Facial Muscle Toning - How to Strengthen Facial Muscles

by Linda Robison

A woman performing facial muscle toning exercises to lift and tighten facial muscles.

Facial muscle toning (as part of a face exercise program) is the best way to strengthen facial muscles. This is a natural, non-surgical defense for an aging face.

So if we know the biggest factor in looking older is loss of volume and muscle tone of the face, why wouldn't facial muscle toning be the first option to consider as a facial rejuvenation technique?

Don't believe face exercises really work?

I do and I'm living proof. After almost 20 years, I have no doubt that you can tighten facial muscles for a more youthful face.

Studies: Facial exercises for sagging skin

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia defines facial aging as having a loss of muscle tone which gives the face a flabby droopy look and causes the face and skin to lose that plump, smooth surface.

And according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology, regular at-home facial exercises were found to significantly enhance mid-face and lower face fullness, contributing to a more youthful appearance.

Regular exercise may lead to a more youthful appearance by increasing the size of cheek and other muscles (hypertrophy).

The participants in the control group also reported high satisfaction, noting significant improvements in 18 out of 20 facial features.

It's like a non-surgical facelift!

I've been doing facial muscle toning as part of my facial exercises program for years. So do facial exercises really work? Yes, I think the do. I'm very happy with the results.

Nothing will ever be as dramatic as a surgical procedure, but toning facial muscles can offer a natural, side effect free option to enhance your appearance as you age.

In the picture below I'm eight years older in the after picture. 

Pictures of my before and after doing facial fitness exercises.Facial Fitness Results Before and After. Eight year difference between these two pictures.

What kind of facial muscle toning exercises

I use the 15 minute CFF exercise program. Why this program? Because it addresses several anti-aging points all in one 15-minute workout:

  • tones underlying face muscles
  • facial massage and facial skin brushing firms the skin and reduce fine lines
  • helps slow facial bone loss
  • encourages blood circulation lfeeding the skin and building collagen
  • helps distribute facial oils for a more balanced hydrated skin

Face toning exercises

This is not facial yoga, this is a complete facial muscle toning exercise. 

It looks complicated, but it's not. You can firm up your entire face and neck in less than 15 minutes about 3 times a week. Once you start noticing results, you can reduce the frequency to once or twice a month for easy maintenance.

And, to make it simple and enhance your experience, the workout includes a pacing CD.

The pacing CD quickly guides you through each exercise and counts the reps as you engage in facial muscle toning. This allows to unwind and relaxing during the workout session.

Below is a list of facial movements for this 15-minute workout. It looks like a lot, but it goes quickly thanks to the pacing CD. 

Want to see a live video of a sample exercise from the CFF program? Click on the video below:

Now this is just a sample video and is the only workout you do sitting up. All of the other exercises are done while lying down in order to take advantage of gravity for better results.

How I got started with facial toning exercises

I started researching and testing facial toning exercise programs back in my late 30s. I bought several different programs and tried them out for a few months.

But, I never took the exercises seriously. Until I turned “50 something"!

That’s when all sorts of changes started to affect my face. The most noticeable was sagging in the neck, crow's feet, frown lines, and a flattening of fat pads on my upper cheeks!

I realized those on and off facial workout schedules were not working. I knew I had to get serious!

So, out of desperation, I contacted Carolyn, the creator of CFF, whose program I purchased a few years back. I liked her program the best of all the ones I tried because they were quick and the easiest to do

I asked Carolyn for help to get back on track again. After consulting with her, I found my hit-or-miss schedule does not work. You need to do facial muscle toning exercises on a consistent (but NOT too often) basis.  

She explained that the facial muscles need to time to recover and grow. This muscle growth is (in part) what helps with an aging face as it provides that much need volume that we lose in our face - especially around the cheeks.

Image, me, actually exercising too much?!

Is it possible to over exercise facial muscles?

Doing facial exercises too often is as bad as not being consistent. When I did exercise - I'd do a marathon of few weeks on, then a few weeks off. Sort of a hit or miss kind of thing...

But, the solution Carolyn gave me was so simple!

Just do her facial toning program 3 times a week, every week, with an even amount of rest days in-between. That's it.

She explained that exercising the face too often can actually break down the important muscles needed to defined cheekbones and create an overall natural face lift and firm to the face and neck.

And, of course, too many days off, you can never really build facial muscles enough to create a nice noticeable lift.

She also gave me a few extra tips and told me if I followed her recommendations - I should start to see some results in about 5 weeks.

Did I see result?

Oh, Boy Did I!

Cheeks: The first thing I noticed were my cheekbones. They seemed just a little more defined, firmer, and higher. I think they're even fuller than they were 8 years ago!

By week 4, a few friends started commenting on my cheekbones – asking if I was using a different type of makeup or new highlighter. That’s when I knew it wasn't my imagination or just wishful thinking. Changes were taking place!

