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It was a frigid Saturday in January when I first visited the Face Love Fitness pop-up space in South Street Seaport. Ducking past the throngs of frozen tourists in line at the TKTS booth next door I entered a little winter sanctuary, where I was greeted by Rachel Lang and Heidi Frederick: two of Face Love Fitness's three cofounders. Rachel and Heidi; an aesthetician and a massage therapist respectively, combined their talents with that of personal trainer, Kate Gyllenhaal to create a beautifying treatment that is equal parts facial, massage and exercise. They dubbed their creation Face Love Fitness (previously Skin Gym), and as I would soon find out, the result is 100% unique and invigorating.
Heidi offered me hot tea, followed by a hot stone to warm my hands while I awaited the “FaceLove” treatment. Another client who had just finished hers was already enthusiastically planning her next visit with Rachel. “A good sign…” I thought to myself as I nestled into my chair, sipping my jasmine oolong.
Face Love Fitness' concept goes beyond a topical facial by stimulating facial muscles in an effort to strengthen and firm them for the longer term. Rachel tells me “an activated muscle generates 10x the circulation of an inactive one, and so nourishes skin cells, actually producing more collagen.” Visions of surgically injected faces flashed before my eyes, and relish the idea of actually teaching my muscles to generate their own miracle protein without getting anywhere near a needle.
Instead of a needle, the girls use a variety of objects that vaguely resemble mini versions of things you would find in an actual gym: like squishy silicone balls that they rub around your cheeks. But first, I was treated to a cranial massage, said to stimulate blood flow in the face for a “washing from the inside out”. Heidi explained this to me as I leaned my neck into her kneading fingers, trying not to drool from total relaxation. Then it was time for the “workout”, which was the easiest workout that I’ve ever experienced. The routine consisted of a handful of eyebrow raises and exaggerated smiles while Heidi used her fingers for pressure point resistance. I was soon rewarded with a jade roller under my eyes to “depuff and detoxify” and a scalp massage that put my drool reflexes to the test one more time.
The 30 minutes flew by and before I knew it, I was being brought back to reality by Heidi’s gentle voice. I looked in the mirror, half expecting to see a total lunatic after all of that rubbing and rolling. Instead, what I saw was a version of myself that usually only appears on vacation, or when I’ve gotten a rare 8 hours of great sleep. My eyes were wide, my skin was pink and glowing and I couldn’t help but smile. Plus, as promised, my makeup was still more or less in tact. But just in case, Heidi offered me a touch-up to ensure I left looking my best as I stumbled back into the city streets, a goofy grin still lingering on my face.
Is Face Love Fitness the fountain of youth? Who knows… But at the beginning of a season filled with healthy goals for self-improvement, this is certainly one fitness routine that I could stick to.
Click HERE for more info or to book an appointment!