Facial Workouts: How EMS Works To Tone Your Facial Muscles


Topical skincare is the bread and butter of a skincare routine but we believe in a holistic, 360˚ approach when we’re treating the skin, being inside, outside and on top. That “inside” stands for the nutrition you give to your body through food and supplements but it also means the muscles that lie under your skin.

As we age, our muscles lose tone, even if we are fighting to work out as hard as we can. It’s certainly something we’re conscious of when it comes to our bodies but our face and neck are full of muscles too, and this loss of muscle tone is responsible for the sagging and drooping we see as we get older, particularly along the jawline and neck.  

This doesn’t mean you have to resort to the surgical routes - far from it, in fact.

What is EMS (electrical muscle stimulation)?

Until recently, EMS (electrical muscle stimulation, or faradic) was something that you could only find in clinics and salons, a near-magical mode of muscle firming that provides instant results. If you think you’ve never heard of it, think again, as it was super popular in the 90s in the form of Slendertone, the belts you placed around your stomach that zapped you whilst you watched TV! Nothing like Home and Away and an intense tummy tickle.  

So, how does EMS work your face out? Low faradic currents are delivered into the skin, stimulating nerve endings and causing muscles to contract and relax at recurring intervals. This motion is what causes the toning, just as your muscles contract and relax when you do ten ab crunches.

It is important to note that if you stop doing it, the effects won’t remain. It has to be done frequently and long-term to see true results, as the results build over time. So, exactly like working out the rest of you!

How to work out your face at home

Thank you, 21st century, as now, the wonder that is EMS can be experienced in your home via handheld device. We’ve finally launched one on the store and Team Nerd are a-buzzing. Meet the Rio 60 Second Face Lift.

How to use a handheld EMS machine

All handheld EMS machines come with their own instructions and we always recommend that you follow the directions with your device carefully.

For facial toning, all you need to do is pop the conductive gel on the two ball contacts, turn the Rio on and hold it on the area for 60 seconds. Seeing as different areas of the face have thinner skin and are more sensitive, the Rio device has plenty of settings so that you can adjust the intensity. Your goal in using it is to feel the muscles being stimulated, so it’s advised that you increase the intensity until you can feel the (proverbial) burn.

The Rio has another uber cool function: it can be used for iontophoresis, aka the infusion of ingredients into the skin via electrical current. It comes with specifically designed collagen and retinol patches that you apply to the skin. Once the patches are applied to the area, you select the Infusion programme on the Rio and gently roll the machine across it for 60 seconds, repeating this on the patches for between 10 to 30 minutes (5 to 15 minutes per patch).

To explain why this is cool in non-nerdie terms, it means that the current is pushing the ingredients deeper into the skin, bringing about better results than a hooman could get with their bare hands.  

When to avoid EMS

Although EMS is safe when in devices designed for facial use, it is still putting electrical currents into your face and there are some circumstances in which you cannot use it, including…

  • During pregnancy
  • When using a pacemaker
  • If you have a heart disorder
  • When receiving treatment for low blood pressure
  • If you have epilepsy
  • If you have multiple sclerosis
  • If you are recovering from an operation

As EMS is stimulating - well, it’s even in the name - it shouldn’t be used on areas of pustular acne (ie. red, raised spots or whiteheads), rosacea, sensitive skin, damaged skin or on scars, moles or varicose veins. Care should also be taken in the eye area, with Rio stating to leave at least 1cm between the device and the eyeball at all times.

Think it’s for you? At €120, the Rio 60 Second Face Lift is one of the most affordable handheld EMS machines on the market.

If you have any questions, pop us an email at consult@theskinnerd.com.