We tried the facial workout that Meghan Markle and other celebrities drop hundreds of dollars on — and we were shocked by the results

Meghan Markle reportedly swears by facial workouts, a hot new trend in beauty. Chris Jackson / Getty
  • Meghan Markle is a fan of facial workouts, which some say provides the same results as a face-lift – without surgery.
  • FaceGym, which hails from the UK, recently opened three locations in the United States, offering a “non-invasive workout” for your face.
  • Founder Inge Theron told Glossy that the company plans to also build an app offering Peloton-style live workouts for the face.

Facial exercising is the latest beauty trend to take off.

This new service claims to replicate the effects of a face-lift, but without the needle, using kneading movements to strengthen muscles, improve lymph flow, and boost circulation.

Meghan Markle is vocal about being a fan of facial workouts. In a 2014 interview, she told Birchbox that she does these exercises with UK-based aesthetician Nicola Joss.

Read more:
Meghan Markle swears by this aesthetician’s ‘facial exercises’ to get such sculpted cheekbones – and she shares her techniques on Instagram

On her website, Joss explains that her sculpting facial, which costs £250 (around $US330), massages from inside the mouth to tone and firm the facial muscles.

“I swear it works,” Markle told Birchbox. “On the days I do it, my cheekbones and jawline are way more sculpted. There’s a reason she is in high demand around awards season when every actress wants to look A-plus.”

The service is increasingly becoming more mainstream as new salons pop up.

FaceGym is one of them. This UK-headquartered facial-salon chain recently launched in the United States, and it now has three locations in the country.

In a recent interview with Glossy, FaceGym founder Inge Theron said the company is looking to expand in the US, grow revenue to $US14 million for 2019, and build an app that offers Peloton-style live workouts.

“We are highly aware that we have to break out of the [physical studios] if we want to be a global and massive player quickly,” she told Glossy. “We need to expand outside of brick-and-mortar through product and allow customers who are regulars at studios to take FaceGym home with them.”

We went to try out its new location in Noho to see what all the fuss is about:

FaceGym offers several different services, costing between $US70 for the 30-minute signature facial and $US275 for more expensive facials that include radio-frequency treatments.

FaceGym recommends doing any workout once a week. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

Radio frequency is designed to heat the skin tissue and stimulate collagen production to reduce the appearance of lines and tighten the skin.

We chose the “signature” facial and opted for a “medium” strength of massage.


At the start, we were asked to describe our skin type, which enabled the aesthetician to select the appropriate serum.

The beginning of the workout. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

These serums target brightening, lifting, and skin clarity.

You can also choose to have a serum custom-blended at the counter.


The process began with vigorous massaging of the chest and face to get the blood flowing and kick the muscles in to shape.

A still from FaceGym’s explainer video. YouTube/FaceGym

And you definitely feel it. My cheeks were sore after she pushed and prodded.

After only using her hands to massage my face, the aesthetician brought in the equipment. This included a mini yoga ball that is designed to release tension and drain toxins.

These items are available for purchase in the store. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

This is definitely the most relaxing step and a welcome break after the intense massaging.

It kicked up a gear after some respite as the gold derma roller was brought to the table. This gadget looked more threatening than it felt; it is designed to stimulate collagen production.


But the piece de resistance is the Pure Lift pulsing machine, which FaceGym describes as “a power plate for your face” and that contracts the muscles in your face.


The aesthetician ran the machine over my cheeks and along my jaw line, and it felt as if my muscles had been forced in to spasm. While it wasn’t not painful, it certainly wasn’t comfortable, and it definitely felt like the most effective part of the process.

This gadget is available to purchase in the store for $US499 and would be a more cost-efficient way to get frequent workouts.

Then came the Goop-like green jade stone, which the salon said also gently releases tension and toxins.


In between each exercise, the aesthetician ran a hot towel over my face, reminding me why I had paid $US70 for the experience.

Our verdict:

After the workout. Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

This was definitely the easiest gym session I have ever endured, and the only one that provided immediate results – my jawline felt more defined and my cheeks a little higher.

But, unfortunately, this was just a glimpse into life with a chiselled jawline, as the impact only lasts a day or two. This means you’d need to go back frequently to see more consistent results, which makes it an expensive hobby.

The good news is that with the app in sight, there’s likely to be a more affordable way to access face workouts in the future.