What do Cindy Crawford, Katy Perry, and Amal Clooney have in common? They all turn to expert skincare trainer and massage therapist Thuyen Nguyen for a flawless looking face.
Nguyen’s signature FaceXercise is a unique treatment of, you guessed it, exercise for the face. The formula has many red-carpet celebrities turning to him for an instant cell revival. With two locations, Tribeca and Wainscott, a luxury skincare line, and a new role as creative spa consultant with Equinox Hotels spas, there’s no one else I would have turned to on how to keep the face protected from the summer sun.
What’re the basics of what you do?
I don’t have a vast menu. I just have one thing I do. My whole brand is built on skin health, in the medical proven fact of massaging the face. My philosophy has always been the same across the board, reinforcing the strength of the skin. When I started this 23 years ago, I had half the clients and they thought ‘Oh, it’s just massage?’ They wanted the Nimbus 2000, Korean foreskin, or the fish coming to eat your face. I’m actually also a massage therapist. I went to school at the Swedish Institute.
How’d you connect the concept of massage therapy to the face?
My aha moment was when I volunteered with paralyzed patients in hospitals that were assigned to me and, as you know, atrophy comes from paralysis. Within two and a half weeks, I saw the shape of the leg again after massaging them. It’s incredible because massage is technically passive exercise but it’s the oldest form of anti-aging.
Does it work on everyone?
My clients are all ages. The older people want to keep the skin from thinning and the younger clients come to me through the parents because I’ve been able to get their skin regularly lymphatic and detoxed.
Most of my clients don’t want to put their kids on any kind of prescription because it messes up their hormones at a young age. So, I’ve been able to stop the cystic acne by just constantly massaging on a regular basis. Massaging boosts your immune system.
Can we do it at home (after booking with you, of course)?
Do it for a minute to two minutes in the shower. And I always say take it with a shower because that’s when you’re going to get in a habit. Just go all different ways, but really rigorously. I think it’s beautiful to see a woman that’s healthy looking, toned in her face, toned muscles. Yet she has a few lines, but that’s her age.
You have a skincare line. Do you pair it with your massage therapy?
My skincare line is great, but it can only do so much. It only deals with the top layer. I will even tell my clients, unless you’re going to do the massage work, don’t buy my product. You’re going to chase a rainbow that you’re never going to get. That’s why people buy product after product and never achieve their goal. They’re not doing the other part.
This is almost avant-garde in a way, reinforce the constant rebuilding of the skin from underneath. I compare this to plants. You don’t deal with just the leaves you deal with the roots, that’s going to keep feeding it.
What else can we do to promote healthy skincare?
The more you reinforce the strength of the skin, the better it will prevent you from getting cancer or the sun damage. Especially for the summer, stay away from anything that is more like a peel. That’s why dermatologists tell you not to do fractional laser or anything during or close to the summer time. You’re thinning down the skin, which is thinning down the ability for to protect yourself.
What about heating and cooling treatments?
The reason you get red is because the body naturally brings blood to the surface in order to cool the skin down. That creates cell regeneration. Anything that promotes blood circulation from underneath like red light sauna and steam creates heat. A cryotherapy facial works the same way. Your body naturally regulates itself. Pulling up blood platelets does two things. It takes out and then it delivers nutrients. And the nutrients are what rebuilds tissue, reinforcing the immunity of the skin.
Are there any gimmicks out there we should avoid?
One of my biggest pet peeves is a moisturizer and a sunscreen combined. Sunscreen should do one thing; it’s the shield. Apply your moisturizer, which creates the barrier for your pores, then put the sunscreen on. But remove it the minute you get home and you’re not going to be in the sun. Any sunscreen is fine. Even the ones that are waterproof. They are washable. You just have to cleanse it off the minute you’re inside.
How about a DIY facial?
I love the local honey here. Local raw honey has compounds in nature that scientists can’t mimic. It’s so special because it has all these antibacterial elements and all these nutrients. Honey draws moisture into the skin. It does an amazing job at cleaning the skin, hydrating it. I will take it and I will warm it in my hand, and add a little bit of coconut oil or something so it softens and makes it less sticky. Then massage it in.
I leave it on for at least 15 to 20 minutes. It somehow pumps the skin up because it’s a humectant. Add in massaging the skin for just three to five minutes before you go out — it resets and makes you look awake.
Book a service at www.facexercisestudios.com.
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here