The oh-so-polished population of New York City seemingly has a workout studio for everything, whether it's toning our abs at pilates or flexing our spiritual muscle at hot yoga. So it was only a matter of time before our faces got the personal training treatment they deserve.
Last summer, FaceGym, the world's first "exercise studio" for your face, made its U.S. debut on Saks Fifth Avenue's revamped beauty floor, revolutionizing the way well-heeled wellness obsessives revitalize their visages. After amassing a cult following in London, the innovative treatment has quickly gained as much of a dedicated clientele here in NYC, which will likely increase with its much-anticipated expansion downtown.
Midway through opening day of FaceGym's new flagship (and first U.S. standalone) location at the shiny 0 Bond Street, I saw a chic set of women (and even a man!) in black puffers patiently awaiting their turn in the chair, sitting among high-tech touchscreens and high-end moisturizers in minimalist packaging. Considering the opening day special was a complimentary workout on a first-come, first-served basis, some waited upwards of three hours without budging. Having had my face therapeutically slapped, tugged, and electrocuted by a FaceGym trainer myself on more than one occasion, I couldn't blame them. The experience is worth it, even when it's not for free.
One wall of the modern, industrial space reads, "Work it. Don't fake it." It's a good motto, and indeed an Insta-worthy one, but it also embodies what FaceGym is: a workout, not a facial. "Trainers" put your facial muscles to work to pretty much provide a non-invasive facelift, while also ridding your countenance of puff-causing toxins. The priciest option on the menu, the $275 Game Face, also includes a collagen-boosting session with a radio frequency machine, while the Cryo Oxygen treatment hydrates with a blast of frozen CO2. There's certainly something for everyone, especially at this new location.
There appears to be a bar in the waiting area, but rather than bottles of top shelf liquor, one finds a sleek row of vats containing top shelf serums. With names corresponding to the skin of their potential suitors - "Frequent Flyer" for the jet-setter, "Workaholic" for stressed-out CEOs - the serums can be custom combined to fit a client's exact needs, acting as a training serum or finishing touch that can even be taken home with you. See? The outer layer of skin is hardly ignored. When I told a trainer on-site about my bad habits (smoking, staying out late), she suggested (free of judgment, thankfully) the "Overexposed," as it particularly protects against free radicals.
Judgment-tree trainer, Taryn, has worked as a skincare professional for 18 years, and signed on to FaceGym a few months ago. According to her, there's nothing like it in the industry. "That's actually what drew me in," she said. Upon learning the technique, she confirmed, "It's so different than everything else. My hands have never moved that way, I've never thought that way. It's extremely unique. I haven't run across anything that remotely comes close to the thought process."
It's no surprise that FaceGym's reputation proceeds it, especially during the age of the self-care social media revolution, when everyone is not-so-humble bragging about their latest workout or trendy treatment on the 'gram. When asked if she had been surprised by what, exactly, a face workout entails, Sophie, a repeat client, told me that she knew what to expect long before her first appointment. Duh, she follows FaceGym on Instagram. "I had seen tons of videos before coming in!" For her part, Sophie prefers the new NoHo location: "It feels more like you're actually going in for a workout." It certainly doesn't hurt that the space, and process, is worth an Insta-story (or 10).