Face the Facts: Face Gym Is Too Expensive

“It’s not a facial. It’s a workout.”

A man recieves a FaceGym facial. A skin treatment supposed to be a "workout for your face". (Photo by Tomer Keysar)

Students who grind at the gym may live by the motto, never skip leg day. But what about face day?

While there are workouts created to target many different areas of the body, the face is not typically a place one thinks to exercise.  

With the claim, “it’s not a facial — it’s a workout,” Face Gym hopes to differentiate itself from beauty establishments that provide facials and massages. But these face exercises come with a hefty price tag.

The Face Gym has recently opened two New York City locations in NoHo and Saks Fifth Avenue. I booked a $70 appointment for the 30-minute long Signature workout at the NoHo studio on Broadway. As the most affordable option, The Signature promises “a quick all-round workout to lift, tone and tighten your facial muscles leaving you glowing and sculpted,” according to Face Gym’s website.

Receptionists cheerfully greeted me when I walked into the studio. I marveled at the luminous space as relaxing pop songs added to the soothing ambiance.

My trainer, Tela Anderson, directed me to a reclining workout chair. She gave me a quick cleansing first, followed by a hot towel covering my face. She gently massaged my shoulder and my neck, relaxing me instantly. Then, she produced a red yoga ball the size of my fist. She placed the ball on my forehead and rolled it around. According to Anderson, the ball helps to decrease any puffiness in the face. The strength was just right. Next, she applied the brightening training serum to my face. She told me it contained avocado oil and L-Carnitine, a naturally occurring amino-like acid that is good for metabolism.

Cardio was next. She massaged my facial muscles with the serum by patting and pinching my face.

“Unless you are making extreme facial expressions all day every day, your face is not getting enough movements,” Anderson said.

Strength training followed cardio. As face weights, she used the electrical muscle stimulator to contract my muscles, and whenever the stimulator got close to my eyes, they twitched rapidly. Anderson told me this was because of the electricity carried by the stimulator. The whole sculpting process was intended to lift, tone and tighten the skin.

The cooldown process began with a hot towel. Afterward, Anderson applied some light eye cream and moisturizer to my face. To wrap up the workout, she massaged my face with a Gua Sha stone, which is a jade massage tool that originated in China.

“Here we focus on the muscles first, and skin second,” Anderson said. “The most important benefit of the workout would be muscle memory.”

When I left, my face had a post-workout glow — lacking the actual workout, as it would turn out. I felt moisturized, tightened and lifted — as any proper facial would leave me. However, the ultimate test would be the slimming effect it claims to give. Although my skin felt a lot smoother than before the workout, there was not a visible difference in the shape of my face, as originally promised.

At $70, the workout seems like a luxury. However, Anderson claims that, like any workout routine, a one-time visit is far from enough to see real results. She suggested a face workout every seven to 10 days, but even the cheapest workout — the $70 signature one — would be a significant investment.

Overall, Face Gym’s facial workout is a unique experience, but with the price tag, the average student might just be better off getting an actual facial from a licensed esthetician instead of going to a place that tries to pass off a massage and facial as a workout with yoga balls and gimmicks.

Email Teresa Zhang at [email protected]

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