If your body is out of shape you exercise, so why don't you do the same for your face? Regularly working your facial muscles can give you a natural facelift, say proponents. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Louise Redknapp are all said to be devotees of facial fitness.
Facial exercises, also called face yoga, are promoted as a risk-free, non-invasive alternative to fillers and anti-wrinkle treatments such as Botox. UK face yoga expert (yes, there is such a thing) Danielle Collins says exercising and massaging the 57 muscles in the face is a natural way to look younger.
Face yoga is useful if you want to reduce signs of ageing and tension, whether you are starting to see the first signs of ageing or if you have deep-set lines and wrinkles, she says.
Danielle advises two ten-minute sessions of facial exercises six days a week. She says the benefits include reducing lines and wrinkles, lifting, firming and a healthy glow.
Claims to make you look younger
In the UK, facial exercises seem to be very much in vogue, says consultant plastic surgeon Paul Banwell, spokesperson for The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). But he sounds a caution over claims it can make you look younger.
His view is that while exercise, including facial exercise, in association with a healthy diet and lifestyle can make you look and feel good, it is debatable whether these exercises can actually make you look younger.
Toning the muscle can't remove a wrinkle, change the structure of the face or replace loss of volume caused by a decrease in collagen and elastin production. There are not yet any clinical trials into how effective these exercises are at lifting and tightening the face.
Facial fitness trend in Asia
Nevertheless, there are certainly plenty of people who feel they do work. And facial fitness is popular in Asia, where many beauty trends originate, with a variety of gadgets on the market there. In Japan a face exerciser called the Facial Fitness Pao endorsed by Christiano Ronaldo, no less even promises to give your smile a workout.
Face fitness expert Eva Fraser, who is 86, swears by the exercises. She didn't start doing them until after she was 50 and today looks at least 20 years younger than her age.
Eva says that some of the clients who come to her facial fitness centre in London have tried other treatments, mainly Botox, but gave it up after a few months knowing it did not feel right.
She says: The main thing to know is that it's not a magic wand. You need to work out in front of a mirror three or four times a week for 15 to 20 minutes. After three to four months you should be very pleased.