The difference: Facial Exercises and Facial Massages

What are Facial Exercises & what are Facial Massages? Let’s understand their differences and what they have in common together 🌸

Let’s define each term together to understand why each method is important and learn to differentiate what exercises & massages really are while looking at the vast content you see on the internet.

Also, understand what is helpful to follow at home and what is not and what only professionals should do to you.

Before we get into the details of these two, you should understand one thing:
We have over 40 muscles in our face – these facial muscles are the only muscles in the body that connect on one side to bone and on the other side directly to our skin.

Throughout our life, we establish certain habits on how we all individually move our faces. Over time, this is why your face looks the way it does. If you are constantly stressed, this will most likely translate into frowning lines and tension around the eyes and mouth. Or you love to express yourself and have your own way of smirking – which leads to one eyebrow being higher than the other or you’ve chewed your food your entire life on one side.

Well, have a look at which side is bulkier 🙌

There is so much more to this topic but this is just to give you an idea of what is happening beneath the skin on your face and why it could be beneficial to start exercising and massaging your face in the correct places.

With the rise of this topic being so trendy you’ll find sooooo much information about all this and with the following, I just wanted to show you what to look out for and to understand better what facial exercises or massages are and what they are not.

So let’s look more into facial massages and exercises… and also debunk some misconceptions and myths around certain treatments, tools and methods out there.

Facial Massage

Face Massages can be done by you or someone else

  • You can do these with your own hands, with a tool or by someone doing them for you
  • You’ll see most often sweeping motions across your face to move lymph fluid out of your face and to release the tension in the face
  • Throughout your life, you are using certain muscles more than others and these become tense – e.g. jaw muscles, when we grind our teeth at night, our frowning muscles or forehead muscles when we expressively focus and tension based on stress around your eyes or mouth.
  • Face massages are amazing to ease these issues and can help you release the tension and give you a relaxed feeling right away
  • So overall massages relax, release tension and move lymph fluid out of your face which is called lymphatic drainage.

Facial Exercise

Face Exercises are done by you and your own muscles

  • You would use resistance and opposite resistance to get the muscle working just like you would by doing sit-ups or squats in the gym.
  • You can also use your hands to create that resistance but YOU will be the one moving your facial muscles in a controlled manner or at times holding a pose for longer to get certain muscles to work harder and over time strengthen. Basically, like doing a plank with your body and holding it.
  • The goal of facial exercises is to work out the muscles, which over time become stronger and therefore the skin on your face appears plumper
  • Also just as mentioned when I was talking about the massages, you overuse certain muscles and underutilize others – which creates after a longer period of time, imbalances in the face. Facial exercises can help you to engage the sleeping muscles and create a harmonious look – completely naturally. 

Now that you have a better understanding of their differences – let’s get into some misconceptions when it comes to this topic.

It will give you more wrinkles because you are moving your face excessively with the exercises or massages.

Yes and no – while you can absolutely achieve incredible results with these techniques you have to be cautious about what you are exactly doing. 
There is loads of content out there where I see the instructor doing the movements wrong, wrinkling their entire faces while doing certain movements and some are even working on muscles that should be relaxed rather than exercised.
Overall you should be careful what exactly you are doing to not create damage to your face and skin. So doing random videos on the internet will not help you much. This is why I’m showing you guys (in most of the videos on my social platforms) massages because these are easier to follow along and done from home without much explanation. 

Another huge misconception is that there are salons worldwide offering you to go to the gym for your face.

If you go into a salon and someone else works on your face and does procedures, using tools and then also give you a facial massage – this is not exercising your face.
It’s like you would go to the gym and someone massages your lower back for 40min and tells you that you’ve done an amazing workout. In this case, the only one who did a workout was the esthetician moving around you – but not you.

Nevertheless, these salons show results  – especially after one session.
Why is that? 

Lymphatic drainage helps to depuff and drain access lymph fluid, Hyaluronic acid helps your skin to retain moisture for plumper subtle skin and tools like radiofrequency or cooling & warming devices enhance blood circulation.

While obviously, the results will be great they won’t last forever.

A really trendy one is this device where you hold it in your mouth and need to bite on it several times very strongly.
It promises you to get a chiselled jaw by working out the masseter muscle. While doing this movement regularly will probably bulk up these areas it is extremely unhealthy to do so. We are already using our jaw muscles a lot and they are already pretty tense in our face. Working on that muscle additionally will make those muscles spasm and can even cause you to fracture your teeth. In this case, you should absolutely avoid those tools and actually release the tension in that area to restore balance in your face. 

Now let’s touch upon Gua Sha and Jade Rollers

These are rooted in 1000s of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They enhance lymphatic drainage which is very beneficial for your overall health. As an added bonus their use will also benefit the look of your face. These tools are massage tools and will not exercise the muscle – it will hopefully release the tension if done correctly. But again, there are so many videos out there where people are not even able to hold the tool correctly. So make sure to look for someone who will teach about the pressure and alignment of the tool. This will help to understand the correct moves to avoid mistakes from the get-go. 

And then let’s talk about microcurrent devices

While a lot of people are raving about them – in my opinion, they are not that effective. You can actually compare that with EMS training. I have actually done it for many years regularly. You will put on a wet suit and then do a workout. This will be harder because the machines are giving out electrical signals. These impact the muscle and it’s 100x harder to move. While it feels like you are doing something – I personally didn’t see any results.
So why should it do something for my face?
If this would be so effective no celebrity in the world would exercise anymore. They would put on a wetsuit and get electrocuted in order to prepare for their challenging roles. 

It is quite difficult to navigate through the landscape of all these offerings & understand what really works and what doesn’t. In the end, it comes down to doing it with someone who knows what they are talking about. Also when doing facial exercises it is very important to combine these with massages.
We never want to leave the muscle overly tense and spasm over a longer period of time. Doing exercises that you find on the internet will give you a feeling that you’ve done something for your face. You will feel it right away but in the long run, it will do more harm than good. You need to understand and learn to execute these movements in an educated manner and order. 

This is obviously my own opinion and based on my own observations.

I just wanted to give a little glimpse of what is out there and what to actually look out for. In the end, it’s also about personal preference and whether you like the person on a human level.
I personally always observe the people on how they are looking at themselves.
Questioning what their goal is with teaching you something is the most important part:

To learn something for the greater good – YOURSELF.

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