Weakened facial muscles allows for saggy appearance of the lower face.

Lower jowls and chin. This picture was taken only a few months after starting facial exercises.

Results of jowl exercises before and after.There is only a few month difference between the before and after, but you can see something good is happening!

Neck: One of the other areas I noticed a difference was my neck. A good comprehensive facial muscle toning workout should include exercising the neck muscles.

Especially those little muscles under the chin - like the geniohyoid, digastric, mylohyoid, stylohyoid.

You can read more about neck exercises here...

When these start to get weak and sag, you get that dread turkey neck look. Check out these before and after pictures:

Note: I was also using Carolyn's vitamin C serum on my neck. To my surprise, the big brown skin spot  (on your left) is gone. You can read more about making vitamin C serum and see more pictures here.

Picture of crepey skin on neck.Facial muscle toning neck before and after. Seven year difference between the two pictures.

Eyes: The before picture was not taken with the same camera, at the same location. But you can still see the improvement in the depth and length of the crow's feet lines. And the eyebrow looks lifted in the after photo.

Before and after pictures of eye wrinkles when smiling.These pictures were taken a few years apart with different cameras.

More muscle toning to look forward too

But, this is not the end, it’s just the beginning.

As Carolyn explains, when you tone and firm facial muscle slowly, the correct way, on a consistent basis, you’ll notice what she calls “youth jumps.”

This means that every few weeks or months, you’ll see these surprising and very exciting changes from your forehead to your neck and sometimes even upper chest area too.

I still have small issues with under eye puffiness and fine lines. So I'm still using my favorite Eye Lift serum (same one I've been using since 2012) to help reduce that puffy look.

It also works to hide on those tiny criss-cross crinkles under the eyes. See what causes them and what you can do about it

Oh, and, by the way, I never have to pay for a consultation or the extra bonus exercises. That’s part of the whole package when you purchase her workout program. Excellent Customer Service!

It’s like have an anti-aging face coach for life. I’m truly grateful for Carolyn’s efforts and hard work, as she helps all of us look a better as we get older.

Facial Muscle Toning Fact

Just one important message about facial muscle workouts. You should never spot train or mix and match workouts from different programs.

I can’t tell you how many people (including myself) have done that only to cause more problems. 

The muscles of the face are all interconnected. So when you are toning the muscles around the eye area, you are also toning the upper cheek muscles too.

Exercising just one area of the face while ignoring all the other parts can lead to an odd or overbuild face, causing a strange look. 

It’s essential to follow a program that works all the muscles evenly for a smooth, balanced look.

Yes, I know, I post a few free facial and neck muscle toning exercises on this website, but it’s just to give you an example of how gentle and easy they are to do.

I am by no means advocating that you only spot treat the area that bother you. I know it's tempting!

Do the whole facial muscle toning program, you’ll be glad you did.

P.S. Here is a sample of the facial cheek exercises that I do as part of the entire face exercise workout.

Facial Muscle Toning - FAQs

Q: Does face exercises really work?

A: Yes, face exercises really do work! Look at my untouched before and after fitness results. But, just like any fitness program, you have to be consistent. 

Q: How long does it take to see results from facial exercises?

A: I started to see results in about 3 months. And, really dramatic results and changes in about 12 months. You can see my before and after pictures over a 3-month time frame here

Q: Can exercise help sagging face?

A: Yes! If you do the right facial fitness workout, you'll see less sagging around the cheeks and jowl area.

Q: Can you change your face shape with face exercises?

A: You can enhance and bring back your natural face shape with exercises. But you won't be able to change the face shape you were born with.

For example, as we age our face gets more bottom heavy, due to sagging jowls and droopy cheeks. Face fitness workouts can firm up those areas, so your face shape starts to look more like it did when you were younger.

Q: What are the disadvantages of face exercises?

A: If you do them right and choose a good facial fitness program, there are no downsides. If for some reason you don't like the results, as soon as you stop, your face will go back to the way it was before you started.

Q: Is it OK to do face exercise everyday?

A: No, it's not a good idea to do face exercises every day. Your skin and muscles need to time recovery and rebuild. Just like any muscle building program. You should take a day or two of rest in-between facial fitness workouts.

However, you can massage your face every day. It's actually encouraged. Here is a great massage to firm up the skin and muscles of the face, called the Circle-Up Rub.

Q: Do facial exercises actually tone your face and make you look younger?

A: Yes! Facial aging is causes by (among many things) loss of muscle mass and facial fat, along with collagen, and facial bone changes.

Weakening of the muscles around the eyes can make eyes look droopy and hollow.

Loss of bone mass in the jaw reduces the size of the lower face, causing skin to droop and loss of facial fat pads in the mid-face causes excess skin to hang, which creates the look of jowls.