We all know that sit ups can help achieve Instagram-worthy abs and that squats are the key to a perky peach (whether we do them or not is a different matter!), but did you know that you can also tone up your complexion? Better yet, you can do it from the comfort of your own sofa!
This year, we're sacking the squats and focusing on how to sculpt, tone and firm using the expert tips and techniques and tools. From Gua Sha's to radio frequency, consider this your free induction to the skin gym.
Why is facial toning important?
"Just as your body needs regular exercise to stay toned and firm, the 57 muscles in the face and neck also need to be exercised" says Danielle Collins (@faceyogaexpert), World-leading Face Yoga Expert and best-selling author. By making these facial muscles stronger, Danielle explains that the skin attached to them is consequently also lifted and firmed, making it more taught and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
What age should you start facial toning?
The age at which you start facial toning all depends on which type of toning technique and device you're using as well as your key skin concern. Dr Hadley King, Board Certified New York City based Dermatologist & Skin Expert, clarifies that "devices more specifically for anti-aging may be more reasonable to start in the 30s, or even the 20s", whereas those that exfoliate or provide blue light can be helpful as early as teenage years to manage conditions such as acne and Jade Rollers can be used at any age. Danielle adds that "it is never too late to start toning muscles, releasing tension and boosting blood circulation so even if you are 60 plus it's still a great time to start"!
What are the different types of facial toning tools?
Radio Frequency tools
Radio Frequency tools, such as the TriPollar range, distribute heat into the dermis, which helps to stimulate collagen production, responsible for keeping the skin looking plump and smooth by increasing elasticity.
Recommended by Dr King, "Radio frequency can increase skin permeability so it's great to take advantage of this by applying a serum with active ingredients after using a radiofrequency device like the TriPollar, and then follow with a moisturizer to help lock in the serum benefits". He also adds that non-irritating devices such as those from TriPollar are mostly safe to use on all skin types.
- Plumping the complexion
- Helps minimise the appearance of fine lines
- Safe for most skin types
How to use
As with any device, you should always follow the instructions for that specific model for both safety and the best results. When using a radio frequency device, always ensure to cleanse the skin first and apply a thin layer of the preparation gel onto the skin you will be treating. Once you have finished using the device, make sure to cleanse the face and apply your usual moisturiser to keep the skin supported and moisturised.
Dubbed as 'fitness for your face', micro-current uses "non-invasive, low-level, electrical current capable of facial stimulation to send soft gentle waves (microamps) through the skin and down to the muscles" explains Emma Nowakowski, Director of Global Education at NuFace. This current mimics the bodies natural ionic flow which helps to stimulate circulation and strengthen facial muscles, resulting in a more radiance and lifted appearance.
- Firms the appearance of the skin
- Helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines
- Stimulates circulation
- Boosts radiance
How to use
"As with anything, to achieve results consistency is key, along with professional treatments and education to achieve the best outcome" highlights Emma. Similar to radio frequency devices, when using a microcurrent device, you should always follow the product instructions. Discover the full guide to NuFace devices, including a how-to tutorial for each skin concern.
Which NuFACE facial toning device is right for me?
Learn how to tone, tighten and lift your complexion with the best NuFace Microcurrent device for every area of concern from the cheekbones to crows feet.
Not just a great way to tone up your complexion, "Gua Sha is meant to be an act of self-care" says Dr King. "By slowing down your breath, it allows you to rhythmically contour the face with the stone to release muscle tension and activate the lymphatic system" which he explains can reduce facial puffiness for up to 24 hours. Originating from ancient massage techniques used in traditional Chinese medicine, Julie Bright, ESPA International Training Manager, tells us that it is a "much gentler version was created for the face that involves a light gliding motion to tone, lift, and smooth the skin and brings fresh blood and nutrients to the surface for skin to function better".
- Boosts circulation
- Increases radiance
- Reduces muscle tension
- Helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines
- Instant results that last for a few days
What is lymphatic drainage?
