Face Exercise: Tips to Slim and Lift

by Linda Robison

I'll share sample exercises and tips that can help slim your face.

So you're not sure if a face exercise program will work for you. Think you're too old to start? Perhaps you're wondering if they work or are worth the effort?

While the supporting research may be limited right now, I can say from firsthand experience that facial exercises, when combined with massage, offer many anti-aging benefits.

And, yes, they can help your face look firmer (and in some cases slimmer), when done correctly and consistently.

However, keep in mind the degree of results will vary on many factors like your age (starting younger is always best), condition of your skin, diet and lifestyle, and skin care routine.

Can face exercises slim the face?

Face exercises tips to lift cheeks and slim the face. My personal before and after pictures.My face fitness before and after pictures. There is at least a 10 yr. difference between the two pictures.

As you can see in the photo above, I was able to firm my face, especially around the nasal labial folds and jowls. And get more defined cheekbones. 

Note: Facial exercises won't alter the structure or the width of your facial bones.

However, the right exercises can help lift, firm and build up the mid-face area (cheeks), giving the face a slimmer, defined look.

Unlike a face lift, the results of face exercises are limited, but promising. 

A study highlighted in JAMA Dermatology examined the outcomes of a 20-week facial exercise regimen on the facial appearance of middle-aged women, revealing significant improvements in upper and lower cheek fullness.

Face exercise and massage samples for a slimmer face

This simple slimmer exercise is called the Jowl Firmer.

Slim face exercise step one.

This helps firm the jaw area:

  • Place thumbs on either side of your chin
  • Hands resting on your face below each ear
  • Create resistance by pushing your thumbs into your skin  
  • Then slide thumbs along the jawbone with medium pressure moving out towards each ear, ending below each ear.

Do this slide 10 times, 4 times a week.


The Jowl Eliminator is a more effective face slimming workout. You can do both workouts, as they target slightly different areas of the fa

Face slimming massage

Here is a sample of a simple massage you can do every day after you wash your face, while it's still wet. Or just after you applied a moisturizer.

You don't want to do this on dry skin.

Carolyn doing the circle-up-rub face massage.Note: Anytime you massage the face, the muscles should be taunt. To do this: make an O shape with your mouth. Then curl your lips over your upper and lower teeth and contract the facial muscles by trying to smile.

Wet Face Massage 

  • Contract the face as described above
  • Make tiny counter-clockwise circles with your wet fingertips 
  • Start at the chin and move to the hollows of the cheeks, the apples of the cheeks and ending at the temples
  • Massage all 4 areas for a count of 10

This massage helps to smooth and firm the skin and smooth the look of fine lines. Perform this on wet skin only. I found the perfect time to do this in the morning and evening when Iā€™m washing my face or in the shower.

You should try to do this everyday. Why?

Because massaging could make your skin, especially the cheekbone area, look firmer and younger. 

According to a preliminary pilot study published in Skin Research and Technology in May 2022 by Okuda et al., facial massage was found to have significant effects on aging skin, including a reduction in malar top thickness and an increase in SMAS-height, indicating potential lifting and tightening benefits.

Other benefits, including:

  • Improves circulation: Increasing blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells. This improves the appearance of the skin, making it look brighter and more radiant.
  • Reduces puffiness and inflammation: Especially around the eyes because it helps to drain excess fluids.
  • Relieves tension and stress: A relaxed face looks smoother and more youthful.
  • Stimulates collagen production: Gently stretching and stimulating the skin helps promote production of fibroblasts cells, which are essential in producing collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. 

Face slimming exercise tips for best results

1. Do a full workout.

I know you're looking for a simple exercise to slim your face. But for best results, you should also include a full workout that exercises all 57 muscles from your scalp to your chest for a smooth, elegant, balanced look.

You can see what a full facial workout looks like here.

Note: Even if you don't have concerns about a certain area of your face, such as your forehead for example, it's still important to take care of it nowYour skin will change over time, and what doesn't bother you now could become a concern in the future. So, work the whole face to keep it in shape, you'll be glad you did years later. 

2. Choose a program that includes isometric and resistance exercises. 

This is VERY important. You should build up underlying facial muscles for the best results. Simple face yoga poses and face massages are great. But, after a certain age, you need resistance to build facial muscle.

Also, the extra pressure from resistance exercises also helps prevent facial bone loss which is another reason our faces sag, droop and slide downward. See what happens to your facial bones over time.

3. Be consistent. 

In the first 6-12 months, it's important to be consistent. Workout your face weekly, with equally spaced rest days in between. Aim for 3-4 times a week, every other day or so. 

Once you're achieved a good build, and you're happy with your results, you only need to exercise about once a month.

Note: Doing it more often will not bring about faster results and can causes muscle breakdown. This is not a process you can rush.

4. Make sure to include face massages.

Choose a program that includes face massaging too. This helps keep the skin in good shape and the muscles smooth. Also, the added pressure on the face from massaging, helps keep facial bone mass in good shape.

Are facial exercises hard or time-consuming?

No! Learning the to do the exercises require some initial time. But then, most exercise programs only require a few minutes a week.

Once you've achieved a good foundation (after a few months), you can back off the exercise frequency (still keep the massage, though) and only do them a few times a month. 

Of course, everyone is different. Monitoring your progress is important. And finding an exercise program you're comfortable with is also important.

The one I use comes with a pacing CD to guide you through every step. You don't have to remember which exercise to do next or even count. The CD does it all for you.

Summary: Face slimming exercises

So, to summarize: What are these key essential face exercise tips for a slimmer, firmer face?

  • isometric and resistance exercise
  • include a day of rest in between workouts
  • consistent weekly workouts in the first year
  • exercises all 57 muscles
  • face massage as often as desired

Do they really work? There are plenty of studies supporting the benefits of face exercises and massage, but most of them small, pilot studies. Or they used a small sample size with no control group.

But the only way you'll know if a face exercise routine is going to work for you ā€“ is to pick a program and follow it.

There are a lot of great face workout programs available.

Here is more information on the face exercise program I use

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