done are not necessarily those who would benefit he consumer. Money concerns play a bit part in what gets studied or not. But I still think that a lot of money could be made if facial exercises were proven to really work. Cosmetic bands may create their own targeted programmes to replace their creams, or sell both as a package. Who knows, hopefully one day someone will commission such a study. I’ll never lose hope.

rona July 17, 2015 - 10:56 pm

how do you feel about facial flex? have you heard of it? does it really firm up and tone the face, cause I have chubby cheeks, a really skinny girl and it just looks weird on me. my face sags as well as my eyes. It does run in my family cause some of my siblings face sags, but with the facial exercise I did do them for a period of time and I did see results wich I liked. but after a while I stopped and it became sagger or sagged again. Do you think that will happen with the facial flex.

Gio July 18, 2015 - 7:39 am

Rona, I did some research on facial flex, but couldn’t find any studies supporting its efficacy. Personally, I don’t recommend it.

Nonie July 18, 2015 - 5:10 pm

First of all you should know that face exercises are not a one-time fix then you quit and everything stays perfect. Just like a nip and tuck doesn’t mean you will never need work done again. Face exercises require commitment and everyone who looks good from them has been doing them for years and has made them part of their lifestyle; just like a lot of people who are healthy make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. (Just ask Oleda Baker whose lifestyle has been healthy from her 20’s and has included face exercises since then, although she did get eyes surgery in her 30’s: So if you are considering face exercise, you should be planning to do them for the rest of your life. Nothing lasts forever and unless you maintain whatever good shape you get from exercise, you will lose it.

As far as Facial Flex is concerned, I do think it works. The problem with it is it only focuses on the lower face, and in particular, the mouth muscles and neglects the rest of the face. And with facial muscles being interconnected, you cannot work just one part of your face and expect to look good. In time, the worked are will develop tone and be more compact while the rest of your face stays slack and soft and saggy. If, as in the case of the Facial Flex, you are doing resistance training, you are also building muscle, which may mean getting the muscles dense and heavy. I imagine that further exerts weight and a pull on the weaker neglected muscles and so you end up looking weird perhaps even developing more sag elsewhere. IMO, a good face exercise program targets all muscles of the face so they can all tone up and evenly pull on and lift each other, and thus the skin, up and hold everything nicely in place.

The main muscle exercised with the Facial Flex is the orbicularis oris (a ring muscle around the mouth) so the FF may improve its tone and remove smoke lines on the lips. Also, because on either side of the mouth muscle is a point called the modiolus from which cheek muscles fan out of, it is possible that the cheeks do get a good workout too and may get toned nicely from it.

Take a look at this image to identify the muscles I mentioned:

So it is possible to tone the lower face with Facial Flex. But for a lot of people, what ends up happening is the mouth muscle, which seems to be the main focus, gets overbuilt at the expense of all other face muscles, so that people end up with what has been called “monkey mouth”:

While I know at least one person who does not mind that look, but many people do. (BTW the woman in the image above I believe has just had a lot of filler, but I think the image gives a good idea of the sort of results one might get the ring of muscle that goes around the mouth is overdeveloped.) This “monkey mouth effect” is the only negative thing I have read about Facial Flex. Perhaps those who have success with it do it in moderation or balance it out with upper face exercises that complement it.

Tom Hagerty ( has an exercise similar to the one you do with this gadget and he doesn’t have monkey mouth. My guess is that by doing exercises that target other muscles, he is able to create a balance in his face’s tone. Or perhaps it is the slight difference in how he positions his fingers in his mouth compared to how you hook the FF around the sides of your mouth. In any case, I personally would not spend money on a gadget that does what I can probably improvise with my fingers, but then I’m a cheapskate so that may be part of the reason.

rona July 20, 2015 - 2:30 am

thank you so much for this. appreciate it, very informative . Just one more question, how do you feel about the face thin tool. Is it effective and really slims down and contours the face. and what are the cons? do you think i should get it?

