What exactly Is FaceGym and does it work?
Is it a facial? Is it a workout? Despite the recent hype and headlines for being the ‘UK’s only gym studio for the face’, it remains shrouded in mystery.
Deep in Selfridges, surrounded by expensive stationery and chocolate with high cocoa content, is the original FaceGym studio; a desk with smiley, wrinkle-free staff, some mysterious machines and few dentist-style chairs.
More HIIT than health spa, the treatment is in four steps: warm-up, cardio, strength and cool down, to tone and sculpt the 43 muscles in your face.
Lying back in the chair, it was time to begin Stage 1. The therapist cleansed my skin, stretched out my fascia (connective tissue) and neck, and got the blood flowing using a ‘vigorous’ knuckling technique.
I’ve never been hit in the face before, so Stage 2 ‘cardio’ was a surreal experience, as I was continuously slapped in the presence of Oxford Street shoppers. And it wasn’t a simple slap, either; more like a car wash but with hands instead of cleaning brushes. The ‘high energy strokes’, as they’re described, promise to work the muscles.
Stage 3, ‘strength’, was actually the bit I had been dreading: electric shocks. I was assured it wouldn’t be painful, just strange, though ‘the intensity varies from person to person’.
After being covered in a clear jelly, the therapist started running the FaceGym Pro electric muscle stimulator device over the right side of my face, focusing on the jaw and cheekbone, then around my eyes and forehead.
Using electric currents to contract the muscles, the hope is that my skin will look more toned and feel softer.
At first I couldn’t feel much, but in certain areas, there was an unnerving lack of facial control. It was particularly noticeable around metal fillings and braces so if you wear an adult retainer, as I do, expect uncomfortable twinges.
Halfway through, I was asked to compare the two sides of my face. Well, the second side was slightly more painful but by the time we’d finished stage four, the therapist had wrapped up the treatment with a cooling jade roller and a splash of toner, and it’s safe to say my face certainly looked and felt firmer.
Bar a little around the bags, my skin was rejuvenated enough to ditch the concealer and I found myself stroking my silky-soft cheek on the journey home.
THE COLD, HARD TRUTH
Give it a go: My cheekbones were more defined and my skin certainly felt healthier, with no post-treatment redness or peel associated with usual anti-ageing procedures.
High point: There are zero risks in sampling.
Low point: If you’re looking for a relaxing facial, this is not it. And the effect only lasts three days to a week, so repeat treatments are needed, which could get quite expensive.
Cost: From £45 for 30 mins