Fayce Gym: No-tox botox and fighting ageing without a facelift

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:17 04 July 2017

Fayce Gym. Picture: Renato Csatich

Fayce Gym. Picture: Renato Csatich


In an airy room in Hampstead Garden Suburb, six women are expressively reciting their vowels. We're not at finishing school, we're at the gym

Fayce Gym. Picture: Renato CsatichFayce Gym. Picture: Renato Csatich

In an airy room in Hampstead Garden Suburb, six women are expressively reciting their vowels. We’re not at finishing school, we’re at the gym, but the kind of gym where you can drink tea and eat a pain au chocolat and have a chat without raising your heart rate – in other words, a really great kind of gym.

When you want to tone up your body, you exercise it. There’s no doubt that it works. So it stands to reason that you should get similar results from exercising your face. Goodbye bags, wrinkles and jowls – this is no-tox botox, the idea behind Anthea Yamey’s Fayce Gym.

A few years ago, Anthea had a devastating stroke which paralysed the right side of her face and caused her to lose speech.

“At the time I was working in personal presentational skills in the corporate market, I had a lot of work on my books and I didn’t want to miss that,” she says. “My next job was two weeks after my stroke and I decided that, come hell or high water, I am going to be doing that job, so I thought what can I do?

“I started really rigorously doing the exercises on the one side and eventually it was ok. So I know it absolutely works. After I’d done that, I thought this is something that needs to be taught to everybody.”

Fayce Gym. Picture: Renato CsatichFayce Gym. Picture: Renato Csatich

Like Eva Fraser who has taught facial fitness to Madonna (who, I suspect, has had some extra help), Anthea set up the Fayce Gym to teach people how to retrain the numerous muscles of the face to be stronger and firmer. With age, we lose elasticity and muscle tone in the face and this is Anthea’s alternative to filling out the gaps with injections.

In my mid-twenties, I’ve not yet noticed any wrinkles or loss of elasticity (give 
it time) but apparently it’s never too early to start.

As you do with any kind of exercise, we begin with some warm ups. Instructed not to wear makeup and to moisturise, it’s not particularly comforting to sit in a well lit room with a mirror a few inches from my face. But everyone’s in the same boat, and as soon as we start making fish faces and exhaling like a horse, it’s too funny to focus on anything else.

Anthea encourages us to laugh at ourselves and each other, to enjoy the experience of looking stupid. We work our way through exercises that target each part of the face, using tiny muscles that you wouldn’t know were there if you didn’t intently focus on them. Some of the moves are tiring – attempting to close one eye without moving anything else is a lot harder than it sounds. And some are relaxing – I have never so much enjoyed, or even thought that much about, massaging my chin. There’s a calm feel to the class, and Anthea walks around assisting everyone with their exercises.

I leave a little later feeling energised, and I didn’t even have to break a sweat.

Fayce Gym. Picture: Renato CsatichFayce Gym. Picture: Renato Csatich

To book a half day workshop for minimum three, maximum six people at £125pp visit thefaycegym.com.

You can do these exercises anywhere: in the car, on the tube, in the park. All are done with eyes open, so no need to worry about anything except looking a bit ridiculous.

1 Satchmo

Fill your mouth with air and bounce the air from one cheek into the other and also into the areas above and below your lips.

2 Party Piece

Pretend you’ve suddenly recognised someone from your past walking towards you. Open your eyes wide, raise your brows and smile with your mouth open as if saying hi.

3 Fish face

Make a fish face with your lips by sucking in cheeks, then try to smile simultaneously.

4 Toothless hag

(with lip salve on) Open your mouth and cover the top and bottom teeth with your lips. Smile strongly, hold and release.

5 The Haka

Open your eyes wide, raise your brows and stick your tongue out as far as it goes.

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