Ever wondered whether a new beauty launch or trending product is truly worth the hype? If so, you're in the right place. I Just Tried… is our beauty column where we test out everything from new formulations to cult classics to find out whether they're really worth your money. Oh, and we'll answer the most-searched-for questions so you don't have even have to ask.
While celebrities and beauty journalists tend to wax lyrical about the wonder of facials when it comes to keeping their skin glowing, I have to admit that I've never really been fussed about them. While there is something truly blissful about having someone massage your face for the best part of an hour, I've always found that the skin-brightening effects of the more relaxing, spa-like facials tend to be short-lived. And as for the more intensive, medical-grade facials that come with extractions, resurfacing peels and light therapy? While they might have more long-term benefits, as someone with acne-prone skin, I've often found the pre-treatment questioning from therapists about my breakouts and scarring to be more invasive than the procedure itself.
Suffice to say I am by no means a facial expert, but when I noticed that basically every beauty editor I follow was raving about a very different kind of facial, my interest was piqued. Promising a more contoured, toned and lifted complexion via a combination of massage, cryotherapy and radio-frequency, FaceGym's facial workouts are about as far removed from a traditional facial as they come—and the results that I'd seen on Instagram looked almost too good to be believed. And why I wouldn't say that loss of firmness or elasticity is a major concern for me, now that I'm in my 30s, I have definitely noticed that the skin around my jaw and cheeks is less plump than it was a few years back, and I'm all over any treatment that promises to create a more sculpted appearance.
But do these cult facials really deliver or is all a whole of hype? Ahead, I've got the full low-down on everything you need to know about the FaceGym facial workouts and my honest first impression of the new Cryo Medi Lift Workout.
Mica Ricketts before the FaceGym Cryo Medi Lift Workout.
So, before we get into the results of the facial workout, let me fill you in on the current condition of my skin. Generally speaking, I've had minimal breakouts to deal with (but plenty of scarring and pigmentation left behind from old spots) and my overall complexion has been looking quite dull and tired lately—plus, my skin is definitely feeling less bouncy than it did a few years back. On top of that, I've noticed that over the last 18 months or so I've been feeling an increasing amount of tension in my jaw and neck. Which, no surprise, coincides with having a baby, living through a pandemic and returning to work from my dining room table. The Cryo Medi Lift Workout aims to achieve three main skincare goals—sculpting and contouring, deep hydration and tension release—to leave skin toned, glowing and revitalised. But how does it actually work?
Mica Ricketts during the FaceGym Cryo Medi Lift Workout.
My lovely therapist Frankie talked me through each step of the facial before we got started, but effectively the Cryo Medi Lift Workout uses a combination of the iconic FaceGym massage techniques alongside electronic muscle stimulation via the brand's new Medi Lift Mask (£415), plus microneedling and a cryo oxygen shot for intense hydration. Basically, this is an intense facial workout.
After cleansing my skin with the Electro-Lite Gel Cleanser (£32) Frankie warmed up my facial muscles using the Face Ball (£25) which is kind of like a mini yoga ball for your face. It stretches out the muscles, gets the blood flowing and helps to ease tension—plus, it felt really good. My skin looked way glowier even after this first step.
Next came the facial "cardio"—and probably my favourite part of the whole treatment. This is FaceGym's signature muscle manipulation technique which is effectively an uber-fast, high-intensity massage. Honestly, I don't know Frankie gets her hands to move so fast but it was quite something to witness. The pressure was firm but not uncomfortable and it felt really incredible along my jawline and on my neck where I hold a lot of tension. Not only does the massage help to tone your face, but it also aids with lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness in the face.
The cardio continued with a little gua-sha action next. Frankie waxed lyrical about the FaceGym Multi-Sculpt (£45) and I can see why. Unlike a traditional gua sha, this one is made from medical-grade stainless steel and it's best kept in the fridge for extra cooling benefits. I am a fan of facial massage tools, but often too lazy to use them regularly. However, Frankie talked me through how to use this one along my jawline, cheekbones, brow bones and forehead to ease away areas of tension, reduce puffiness and naturally contour the face. I'm sold.
Then it was time for the big guns—the Medi Lift Mask. This much-hyped product is currently sold out everywhere thanks to its ability to deliver a deep, lower facial workout without any of your own hands-on skills required. Frankie applied a combination of the Collagen Infusion Serum (£25) and the Hydro-Bound Hydrating Face Serum (£60) to my skin to prep it for the mask first. Once you're strapped in (and have had a good laugh at how ridiculous you look) you can choose from one of three workout options—jaw definer, cheek sculptor or HIIT workout—and from six intensity settings. I decided on the HIIT workout and worked my way up from level 1 to level 3 (I was too much of a scaredy-cat to go any higher) during the 10-minute treatment.
Honestly, it was a totally bizarre sensation. The currents move around your lower face, stimulating muscles that you didn't even know you had. Certain areas, like my jaw, felt more intense than my cheeks, but I'd describe it as feeling like a light zapping sensation—kind of like lots of little, non-painful, electric shocks. Once it was removed my jawline and beneath my cheekbones definitely looked more defined, but I'm not sure I'd go in for it as a regular treatment. While it would be brilliant for a quick fix before a big event I personally preferred the experience of the manual facial workout.
Finally, the workout finished with some microneedling using the Hyaluronic Roller (£75) which I loved. It's made with 3000 dissolving microneedles that are filled with hyaluronic acid. The needles create micro-channels within the skin that allows for the hydrating ingredients to sink in deeply and also allows for the oxygen shot (which Frankie applied using something that looked and sounded like some kind of sci-fi skincare gun) to deeply penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen and elastin production.
Mica Ricketts after the FaceGym Cryo Medi Lift Workout.
Overall, I have to say that I really can see what the fuss is about when it comes to FaceGym's facial workouts. If you want a facial treatment that delivers instant visible results then the lift, tone and sculpted appearance that comes with one of these really can't be denied. Not only did my skin feel more plump and taut, I feel like my skin tone looks way more even too. I have no makeup on in this photo other than some lip balm and a bit of brow pencil and I can't believe how good my complexion looks.
What I was really impressed with was the range of brilliant tools that FaceGym offer that you can actually use at home to achieve similar results. I'm off to buy my very own Face Ball so that my skin can enjoy some yoga-like stretching on a daily basis.
Shop the products from my FaceGym workout…