I take a holistic approach to beauty. I’ve never thought that topicals and treatments alone could meet all my anti-ageing skincare needs. I know that what I eat, how much sleep I get a night, and the physical exercise I do all have a direct bearing upon the condition and appearance of my skin.
On my blog I talk mainly about skincare and home beauty tools, as that is its focus and is what I feel most passionate about. But if I had to choose the next items on that list closest to my heart, I would have to say exercise.
When I say exercise, I don’t just mean sweating it out in a gym for an hour, four times a week, dutifully performing squats, planks and lunges (although I do indeed do that - body exercise boosts blood flow and brings essential nutrients to the skin, not to mention makes you feel like Superwoman, with all those endorphins floating about your system). What I also mean is facial exercise, or face yoga to be more precise.
I have been a devotee of face yoga for a couple of years now, doing it for 10 minutes every day as part of my evening skincare routine (yes, I do honestly do it every day, 365 days/year). But I haven’t followed any particular programme. Instead, I’ve cobbled together my own version, from various different face yoga exercises I’ve seen on YouTube.
I really wouldn’t recommend following my approach – it’s not coherent. So when I spotted that face yoga expert Danielle Collins was going to be speaking at the recent Anti-Ageing Health & Beauty Show, I made a firm note in my diary to be there, take notes and get my act together!
Speaking at the Show, Danielle explained: “Face yoga is a natural way of keeping and feeling younger and healthier with an added sense of relaxation and wellbeing. It’s a combination of exercise, massage, acupressure and relaxation.”
“When we exercise the body the muscles become more toned and lifted, and skin becomes more taut and lifted too,” said Danielle. “The same principle applies to the face. We actually have 57 muscles in the face, which is a lot for quite a small area. The good news about that is that it doesn’t take as long to strengthen and tone them as it does those in the body.”
So, there you go. It’s quick, easy to do and you get to see results in next to no time – Danielle says you should notice some difference immediately. If, like me, you’re a bit obsessed with wanting to keep your skin looking youthful, and you feel as if you spend half of your life in the gym, then there seems little excuse not to do it!
The Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method is a 20 minute programme. It comprises 18 exercises, split between the upper face and the lower (you spend 10 minutes working on each). She recommends doing it 6 days/week, though acknowledges that not everyone is going to be able to commit to that level, so encouragingly adds “doing something is better than nothing”.
As a quick taster, here’s three of her most popular exercises:
The ‘V’, to reduce lines and wrinkles around the eyes.
Put both your middle fingers together between your eyebrows then apply pressure to the outer corners of your eyes with your index fingers. Look up and start to move the lower eyelids upwards, making a strong squint. Then relax and repeat 6 more times. To finish squeeze your eyes shut for 10 seconds then relax.
2. Smile Smoother: to reduce lines around the mouth and to lift and firm the cheeks and jaw
Hide your teeth with your lips and make an 'O' shape with the mouth. Then, smile as wide as you can and keep hiding the teeth. Repeat 6 times. Next, hold the smile shape and place one index finger on the chin. Then start to move your jaw up and down as you tilt your head back. Relax and repeat twice more.
3. Giraffe: to tone and lift the neck area.
Looking straight ahead place your finger tips on the top of your neck and lightly stroke the skin down as you tilt your head back. Bring your head back down and repeat twice more. Then jut your lower lip out as far as possible, place your fingers on your collarbone and point your chin upwards, pulling the corners of your mouth down. Hold for 4 deep breaths.
If you fancy the sound of Danielle’s programme, there’s a DVD (Amazon seems cheapest at £11.99 with free delivery) and a £7.99 app (sections can also be bought separately). More on The Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method here.