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If you haven't heard of them: Face Gym are the #1 in facial massage (don't get them confused with other similarly-named brands!), and I got really hooked on their videos during lockdowns! So, I was pretty excited when they launched actual skincare. Then, I took a step back and thought 'well, being good at facial massage doesn't mean you can formulate good skincare'; after all, a simple facial oil is going to work for that purpose. I was a little dubious about the price-point too; I know I'm partial to brands like Zelens and Sunday Riley, but they're well-established and are available via other retailers who can give you a discount. However, I left my preconceptions at the door and just tried the products with an open mind. As it transpired, I was impressed...
Ok, so I'm not going to sit here and say the secret to well ageing is facial massage and that's all you need because I don't see the evidence for this, however what I do know is that lymphatic drainage is good and helps with puffiness, it's good to increase circulation (I feel like it gives my skin this healthy glow) but the most important thing for me is: it feels good, it releases tension and it forces me to take 20 minutes out of my day to put down my phone, not think about work tomorrow, forget about my mounting inbox and look after myself. Each of the full-sized products comes with a QR code on the back which you can scan to unlock a facial 'workout' tutorial, teaching you moves to incorporate into your daily routine. Whilst I haven't managed it every single evening, a couple of nights a week doing this have done me wonders. What I also really appreciated (from trying to mimic the moves with my normal skincare) is that these products have been formulated with facial massage in mind, meaning they won't pill up or dry out as you work them onto your face, staying nice, moist and movable on the skin. When I tried to do this with my ordinary routine; the products dried out on my skin before I'd had a chance to get going, I was applying a lot and there was so much pilling. However, I do also think this stands on its own as a line, and I'll tell you why!
The first product I'll talk about is my least-favourite from the line, but it's still pretty good! The Electro-Lite Gel Cleanser* | £32 | is a kind of jelly cleanser that's sort of mildly lathering. It's almost like a hybrid jelly-balm, but this isn't really going to remove makeup effectively, it's more a gentle morning cleanse. That being said; it's still a nice non-stripping jelly cleanser. We have some really nice hydrators in here, like amino acids, glycerin, Vitamin E and glycolipids, which are likely why it isn't drying even on my drier skin type. It also has this mild scent of mint or something that I can't seem to locate on the INCI list. It's not a bad cleanser; it's simple and works as a second or morning cleanse, I guess that it's just it doesn't stand out in a sea of good cleansers!
Moving on, their water-based serum is the Hydro-Bound Daily Serum with Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide* | £60. I honestly felt kind of burnt out by individual hyaluronic acid and niacinamide serums for a while as there was so much mixing and layering going on, that things were getting confusing and irritating! However, they are still both great ingredients and if you aren't getting them into your routine via? other steps; this is a great option to combine them in a really elegant, non-irritating formula.
This also contains a probiotic to help with skin barrier health, polyglutamic acid and glycerin are both in there as humectants (like hyaluronic acid), meaning they attract water. I apply this to damp skin because these ingredients are effectively acting as water magnets and you don't want to apply them in a dry environment or to dry skin because otherwise they operate as a bit of hydration Ponzi scheme, swiping moisture from the upper level of the skin to hydrate the deeper layers, when we want every layer of our skin to feel that hydration. I usually have to lock my hydrating serums in right away with a moisturiser to prevent that sort of water loss from occurring, but I decided to give some of the facial massage techniques a go with this and it doesn't evaporate off, which was great. In terms of the niacinamide, the website doesn't disclose the exact percentage but I don't think it's anything excessively high, because with some of the other ingredients I've used alongside this, I'd probably find it a bit irritating if it were and this is billed as a hydrating serum, so it just seems unlikely it's over 5% (the upper end of the therapeutic index).
Niacinamide can help maintain a healthy skin barrier, which in turn prevents redness, irritation and dehydration, helps calm inflammation, it also improves the look of hyperpigmentation and can even help regulate oil production in the skin. I want to tell you not to spend £60 on these ingredients and truly: you don't have to, but for me, I just enjoy the overall formulation. There's no faffing, foaming, crusting or strange textures, it's just pleasant, intuitive to use and feels gorgeous on my skin. I just like to use the product, that's all! It's totally up to you how you prioritise these things against pricing.