Gio July 20, 2015 - 4:32 pm

Rona, if you’re looking for scientific proof that it works, there isn’t any. If you’re bent on trying facial exercises, I would recommend you do your research and find a good programme created by a specialist who understand anatomy. Even then, there is no short term solution. Even if you should see some results, you’d have to keep doing the exercises (or using the face thin tool) every day.

Nonie July 22, 2015 - 4:06 pm

Until you mentioned it, I had never heard of the Face Thin tool. I am not sure how different its mechanism is from Facial Flex. I also don’t think it makes the face thin but rather, judging from the photos, it just seems to tone the face.

Every time someone mentions wanting to get his or her face thin, I always suspect that the person has to be young and just does not realize what a blessing having a full face is. I dread to imagine how much they will regret it a few years, if they do succeed in getting their faces thin, when they will be looking gaunt and considering fillers.

Everyone’s face loses mass as they get older unless they put on weight, and the fuller your face is when you are young, the longer you will look young. Doing face exercises can maintain your face’s tone, and what you can do to get the “thin look” is learn contouring using makeup to create the illusion of what you want.

Fillers would not be such big business if having a thin face was such a hot look.

Now if you have a fat face from weight gain, then lose the weight and don’t just exercise your body, but also your face so all your muscles from head to toe get into shape.

Sarah February 4, 2016 - 10:01 am

I just found this article and I’ve been doing facial exercises for about 2 months. I lost a lot of weight and being 44 my face started to look not quite as firm as it was when my face was bigger. I have noticed that wrinkles on my cheeks have suddenly appeared. Not major but very feint lines where there were none before.

I plan to stop with the facial exercises and just gently massage my face when I apply face cream.

I want to grow old gracefully but I miss my youthful face of my 20s and 30s arrggghhh lol!

Gio February 4, 2016 - 8:36 pm

Sarah, I know, aging can be very frustrating. Nothing can keep wrinkles away forever, but we can age slowly and gracefully with the right habits and products. Are you using retinol and vitamin c? They can make a huge difference.

Sarah February 5, 2016 - 2:55 pm

Not retinol but I use a vitamin c moisturiser with sunscreen all in one during the day. I also put sweet almond oil on my cheeks and around my eyes at night.

Gio February 5, 2016 - 3:21 pm

Sarah, that’s a good regimen, but if you’re starting to develop wrinkles, I’d add retinol, too. It’s one of the few ingredients that can actually reduce them.

Vanessa July 28, 2016 - 9:33 pm

Hello! Thanks for the interesting article! I appreciated the fact u answer often to commens!
I discovered facial exercise one year ago and I’m doing a couple of them regularly from 2 months.

The first exercise is about lifting the tip pf my nose, so I don’t think it will cause wrinckles.

The second one is about cheeks. And here I have a question.
I’m 26 but I’m naturally very skinny, so I have no cheeks. I started to do the exercises hoping to make my cheekbones more “muscled” and lifting the skin on my lower part of the cheeks. I dunno if this make sense but the only option I found in alternative is filler and I’m not convinced about it for various reason (cost, temporary effect, damage to capillaries). Could someone suggest onther possibility for skinny people like me that want to gain facial muscles (please do not answer things like “eat more” cause I absolutely don’t starve myself and I do not have a stressful relationship with food?
Thank you very much

Gio July 31, 2016 - 7:06 pm

Vanessa. thank you for your nice words and sorry to hear about your problem. Unfortunately, there are no miracle solutions. Fillers and surgeries are the only ways I know to achieve fuller cheeks and frankly I wouldn’t recommend them either. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

Nonie August 31, 2016 - 8:46 am

Hi Vanessa:

