Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Review Part 1

Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Review Part 1

I’m very anti-botox and I know there are plenty of botox alternatives, but I’m more about support-your-body so I decided to give this program a try and do a Carolyn’s Facial Fitness review while I’m about it.

First the backstory: I had to get a new drivers licence a few weeks back, and you might be wondering what that’s got to do with body image issues. Well – maybe not, if you’ve got a drivers licence with a photo on it.

Since I last sat in the hot seat for the licence photo, the state has introduced a new totally-blank-and-look-straight-ahead pose for the photo. Before that we were allowed a little smile! But anyhoo, the license duly arrived in the mail a few days later and my lovely delightful oh so honest eldest daughter Lel couldn’t talk for laughing at the pic!

I’m like – what, what? And then I saw it. “Well… well… they don’t let you be a person, you have to be completely stoney faced…..” I muttered, a bit flummoxed at her reaction.

MOdel-worthy driver’s licence photo 🙂

So then I took a look at it and I thought huh it’s not as bad as the passport pic, at least it kinda looks like me – when I’m totally zoned out, irritated and in a rare moment of not talking!

And then I had a closer look, and I saw something I really didn’t like – these two pouches on either side of my neck! What the heck is that, I thought? And you know, it’s kind of funny to see something like that – and I had to share it with you!

Then I got to thinking that really, I’m not too fond of those odd looking under-chin lumps.

You all know I won’t do cosmetic surgery and I think Botox side effects are best avoided – while I respect any woman’s right to do with her body as she will, it’s not my idea of fun nor is it an interesting way to spend money.

I remembered that I’d spoken with the amazing Carolyn Cleaves during the second series of The Body Image Revolution, and how much I love using her skin care and that I’d also purchased the Carolyn’s Facial Fitness package to get those facial muscles toned up. And I had a look at it, it sat on my lounge table for a couple of weeks while I intended to do it every day, and then it moved to the drawer as I intended to do tomorrow, and I just now took it down off my shelf, a house move and other life stuff later.

So I think it’s time to get the old face muscles working! And I thought since I’m going to do the program I might as well track it for you all. My plan is to show you what’s in the package, and then for the first few days I’ll tell you how I’m doing. After that I’ll do a weekly update.

So here is…

Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Review Part 1

Carolyn's Facial fitness review

Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Package

First of all, the reason I decided to invite Carolyn to The Body Image Revolution series was that she’s developed a simple, inexpensive and effective program that uses the body’s own natural abilities to improve your look of vitality and strength – no need for botox!

Carolyn’s mother had gone down the plastic surgery route and after her second surgery she had that classic plastic surgery look of being permanently surprised. Carolyn wanted an effective alternative that would contour and lift the face and get rid of that ‘tired’ look. I was impressed enough when I spoke with her that I bought the package, and it’s a comprehensive one. It comes in a neat little wallet so it all stays together. So let’s start the Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Review!

It contains:

  • a 73 page instruction and workbook with an overview of the program, instructions on using it, 14 bonus exercises and extra tips for getting the most out of the exercises in the main program
  • a set of 28 flashcards, one for each exercise. Each contains detailed instructions and photographs of Carolyn doing the exercises
  • Three disks – a DVD and two CDs. The DVD contains video of Carolyn doing all 28 exercises so you can copy the correct form.There’s also a Pacing CD and a Final CD – one for learning the exercises and the other for keeping you on track to complete the routine when you know how to do the exercises.
  • Oh a mirror comes with the kit as well – it’s migrated to the bathroom, I’ll need to retrieve it so I can see myself practicing the moves! I don’t think I”ll include a pic of that, no 🙂

Carolyn’s program will take only 15 minutes three times a week. She says that when she was designing the program she knew she wouldn’t do anything if it was too complicated or took too long. I so resemble that 🙂

She consulted with both a medical doctor and a professor of anatomy and physiology when she designed her muscle-resistance training program, which works all of the muscles in the face. If you want all the detail she has included a diagram of the main muscles of the face, complete with name and description. She also tells you which muscles you’re using in each exercise.

The book starts with a recommendation from MD Stan Gore about why a program of resistance training works.

Then it explains the three distinct training phases – the learning phase, the pacing phase, and the final phase.

You learn the exercises sitting up by watching the DVD and working along with Carolyn, using the mirror to check you’re holding the right area of your face. (Holding the muscle provides resistance.)

