Facial Exercises – A Natural Alternative to Cosmetic Surgery Part 1

by Carolyn Cleaves

(See the 5 minute facial exercise routine below that you can use as a substitute for the foundational workout when you find you can't fit in the full 15 minute workout!)

A Natural Alternative That Works

Facial exercises are one of the fastest growing fitness programs happening today. Not only can you rid yourself of wrinkles exercising the facial muscles, you can also redefine the cheekbones and jaw line, as well as the nose. 

Facial exercises help alleviate the papery skin around the neck and under the eyes. Dark circles fade away along with that tired look. The lips become fuller and the nose becomes more defined. In other words, you regain that youthful, dynamic look you had when you were young. And, it’s all natural. Anytime you decide to stop you eventually go back to where you were before you started the exercises.

Improvement is Ongoing

You can usually see obvious improvement after two weeks. In another three months, people usually start to tell you how good you look. Within six to nine months you can look five to ten years younger than you were before and a year later people may start to ask you, “What are you doing to look so young?”

Everybody knows that through exercising in a gym you can firm up the body and skin. Naturally, the same is true about the muscles in the face. In fact, here it works even better.

Most of the muscles in the face are attached directly to the skin, as opposed to the skeleton, which is the case for the rest of the body. This means, of course, the firming results are therefore faster. Also, by using “muscle” resistance training, which many of the facial exercise programs are based upon, the muscle is enlarged creating lift and a firmer, more youthful-looking face. Isometrics, also part of many programs enhances the tone of the skin.


There are fifty-seven muscles in the face and neck. Twenty-six are voluntary. It’s important to get a program that addresses all of these muscles. Not just the face, but the neck as well. How many young-looking faces have we seen and “old” necks?!

Facial exercises have the added benefit that they increase blood circulation to the face permitting more oxygen and more nutrients to reach the cells of the skin while whisking away the old damaged cells. This results in a clear, healthy skin with good color that is not only cleaner, its ability to absorb moisture is increased. You are working from the inside out!

Preventive and Corrective

Facial exercises are for all of us seeing the signs of our age creeping in. They can be preventive, too, so the earlier you start, the less chance you have of ever developing the lines and “sagginess” of age. In fact, it’s never too late to start. Even if you have developed deep lines and wrinkles already, you can still get rid of them. It may take a little longer, but you will be successful, eventually.

If you have already had plastic surgery and see a need for a new operation, facial exercises may also be for you. The frozen and brittle look too many surgeries can give is not necessary. You can keep what you got from the last operation through exercising the face from now on.

Muscles Have Memory

Not to worry if you stop doing the exercises and gravity comes back with a vengeance. Did you know that the muscles of the body and face have a memory?  If you discontinue the exercises for a while, just begin the exercises again. You will return to the place where you stopped in no time!

In fact, the facial muscles get a little “addicted” to the exercises. They can even start to itch in a pleasant way, sort of “begging” to be worked. Exercising the face can be a very enjoyable and good feeling experience.

It’s recommended you do the exercises once or twice a day the first few weeks. This is the learning period. After you know the exercises by heart you can do them once a day three to five times a week. It's best to let the face rest so the tissue has time to recover and give you the most elegant build! 

I discovered facial exercises when I was already 52 years old. Now, I'm 77 and I look younger today than I did when I started! I’ve been doing them ever since and I can tell you that it’s so much fun to look younger and younger as I grow older….. And it's all natural!!!!

Substitute Workout for the basic 28 – to be used when pressed for time - 5 minute workout:

  • 3 Step Cheek Builder & Smoother Perform this routine once a day ... 5 days a week for 4 weeks .... Then, perform the full routine 4 days a week for another 4 weeks. Finally, try and perform this routine 3 times a week ... evenly spaced as possible until you reach your goal! This exercise will lift up your midface and help to develop your cheeks a little bit. It helps to reposition fat pads that tend to slip down as we age. 
  • Tibetan Slide Perform three times in a row, once a day, 5 days a week for 3 weeks, going to 3 times a week thereafter until you are on maintenance. This exercise flattens the “elevens” between the brows and smooths the forehead. I often put my head against a head rest so I can push and slide with comfort.
  • The Brush Perform after each foundational workout and more often to achieve a smooth and tightened neck.



Note:  This blog has been updated from a 2005 article in a magazine, "Voices of Choices" a PNW area magazine that no longer exists. 

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