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Can Face Yoga Make You Look Younger?

Looking for ways to age gracefully that don’t involve expensive creams or procedures? Enter Face Yoga. Much like the flowing practice of full-body yoga that calms the mind and strengthens the muscles of the body, Face Yoga is designed to relax and simultaneously tone the muscles of the face, helping to keep the telltale signs of aging at bay.

“Face Yoga is a healthy alternative to Botox,” says Denise Livingston, a certified Face Yoga Method teacher based in Denver, Colorado. Livingston discovered the Face Yoga Method a year ago, just shy of turning 50, while looking for a natural approach to younger-looking skin.

Practicing the routines and lifestyle recommendations of Fumiko Takatsu, founder of the Face Yoga Method in Japan, Livingston says she started looking 5 to 7 years younger in just a few months. She was so convinced of those results—and a marked improvement in a skin pigmentation condition called melasma—that she decided to become a certified Face Yoga Method instructor this past summer.

“Face Yoga is a very empowering approach to skin care,” says Livingston, “because you can say no to expensive creams and invasive procedures that have to be repeated over and over.”

The effectiveness of facial exercises for facial rejuvenation has yet to be studied in randomized, controlled scientific trials, but in almost a dozen small scientific studies facial exercises did have a positive outcome, improving the appearance of skin tone and wrinkles.

The Face Yoga Method incorporates a system of facial “poses” that increase circulation to naturally tighten and brighten the face, targeting specific problem areas like double chins, nasolabial folds and crow’s feet. There’s also a focus on bringing awareness to particular lifestyle habits that may be exacerbating your aging skin. This includes repetitive postural habits like holding your phone to one ear, constantly looking down at your device, resting your palm on your face, and sleeping on your side.

Face yoga is not a quick fix, though, meaning results are based on your daily commitment to the exercises and lifestyle habits. Livingston says to expect to see improvement in skin appearance anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. “Once you get to the point of being happy with your results,” she says, “it’s really about maintaining good habits.”

Face Yoga Basics
To start melting the years off your face, try the three Face Yoga Method poses below. For best results, practice Face Yoga for 10 minutes, 2 to 3 times per day.

Begin by standing in front of a mirror with good, upright posture and relaxed shoulders. And, just like you do on your yoga mat, remember to relax and breathe.

The Big O
This pose will bring blood circulation to your entire face while smoothing out your nasolabial folds and marionette lines. Without furrowing your brow, make a big “O” with your mouth—your orbicularis oris muscle. You want to do this with firm pressure, not intensely. Hold pose for 5 seconds and do 3 times.

The Swan Neck
A great pose for toning the double chin and sides of the neck. Start by looking to your right, tilting your head up about 45 degrees. Feel the neck muscles working! Remember to not let your shoulders creep up. Hold this pose for 5 seconds, and then do the same for the left side. Do 3 sets.

The Smile Lifter
This pose is great for slimming your cheeks. Start by jutting the lower jaw slightly forward. Curl lower lip over the upper lip and touch the lips together. Lift up your chin to a 45-degree angle. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Hold for 10 seconds and do 3 times. You want firm, but not extreme, pressure. Feel your cheek and your neck muscles working while doing the pose. Make sure you are not wrinkling your forehead.