Approaching her mid thirties, Lydia was terrified of looking and growing older. Then in the summer of 1991 I read in a national newspaper about a new book that had been released that could help you to look younger. Lydia’s birthday was the following week so I thought perfect and trotted off to WH Smiths and bought Eva Fraser’s Facial Workout for £3.99.
When I got home I was curious yet dubious about the content, especially as at the top of the front cover it states ‘Look fifteen years younger’. I read it through and it made more sense than the promises on the labels of expensive lotions and potions, so I kept that copy for myself and bought another for Lydia.
At the time I was training regularly at a gym and had learned that exercising the muscles in my body was helping to tone my skin up and diminish the dreaded cellulite. This book takes exercise one-step further and teaches you how to use the muscles in your face to tone your skin up.
The following is an extract from the introduction:
‘The muscles of the face differ from those of the body in that they are attached directly to the skin that covers them. This means that when the facial muscles sag, the skin attached to them sags too. In fact the slackening of the facial muscles is one of the main causes of the sagging and drooping that most of us eventually experience, leading to bags under the eyes, loose folds of skin on the upper eyelids, pouches, jowls, turkey-necks. If the body were as neglected as so many faces appear to be, some of us would have muscles so wasted away that we would barely be able to walk.’
Maybe an exaggeration, but we’ve all heard it said that there are more muscles in your face than the rest of your body and that smiling a lot keeps you looking younger. If you follow those thoughts through then you know that there should be a lot that you can do for yourself to help you to look younger and there are very detailed instructions in this book.
Before you start the exercises you prepare yourself by learning how and why they work. You are warned that results don’t happen overnight because your facial muscles have been sitting there mostly unused for all of your years. As with any type of exercise you need to start out gradually and build up, but once you are used to the exercises you will only need to spend about 10 minutes on them every day.
Apart from facial exercises you are taught how to relieve tension and stress and given tips on how to look after your body. There are illustrations and written instructions for all of the exercises that help to make the book very easy to follow. I decided to give the exercises a try back in 91 and started by warming up which is basically relaxing for a few minutes.
I often used to get neck ache through tension and found the gentle exercises a real help towards relieving the pain.
Not sure what they are meant to achieve but according to Eva the look up, down, sideways exercises are a vital part of your routine.
There are five workout programmes and you start with The Basic Workout and slowly build up to the fifth The Advanced Workout over a period of months. At first you do the exercises twice a day for 5 minutes and later cut that down to about 2 minutes twice a day – I cheated and did them all in one go.
Before you start you should follow a few basic rules: don’t do the exercises when you are tired, always clean make up or creams off your face and only use Vaseline under your eyes. Stand or sit in front of a mirror and always start with the neck and eye warm up exercises. As my mirror is next to my kitchen window I’m sure that the neighbours wondered what on earth I was up to. Not for long though, once you are used to doing the exercises you can do them anywhere and without a mirror.
It’s hard to describe what the exercises are like but I’ll try. The first 3 exercises involve smiling slowly and holding for a few seconds then relaxing and breathing. The next 2 are lifting your cheek muscles towards the corners and then centre of your eyes, hold for a few seconds then relax and breathe. Exercise 6 is snarling and exercise 7 is raising your eyebrows. You do that workout for a couple of weeks or until you are used to it and then move on to the next stage. I remember finding the Basic Workout very easy and thinking that my facial muscles must have been well exercised already with all of the smiling that I do.
Basic Workout Plus
You continue to do the basic workout but now there are 6 more exercises to add which combined take about 10 minutes. With this new routine you exercise the muscles at the right side of your face and then the left. The smiling didn’t help me here; at first I couldn’t budge those muscles no matter how hard I tried. Gradually I learned to control the targeted muscles and was able to move them more and more. As the book tells you, one side of your face is usually weaker than the other. My weak side was the left but in time it seemed to become as strong as the right. Once you are totally used to the exercises you discard the first 2 workouts and move on to the next one.
You only need to do this routine once a day and for 5 or 6 days a week and you should use a mirror and concentrate hard. The 7 exercises are meant to strengthen your neck, mouth corners and lower and upper cheek muscles and are similar to the exercises in the Basic Workout. This time round you add more stages to each exercise and I realised that if I hadn’t completed the first 2 routines it would have been impossible to use my muscles so demandingly if that’s the right word.