She suggests that to start with you might want to use a moisturiser to help the skin ‘handle the manipulations’ better.

So step one is read through the workbook and get familiar with the phases, and complete each phase before moving on to the next.

Carolyn's Facial fitness review

The opening screen of the DVD

Okay here I go with the DVD – she’s very clear that you work on Part 1 of the DVD sitting up, looking in the mirror, to learn all the moves. Each exercise is clearly marked as you can see from this image. So I start on exercise 1 and work my way through.  I’m not using moisturiser.

Post-Part 1 of Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Review

Even though the exercises are each listed on their own menu item, you don’t need to click each one, though you can do that if you want to – the DVD moves to the next exercise automatically.

This process is about learning to do the exercises, so one follows on from the other. When you’re doing them ‘for real’ there will be more repetitions. Boy do I feel them though! The exercises work parts of my face where I didn’t even know there were muscles!

And afterwards my skin is quite red, I can see why she’d say to use moisturiser, though apparently you get better resistance if you don’t use it. She writes in the book to be gentle around the eye area as the skin isn’t quite as elastic there.

I have read that some people think botox is a better alternative than exercising the muscles of the face. I don’t get that – think about what happens when someone breaks a limb and it’s plastered up – the muscles wither because the limb is immobilised and the muscle gets very little movement.

Logically the same thing must happen when you use botox – the muscle is immobolised so it must wither. If the muscle withers, there’s less tissue supporting the skin – I’d think that the end result would be worse than at the beginning.

But that’s just me and my logic.

Right now I really want to go moisturise my face; it’s winter here and my skin is feeling pretty dry anyway.

I think I might have sore muscles tomorrow, and I didn’t even do the full session!

But tomorrow I’ll do part 2 of the DVD because apparently some of the exercises modify a little when you lay down.

I’d be interested though to know if anyone else is interested in this review, please post below and let me know if you’d like to know more about my progress with Carolyn’s Facial Fitness or if I should just keep doing it in Private, if I get ten or more comments I’ll keep going, otherwise I’ll keep it between me and my mirror 🙂

Carolyn’s Facial Fitness Review Part 2





  1. sharon on August 7, 2012 at 6:40 am

    great keep doing the exercises I am keen to hear how it goes especially as I am on the wrong side of 50

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Thanks Sharon – and thanks for finding the link, I forgot to put it in the email, doh…. my face was so glowing my brain wasn’t working hehehe

  2. Jo on August 7, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Yes, I’m intrigued too!

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 10:32 am

      cool Jo, I’ll keep going 🙂

  3. sarah on August 7, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I’m very curious to see whether there’s a noticeable difference when you’ve finished the program. I am half way through losing the 35 kilos I’ve gained over the past 15 years and have noticed that my jowls are the only things that aren’t responding favourably to my efforts – they still look old and flabby. I don’t have the budget for cosmetic surgery so would be very interested in a viable alternative. Good luck!

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Sarah, I’m not sure the program is ever ‘finished’, like the daily walk for health never ends too you know? I guess I’ll be clearer on that as I go on… and perhaps it’s a blessing that you don’t have a cosmetic surgery budget?

  4. Stephanie on August 7, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Wow! They made you look like a very unhappy drone! It’s kinda scary. Why would they want people to have pics like that on their license?! Seems rediculous! All in all though it’s not THAT bad. Certainly not laughable to the point of hysterics lol. No matter the age though I think everyone could fair well with some facial exercises. I’m excited to see the progress of this program! 🙂 thanks for being so open and sharing this.

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Oh Stephanie thanks for that, LOL! Yes kids are brats aren’t they? Thanks for your interest – I’m interested to see how it goes too. I like Carolyn, she is so knowledgeable and I think genuine, and the system has certainly worked for her – let’s see though how it goes with others…

  5. Jan on August 7, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Oh, I’d love to see and hear how you get on, Sandy. Like you, I’m so conflicted. I want to love my body, sagging bits, pouches, lines and all; and I’m the first to tell other women when they agonise over their weight and wrinkles that they’re still looking loveable no matter what, and that’s all part of who they are and yet not who they are at the same time, if you get what I mean. But when it comes to facing up to my own ageing and unbeautiful bits and pieces – help!! So I’d also be interested to hear your reflections on all the various issues that come up for you as you go through the programme.
    By the way, sounds like you’ve had a bit of a difficult time of late, and it’s lovely to have your emails back in my inbox again – wishing you joy and peace

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Hey Jan – yes I hear you! For me as I think about these issues, it’s about how do I want to age? I intend to be strong and fit and independent for as many years as I can – my gran passed earlier this year ages 101, still with all her faculties but quite frail. She was a brilliant example but I want to be even stronger. And so if I’m consciously keeping my body strong, isn’t my face part of my body? Or is it vanity? it’s interesting isn’t it? 🙂

      And it’s lovely to have you here still, thank you 🙂 I’ll do an update if I can move my head tomorrow… hehehe.

