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Forget Botox — take your face to boot camp instead

Forget Botox – take your face to boot camp instead

A Gym workout that includes pounding a persons face is called boxing. So when a colleague told me about a beauty regime that amounted to something similar I was skeptical.

Maybe I'm just a softy but I don't want to spend $60 on a beauty treatment (45-minute workout) and leave feeling like I've gone twelve rounds in the ring.

With a nervous/excited tension that only prizefighters experience before a bout, I headed to FaceGym's flagship studio situated on the famous King's Road in west London.

Unsurprisingly the cosmetics industry is booming and a large portion of that market is surgical and non-surgical procedures. Analysts at Grand View Research estimate that by 2025 it will be worth a whopping $43.9 billion-a-year globally with the industry growing 9 percent a year, more than four times the rate of the developed world's GDP.

In a world increasingly seen through the prism of social media, we are growing vainer by the day.

Back at FaceGym, I was starting the 'signature workout' with a warm-up that involved stretching my face with a mini exercise ball.


"We have 600 muscles in our body and 40 of those are in your face, so just like you workout your body you workout your face," said Inge Theron the founder of FaceGym.

She's also known as the Spa Junkie, the once-anonymous Financial Times columnist who visits spas and reviews their beauty treatments and products. In 2014, after three years of being a cosmetics guinea pig, she opened her unique gym studio, the only one in the world dedicated to the face.

"I've seen it all and done it all and I suppose FaceGym is the sum of the best things I'd seen around the world."

Within the global cosmetics industry, there is one country that continues to dominate. For the first time, the U.S. broke the $15 billion threshold on aesthetic procedures and plastic surgery. Americans spend more on their beauty than they do on their education. Whatever happened to the adage 'don't judge a book by its cover'?

"Next is the cardio whipping," says Claire my personal trainer – cue being repeatedly swiped until I'm red in the face.

I think I've had enough.

"Now we need to strengthen…" I'm starting to realize why Inge was so insistent I call it a workout and not a treatment.

So are face workouts here to stay?

It's likely now with safer, more accessible and mainstream surgical and non-surgical procedures that demand in America's cosmetics industry will grow.

Across the pond, however, the U.K. paints a different picture. According to The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, the number of surgical cosmetic procedures actually fell 40 percent last year.

Analysts argue the rise in "relatable" social media celebrities such as YouTube star Zoella turning their backs on cosmetic enhancement could be the reason.

However, non-surgical operations, which include Botox injections, are still on the rise. Whether non-invasive beauty regimes such as face workouts could compete for that share of the market is still too early to say.

"And that's your workout complete!"

Forty-five minutes of strenuous training, which included being zapped with an electric probe, and I am exhausted. So, would I go back?

I'm not thrilled with the idea of paying more than $350 to have my face injected with Botox but as the years tick by and my skin wrinkles like a sun-baked elephant my vanity will most likely force me to act.

Following my grueling workout, I met up with friends to re-hydrate and without knowing where I'd been they said I looked "fresh." I may be forced to return to the FaceGym.