Can you tone up your face muscles?

One of my personal training clients in Holland Park, London W8, asked me if I’d heard of ‘Facercise’. My client was from the States, and Facercise is an American phenomenon which is yet to catch on in the UK.

The creator of Facercise is Carole Maggio, a former beauty and skin-care therapist in Redondo Beach, California, who started doing facial muscles to improve her own facial appearance. She quickly found that her face exercise regime was reaping great results in the muscle tone of her face and neck.

Carole wrote the bestselling book Facercise and fast became the world’s leading authority on facial exercise. Then in 2002 she published Facebuilder for Men, to target the male market. The strapline boasts: “Look years younger without surgery with the bestselling Facercise system.”

In just 10 minutes a day of facial exercises, you can expect to see results within weeks, says Carloe. Your neck will become firmer, double chin start to disappear, jawline more pronounced and chiselled, fewer wrinkles around the eyes, fewer worry lines and frown lines on the forehead, and reduced bagginess and puffiness around the eyes. You can also achieve higher cheeks, more pronounced cheekbones, and better skin colour due to the increased oxidisation of the cells of the face. The theory is that just as you can build the muscles of your body through resistance exercise, the same principle applies to your face.

There are a range of exercises that require you to move through certain facial expressions, and holding certain expressions. Some require you to use your fingers as resistance, and there are also Facercise gadgets on the market, just as you would buy dumbbells for your home gym.

Facial exercise has been traced back to ancient Egypt and ancient China. More recently in the early 20th century, Mr Sandford Bennett wrote a book ‘Exercising in Bed’ which included facial exercises. In the 1920’s Elinor Glyn wrote ‘The Wrinkle Book’, an exercise manual for facial toning, and in the States a fitness guru called Jack LaLanne (known as the godfather of fitness, who lived to 96) promoted facial exercises. Facial exercise has been marketed as face pilates and face yoga.

Your face and neck have 57 muscles. Here are some of the more significant ones:


This muscle raises your eyebrows and wrinkles your forehead.

Orbicularis Oculi

The muscle around your eye sockets. It enables you to close your eyes.

Corrugator Supercilii

This muscle draws your eyebrows downward (when you frown) and towards each other.


This is the muscle you use when you wrinkle your nose.


This muscle flares your nostrils.

Orbicularis Oris

This muscle enables you to close and protrude your lips. A kissing muscle!


One of the most powerful muscles in the face, it enables you to close your jaw and clench your teeth. Crucial for eating! The other key eating muscle is the pterygoideus lateralis, which opens your jaws and enables you to make sideways chewing movements.


One of the strongest and most pronounced muscles of the neck, originates at the lower skull near the jaw hinge, and inserts into the top of your sternum, and also the part of the clavicle (collar bone) nearest the sternum. It enables you to look up, move your head side to side, and turn your head left and right.

As a personal trainer in London, most of my clients come to me wanting to look better. When you get fitter through improved diet and exercise, your facial appearance does improve as excess fat around the face and neck reduce. But Facercise is a great way to tone up the muscles of your face and neck, giving you a more youthful appearance.

In my opinion, Facercise is a far preferrable alternative to botox, cosmetic surgery, and expensive skin creams.

Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London with over 11 years’ experience helping clients achieve their fitness goals.