The next serum is oil-based: the Youth Reformer Oil-in-Serum with Vitamin C + Nootropic* | £80. Vitamin C in its pure form is super-unstable, so a lot of brands choose to formulate with its derivatives. Whilst the science for boosting collagen isn't really there for these derivatives, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (which is what's in here) can still be great at helping with pigmentation issues and can provide some antioxidant benefits (protecting the skin from free radical damage coming from our environment) without the stability issues, whilst also being gentler on the skin. This is an oil-based derivative, hence the light oil formula of this serum. There's Vitamin E in here, which studies suggest can boost the effectiveness of Vitamin C. There's hyaluronic acid in here again, with some skin moisturisers like borage seed oil and sunflower seed oil. This does contain some fragrant essentials oils; I personally think this smells beautiful but some people are sensitive to these kinds of ingredients. They include palo santo and sandalwood. I personally think this is beautiful. I use a couple of drops underneath my moisturiser and it can be used AM or PM, I really don't have a preference on that. It's a little bit pricey for what it is, particularly given it's quite similar to the Biossance formula that's a little more affordable (and even then - it's a high-end product) which is my only negative, but I enjoyed using it and it gave my skin moisture and glow.
Ok, let's talk about possibly my favourite product from the line: the Supreme Restructure Surfacing Moisturiser* | £98 (refill £65). It's not cheap, but I can't help loving it! This is a fragrance-free formula with vegan growth factors. Growth factors are quite controversial, so do look into them yourself using reliable sources but the concept is: a lack of production of growth factors causes delpeteing collagen levels in the skin, which lead to signs of ageing. The controversy arises from the fact we don't have long-term studies from them: if they're small enough to penetrate into the skin and they're the type of growth factor that encourages normal cell growth then they could also encourage any abnormal cells already in a person's skin. The jury seems to be out on this and from my research, I think it's more likely that their molecular size is too large to do this, but in that case: do they work? Anyway, definitely look into it for yourself; I'm a little on-the-fence but I don't avoid growth factors in my skincare personally but I'm also not layering on 5 different products containing them every morning and evening. In terms of other ingredients: we have cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids (the three components of the skin's natural moisture barrier), squalane (a skin-similar plant-derived oil) and other non-fragrant plant oils, niacinamide (as discussed above), Vitamin E (to calm and moisturise), a little lactic acid (mostly for hydration but it could still provide some mild exfoliating benefits) and a probiotic live bacteria to encourage a healthy skin barrier.
There's actually quite a bit going on in here but nothing that's going to interfere with other actives in your routine, which is great. This could be a day cream for drier skin types but during the warmer months, I've been using this in the evening. It's effectively a barrier maintenance cream that will replenish the skin overnight. It has this buttery but light texture, nourishing my skin without being heavy or greasy. It layers really nicely with all of these products as well as anything else I'm using. I absolutely love the texture and the ingredients in this moisturiser - it's dreamy to use.
Lastly for skincare formulas: we have the Face Coach Lifting Q10 + Mastic Tree Face Oil* | £50. I have the mini of this and would definitely purchase the full-sized product, because it really is lovely! This does contain Parfum (I personally really like this woody, minty scent), so just be aware of that if you have a sensitivity, but effectively this is an antioxidant oil. Q10 tends to be really underrated as far as antioxidants go and I don't know why! Pretty much any skin type can use it and get that protection from free radical damage, as well as an immediate glow-boost after use. It's supported by fatty acid rich plant oils and soothing oat oil. This is a light formula unlikely to clog pores and can be worked into the skin extensively without making products underneath it pill. I tend to use this in the evening as the last step in my routine and it locks in all the moisture as well as leaving my skin soft, nourished and radiant after use.
Lastly, they also do this Multi-Sculpt* | £45. Obviously you can do facial massage with your hands or get a traditional gua sha, I just personally enjoy the different edges and textures of this tool, as there's so much you can do with this. I also enjoy that it's made from metal, which means it's non-porous and easy to clean. I absolutely love using this on my neck and jaw to iron out any tension.
What are your thoughts on Face Gym?
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