To many, the importance of working out the muscles of the body seems obvious, and especially so with the recent surge in popularity of Instagram fitness models and the squat booty. But what about the muscles in our faces? Can we exercise them in the same way that we exercise our triceps and glutes? And if so, will it provide any real benefits? According to FaceLove, the answer to both of those questions is yes. And the wellness center wants to be your go-to spot for that facial workout.
Tucked away on the top floor of a design store in New York City's South Street Seaport area, FaceLove feels like a calming escape from the business of the nearby Financial District. Although the space is carefully designed with relaxation in mind, it doesn't look exactly like a spa. There aren't any robes or saunas; the walls of the reception area aren't lined with expensive creams and lotions. You can immediately tell that you're in for a different experience than your basic face massage.
What lies ahead is part exercise, part massage, and part acupressure, crafted with a particular focus on the oft-forgotten muscles beneath your skin.
FaceLove has existed in a pop-up format for nearly three years. Rachel Lang, one of the method's co-founders, got her start as a facialist, so she was trained to believed that products and gadgets were the pathway to results. However, she discovered in her own work that this simply wasn't true. "I found there were a lot of clients concerned about sensitivity or reaction to getting facials," she said. And in recent years, thanks to the Korean beauty products trend and the increased presence of companies like Sephora, people no longer need someone else to apply a serum for them -- they have everything they could want in their own homes.
With that in mind, Lang turned to the power of touch. "You want to come to a place and get something you can't do yourself, and I find that's what FaceLove offers," said Lang. "It's just you, our hands, and our intention and wisdom."
The signature service at FaceLove, also called FaceLove, is available in both 30 and 45 minute sessions. As you relax in a comfortable lounge chair, the process starts off with a ritual intended to release tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. "Really, the purpose is to elongate the spine, so that your posture improves. When your posture improves, the definition in your face is more symmetrical and poised," explained Lang.
"Then, we introduce you to some interactive exercises, so we act almost as personal trainers," she said.
While the muscles of the face are usually left out of conversations about fitness, FaceLove treats them like any other muscle in the human body. The idea behind the experience is that the muscles play a significant role in supporting the structure of the face, so when it comes to your outward appearance, it doesn't make sense to focus solely on the skin. Instead, clients at FaceLove will be guided through a series of resistance exercises intended to strengthen the underlying muscles.
We act almost as personal trainers.
At the end of the session, you'll be treated to a closing ritual that involves a warm towel wrapped around your entire face, followed immediately by cold jade rollers. Lang compared the experience to that of a Russian bath house, where time in the sauna is often accompanied by a dip in the icy plunge pool. "It's working with your circulation at the higher level," said Lang. The combination of sensations results in a brightening effect on the skin.
Even if you're the type of person to freeze up at the mention of bootcamp or Soul Cycle, there's no need to worry about any strenuous movements at FaceLove. Lang described it as "the no-workout workout," as opposed to anything that would make you work up a sweat. "It still feels like a massage, and we're doing most of the exercise for you," she said.
But in case you're not in the mood for anything even resembling exercise in the slightest way, you can opt for one of their other services. Originally designed as a cure for hangovers and jet lag, PureLove is more massage-centric than the signature offering and will promote a deep sense of relaxation, bringing you into a more sedated state. For those seeking something deeper, WholeLove serves as the most restorative combination of massage and acupressure.
No matter which experience you choose, you're likely to walk away in a better mood. "You're getting a big release of all your endorphins and positive pleasure chemicals," said Lang. "A lot of our clients comment that they can't stop smiling the rest of the day."
When it comes to facial fitness, consistency is key. Because muscle has memory, increasing the frequency of exercise can result in more pronounced benefits. "It is like exercise. The more you do it, the more fit you are, and your muscles of the face respond the same way your body does to fitness," Lang said.
With this in mind, making FaceLove both accessible and affordable was a priority from the start. While many people see a trip to the spa as a once-in-a-while luxury, FaceLove can be worked into a weekly routine much more easily, thanks to the shorter time frame and the lower price per session. The clients that see the biggest difference typically visit FaceLove every week. Ultimately, Lang wants to make FaceLove even more convenient by bringing it to other neighborhoods and locations.
"I feel like it's the year of self-love, and FaceLove is just one more beautiful thing that you can do for yourself," she said.
Once you've nailed down your beauty routine, it's time to take a look at your style. Does your closet need an update? Find out with this quiz!
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