Exercise One - Muscles Under Eyes
The exercise for the muscles that surround the eyes looks deceptively easy. The basic exercise is easy. It's done by just partially winking one eye at a time, and holding the wink for a second, and then repeating the movement. I suggest 25 repetitions. (I do two sets of 25 repetitions.) There is no need to scrunch up the skin in the crow's feet area when doing this exercise, but there is the need to contract firmly both the orbicularis oculi muscles around each eye and the nasalis muscles that are on each side of the nasal bone.
There is an advanced version of this exercise that is more effective but you have to gain control of the occipitalis muscle at the back of the head to do it. I discuss gaining control of this important muscle when I describe Exercise Five for the scalp muscles. I'll tell you how to do the advanced exercise then.
I put this exercise first among the six exercises because the first indication that we are getting older is those lines that form in the skin around the eyes. (The skin around the eyes is the thinnest and most delicate of the whole body.) This exercise will definitely not eliminate the fine lines but it will make them less noticeable.
Before doing any facial exercise you should apply some lubricant to the area around the muscles being exercised. I splash some water on my face before doing the exercises. You may want to apply your favorite moisturizer to the skin before you start. Don't do any of these exercises with a dry face.
Exercise One, A Variation
This exercise for the area around the eyes might be even better than the basic one because you will feel these orbicularis oculi muscles contract strongly when you do it right. It's an easy exercise to do.
My Video Presentation
If you want to see me demonstrate the facial exercises, you can order my new OnDemand Vimeo presentation from Selene River Press which comes with a 31-page extended PDF manual explaining each of the 6 exercises in detail. Each video can be downloaded to your favorite device or streamed online:
The following video of the same material is for those who speak Spanish - para las personas que hablan español.
After applying some lubrication to the skin around the eyes, place the fingertips of the hands under both eyes just under the orbital bone. Even though the pressure you will apply is gentle, it will give sufficient resistance to all the muscles above the orbital bone. Now while the resistance is being applied by your fingers, close your eyes tightly. You'll feel all the muscles in the neighborhood being worked strongly.
I usually hold the contraction for either one or two seconds. Do as many repetitions as you feel comfortable with. I do several sets of twenty-five reps. This is the one exercise that I do almost every day because the muscles and skin around the eyes are one of the two areas where deterioration is first evident as a person gets older. The other area is the front of the neck. Try this exercise in the morning while you're lying in bed - a good way to start the day.
This exercise will get rid of any bagginess around the lower eyelids and will probably get rid of any hooded upper eyelids too. But improvement will take time. Don't believe those optimistic statements about rejuvenation in a few weeks. Muscles and skin take time to respond.
Here is a photo of a woman with hooded eyelids. (Ojos encapuchados)
Continue to - Exercise Two
So who is this guy making these strange faces at you? It's the creator of this website, Tom Hagerty. I have been doing facial exercises for a long time. I think the exercises I'm going to show you have postponed some of the effects of aging, like the loose skin at the front of the neck and the lines that often develop under the eyes and around the mouth.
I would have preferred a young woman to model these exercises, but most young women don't usually like to look ridiculous. Carol Burnett would not have minded making these faces. Her appearance in front of a camera commands a lot of cash though.
The photos you'll be looking at in the next sections of this site will give you a good idea of how the exercises should be done. But after you learn them, don't feel you have to do them exactly as I say. Do some experimentation - be creative. Vary the exercises often or you'll become bored.
And please don't think of me as a guru who has all the answers about how to keep your face looking young and expressive. We're all learning new things every day. I'm sure I'll get suggestions from some visitors to this site that will be valuable. When I do, I'll share them with you.
Some women might think that the exercises I advocate are a little too energetic and strenuous - not at all ladylike. These women would probably prefer "exercises" like face tapping (tapping certain areas of the face with the middle finger) or applying an even pressure with a finger or two to the temple area.
The problem with these dainty exercises is that they are completely ineffective. They do nothing to tone up or strengthen the facial muscles. The health and youthful appearance of the skin is largely determined by the tone and strength of the underlying facial muscles.