Exercise can indeed fill up the face, but I do not believe spot training is a good idea. You said you work the nose and cheeks but so many other muscles connected to those in the areas you work need toning too in order to support those you have been exercising. I also believe that the method of exercising also makes a difference. I have heard people say some face exercises burn the fat in their face. I do not think this is possible. You would have to do some type of facial cardio to burn fat. I think what happens is muscles get firmer and more compact and that appears as thinner face, especially if there isn’t any resistance training or the program is not well-balanced. Also lifting the cheeks can leave the lower part of the face gaunt. Carolyn Cleaves whose program I do found this happened to her own face even though her program does involve resistance training and she therefore added a bonus exercise that is to be done in addition to the 28 foundational exercises. I, myself, never considered my face gaunt by any means, however, I have been doing that bonus exercise and my face is fuller now in my 40’s than it was in my 30’s when I started the program. ( The effect is similar to getting fillers because even my laugh lines are gone. You can see the same filling out of the face in Robert so that his face no longer appears long and thin but shorter and rounder:

I started Carolyn’s Facial Fitness after another program had messed my face up. After 15 years of keeping my face toned and line-free with face exercises by Eva Fraser, I started a new program because I was intrigued and it got a lot of praise from those doing it but in just four months, my face had aged about ten years. Fast forward two years into doing CFF and I seemed to have fixed all the problems I had developed. In fact my Jan 2009 photos are among my favorite progress pics. However, I took a photo this year in the same pose as one of the 2009 pics and not only does my face look fuller, it also looks shorter as if all the muscles have done what Elaine says will happen. Needless to say, I am happier with my face now than I was then:

Now you said you did not want to be told to eat more, but protein is needed for muscle building so if your diet is low in protein, you may not see the muscle growth you hope for. Also I believe an anti-inflammatory diet is important in order to see positive results:


Elaine Bartlett August 30, 2016 - 12:55 pm

Wow so many comments! Gio, I do have scientific evidence that face exercises tone the muscles 🙂 I’m a therapist and spent 2 years researching & designing exercises. My exercises had a client trial, & are now an approved therapy. You DEFINITELY have to be careful – some exercises are too aggressive.(I often help people who’ve used programs that are way too harsh). Anyone looking for a program should ask if the person selling them has qualifications & expertise in anatomy. If they don’t – leave well alone!
The scientific reason that exercise works is due to the way facial muscles respond to exercise: muscles get shorter and ‘tighter’ when they’re exercised. Also, the resting tone of muscles increases because the nerves become more ‘alert’. Skin gets firmer and healthier because cell turnover increases with the boost in circulation. Future ageing is slowed because the muscles don’t sag into folds. It’s a big subject! I’ll close by saying I’m 55 now and regularly mistaken for being in my mid-40s. I look better now than I did before I started.

Gio August 30, 2016 - 9:09 pm

Elaine, thanks so much for your explanation. Do you have any links to any study that confirms those claims? I’d like to check them out. Thanks!

In any case, I agree with you that we have to be really careful with what we do to our faces. Some harsh, repeated movements can do more harm than good.

Elaine Bartlett August 31, 2016 - 4:34 pm

Hi Gio, thanks for your reply 🙂 Email me at [email protected], and I’ll give you more information. I don’t have a link as the study wasn’t for the public domain.
The study was done in order to have the exercise program approved by the CThA The CThA’s exam board, ITEC are world leaders for the Complimentary, Sport & Therapy industry. Professional therapists can legally only practice therapies that are registered and approved AND for which they are qualified.
Faceworks is the only face exercise program to gain industry approval. For me, it was the only way, as I taught the exercises to clients in my practice. I honestly could not offer something that didn’t have recognition of that calibre.

Gio September 23, 2016 - 11:40 am

Elaine, I really admire your dedication to your work and clients. I think it’s amazing that you took the time to have the study done. So few people would do that, which is why I think there are so many sceptics like me. So many people promise us miracles, but what we want is a little proof that this stuff actually works. I’ll email you now.

Sylwia September 9, 2016 - 8:09 pm

Noni, I understand that it was Eva Fraser’s exercise programme that messed up your face? I do have her book and I am about to start the programme but I got scared after reading your comment. I am 30 now.

