Having Good “Facial Posture” Is a Thing, and It’s Just As Important As Sitting up Straight

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
The importance of having good posture and not hunching like Quasimodo over my laptop all day has been so ingrained into me by now that you can sort of, kind of say that I sit up straight. (For all of my coworkers that are raising an eyebrow, I said kind of.) But to add another thing to keep top of mind, yesterday I learned that it's equally important to have good facial posture. Yes, it's a thing.

The idea was introduced to me by the three beauty experts behind brand-new skin- and self-care brand Wildling—Britta Plug (holistic facialist), Jill Munson (formulator), and Gianna de la Torre (acupuncturist and herbalist)—and my very first question was,"Do you mean like, resting bitch face?" Which they confirmed that it is, at least, somewhat.

"There are all of these unconscious patterns we have in our lives in every way—physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically," de la Torre explains to me. "My personal experience with facial posture began on the yoga mat. You realize you have all of these things going on in your body—your left side is much tighter than the right, for instance. And as our culture has gotten more used to being explorative of the body, we become more aware of those things and the places we're holding our tension. But one of the very neglected aspects of that is the face, which is what we greet the world with."

So your facial posture is how you hold your facial expression, similar to how you naturally hold your body. "The same way it happens in the body, we have these habitual holding patterns, whether a furrowing of the brow when focusing or concentrating, or a tightening of the jaw or a squinting of the eyes, or a lifting of the forehead" says de la Torre. "And usually that pattern is associated with how we're feeling mentally and emotionally." For her, she admits that she furrows her brow when she looks at her phone.

Your facial posture is how you hold your facial expression—just like how you naturally hold your body.

If you're guilty of falling into an RBF (resting bitch face) or some other stressed-out expression on the reg, you can change it by simply bringing awareness to your facial muscles. "Facial posture is just an extension of body awareness,' de la Torre explains. "By being aware of your body and also your face, you can change your mental state and the way your face looks for the better."

So "good" facial posture is how you look when you're totally relaxed—like how you'd hold your face if you were sitting in a hot spring in Costa Rica. Since most of your stressed facial expressions happen unconsciously, de la Torre notes that you just have to pay attention to where the tension goes, and consciously bring it back to its relaxed state. The ladies of Wildling highly recommend practicing gua sha for this, since it releases your facial tension. "From gua sha, you get a sense of freedom you get from that tension release, and it helps you become aware of where you hold tension," she says.

And just as bad body posture can lead to a serious curve in your spine or rounded shoulders, poor facial posture leads to wrinkles in those places of tension. De la Torre explains that it's a build-up and a hardening of fascia, which makes that position more permanent. If that isn't great inspo to quash that RBF, I don't know what is.  So how can you do it? "Find what feels really good, like having a soft smile and feeling how your face feels the most comfortable, and going from there," she says. "Notice when you're shutting down that flow and you're making some odd facial expression out of stress or habit or whatever else, and then move towards what feels good—because what feels good tends to look good, too."

....I'm now not frowning anymore as I look at my screen, thank you very much.

This is how you can use gua sha for better body posture, too. And here's how to have proper neck alignment so that you're totally straight and acing your good posture. 

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