For an instant lift – without needles or a surgeon – I’m a total devotee of these online workouts
I’ll admit that I came fairly late to this particular beauty party, but I’m so glad that I arrived. A friend told me about the online facial exercise classes that Face Gym started during lockdown, telling me that it had become a highlight for her over the past year: me time combined with results. Now I’m a devotee, too. Face Gym, in case you don’t know it, is a chain of salons in London and Manchester (and the US) that offers fast but effective facials concentrating on stimulating the 40-plus muscles in the face to help tone and lift.
These aren’t places full of small treatment rooms playing whale music, but more matter of fact: normally, treatments are performed in rows of chairs out in the open with privacy from other customers coming in the simple form of fanned-out screens. But with physical outlets forced to close they took sessions online, offering half-hour classes five times a day, seven days a week. Each day has a different theme but they include such classes as Full Face HIIT, Lip Pump And Plump, Power Lift and Brow And Eye Lift. They prefer you to have your camera on so they can see your technique, but you can keep if off if you prefer.
The service has proven to be so popular that it’s set to become a permanent offering, which is a bonus for all of us but especially those who live nowhere near the physical stores. I hugely enjoy these classes. They really work, helping to depuff (thanks to all that lymphatic drainage) and also relax my face, forcing it to release its scrunching habits and ease tension. They also teach you some great basic techniques to easily add to your skincare routine. An unlimited class pass for a month costs just £49, but if you prefer a one-to-one session the option is there, though more expensive at £45 for 45 minutes (facegym.com).
I use a face oil for my workouts: it makes it easier for hands to glide over the face and not tug at the skin, as well as hydrating as it goes (but you could use a serum if you prefer). These are my favourites…
Amanda Lacey Oils of Provence Luxurious Face Oil (£135, amandalacey.com). A luxury but wonderful buy: super lightweight, absorbs instantly, leaves skin hydrated and smells sumptuous (thanks to lavender, sage and bois de rose).
Face Gym Detox Signature Face Oil (£50, facegym.com). Of course they have their own oil. This has cold pressed cucumber oil to hydrate and aromas of palmarosa and bergamot. A very nice option.
Kyushi Chamomile And Helichrysum Face Oil (£39, kyushi.co.uk). One of my favourite oil brands, this smells uplifting and comforting. It’s always a joy to use.
Garnier Organic Restoring Hemp Multi-Restore Sleeping Oil (£7.99, boots.com). This gives good hydration at a reasonable price – and is a favourite of many of the YOU team. What’s more, it doesn’t smell too much of hemp.
A cool fix for hot flushes
Proof that the beauty industry is taking the older customer more seriously is a new skincare collaboration between Marks & Spencer and Prai: MenoGlow. This is a range focusing on the particular skin issues caused by the perimenopause and the menopause, which can see women lose 30 per cent of their skin’s collagen in the first five years; it slows to about two per cent a year after that, while other skin changes occur including dehydration, pimples and enlarged pores. All products but the cleanser include their M-complex, which is formulated to boost collagen, soothe and brighten skin. In tests it produced a seven per cent increase in firmness and a five per cent boost to elastin over four weeks, so this range is about trying to put back some of what menopausal skin is losing.
The Hot Flush Cool Fix Serum (£28) with a rollerball applicator also contains menthol to cool and hydrating hyaluronic acid and carrageenan for an extra collagen hit. The Collagen Boosting Cremegel Moisturiser (£25) is very lightweight (no pore clogging) and is great for soothing and brightening.
The Super Hydrating Sleep Crème (£28) is exactly how it sounds (it contains no retinol as that can cause reactions and the customer research for this range found many women saying their skin could no longer tolerate it). There’s also an Ultra Rejuvenating Sleep Mask (£30) – a deeply hydrating leave-on overnight cream. As for the Gentle Rebalancing Crème Cleanser (£20), it deploys coconut oil but think of it as much like a cold cream cleanser.
Now, as I always say, there is no magic bullet – face creams do not represent time travel – this is an aid to helping you look the best that you can in the skin that you’ve got. M&S is so committed to the line that it has specially trained staff to help with questions about the range and menopausal skin. And it will be sold in womenswear, lingerie and beauty departments, as well as online at marksandspencer.com. Plans are afoot to extend into body care, too.
Pucker up… and give back
Votary has launched its Tinted Lip Gloss (£40, votary.co.uk) – a light raspberry shade created using a vegan and sustainable pigment. It gives a boost to your natural lip shade and the oil is nourishing and adds shine. More than this, the brand has teamed up with the Eve Appeal’s Get Lippy campaign, donating ten per cent of the web sales throughout April and May to the cause that raises awareness of gynaecological health.