  6. Sandra on August 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Sandy, I am interested in hearing about your experiences with the facial exercises.
    Thank you for being here.

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Sandra, I’ll add more as I go….

  7. Shonnie on August 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Yes, I would love to hear updates. I lost 35 pounds these last two years and realized that I no longer look as young as the last time I was at this weight. I thought losing the weight would do the trick, but I was surprised by how I have aged. I am curious if facial exercises really do the job and your honesty and humor lightens my mood. Keep it coming!

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Okay Shonnie! 🙂 And it makes sense too that when we lose weight it ‘shows’ in the face, because generally we lose a bit of muscle as well. In fact it was after losing a fair bit of weight that Carolyn started researching this program, and she was about 50 at the time I think? She’s in her 60s now.

  8. Jen on August 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I got my licence last year and had my the same photo taken as well. They made me look like a serial killer and do you have any idea how hard it is not to smile when you’ve just passed your driving test?!!!!

    I’m in the middle of losing a lot of weight. When I get to g

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      Jen that must’ve been tough 😀 And I want to remind you that you’re gorgeous the way you are you know 🙂 Yes I know that goes for me too – let’s hold hands and keep being gorgeous, strong and awesome together!

  9. Jen on August 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Whoops… I meant to say when I get to goal I’m going back to get another photo. I think I should also start this facial exercise program as well so I’ll look fabulous!!!

    Can’t wait to hear the results Sandy! 🙂

  10. Denni on August 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Looks like I’m the 7th to say, “Yes, do tell!”

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Okay, will do 😉

  11. Sylvie on August 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Those pics do look bad. Nothing you can do about it. Make sure you’re wearing a color that makes you look good.

    And, I can’t wait to see how this program works (hopefully). You need to post picture though.

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Heh they zoom in so close that the colour doesn’t really matter, I found! I will take some pics, a new one every week. Though if I was organised I could take one every day – could I be that organised? Actually it will be a matter of remembering…. Okay I’ll try.

  12. MAX on August 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Count me in. My Grandmother, Granny, never had a double chin and she weighed over 175#. She told me to stroke my neck with my palms often and I would not have one either. I will be 80 in December, weigh close to 200# and there are no jowls. Now if someone could inform me of an upper arm exercise I would try it. LOVE

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Max when I first read this I thought it said “Count me in grandma!” hehehe. My kids would object to that I think – I’m not sure I’ll ever be a grandma, one’s very focussed on career building and the other on study – as they should be, at their ages 🙂 That’s a really interesting story about your Gran – seems she used Carolyn’s program which is about firming up a muscle and then pushing against it to create resistance – mostly gentle strokes. Your Gran was a smart lady 🙂

  13. Jane on August 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    *90 Day Challenge*

    Thank you so much for this – I also have Carolyn’s excercise system. Six years ago when I bought it I practiced for a couple of months and started to notice a difference then just … stopped!

    As part of a personal effectiveness programme I’m doing some 90-Day challenges since this is what the coordinator says it takes to develop a new habit. I’ll be adding Carolyn’s system as another 90-Day challenge & keep you updated with my progress. There are a couple of friends who are interested, so I’ll also contact them about taking part – you could have you a whole team! (BTW, don’t think you mentioned the cost, which is even more affordable with US/AUD parity!

    • Sandy on August 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      Jane – cool! Please feel free to post your comments here as well, we can keep one another on track! It would be a hoot to have a whole tribe of eye-buggin lip-tucking frown-rubbing mavens doing this together 🙂

  14. Ellen on August 8, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Yes, please continue updating with the results. I too am opposed to botox and surgeries preferring to age with grace; however, natural help such as exercise is allowed. I would love to work on my ‘turkey’ neck and keep it at bay. Thanks so much for what you do!

    • Sandy on August 8, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Ellen, thanks for being here – one ‘turkey’ neck to another 😉

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