Sweat Sessions and Spa Treatments with FaceGym's Inge Theron

FaceGym founder and former Financial Times "Spa Junkie" Inge Theron has designed the ultimate workout session... for your face. With new openings anticipated in London and LA, her new-age gym studio-meets-spa has sent the wellness crowd into a facial frenzy.

Those who would opt for a workout that you can do sitting down, raise your hand. Everyone? Good. FaceGym, the brainchild of former Financial Times How to Spend It Spa Junkie columnist Inge Theron, exercises your face - stimulating some 40 facial muscles in the process - as you vegetate.

Plotted across London and New York, the spas function like gyms with pumping soundtracks and communal workout stations. With imminent openings anticipated for Notting Hill and LA, FaceGym is offering us a new kind of sweat sesh - and it has sent the wellness crowd into a frenzy.

A seasoned traveller with a get-it-done attitude, Inge Theron is a time cruncher. From time-saving beauty routines to preventative skincare and the best workouts in every city, she has it all worked out.

Tell us about Face Gym.

It's the UK's first gym studio for the face. Trainers perform a range of lifting and sculpting workouts designed to train the 40 plus muscles in the face. Results are amplified with high performance skincare products and non-invasive technology.

How often should we be working out our faces?

As with any workout, the results are better the more work you put in. It also depends on your age. For those in their 20s, it's more preventative, so we recommend doing "freestyle" DIY training a couple of times a week and a personal training session once a month. Daily muscle stimulation is key and our face trainers provide a detailed at-home prescription to follow in between workouts. For mid-30s and 40 plus, we bring out the big guns. Our state-of-the-art laser and radio-frequency machines, combined with intense hand massage and electric muscle stimulation produce transformative results.

One skin-health myth you'd like to debunk…

That deep-tissue facial massage causes wrinkles. For many years we were told to lightly tap on skincare products so as not to cause wrinkles, especially around the delicate eye area. At FaceGym we disagree wholeheartedly - and so do our legions of die-hard fans. The other thing I hear a lot is that using face oils will cause breakouts - absolutely not.

Tips for in-flight skincare…

I bring a little FaceGym toolkit with me on the plane. I use a Gua Sha tool and FaceGym Pro along with my Training Serum and hyaluronic serum. You get a few funny looks taking your face to the gym on the plane but I smile back, knowing I will be the one laughing on arrival.

Leaders in the skincare sphere…

Annee De Mamiel and Alexandra Soveral. True masters of their craft, wildly passionate about beauty, sustainability and produce incredible products.

Best places for a massage…

For a facial massage, Joëlle Ciocco in Paris. For a full-body massage, I love the Shibui Spa at New York's The Greenwich Hotel in New York. I also recently discovered the IMD Beauty Spa in New York - it offers lymphatic massages, magnesium wraps and InfraRed sweat sessions. In London, KX has great therapists.

Best workout spots in London and New York…

In London I love Body by Simone as well as Bodyism whose approach to training is really achievable; I workout at its Notting Hill studio when I'm in town. In New York I go to all the usual suspects - Rumble, Barry's Bootcamp, SoulCycle, NYC Pilates - but I also have dance classes with Amanda Kloots and Megan Roup super high on my to-do list this summer.

Best health-food restaurants include…

LA is great for healthy haunts: vegan bowls and smoothies at SunLife Organics in Malibu; and bowls of grains and greens washed down with kombucha at Flower Child in Santa Monica.

Does travel inform your work?

Absolutely. I recently did a meditation immersion down the Mekong, which taught me a new practise and tried otonamaki [human wrapping] in Japan, which has inspired a new workout launching in FaceGym. As a spa designer, I am deeply intrigued by ancient healing cultures. I spent months in the jungles of Mexico researching before designed the Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena Hotel Miami Beach.

What do you think makes a good hotel?

Those which have considered wellness from day one. We expect incredible service, restaurants and comfortable bedding but hotels of the future need to put wellness first. It's not good enough to tag on a spa to tick a wellness box. Wellness is not just facials and massage. Great hotels have their water at the perfect pH balance, air supported with oxygen machines, and copper plates in the walls so when you say "goodnight" you say goodbye to all electronics and red lights. (There is virtually nothing more annoying for me than turning the lights off and seeing a sea of red lights staring back at me.)

Where do you go to relax?

I am not called "The Spa Junkie" for nothing. I love using any downtime I have discovering a new (or old) spa. I travel to the Austrian medical spas - I love VIVAMAYR, Villa Paradiso and Chenot in Italy are always good for a quick reset.

Which are your most frequented travel destinations?

I love Mexico and try and visit a new portion of it at least once a year. This year, I'm going to Careyes. I also love Italy - after all, my husband is Italian. We spend most summers in the olive-filled valleys of Umbria or sailing around the Amalfi Coast. I'm currently in the throes of a love affair with Sicily.

For a DIY facial workout, what are your tips?

If you can't make it in to FaceGym, there are at-home exercises you can do. Some simple chin exercises performed in the morning and evening every day will help, but you have to be consistent with them. We'd recommend doing the exercises 10 times each for maximum effect. We also sell a multitude of tools which are great for home use including the FaceGym Ball, gold roller or a jade stone.

Skincare tools worth the investment…

The FaceGym Pro - it's like a Power Plate for your face. It applies mild, yet effective electrical muscle stimulation to the face, which strengthens muscles' to visibly lift, tone and tighten. Use it just 10 minutes once or twice a week and you'll notice the difference.

One piece of travel advice…

Always travel with a digital scale to avoid the super unglamorous repacking in front of strangers at check in.

And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?

Handmade Italian silk pyjamas and robe; a travelling temple comprised of Buddhist bells and one of three handmade, travel-size Ganesha statues I picked up in Rishikesh; oils, for every part of my body; and Miller Harris Rose perfume.

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