Nonie November 25, 2016 - 2:47 pm

Hi Sylwia,

I am only seeing your post now. Odd that I never got an alert when you posted. It is not Eva Fraser’s program that messed my face up. Eva’s program helped me maintain a youthful face for 15 years so that I never experienced any signs of aging even without using any special topicals. My face maintained the tone and firmness I had in my 20’s all the way to the age of 35 and I even got an eyelid lift from the program so that my hereditary hooded eyes now look as if I had blepharoplasty. I cannot say enough good things about Eva Fraser’s program. Like you, it was her book (the original one) I used and if I had not made the mistake of switching from her program to another just out of curiosity, I probably would still be doing Eva Fraser’s program.

The program that messed my face up was Flex Effect. I switched to it because the theory about it (resistance training builds muscle to replace fat and mass lost as we age and thus give the face a fullness) made sense and the author was a beautiful former bodybuilder whose face in mid-fifties looked so good that you could not help trusting her knowledge on the subject. The raves about the program on the Internet were so glowing that the temptation to try the program was overwhelming even though I really did not have any issues and Eva’s program was working well. I have since learned to heed the adage “If it ain’t broke(n), don’t fix it” because within just four months, my age defying face had aged about ten years. I say that because until I did that program, everyone thought I was about 20. But after that program, I had puffy eyes and nasolabial lines which I had never had all my life, and my face had lost the beautiful definition Eva’s program had given me and become bulky, frumpy and soft; and people would simply nod when I told them my age instead of the usual “No way!” reaction and a demand to see my ID. Not that it is bad to look your age, but I had put in years of effort to slow down the aging process and reaped awesome benefits from that with Eva’s help to be OK with the realization that I had undone all that progress in just four months due to dumb decision I made to jump ship and trust someone at the expense of my better judgment. 

I should mention that instinct is a blessing that we owe a lot to but oh how silly I was to ignore mine. Before I ever did Flex Effect, right after watching the DVD (second edition) for the first time, one exercise where the author pulls down on the skin under her eyes then flexes the lower lid up against that pull scared the crap out of me. I had to call her to ask if she was sure that was OK. She assured me it was. But after a few days of doing that exercise and my eyes were looking awful. I called her in tears about that and she assured me that this was just an “awkward stage” and that I had to “work harder” to get past it to get the eyes she had in the beautiful  cover photo that was on the kit materials. I believed her. But things got progressively worse and by the 4th month I realized that to keep doing the same thing expecting different results is madness and stopped. 

I had hoped my face would return to normal when I stopped but it did not. While it did stop being so large and bulky, I developed folds and lines I had never had before. The puffy skin under my eyes became loose and lined now instead of just being fat sausages; now they sausages looked wrinkly. It was only after I started another program after 13 months that i was able to undo the negative effects of that program. 

I share my experience with the program to say this: I believe what you see after doing a face exercise program is a preview of things to come. So when I read people saying that the ugly signs after a workout are just part of the journey and that things will get better, and all you need is to rest before returning to the program, I cringe. And this is because my own experience has taught me otherwise. When I did Eva’s program in the earlier days, my eyes would look so beautiful after doing the upper eyelid exercise that I started to do it right before taking a photo. I could not put my finger on what it was then that I liked about my eyes after the exercise, but in retrospect, I do love the eyes I have today, and I realize the shortlived beauty I saw back then was a preview of the eyes I have today which I am grateful for. And when my eyes looked horrible after I did the Flex Effext lower eyelid flexing exercise, that was a preview of what I would end up with if I kept at it, but of course back then I had no idea. I simply believed what I was told. Bottom line, I do not believe that things have to get worse before they get better, or that you have to see negative results even if briefly as part of the journey. I never had any pain, soreness, or ugliness with Eva, have not had it with Tom Hagerty’s program or Carolyn’s program. Instead, my face looks and feels good after the workout. There is a close-up photo on the CFF website of me when I was 40 and that was taken immediately after a CFF workout. There are no signs of the so-called “after face exercise fatigue”. And I have shared how after doing Tom’s winking exercise concentrating on proper form, I end up feeling muscle exhaustion but it does not show at all. Instead my eyes look rested. 