"The lymphatic system acts like a one-way drainage system that moves fluid from body tissues into the blood circulation, getting rid of any waste that cells make" says Julie. "It is important to keep it moving or there will be a build up of toxins (waste) and puffiness or swelling occurs in the tissues. Lymph can get lazy and lymphatic drainage is important to help keep the skin looking healthy and glowing. It reduces puffiness and swelling giving a much more toned and contoured appearance to the face".
How to use
Julie reminds us that a Gua Sha is best used daily for the best results. "The ESPA gua sha is made from rose quartz which generally should be used in the morning as it stays cool and reduces puffiness".
According to Julie, "the contours of the face serve as a good guideline for the gua sha". She recommends starting all movements from the centre of the face and moving outwards with a lifting motion, repeating every sweep six times. Her top tip: "the gua sha should be at a 15 degree angle". Follow her easy step-by-step guide:
- Slide down either side of the neck, to the collar bone, slide across the chest to the axilla. (Ideally the neck and chest should be cleared first to allow for better removal of toxins. However you can start on the neck down to clavicle).
- Slide from the chin out towards the ear, along the jawline. Repeat on the other side.
- Slide across the cheek towards the ear across the cheek bone. Repeat to other side.
- Slide over the forehead from the centre to the temple. Repeat to the other side.
- Finish by sweeping down the side of the face from the forehead to the clavicle or continue down to chest then axilla, depending where you started.
Julie warns to be aware of using too much pressure when repeating the movements which could cause bruising and irritation for sensitive skin, and stresses to always use an oil to allow your Gua Sha to glide across the skin. In addition to this, she points out to always avoid any raised areas including moles and blemishes and waiting at least 14 days after having any derma fillers or Botox before using a Gua Sha.
Ensure to clean your Gua Sha every day: "This stops bacteria from spreading to the skin. It can be washed with warm (mild) soapy water or a little facial cleanser" advises Julie.
A great option for any age (ensuring a lighter pressure is applied for children and babies), a face roller can help to reduce puffiness and enhancing wellbeing whilst remaining gentle on the skin. In a similar way to Gua Shas, "facial rollers stimulate the blood flow to your face & help to boost circulation" clarifies Sofia Alfano, Eco Tools Assistant Brand Manager. "With age, our body’s natural ability to remove excess fluid from the lymphatic system slows down. A gentle face roller massage can help to increase the blood flow and release toxins from the skin" explains Sofia. She adds that "a daily facial roller routine will help to sculpt your complexion as the cooling effect of the gemstone reduces your skin’s puffiness & help reduce the appearance of fine lines".
Jade rollers vs Amethyst rollers
Both calming options, both of these materials have unique benefits and are better suited for different results. "Jade is known to be slightly less smooth in comparison to other gemstones and therefore is more resistant to solid muscle on the face" says Sofia. "As a result, the Jade Roller is more effective for contouring". On the other hand, if you're looking to calm the skin and tighten pores, Sofia recommends Amethyst as it's "cooler to the touch and super smooth".
- Help to calm the skin
- Help to reduce puffiness
- Help to reduce the appearance of fine lines
- Have a calming and relaxing effect
- Help to tighten pores
How to use
Before you begin using your face roller, Sofia recommends putting it in the fridge to cool; "a cool roller will enhance the calming benefits to the skin and reduce inflammation".
"Always use the face roller on clean skin after applying serum or oil to your face" says Sofia. "For best results, start at the chin and roll horizontally out to the hairline. Continue this movement throughout the rest of the face and neck area, following with your favourite moisturiser".
"For under eyes, start at the inner corner of the eye and use the roller to gently sweep under the eye with your favourite under eye cream. Always remember to clean your roller with warm water and mild soap after use. Allow to dry naturally".
Sofia's top tip: Warm your face roller slightly before using to open up pores.
As with using any facial toning device, Sofia advises not to use a facial roller on any irritated or broken skin. "If you suffer from acne prone skin then we recommend using the Ecotools Amethyst Roller, due to the natural calming properties found in the amethyst stone" she adds.