This new anti-ageing spa treatment is like a workout for your face. But does it really work?
Maybe it’s because I’m turning 30 in a few months – or because years of foolish sun bathing in my teens left me with premature wrinkles – but I’ve started to take an interest in anti-ageing treatments. So when I heard that FaceGym promised firmer, younger-looking skin after just one session, I had to give it a try.
FaceGym creator Inge Theron, who spent years doing beauty detective work as the undercover reporter Spa Junkie, based her idea on a simple principle: ‘We don’t think twice about toning our muscles at the gym, so why think differently about the face?’
I wasn’t exactly sure what a face workout would involve, but I showed up to my appointment ready to find out.
Before starting my session at the new Selfridges pop-up, my lovely therapist Jessie had me fill out a form indicating any medical issues and selecting my desired level of pressure. When I sat down in the chair, she started by wiping my make-up off, and then we launched into the ‘workout.’
Mirrored after a regular gym workout, the standard 30-minute treatment (£35) includes four phases: warm up, cardio, strength and cool down. The warm up was pleasant enough: a bit of stretching, exfoliating and gentle message. It was during the next phase where things got intense. As a novice spa-goer, I was a bit nervous when she started pinching my skin and slapping by cheeks. It didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t exactly a feel-good experience. Plus, I was acutely aware that we were right next to the H&M section of Selfridges and loads of shoppers were passing by (probably wondering why some poor woman was being repeatedly slapped in the face).
But I tried to just relax and listen to the music. (The speakers were blasting Michael Jackson’s “PYT,” so I focused on how the treatment would make me look like a pretty young thing.) During the strength phase, she definitely turned up the pressure, working her fingers underneath my cheekbones and into my jaw. She pointed out that I was carrying a lot of tension in my jaw, and I was impressed that she could tell I’m a nighttime teeth-grinder. At one point, she firmly rubbed her entire forearm across my face – but she explained that it was all part of contouring and lifting my muscles, so I smiled and let it happen.
Once we hit the cooldown phase, I knew I was in the clear. It actually felt quite nice as she used a cooling jade roller over my face and finished with a splash of hydrating toner.
After receiving the Signature Workout, I was treated to a few add-ons. Jessie gave me the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Acid treatment (£20) for extra radiance and facial replenishing. And then she finished with the Biocellulose Treatment Mask (£25) to refresh skin and remove any redness from the workout (a treatment I requested since I had to go straight to another event and wanted to avoid looking like a red, splotchy mess).
Inge Theron explained to us that following a treatment ‘skin will feel instantly firmer with a more toned appearance and deeply nourished with a fresh dewy glow.’ When my mask was removed, I definitely felt the effects. My skin felt clean, tight and refreshed. And when Jessie held up a mirror, I could see that it looked a bit more lifted and slightly less puffy than before.
All in all, my treatments – which took about 45 minutes – were mostly pleasant and gave visible results. And as Inge says, it’s ‘an effective anti-ageing alternative to botox and fillers,’ which I like. But it’s not just a one-and-done sort of thing.
Just like a body workout, Inge suggests making FaceGym part of your regular routine for best results. ‘Regular face workouts will result in a more tightened, toned appearance long term,’ she says. ‘We do offer a DIY FaceGym kit and recommend daily work in front of the mirror. But as we have learned from fitness, you get so much more out of a workout or a class when you have a professional instructor. Same goes for FaceGym. You just sit back and our trainers’ fingers do all the burpees, press-ups and sit-ups, so you don’t have to!’
If only getting toned abs could be that easy…
A Few Extra FaceGym Tips:
1. Take your make-up off before your treatment.
2. Wear a loose, comfortable top.
3. Plan to go straight home and shower afterwards – or bring along some dry shampoo. The oils and lotions tend to sneak into your hairline, making strands a bit greasy.
4. If you are going somewhere after your session, spring for the Biocellulose Treatment Mask to remove redness.