The Facial Flex Ultra is a plastic appliance that you stick in your mouth and manipulate with your lips in order to firm up sagging jowl lines and eradicate wrinkles. According to its website, an eight-week study showed that using the Facial Flex for four minutes a day results in facial muscles being strengthened by 250 percent and skin firmness improved by 32 percent. These results, the manufacturers say, have been documented in two publications, The Journal of the Society of Investigative Dermatology and The Journal of Geriatric Dermatology.
While the overwhelming majority of Facial Flex user reviews are positive, the ones that aren't do raise some rather serious concerns. On some message boards, reviewers claim to be either deliriously happy with the results -- which they compare to having a nonsurgical face-lift -- or furious because they feel that they've developed lip lines and jowl sagginess after use. The latter users are in the decided minority, but are still adamant that their problems started after they tried the Facial Flex.
Despite the concerns raised by a few, it seems that, given the number of reviews posted online, a lot of consumers are willing to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. QVC.com customers give the Facial Flex a relatively high rating, with users calling it a "personal trainer for your face and neck" and "fountain of youth tool," while saying that they wouldn't be caught without it in their daily health regimen. But again, several users mention that after using the Facial Flex, they got lip lines or noticed additional sagginess around their mouth and jaw.
These users speculate that the Facial Flex may not benefit middle-aged users because their skin has less collagen than younger people. However, these comments aren't backed by scientific data, so it's hard to test the validity of this theory without clinical trials. According to the product's user manual, those who have had facial procedures or with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome should not use the product without consulting their physician.
Users posting reviews at health and beauty website Folica.com report mixed results as well. While the majority say that they've noticed that their skin is firmer and more toned, several say that the Facial Flex hasn't worked for them, and a few mention that their lines have actually gotten deeper. Yet overall, the vast majority of posters rave about the results.
Out of a whopping 240-plus user reviews, QVC.com customers give the Facial Flex a rating of 4.2 out of a 5, saying that they use it as part of their daily health regimen. However, several mention that they developed lip lines and additional sagginess around their mouth and jaw after using the Facial Flex, and some speculate that it may not work as well for middle-aged users, whose skin is less elastic than younger persons. Many users also reference the manual for the Facial Flex, which notes that individuals who have recently had facial surgery should consult their doctor before using the product.
Review: Facial Flex Facial Exercise and Toning Kit, Contributors to QVC.com
In a total of 80-plus user reviews, sentiments are mixed. The vast majority rave about the results and say that they've noticed firmer, more youthful skin since using the Facial Flex. However, a number of dissatisfied contributors say that they've not recognized any change, and a few mention that using the Facial Flex has actually caused them to have more -- or deeper -- wrinkles than before.
Review: Facial-Flex Ultra Facial Exercise and Toning System, Contributors to Folica.com
If you can wade through the obvious spoof reviews, it's worth noting that most Amazon users seem to get good results with the Facial Flex. However, one contributor says that you shouldn't use it if you have TMJ syndrome, and another says that the plastic device breaks easily.
Review: Facial-Flex Facial Exercise System, Contributors to Amazon.com
The user forum on this site has an interesting message thread where posters compare their experiences and express their concerns about using Facial Flex. Overall, those who have used the device report positive results.
Review: Facial Flex for Firming and Lifting: Forum Thread, Contributors to EssentialDaySpa.com
Nicki Zevola, a beauty blogger and dermatology student, admits that she hasn't used Facial Flex but gives in-depth scientific analysis, citing studies in major medical journals, for why it may or may not work for some users. Her verdict: Try it if you want to, but proceed with caution.
Review: Product Review: Facial Flex, Nicki Zevola, Feb. 22, 2008