Intermediate Workout Plus
Once I was completely familiar with the Intermediate Workout I added the Intermediate Workout Plus to my session. The routine is similar to the last one but you again exercise each side of your face separately. After a few weeks you should be ready for the last stage.
I caffled (copped out) with most of this stage and just added some of the under chin and forehead exercises to the last routine. I was not going to wear rubber gloves and put my fingers in my mouth and pull my face about no matter how young it might make me look – there are some things that even I will not do to experiment.
Do The Exercises Work?
Even without completing the last stage I noticed a significant improvement in my skin tone as time passed. Before I began the exercises my skin looked dull and lacked elasticity, I had awful moments when putting make up on or removing it. Just stretching the skin around my eyes a little sometimes produced saggy lines that didn’t bounce back until hours afterwards. Gradually as the elasticity returned to my skin I eliminated that horrible effect.
The most noticeable difference was in the mornings after drinking sessions and there were plenty of good times back then. My skin would look tired and dull and the elasticity was poor. 10 minutes of facial exercises and my skin looked and felt great. So yes they do work if you stick to them, most people guessed my age to be about 30 after I had been doing them for a few years but I was closer to 40.
Alas I gradually stopped doing the exercises – too much interest from toy boys became tiresome when maturity was of more interest to me!!! I started doing them again 3 weeks ago when I decided to write this review. I felt then that it was better to experience part of it again than to just write from memory. Already my facial muscles are starting to feel toned up again and my skin looks a little better – who knows if I will keep it up!
Make Up And Hair
In the middle of the book there are several glossy pages with coloured pictures offering advice on make up and hair. Some of the tips are useful and especially a recommendation to always use Vaseline underneath your eyes instead of moisturiser. Years ago I started to get little white spots underneath my eyes and was told that it was due to a build up of moisturiser. I used Vaseline after reading the book and the white spots gradually faded.
This section isn’t just about losing weight but how we feel in ourselves. We are given information about the different vitamins and minerals and how they can affect your health and well-being.
This part explains why your skin ages and lists sun, pollution, smoking, diet, alcohol, caffeine, detergents and soaps, winds and cold, lack of sleep and exercise as many of the reasons. We are then given advice on how to improve and take care of your skin. I didn’t know previously that iced water can be harmful to the skin on your face and neck – some people use iced water as beauty treatments.
It helps to exfoliate the skin on your body and face at least once a week and remove the dead cells. For your face you can use a towel rubbed in gentle circles every day, but on your body and hands table salt does the job well and costs less than expensive beauty products.
Exercises and Fitness
The next section details exercises for all parts of your body including some to reduce stiffness in your fingers. I found the leg exercises particularly useful to help trim the fat and reduce cellulite.
Massage and Circulation
This chapter shows you the pressure points on your face and neck and how to relieve tense muscles with massage.
Tips And Advice
The last section offers dressing tips to help you look slimmer and younger, colour sense and how to choose a hairstylist. Most of it is pretty standard advice like avoiding clingy jersey fabrics or tight underwear that shows bulges underneath your clothes.
The £3.99 that I spent on this book was money well spent. I got a lot of use out of it for several years and although it was hidden away in the cupboard until a few weeks ago I can see from looking at it again that I have followed some of the advice automatically and found it very useful. The routines are easy to follow and they don’t take much time up. If you want to improve your skin or look and feel younger without spending money on expensive lotions and potions that may or may not work I can highly recommend Eva Fraser’s Facial Workout.
You will find the paperback currently at Amazon for £6.29 if you click here.
Also available on amazon.com is Eva Frasers Face and Body Program.
P.S. Lydia was offended by the gift at first because she thought I was saying that she looked old rather than my intention being to help her to allay her fears. A few months later she thanked me and said that it was one of the best presents that she had ever received.
I first bought Eva Frazer's Facial Workout back in 1991 as a birthday gift for a friend. I was so impressed with the information provided that I bought my own copy. It wasn't long before I found that the facial exercises worked and that the advice given about caring for the rest of your body was excellent, highly recommended.