Ever since I started sleeping with craft paper on my forehead and showed it on instagram my DMs have been asking for a full review! So this is my Frownies review along with a few of my other favourites for helping fine lines and aging skin. They’re available in the US and UK but from different store fronts – they’re both linked below.
the needed affiliate bit: when I love something, I see if they have an affiliate program. That means I get paid a little bit if you purchase through my links – but you pay no more and sometimes less! Frownies is actually not a brand I’m an affiliate for.
A note on Frownies, aging + “anti-aging”
Frownies say they’re not technically an “anti aging” product. They help retrain the face to reduce expression lines that are more to do with just that: expression, rather than signs of aging. But expression lines show up more as we age so I still think there’s a connection. And I don’t know what the answer is here. I want to embrace my body as it is in all seasons of life, and I want a society that embraces the process of aging without prejudice. And yet here I am making these choices to “change” my skin.
I don’t dye my hair, I don’t plan on botox or anything invasive, but I do use skincare to help my skin and I do wear these Frownies. I think we all have a line we won’t cross in terms of anti aging choices, and we tend to then judge people on the other side. There are many considerations on options from cost, to safety, to how we feel about changing the process. For me now my parameters are: I have a budget, and I don’t want to do anything with any safety concerns, and then I do want to love and embrace what’s happening too. But I’m also happy looking after my skin in a way that safely changes the process a bit, while really giving time to using every moment of putting on skincare to practice loving every line and wrinkle and little bit of my face!
So what did I think? My Frownies Review
“Frownies” have been around for decades and are very simple, natural weighted unbleached Kraft paper, with a water activated starch based adhesive. They’re vegan and made without gluten and very simple. You wet them, apply them to your face and they create a stiff cast to immobilise your muscles, with the idea being that you retrain them.
In general I LOVE them. I used them intermittently for about 6 months with no massive results aside from helping with the feel of facial tension I hold in my face. Every morning when I’d take them off, the lines were smoothed and way less visible, but they were back pretty quickly as I moved my face.
I discovered Frownies really do need consistent use!
Then I started doing what they tell you to (!), and I wore them every single night. This is where I started really seeing the benefits of them. In a few weeks I could notice my muscles were retraining which is the goal of the patches – to teach you to use your muscles differently in places you contract muscles causing lines. I could tell I was using my forehead less and the results were lasting longer. The lines are really smoothed out when I take the patches off, but the smoothing lasts much better through the day too.
I use 4-6 triangles a night on my forehead, and wear them ~6 night a week so they last me 4-6 weeks. If you just want them over your 11s between your eyes you’ll probably need just 2, and they’ll last a lot longer. You can wear them how you want depending on where the lines are that come from muscle tension. I’ve played around but also I find their Frownies and Frownies UK instagram pages really helpful in learning to use them!
Personally I prefer the triangles over the ones shaped for the mouth. They’re versatile and can be used anywhere but I find them easier to work with.
Things to note about using Frownies
These really need to be worn every night at least for the first few months. So you need to be ok wearing them to bed (or earlier – I put them on before working in the evenings sometimes too.) And they’ll be on when you wake up in the morning. They can be tough to get off – they’re not a quick peel off and go. You need a good amount of water to remove them. It’s easiest either in the shower or let the sweat of a workout ease them off. If not, you need a minute or two to cup water over them and get them off.
Where to find Frownies in the US and UK (+ discount code!)
You can find the shape I like HERE in the US and get a discount with code WHOLE. And HERE in the UK and also on US Amazon and UK Amazon (but the discount doesn’t work there). The way I use them they end up costing me about $4/£5 a week when I use them every night, and the hope is I can use them less frequently after the initial phase. Stay tuned! Update: I after the initial muscle training I stopped for about 3 month all together. I did need maintenance wearing so I’ve gone back to intermittent use again!
They have other products on the website I wouldn’t choose to go in for, in terms of skincare items. I haven’t deeply reviewed the ingredients but I think they’re a mix and the packaging isn’t as sustainable as it could be. So this isn’t a sign of on all the products but just the paper patches.
Overall I’d say if you have the money to spend to try them, they’re well well worth trying. Use them correctly, and every night if you can, and see what you think after a box!
My Other Aging Skin Staples
Obviously it’s important to remember that genetics play a huge part in our skin, and our diet and lifestyle too. When anyone shows any product on instagram, the largest thing playing in is probably genetics not a single product.
As I support my skin through aging (which the skin experts tell us starts in our 20s!) these are a few of my regular staples.
If I could choose one stand along product for helping fine lines and brightening skin it would be this. It’s a gentle, overnight treatment that chemically and gently exfoliates the skin on the surface and deeply too. I’ve been using it for 5 years and it’s a staple and a game changer.
You can actually get this FREE with any $50 Beautycounter purchase through their perks program so I highly recommend doing that if you don’t already have it! Read more about that in this post HERE.
I use plant retinols/bakuchiol in my daily moisturizer and as a much more gentle, widely considered safer (and pregnancy/breast feeding safe) alternative to retinol. Moisturizers with bakuchiol help to increase skin cell turnover and as an ingredient it can give comparable results to retinol. My two go to products are Beautycounter’s Countertime Line, THESE THREE are my daily staples and last me over 6 months, but I use the whole line intermittently. I also use and love the Nightly renew cream from Evolve Beauty and their bio retinol booster is clever cos you can add a few drops to any product to get the goodness of bakuchiol in what you’re already using (and it’s gorgeous just on it’s own too!
I can’t say I wear SPF every single day but I’m getting better and better at it and I like doing in a tinted SPF moisturizer. My two favourites are the BB Cream from PHB Ethical Beauty (available in the UK and shipped worldwide) and the Dew Skin from Beautycounter (USA/Canada shipping.) They’re both formulated with ethically sourced mineral, and safer mineral SPF rather than what’s known as “chemical SPF” that have been widely linked to a range of health and environmental concerns. So I love those two! The few skin comes in a recycled plastic tube and the PHB BB Cream comes in a corn starch tube.