Body muscles have to be exercised. We all know that. And most of us even belong to a gym. It should come as no surprise that the fifty or so muscles in the face need some regular toning too. Simply put, facial work-outs have the same effect on your face as crunches have on your abs. And they’re free! No gym membership, no personal trainer, no sign-up lists, and no limited hours. Just you, a few spare moments (two, to be exact) and the bathroom mirror. It’s really quite easy—but it sure does take an iron will.
The principle is that you identify the specific muscle and work it, first by itself and later with your fingers to create resistance. The problem is that some muscle areas are difficult to work, and the movements may be exceptionally subtle. Ideally, an expert should supervise your technique, but (due to popular request) here are some beginner exercises for the determined:
Eye Muscles – (Smile Lines/Crow’s Feet)
Keeping the eyelids closed, cross your eyes, i.e., look inward toward your nose. Then squint your eyelids and hold for a few seconds. Finally, open your eyes very widely and stare at a fixed point some distance away. HINT: when you squint, don’t scrunch up your entire face – just the eye area. To relax, quickly blink the eyelids several times, then gently close.
These muscles shape the lower face. First, open your mouth widely, lowering the bottom jaw as far as possible, then place your index finger firmly across the bottom row of teeth. Next, try to close the mouth and clench the teeth together. CAUTION: don’t actually bite your finger; just bring the teeth down to it and hold while feeling the pressure in the chin. To relax, bend the head slightly forward, open the mouth a little, and slowly move the head from left to right (as if in the manner of saying no.)
The first one is simple. Lift the eyebrows, open the eyes widely and stare at a fixed point. For the second exercise, smooth the forehead by placing the left hand palm side down on the scalp with the fifth (pinky) finger parallel to the front hairline. With the right hand, place the index finger over the center portion of the right eyebrow, and the third finger over the center portion of the left eyebrow, and “fix” them in place. Raise the eyebrows against this “fixed” position and use your finger to prevent upward movement of the eyebrows. That’s it. To relax, place the fingertips on the muscles of the forehead and apply light pressure. Shake the head gently from side to side.
Mouth and Chin
To improve the tone of the mouth and chin, open the lips while clenching the teeth, then pull the sides of the mouth sideways with your index fingers to make the bottom teeth fully visible. Press upward with the index fingers and try to pull the corners of the mouth down against the resistance of the fingers. Hold for a few seconds. To relax, close your mouth lightly and go “brrr”, vibrating your lips like you are shivering.
Remember, facial exercises are an adjunct, not a replacement to facial surgery in the same way that liposuction and exercise go hand-in-hand.
Why Your Face is Now Part of Your Workout – The New York Times – August 25, 2015