What Is a Face Gym (and Is it the Secret to Looking Ultra-Snatched)?

We go to the gym to tone our arms, legs, butt and abs. But what about…our face? Enter the face gym, a spa-workout hybrid that’s popping up all over the world and could yield some seriously sculpted results. Here's what you need to know before your first facial sweat sesh.

What Is a Face Gym?

A face gym is, literally, a complete gym workout for your face. It can be done in a physical location by another person or by yourself with the help of an instructional video. Similar to the results you'd see after doing face yoga, the goal of the work you do in a face gym is to tone the muscles beneath your skin. During a session, a masseuse will use his or her hands and some tools (like a flat jade Gua Sha) to stimulate blood circulation and collagen production to give the illusion of a face-lift without the needles. The first on our radar was the aptly named FaceGym, a British brand that now has locations in NYC and L.A. Also stateside is the Kardashian-approved Koko Face Yoga in L.A. (If there isn't a location near you, FaceGym also offers online classes starting at $15 a pop.)

What Happens During a Face Gym Session?

Much like a normal workout, a facial workout can be rigorous. At a face gym, you’ll typically go through a 30- or 45-minute class that mimics a fitness session, with a warm-up, a detailed routine and a cool-down. During a session, trainers (yes, they’re called trainers) will knead and massage your face to sculpt and tone muscles. (In-person classes start at a not-insignificant $60. FaceGym founder Inge Theron told Fast Company that, despite the spa feel, “at the end, your muscles hurt just as much as if you’d been to the gym. There are absolutely moments that are very, very vigorous…We call it ‘sweet pain.’” As for results, you'll likely notice an immediate difference in how tight and toned your face looks. If you've ever tried Gua Sha, it's kind of like that: You look in the mirror after your done and it looks like you haven't had salt in the last year—pretty cool.

Does It Actually Work?

As strange as it may seem, yes. Per a 2018 study at Northwestern University, 30 minutes of daily facial exercises can improve the appearance of middle-aged women's (generally between 40 and 60) faces. These improvements can take the form of plumper cheeks, fewer wrinkles and a more defined face shape. Another study published in JAMA Dermatology found that middle-aged women looked about three years younger after just a few months of exercising their faces. Some experts say that the lifting results of a facial workout are temporary, but even so, if you have a big event coming up and you want to look extra snatched, a temporary lift will do the trick. So, um, meet you at the gym for forehead class?

sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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