Can a 'face workout' really give you a sculpted jawline? We try Dubai's new The Salon Face Bar

The Palm Jumeirah salon offers a number of face workouts aimed to instantly tone and sculpt

The Salon Face Bar Dubai has just opened its doors on the Palm Jumeirah. Instagram / The Salon Face Bar
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Like most people, my weight goes up and down. Some months, I get really into working out, and other months, I get really into pizza.

We go to the gym to workout the other muscles in our body to try and tone and sculpt them, and we need to do the same with the muscles in our face

But no matter my size, one thing that has never really changed much is my jawline. Sadly, chiselled jaws do not feature heavily in my family line, a fact that, unless I want to head down the surgical route, I can’t do much about. Or so I thought.

The answer, it turns out, has only been a few facials away all along. OK, perhaps I am getting ahead of myself, but a new salon in Dubai claims that, with a few of its signature “face workouts”, you’ll come away with a more defined jawline, sculpted cheekbones and an all-round “post-workout” glow-up.

“We go to the gym to workout the other muscles in our body to try and tone and sculpt them, and we need to do the same with the muscles in our face,” says Lily Raffan, owner of The Salon Face Bar at Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah.

But for the exercise phobics out there, a face workout is not nearly as much effort as it sounds. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A face workout at The Salon Face Bar actually consists of you lying back, closing your eyes, and letting the experts do all the hard work for you. Essentially, it’s a vigorous facial, designed to drain your face of any built-up fluids, helping to lift and tone the skin.

“We are using techniques that mimic the effects of a face lift,” Raffan explains. “The aim is to wake up our muscles and get them moving. Much like with traditional exercise, if we do this regularly, we will see the benefits at a later age.”

The salon, which opened its doors on Tuesday, offers three face workouts, as well as a number of more traditional facials and brow and lash treatments. Among the workouts are two HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions, which, much like the traditional exercise style, are designed to offer you short, sharp targeted blasts, that aim to have optimum effects in minimal time.

The two HIIT workouts each last 15 minutes – currently priced at Dh115 each –and target different areas of the face. The ‘Gimme Lift’ option is designed to work your jaw and cheekbones, toning while relieving tension at the same time. The second option, ‘Notox’, is focused on lifting the upper face, and is said to be a “natural alternative to Botox”.

Then, for those who really want to give themselves a whole face workout, there’s the Dh150 30-minute ‘HIIT Me Baby One More Time’ treatment, which is done in four stages – warm-up, cardio, tone and cool down.

For the warm-up, my therapist, Olivia, stretches me out, moving my neck from side to side and rolling a weighted ball over my chest and face. Then starts the cardio, which consists of Olivia rapidly patting my face in an upward motion. It’s the easiest cardio I have ever done. For the toning section, there are long, firm movements along the curve of my cheekbone and jawline, and across my forehead. And finally, perhaps the most pleasant section, the cool down consists of two soothing ice globes being pressed against my skin, said to help with lymphatic drainage.

“Our faces hold a lot of fluid, and this treatment really helps with drainage and reducing puffiness,” explains Olivia, who has been specially trained in face workout methods. “What we are aiming to do is lift. You will notice a difference in your cheekbones and jawline.”

Hopeful, but somewhat skeptic, I check out my freshly worked-out face, which, to my absolute delight, does appear ever so slightly more chiselled. For the first time in my adult life, I can just about see the outline of where my bones lie under my eternally rounded cheeks.

Of course, these results are (sadly) not permanent, and by the next day, I’ve started to lose the outline of them again, but I’m still reeling from the fact that I saw even a glimpse of cheekbone.

Sophie Prideaux directly after her face workout at The Salon Face Bar Dubai. 
Sophie Prideaux directly after her face workout at The Salon Face Bar Dubai. 

However, with regular face workouts, results are said to stick around longer. “Like with any workout, you need to do it regularly in order to see real results,” says Raffan.

The face workout movement has grown rapidly in recent years. Popular, unsurprisingly, in Los Angeles and London, many A-listers are fans of the treatments, including Meghan Markle, who credits regular face exercises for her defined facial structure.

“You sculpt your face from the inside out,” she told beauty brand Birchbox in 2018. “I swear it works, as silly as you may feel. On the days I do it, my cheekbones and jawline are way more sculpted.”

There has also been increasing interest in at-home face exercises in recent years. Jade and derma rollers are now common place in beauty cabinets, and YouTube is bursting with gua sha tutorials. Which begs the question: can we not achieve these same results at home?

Yes and no. Of course, like anything, if you invest in the right tools and spend long enough watching how-to videos, you can pick up the basics. And considering you need to carry out face exercises regularly to really see results, it’s probably not a bad idea.

But in the same way your daily skincare routine can never quite give you that post-facial glow, your at-home face exercises will always be given a boost with the help of a professional. Plus, who doesn’t love a pamper every once in a while?

The Salon Face Bar Dubai is now open at Riva Beach, Building 8, The Shoreline, Palm Jumeirah.