So when people stop doing a program because they didn’t FEEL a burn or soreness, I think that is a mistake. I have never felt a burn or soreness and yet I get results. I think the only time someone should stop doing a program is if it is giving bad results. If nothing seems to be changing or you are not feeling anything, that does not mean it is not working. Change happens slowly and nothing changing in your eyes may just mean you are not seeing it because you see your face too often to notice subtleties. Besides, isn’t nothing changing a sign that aging has been slowed down if not stopped in its tracks? As long as you are doing something, I say you are better off than those doing nothing and worrying about aging.  ‎Also remember “if it ain’t broke(n), don’t fix it” no matter how much people rave about something out there that you are not doing. All that glitters is not gold. 


Anna November 23, 2016 - 11:26 am

Hi! If there are surgical methods to lift face by lift small muscles, shouldn’t exercising the same muscle do anything?

Gio November 23, 2016 - 1:29 pm

Anna, my concern with facial exercise is repetition of movement. We know that frowning a lot eventually leads to wrinkles, for example. So, would moving the muscles in the same way over and over again to exercise do the same? I haven’t seen any proof to support or deny this theory, so I’m still on the fence.

Nonie November 24, 2016 - 5:47 pm

Hi Gio:

From your comment I realize that you have not grasped the important fact that differentiates face exercises from everyday face expressions. Face exercises are not about making the same facial expressions you make everyday that are the reason you have wrinkles. Face exercises are about engaging muscles that rarely get used so that they too can be as strong as those you use all the time. That way, they are able balance out those that stay in semi-contraction due to frequent use and therefore excellent tone, by pulling back on them and thus opening up the folds caused by the one-sided semi-contraction. 

Improvement in tone means the muscles are no longer slack and thus the skin attached directly to them is no longer hanging. Add to that the shortening and building of the muscles that helps create a fullness in the outward appearance of the face. All this without risking the loss of feeling or movement or of having too much skin removed that you end up looking like a freak. In essence, you take your face back to a tone it had some years back with face exercises. In addition to giving a natural renewed youthfulness to the face, the improved tone makes your skin appear to have improved in elasticity too because expressions you make are no longer left frozen in your face long after you stop making them–in the form of, say, permanent forehead furrows or nasolabial lines. Instead, your face achieves a line-free look of relaxation and peace  when you are not making expressions, because the skin snaps back into place–thanks to a tug-of-war between equally-matched-in-tone interconnected muscles. 

Toned muscles are compact and stay in semi-contraction. One exercise we all do is smiling. Since a smile is created in the exact same way every blinking time, the same muscles are used to create the expression which means the same muscles are exercised over and over and over. The regularly exercised smiling cheek muscles develop better tone than, say, the muscles that you use to snarl or those you use whistle or those you use to move your lower lip down.  Improved tone of any muscles means the muscles do not fully relax. The toned muscles are also stronger than those that don’t get used as much–which BTW happened to be connected to them (eg chin muscles). ‎

Do you see where I am going with this? Smiling involves contraction of cheek muscles followed by their relaxation when you stop smiling. Over time, these very fit muscles from years of being exercised develop in strength and tone without any strong opposite pull to them from related muscles that don’t get as much exercise. And because of their excellent tone, when you stop smiling, they relax but not fully (Toned muscles stay in a semi-contracted state). Now remember skin on the face is directly attached to the muscles. The semi-contraction due to great cheek muscle tone, the non-resistance from other connected loose muscles that would otherwise exert an opposite pull, the slackness of other muscles (eg snarl muscles) creating overhang, and of course, a loss in collagen over time, all lead to the creases that form when you smile becoming a permanent feature on your face. ‎

Now imagine if those cheek muscles’ semi-contraction was countered by lower face muscles whose tone is just as good and by snarl muscles also with tone just as good. It would mean that when you stop smiling, instead of the lower face muscles that experienced a stretch from the cheek muscles when a smile was formed just lazily being laid back down by the cheek muscles, they can now exert their own pull that is equal in strength at relaxation as that of the cheek muscles in a balanced way. And instead of the snarl muscles being so slack that the skin they are attached to appears to hang over, they achieve good tone too and become compact/shortened in their semi-contracted state and thus lift and hold that skin up. 

