How often do you work out the more than 40 muscles in your face?
FaceGym took the skincare industry by a storm when it launched its high-intensity “workouts” designed to sculpt and hone the forgotten facial fascia back in 2016.
It quickly became a beauty editor favourite and has since opened 12 studios in London, LA and New York, where “trainers” rather then therapists conduct the treatments. There’s a warm-up, cardio workout, sculpting session and cool down, with plenty of knuckling, pummelling and pinching to depuff, define jawlines and beat jowls. The results are addictively instantaneous.
FaceGym has now launched a new high-performance skincare range which features four products designed to “prep, train and recover,” so you can work these muscles out from the comfort of your own home. The brand previously sold its own facial oils, gel activators and training sticks, but this is the first time it has launched a step-by-step skincare regime.
The main point of difference with this launch, though, are the application methods. Scan the QR code on any of the products and you’ll be directed to a short video tutorial showing you how to give yourself a high-intensity facial workout involving plenty of whipping strokes and palm pull-ups using the various creams and serums.
Founder Inge Theron says that as her clients weren’t able to come in to the studio as frequently in lockdown, she decided to deconstruct what her trainers do in-studio so that they could recreate their toning treatments at home. The tutorials feature the “best and simplest movements” from the workouts, she says, to ensure they are straightforward and easy to follow. It’s about encouraging people to slow down and get the most out of each step in their skincare routine as an act of self-care.
“We want to teach people how to wash your face properly, use it to increase your circulation, stimulate the muscles and warm them up - once you start really cleaning your face properly with these movements you’ll never go back,” she says. “I want to show you how to apply an oil to sculpt, tone, lift and chisel your jaw. It’s a modern approach to modern skin.”
When it comes to ingredients, Theron was mainly concerned with the impact stress is having on the skin. “Modern living means the skin barrier is under so much stress, if it’s angry or upset that’s when inflammation starts, we need to strengthen it,” she says. The products are packed with “trigger actives,” such as patchouli and micro-algae to “calm, regenerate and repair the skin barrier.”
The four-step routine (£200 for the set) consists of the Electrolite cleanser (£32), Hydro-Bound hyaluronic acid and niacinamide serum (£60), Youth Reformer vitamin C oil-serum (£80) and Supreme Restructure moisturiser (£95) - and Theron teased that a “next generation retinol” is on its way soon, too.
Electrolite cleanser (£32)
The silky gel-to-foam cleanser is light, fragrance-free and works into a little bit of a lather as you knuckle and knead your face into action first thing. Containing red clover and exfoliating papaya enzyme extract to help minimise the appearance of pores, the cleansing tutorial involves moves like nasal circles, lip and cheek scissor sweeps. If this were my evening cleanse, I’d probably use a heavier oil-based cleanser first to melt away makeup and impurities, but this feels perfect for first thing.
Hydro-Bound serum (£60)
You wouldn’t go to a Barry’s Bootcamp class without hydrating with water first would you? The same applies to your skincare routine. This lightweight formula sinks into the skin quickly so there’s less training time, but it delivers a key injection of multi-molecular hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid and niacinamide to lay the foundations for a bouncy, supple complexion. Meanwhile, the formula contains marine bioferments to protect the skin’s barrier and increase elasticity and firmness.
Youth Reformer oil-serum (£80)
Youth Reformer, a vitamin C and nootropic oil serum, has a really distinctive smell which is almost slightly metallic, which I wasn’t sure I liked at first. Theron explains that it’s the palo santo, which was being burnt when she was on an Ayahuasca retreat and came up with the idea for FaceGym. “I put the kitchen sink in this, my approach is always I’ll put in whatever is needed to make it work,” she says. Palo santo is said to have a cleansing, energising and focusing effect on your mood, meanwhile the potent vitamin C complex, alongside more hyaluronic acid, works to fight signs of ageing and lock in moisture, and patchouli, which is a phytocannabinoid, soothes and calms the skin. The lightweight formula is thinner and more absorbent than your average facial oil, but offers enough “playtime” to work through the sequence of facial exercises, and you can feel it getting to work as soon as it’s applied. Use with the FaceGym multi-sculpting gua sha tool (£45) for an instantly depuffed face - with it’s angular edges, it’s by far the best on the market that I’ve tried.
Supreme Restructure (£95)
Finally, Supreme Restructure is a velvety, rich (but not too thick) “collagen boosting” moisturiser, containing microalgae concentrate and (vegan-friendly) epidermal growth factors derived from tobacco plant, which just melts into the skin - and, in my opinion, it’s the star of the show. This is the reason Theron says she’s “a year late” launching the line, as it comes in an aluminum pot which can be topped up with refills made of sea plastic - with one equivalent to 50 plastic bags from the sea, according to the brand. This isn’t cheap, but easily compares to more expensive luxury creams on the market.
FaceGym has delivered a solid skincare lineup in this launch with some high quality ingredients. But what I’ve taken away from trialling the products over the last week, is a reminder to actually apply them properly using facial massage techniques - well, the whips and strokes I picked up from the tutorials. Starting my day with a thorough cleanse and some lymphatic drainage makes me look and feel more awake, it’s also a little early morning dose of self-care (needed).