Here’s the Rub

An interview with Carolyn, by Angela Fernandez & “Image Magazine”

(See the photo-illustrated facial exercises against sagging jowls, below)

Facial Exercises can be Naturally Enhancing to your Appearance

We all know that a regular program of aerobic exercise can markedly improve overall health. But can exercising facial muscles improve the quality, tone, and texture of the skin?  Carolyn Cleaves, founder of Carolyn’s Facial Fitness, a program that uses facial exercises to rid yourself of wrinkles, redefine the cheekbones and jaw line and increase blood circulation to the face, says yes. “Everybody knows that through exercising in a gym you can firm up the body and skin. Naturally, the same is true about the muscles in the face. In fact, here it works even better,” says Carolyn. “Most of the muscles in the face are attached directly into the skin at one end and to the bone at the other, as opposed to bone to bone, which is the case for the rest of the body. This means, of course, the firming results are therefore faster.”

Spot Exercising Can Cause an Uneven Build

Carolyn argues that resistance training enlarges the 57 muscles in the face creating lift and a firmer, more youthful-looking face. “All the pushing and sliding during a workout seems to stimulate collagen production, which not only tightens up the skin, but also enhances tone.”  According to Carolyn, exercising all 57 facial muscles is critical to achieving a balanced and complete look. “You need to have that strong foundation for the whole face to lift properly. All the muscles of the face and neck are intimately inter-connected with each other,” explains Carolyn. “If you don’t build up the neck muscles properly, the jowls and even the eyes will not respond correctly.”  For example, if you exercise only the jowls and they start to lift, the cheeks will stay pretty much as they were, and even tend to hang down over the jowl area, making the Marionette lines, vertical lines that extend on either side of the mouth, even more prominent.

Preventive as well as Corrective

The facial workout is preventative, as well as corrective.  “If you start early enough, you will not have the wrinkles, sagging and bagging that the rest of us had to correct as we aged,” says Carolyn.  “In other words, facial exercises help you keep what you already have at age 26 or 32.”  If you’ve already passed the age of 32, don’t despair. The corrective component of facial exercises will help rid your face of wrinkles, alleviate the thin and papery texture of skin that can occur around the neck and under the eyes, banish your double chin, and even increase fullness in your lips.  You’ll also benefit from increased circulation to the face, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach cells while whisking away old and damaged cells.  “Ten times more oxygen comes to a contracted muscle than not. This results in clear, healthy skin that is also able to absorb moisture more readily.”

Youth Jumps

Results from facial exercises appear quickly and continue indefinitely.  “That tired look is usually gone within two weeks. Within two months you will see a noticeable difference in the texture and elasticity of the skin.  Everything will seem to glow and feel and look firmer,” says Carolyn.  “Within four months you will probably hear people asking if you’ve lost weight or been on vacation. Within six months all your friends may ask you, ‘What are you doing to look so young?’  Depending upon your age and life-style, one usually has the complete results they want within one year.”  And considering the fact that muscles have memory, an occasional lazy streak doesn’t mean that you have to start all over again to get back to the tone you had before you stopped exercising.  “While this phenomenon happens within the whole body, the muscles in the face are smaller and very responsive to exercise so you see results sooner on the face than you may in the rest of the body,”  notes Carolyn. But don’t expect to plateau after that first year of exercising. “I noticed that every so often I would all of a sudden look a bit younger, firmer and overall better than I did before. I took note of this with my clientele and I found that about every three months the first two or three years, one can experience a ‘youth jump.’  That is, you look a bit younger every so many months,” explains Carolyn.  “As time goes on and you continue to exercise, these jumps get further apart. However, with that said, you still can have the jumps even many years later. I had a ‘youth jump’ after ten years of exercising the face and neck.”

Repetitive Facial Movements Can Create Wrinkles

While Carolyn’s theories make sense, there are opponents of facial exercising out there who believe that touching the skin on the face and making exaggerated movements actually increases wrinkles. “In all fairness, I have to agree that making exaggerated movements in one direction can actually increase wrinkles,” Carolyn admits. “Take a look at much older people. They can look like they have a permanent frown or even smile in their old age. Facial exercises work the muscles in both directions, creating lift and smoothing out wrinkled, parchment-like skin. Working the muscles in both directions is the key to erasing wrinkles, creating tone and building muscle properly.”

Electronic Gadgets Not Giving Results

Can facial exercises help in the quest for youthful-looking skin?  To find out, Carolyn launched an extensive campaign to find ways to improve her skin. “First, I bought the electronic gadgets. Even though I persisted the results were really not forthcoming. I looked just as ‘baggy’ and tired as ever,” sighs Carolyn. “I then discovered face exercises.” After trying all 12 of the programs on the market, Carolyn determined they were either too long, too short, incomplete, incompetent, or time consuming. But she did notice results.

Designed a Comprehensive Program

Carolyn then decided to design a program that would result in a firm, youthful-looking face and most importantly, it was all-natural. She employed a medical doctor and a professor of anatomy and physiology to help her with the clinical end of her research, both of whom are still part of her consulting team. “My philosophy has always been to be as natural as I can be. I’m so happy that I was able to find this natural alternative to looking younger.”

Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Program is designed to be clear, concise and comparable to Yoga and Pilates. “I strove to make my facial fitness program give the gentle, graceful lines that Yoga gives to the body, to the face. I’ve been told by many of my clients that they find the exercises to be very meditative and healing, especially when they work out on a regular basis. The CDs that come with my kits are very relaxing, as well.”

CAROLYN CLEAVES, founder of “Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Program” will be sixty years old soon. “I’ve been doing the face exercises for almost ten years now and to my astonishment I still have youth jumps. That is, in the first two years of face exercising, every three months or so, all of a sudden you look a bit younger than you did before,” explains Carolyn. “Somehow my face and jowls are just a little bit younger looking than before. So, I’m looking younger as I grow older.”

Lift Up Those Jowls

Try these two exercises for starters:

Jowl Lifter

Jowl Lifter - Front
Jowl Lifter - Side

Place fingers just below jawline. Tilt head back, curling bottom lip over top lip. Turning your head, tighten cheek muscle and squeeze eye shut while gently sliding fingertips up over jawline. Repeat 5 times each side.

Grand Gesture

Grand Gesture
Grand Gesture

Make tight knots in the corners of your mouth; then following with your hands, pull your arms out into a half circle. Count to 40.

From Issue Three 2006, Image Magazine:

Here’s the Rub