Muscle firmness is one thing we lose as we age if we do not exercise the muscles. That applies to both body and face. Pinch the cheek of a child and compare it with that of someone older and you will notice a difference in firmness. Do the same with someone who does face exercises vs someone who doesn’t and you will detect a similar difference: not just in firmness but even in the thickness of the skin, with the exerciser having a thicker chunk of flesh to pinch. Even without bringing up the role of massage (known to affect fibroblasts which produce collagen) plays in face exercises because you would prefer scientific proof, surely you cannot deny that by pure logic, what I have shared makes sense. I mean, how else can you explain my having done face exercises for the last 25+ years and being in my 40’s and yet I have no crows’ feet when I smile, no forehead furrows or elevens between eyebrows unless I raise my eyebrows or knit my brow respectively and no  deeply etched nasolabial lines. Surely if face exercises worked the way you reason, shouldn’t my face be the worse for wear? 

What about people like Peta (FaceAerobics) and Carolyn (Carolyn’s Facial Fitness) who were aging naturally like everyone else does by the time they reached 50 and now seem to have the caught the Curious Case of Benjamin Button since starting face exercises? If face exercises work the way you believe, should they not look like a map with contours drawn in–a clear record of all the expressions they make? Yet they no longer have the sag or lines they had when they started. 

Gio November 25, 2016 - 9:36 pm

Thanks for your explanation, Nonie. I guess my problem is that I don’t really fully get how facial exercises could possibly work because there really is no scientific proof explaining it. I know I seem like a broken record, but with so many crooks around in every profession, I guess I just like to have the safety of scientific proof. I have to say, though, that your explanation does make sense. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

I’ve recently discovered a facial exercise studio here in London and the lady running it does seem to defy age. She’s 50 but doesn’t show it. Maybe I’ll pop in for a lesson. 🙂

Ana December 14, 2016 - 12:07 pm

Glad I stopped by your post. I’ve already been on the fence about whether I should do facial exercises/yoga with so many people recommending it. I think I should stick to facial massage 🙂

Gio December 17, 2016 - 4:52 pm

Ana, for now I think so too 🙂

Geri June 13, 2017 - 10:34 pm

Try researching Bell’s palsy recovery stories and the kinds of physiotherapy offered, this would give you the scientific information you need to assess this, because medicine doesn’t care much about ageing, but this is a real medical thing and you need to get the tone back in the formerly paralysed cheek otherwise you bite the inside of your mouth a lot, as well as many other problems.

I know this because I had Bell’s palsy, over 15 years ago, which paralysed one half of my face entirely for about 6 weeks, then I slowly got full mobility back after about 8 – 9 weeks (it was horrible). The reason I’m dragging that bad memory out of the box is that the side of my face which was paralysed looked older, flatter, and duller, even though I was only in my late 20’s.

I started doing facial exercises as part of my DIY physio because my doctor was useless, and it helped then,. and even now when I do them consistantly for a few months my face looks younger, plumper, fuller. I can’t see any reason why face muscles alone wouldn’t respond to exercise, because cardiac (heart) muscle does, and some websites offer physio guidelines for people recovering from Bell’s palsy, which shows that facial muscles will change when properly exercised. Eva Fraser sold me on this, after I started researching how to get my face looking normal again, and she looks amazing for her age.

Finally, if you’re worried about forehead lines, place micropore surgical tape or a “frownie” on those lines, you’ll see the exercises don’t strain that skin, and hers don’t strain the lines beside the mouth either because you pull upwards using the cheek muscles.

Gio June 17, 2017 - 12:20 pm

Geri, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I haven’t looked at studies in this field but I definitely will now. I’ll update the post when I know more about it.

peka January 10, 2019 - 4:04 am

My father also had Bell’s Palsy and was also doing facial exercises, working with a physical therapist. This was about 20 years ago, long before I knew or cared about exercising facial muscles for the sake of appearance. But, honestly, this shouldn’t be so surprising or controversial. Anyone who’s ever seen a stroke victim or someone with a palsy, or any other partial facial paralysis, it’s pretty indisputable that slack facial muscles absolutely contribute to (and in some cases, are the sole cause of) sagging.

