I cannot recall the exact date, but I clearly remember that the words ‚Meghan Markle‘ and ‚face massage‘ caught my attention. Both as a health journalist and private person, I am game whenever I read about topics on skin care, fighting wrinkles, longevity and aging the most healthy way. I then dig deeper and search for medical evidence, talk to the experts, find the most valuable information for my readers and the pros and cons. Are the advertising promises of skin products, medical treatments and the like, valid? Eventually, are they worth the time and money?
In 2018, Harper’s Bazaar published a story about Duchess Meghan’s „believe in the power of facial exercise.“ BOOM! I was hooked!
Harper’s Bazaar said the Duchess of Sussex „doesn’t only rely on professional facial massage with [Nicola] Joss, but does DIY facial exercises, too.“ In the article I read about Danielle Collins for the first time, and that she created her own method featuring key facial exercises. I was intrigued by the statement that training your face muscles could „reduce wrinkles and puffiness, lift sagging skin and allow the skin to look healthier.“ Almost sounded too good to be true.
Lifestyle journalism and health topics
In 2019, I literally stumbled into lifestyle journalism when I took a journalism class on writing for the web at Harvard and my professor Martha Nichols encouraging me to write about lighter topics (and she might have seen a talent in me). With a feature on ‚Acne Beyond 50‚, I got familiar with how to write about personal interests as a journalist and how to combine it with fact-checked information.
In the same class, I learned how to start a WordPress blog and voila, me and my friend Tini founded the Glamourjungle WordPress blog the same year. Kudos to Tini for creating the name Glamourjungle – it has become our identity, our USP so-to-speak, our credo and an endless source of creativity.
Meanwhile, the media hype around Meghan’s beloved face sculpting massage went on: VOGUE France wrote about Face Sculpting, ELLE UK promoted the Ducces favorite face massage as „an injection-free alternative to botox„, including a mini tutorial by Meghan’s go-to facialist and legendary face-transforming aesthetician Nichola Joss. (You should check it out)
Face workout, facial exercise or face yoga?
The medical literature back in 2021 was scarce with one outstanding 2018-study from Northwestern University saying that facial exercises may work against wrinkles and face sagging. That wasn’t enough to convince me of the benefits of face muscle workout.
I soon noticed there are various terms for the same: Face workout, facial exercise, face yoga,… it’s all about training the muscles in your face to make your features stay younger, healthier, firm and glowing.
Is that so? I resolved to try these methods myself.
In adition, I turned to the experts: Dr. Rachele Podjednic was one of my Harvard professors who taught me a lot about nutrition, physical activity, aging and how these topics influence each other. As an expert in physical activity and muscle work, she answered my questions about how muscles build up and what happens when we train them.
Check out Dr. Rachele Pojednics IG account @rachelepojednic for science-based information on nutrition, supplementation and physical activity. You might also want to read more about Dr. Pojednic’s academic background on her website – it is more than impressive!
To get answers on the specifics of face muscles, I reached out to Prof. Sebastian Cotofana, an internationally-recognized expert in face anatomy and anatomy research.
In April 2021, Dr. Cotofana was the lead author of a study on „Understanding Facial Muscle Aging„. Check out Professor Cotofana’s IG Account @professorsebastiancotofana to learn more about his research and numerous publications (according to his website, it sums up to over 250 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and online communications).
Last but not least, I found Claudia Granig, a face yoga instructor from Austria. After several attempts to connect, we finally had a first phone call. I told Claudia about my Harvard background and she instantly gave her ok to let me take part in her online classes and experience the effects of face yoga myself. After a couple of weeks of training, I had gathered enough personal experience, soar face muscles, goofy portrait photos and interviews with Claudia to start working on my capstone feature titled ‚Work Your Muscles – and Don’t Forget Your Face‘.