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6 firming facial exercises to try at home

Regular workouts make a huge difference to our bodies, so why shouldn’t we do the same for our face? International aesthetician NICHOLA JOSS, who preps A-listers for everything from the Oscars to cover shoots, shares her daily ‘face fitness’ routine with NEWBY HANDS

Beauty

The eye lift

As with your body, it takes a mix of movements (repetitions, stretching and so on) to get the best results. “More than just pumping the muscles, for the face you want to slightly stretch and soften them, as this releases tension and stress,” explains aesthetician Nichola Joss, who has worked with everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Meghan Markle. Plus, you get to treat acupressure points, and the increased blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to the skin, so it benefits the face on every level. To brighten your eyes, Joss advises doing this easy exercise once every morning: “Place your index fingers flat along the tops of the brows, then raise your brows up as you squeeze your eyes tight shut for a slow count of three.” This helps to open up the lid and drain puffiness (especially that little inner pouch on the upper eye lid).

The full-face firmer

This simple exercise is an old-school favorite, especially with actors, because it hits most of the muscles on your face. Start with your features relaxed and, speaking slowly out loud, over-enunciate every vowel: A, E, I, O, U. “If you really go for it, putting as much emphasis as possible on saying each letter, you should feel like you’ve worked every muscle from your chest to your cheekbones,” says Joss. “Even better, do this in combination with face massage; first warm up the muscles by massaging with an oil or balm and then do the ‘workout’ – the two together release tension, and firm and drain everything.”

The trouble-shooter

“For virtually everyone, it’s the lower face that first shows that little bit of looseness and sagging,” warns Joss. Her answer is to use the knuckles of the index and middle fingers to sweep firmly along the jawline (using a face oil for ‘slip’), working from the chin out and up towards the ears. “Take the knuckles to the corner of the jaw and then up to under the ear, as this helps with the lifting.” Next, having first gently dropped your lower jaw – so you access the muscles under the cheekbones – prop your elbows on a table so you can rest the ‘shelf’ of your cheekbones on the heels of your hands. “Relax all the heavy weight of your head down into your hands, and keep your jaw dropped open,” says Joss. “Hold for ten seconds or longer and repeat, as this helps lift the cheek muscles.”

The yoga stretch

Tense muscles can pull the face downwards and close up the features. So, to stretch and relax one of the most-used muscles in our bodies, Joss has devised this ingenious yet simple maneuver. “Using the pad of your index finger, put it inside your mouth, right up where the gums meet the inside of the cheek. Then firmly sweep your finger round and down to the lower jaw to stretch and release the masseter muscle, which can get overworked and tight.”

The morning energizer

This simple technique helps to de-puff your face in the morning and gets the circulation going for glowing skin. “Cup your face in your hands, so the chin is resting in the heel of the hands and the fingers are by the side of the face, near the ears,” says Joss. “Then just ‘roll’ your hands over your face [almost in a wave-like motion]: press in with the heel of your hand, release, then press the palm of your hand into the cheeks, release, then press the fingers into the cheekbone and temples. Keep repeating.”

The tension releaser

“Over time, muscle tension gives the face a ‘hardness’; you lose the softer contours and your complexion becomes duller. This exercise can help release tension, especially at the end of a long day,” says Joss. “Using a face oil or neck cream, use your left hand to massage in a big, sweeping oval shape, starting from the center of the neck, out under the ear, to the back of the neck, down to the shoulder and round to the collar bone. Do this quite firmly to release the tension, as a tight neck and shoulder muscles affect the face, especially the jawline. Repeat on the other side with your right hand. It’s amazing the changes that relaxing the face muscles can make.”

FIRM YOUR FACE

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