Gio January 24, 2019 - 1:34 pm

Peka, I’m glad to hear that facial exercises helped your father. But I don’t think you can say that slack facial muscles are sometimes the sole cause of aging as it’s a known fact that your skin loses a bit of collagen every year, unprotected sun exposure adds up and everything starts to decline as you get older.

faiharm September 14, 2017 - 3:59 pm

I think it’s interesting that this debate has gone on for as long as it has. Everybody is different and thus their body reacts differently to ingetibles, topicals and exercise. Meaning, a particular medicine can work for one person while another can have an adverse reaction. Someone might swear by a skincare serum that another person can find had no effect on them. The same with exercise.
It makes sense that there is not copious research on facial exercises – those studies cost $100,000-$200,000 and up. Many small operations could never afford to do those studies and as someone mentioned earlier many doctors wouldn’t either. Even retail companies that sell devices have a tough time coming up with capital to do studies that would help sell their products.
If we look at exercise of the body as a model, take Tracy Anderson, whose fitness philosophy is making sure that you are working out the accessory muscles groups. Muscles that are smaller and do not get worked out as much or as often yet help to pull in and lift larger muscles groups. Quoted from her website, “There, she met a doctor who was attempting to ease the strain on the large muscle groups in athletes by strengthening the small, accessory muscles. The concept resonated deeply with Tracy, and she threw herself into his research.”
While I understand you base this blog off of science, western science often discounts less traditional “medicine”. This is why, in this modern age, we are seeing a reemergence of eastern medicine and techniques. Modern science is not always correct and just because you are a doctor does not always mean you are an expert on all things nor even your chosen field. There are, unfortunately, a lot of people out there who are not good doctors and can also be charlatans. (There was a well-renowned doctor who had a cancer clinic and diagnosed hundreds of people with cancer so they could seek treatment at his clinic. He became a millionaire because of this an most of these people never even had cancer. An extreme example, i know. In CA, you can become a doctor and go into practice in any specialty without having the additional schooling and experience in that field.) There is often new science to disprove old science. This is why my grandfather said they call it a medical practice, because they are practicing to get it right. 🙂 Several years ago all fats were bad and we were to cut out all fats from our diets. Now science is saying, wait, there are good for you fats, its ok to eat those. In fact, it’s important to have those in your diet. All studies are done with a specific objective in mind which means that someone is pushing his or her own agenda and belief. So the outcome is effected by the parameters that person sets. All this to say, science is not always objective as it has people’s agendas behind it.
The face is the only place on the body where the muscles are connected to the skin in such a fashion that you could see results from stimulating certain muscles. I just think there are things that sometimes defy current mainstream science. Especially those people who are on tv and social media, Dr. Oz has had to detract things he has said and promoted on his show many times. Oftentimes, he has not researched much of what he is promoting or what his guests are saying. While he is a renowned heart surgeon, it doesn’t make him an expert in skin or facial muscles.
It’s all subjective and this is just my opinion.

Gio September 17, 2017 - 9:11 am

Fairharm, I agree with you on many points. This is a science-based blog and people come here for the science so that’s what I focused on what that says. Sadly, there aren’t that many studies done on facial exercises, which is a shame. Even if it turned out they work, it would be so useful to have studies showing what the best combinations of exercises are. I guess we’ll have to wait for that.

If at any point I find any studies suggesting facial exercises work, I’d be more than happy to edit this post. As you said, science is often a work in progress. 🙂

Anna September 17, 2017 - 1:57 am

Sorry to say but you are wrong! Forst of all, Yes repeated movements of muscle give wrinkles. But when you do face yoga you train those muscles to move without contracting at the “crease”. So you can rise your eyebrows without wrinkling your forehead. Or smiling withouth creasing your eyes.

I’m 28 and I have been doing faceyoga since I was 24. I know I’m still young BUT would you think that I would look younger now than i did before I started with the exsercises? I do.

