By Danica Lo
March 08, 2021
This latest social media beauty craze is a sticky one. Would you put tape all over your face—even on your mouth?
One of the latest old-school beauty trends experiencing a revival on social media—joining the ranks of other classic DIY treatments such as slugging, which has also taken off among millennial and Gen Z skincare-aficionados—is face tape. Yes, face tape. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: strategic taping of the face to keep muscles from moving or features in place, and, most of the time, worn through the night for maximum effect.
If face tape sounds familiar, well, that’s because it’s been around for a while. One of the first commercialised face tape products in the western world was called Frownies, adhesive wrinkle-prevention face patches first marketed by a woman called Margaret Kroesen in 1889. In the ensuing centuries, physically immobilising face muscles to prevent forehead wrinkling, neck wrinkling, and the “elevens” (those two vertical links between the brows) with medical tape has popped up as a trend every couple of decades.
This time around wrinkle face tape is trending on social media, especially on TikTok, and we wanted to find out whether the longevity of the wrinkle tape craze means that it’s a treatment that actually works, so we asked some experts about face taping and how effective it is as preventing fine lines and wrinkles. We also asked about how wellness body hackers are using face tape to tape their mouths shut in order to encourage nose-breathing while asleep.
Here’s what the professionals had to say.
“Face tape for wrinkles are only truly effective in reducing facial muscle tension in young people with dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles that appear when you make a facial movement),” says Dr. Vincent Wong, a leading cosmetic doctor based in Knightsbridge.
“Once the muscle tension is strong enough that dynamic lines become static lines (i.e. they are there even when you don’t make a facial expression), these tapes become less effective and the wrinkles will return soon after the tapes are removed. On average, users are recommended to use tapes for at least 30 days to see any changes.
“It is important to choose the right material so that you don’t occlude the skin when using them. I would highly advise against using it if there are any signs of broken skin or inflammation (such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis) in the area you intend to tape.”
“For years I have recommended using ‘office tape’ vertically over the elevens that invade our forehead from concentration and frowning,” says Cynthia Rowland, creator of the Facial Magic facial exercise system.
“Just place a one inch piece of tape vertically over the lines before bedtime—the results will be apparent in the morning. The tape will not allow you to frown during your sleep. It’s a form of behaviour modification.”