Inge Theron put her knowledge as the Spa Junkie columnist for the Financial Times’ How to Spend It into founding FaceGym - the UK’s only gym for the face. With three studios across London, she believes you can train the muscles in your face in the same way as your body. The signature sculpting and whipping technique stimulates blood circulation, collagen production and cell renewal to lift, tone and tighten your complexion and can be combined with custom peels, masks and remedies too. Here she discusses her journey.
What inspired you to start your own FaceGym?
I saw a huge increase in invasive procedures with little regulation being put in place. Suddenly you could get botox at the hair salon, skin fillers at the dentist and I was seeing more and more men and women destroy themselves. When a new face lifting procedure performed at a top spa left me house bound for three months, I decided it was time to act and create a non-invasive, zero-risk, face lifting solution that really worked. When you go to the gym, a unique set of interval-training exercises lengthens your muscles and transforms your body. I applied that same logic to the face, creating a micro-contouring, muscle-stimulating cardio, strength and interval-training routine that works the face.
What were the main challenges you faced setting up your business?
I expected the biggest challenge to come with raising finance and that investors would think I was crazy. But from the very first meeting I had a great response to the concept, which I took as a good omen. Sadly I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of operating multiple sites and tens and tens of staff. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve hired the best operations person before I had even finished penning the concept. Every great idea is only as good as its execution – I lesson I have learned the hard way.
What keeps you going?
Knowing that I may in some small way create a healthier, realistic approach to ageing, so by the time by 2 year old daughter starts thinking about skincare there will be amazingly powerful, all natural solutions.
What is your favourite beauty product ?
I am very fortunate to have a custom beauty blend bar filled with cold pressed fruit and vegetable oils in the studio, so I pop in every weekend and have the mixologists blend me an oil or cream. I’m currently obsessed with our new passionfruit oil – it’s so delicious and nourishing for summer. Every morning I do a mini face workout on myself by massaging in the oil and waking up my face muscles.
Do you think nutrition plays a role in skin health?
You are what you eat and your skin on your face is a direct translation of what is happening inside your body. Sugar is very ageing so I try to avoid it. I steer towards vegetables, nuts and leafy greens which I juice every day. This plumps up my skin and gives me a natural glow.
Do you follow a nutritional plan yourself?
As a wellness columnist I have done every diet under the sun over the past 10 years. Finally having my children sorted out my hormones and stabilised my weight and my skin so I never need go on a diet again. I tend to follow a alkaline diet made up of 70 per cent plants, and have reduced red meat to once a month. However my plan is to enjoy life and eat whatever I want in moderation. There are nights I eat a half a wheel of brie with a couple of glasses of wine for dinner but the next morning I will drink a green smoothie and pile up on the veggies. Since adopting a less restrictive approach to food I have never been happier or looked better.
What is your favourite work-out?
For me, yoga is the holy grail. I go to Hot Yoga at Triyoga with Julie Montague and see Mercedes Ngoh when I need something more spiritual and feminine. I love Stuart Gilchrist for a proper workout. I combine yoga with Pilates and Barre, which I do at Heartcore Pilates. Jess, the owner, is really one of the nicest, most passionate people in the business and they’re always bringing something new to the class.
Are there any health trends that have piqued your interest recently?
I am currently exploring fermentation quite deeply, both in foods and in topical formulations and skincare.
What advice would you give to other women looking to start a business?
There is no one who owns a company who knows all the answers or has all the skills. The best advice I could ever give anyone is to never be afraid to ask other people for their help or advice.
For more information visit FaceGym
For more health and wellbeing tips, head over to the GP blog Nutrition section