I have more beautiful features and fuller cheeks and an all over glow.

You forgot to mention that facial exercises:

1. Plump your skin from the inside
2. Boosts collagen production
3. Boost blood and oxygen flow
4. Drains the lyphs of excess water (read: sagging skin)
5. Makes it easier for the skin to absorb nutrients making it more glowy and less thin

So before you all think this article is the truth, do some reasearch for yourself. Maybe even try it.

My skin looks better then it did 5 years ago. I’m 28 and sometimes I’m not allowed in to clubs because they think I’m under 20 and have a fake ID. Happened 3 times same night last weekend. So say whatever you want. But how come a body looks more tight, young and fit when you exercise it?

If what you are saying is true it would be saggy and wrinkly from exersice? Lol!!

Gio September 23, 2017 - 3:48 pm

Anna, thanks for sharing your experience. This is a science-based beauty blog and unfortunately so far science has neither confirmed nor denied the effectiveness of facial exercises. Both theories – they strengthen the muscles or repeated facial movements causes wrinkles – are valid because unproven. I can’t recommend something to my readers that science hasn’t proven. If studies come out to say that facial exercises work, I’d be more than happy to edit this post.

chan October 3, 2017 - 8:58 pm

Look I don’t know from where did you get that info,but half of it is a self thought or from a non-basis source. I’m a doctor myself and I prefer practicing facial exercises/yoga,but in certain cases only(everything has a limit). All those peeps whom I recommended it, gave me a positive feedback. Feedback about decrease in wrinkles and fine lines weren’t much but it proved to be highly effective method to get rid of chubby face and for a glowing skin.
You said, Facial exercises causes wrinkles I clearly don’t disagree. But facial exercise doesn’t mean keep practicing a repeated exercise without any guidance which should not be done or does not mean there are only 1 or 2 exercises but if you go through the web you’ll get some fine picked exercises which does not involve any repeated movements nor stressful contractions but just some perfect movements and massages which are really effective.
And about the scientific study/proof about facial exercises, give some more time to your research there are many proofs online. Moreover it’s not a matter for in which you’ll find some highly invested scientist working and researching on to produce a scientific article and publicise it in mass.
Even your face muscles need exercises as your other body muscles but the aproach is different because facial muscles arr different from other muscles. Facial muscles are inserted into your skin and aponeurosis of face not on any bone unlike other body muscles. Exercise in body muscles causes its wear and tear along with production of more dense and strong muscles after repair. Its should not be done same with facial muscles. You can just take care of your facial muscles by proper facial exercise(which is good for proper blood supply and nerve supply) which eventually leads to decrease in facial fat and balanced cell growth and death(reduces ageing).
Not only this there is too much to know. You can do it by yourself.

Gio October 6, 2017 - 8:44 pm

Chan, thanks for your comment. I admit that my opinion about facial exercise has changed a bit over the years as I discover more anecdotal evidence that it may actually do something. The problem is that, without scientific studies to guide us, it’s difficult to know which exercises benefit skin and which don’t. As it is, for a genuine facial exercise guru, there are 10 who just jumped on the bandwagon and created ineffective programmes just to make a quick buck. My new stance is, “it may work, but unless you know what you’re doing, don’t even go there”.

Antonia January 5, 2018 - 1:52 pm
Gio January 19, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Antonia, thank you! Do you have a link to the actual study itself so I can see how they did it? It seems the sample was really small but still it’s a promising start.

Nonie February 3, 2018 - 1:48 pm

Hi Gio:

I suspect this might be the study in question:

I don’t know if you visit the Essential Day Spa Forum but this was posted there a while ago:

‘Facial Stretches’ Trimmed Years Off Women’s Looks in Small Study

The Study:
Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging

Gio February 11, 2018 - 10:32 am

Nonie, thanks for the links! 🙂

Nonie July 30, 2018 - 2:59 pm
Gio August 5, 2018 - 10:20 am

Nonie, thanks for always keeping us up to date. 🙂

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