Move over, jade rollers: there's a new beauty tool dominating the Instagram feed. Meet the Gua Sha facial tool, the elegantly shaped jade and rose quartz crystals that are known as the "natural facelift." The smooth curved device that’s been recently populating your feeds has actually been around for centuries.
“Gua Sha is an ancient traditional Chinese medicine treatment, where the skin is scraped to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petachiae [bruising]," explained Dr. Lamees Hamdan, dermatologist and founder & CEO of Shiffa, an ancient beauty line. “To scrape the skin, tools are used, and the type and shape of the tool depends on the areas being treated but traditionally buffalo horn, a piece of jade, or even a coin was used as Gua Sha tool,” she says.
Chances are you haven’t seen a buffalo horn being used as a gua shu tool in a #topshelvie, as today's practices differ from its original form, but you can still get the same benefits.
So, what exactly is the facial gua sha?
The facial gua sha is a tool used in a massage technique that, much like the jade roller, promises to make your skin look brighter and healthier. It promotes blood circulation and natural drainage of the lymph nodes. “It contours and refines the face, releases muscular tension (which tends to give you a pinched, aged, angry look), helps circulation and lifts the skin,” explains Hamdan. Fans of the product also find jaw pain relief, brighter skin, and the ability to alleviate headaches.
How do you use the facial gua sha?
The basic technique involves scraping, usually in an upward motion, explains Hamdan. “For the face, the scraping is a long stroke, going upwards and outwards,” she says.
Start by placing the flat side of the tool at the base of your neck and stroke upward at a 45 degree angle to the face. You can also place the flat side of the tool on your shoulder or chin and stroke upward to where your jaw and ear meet. Repeat the steps across your complete face continually in an upward motion.
Dr. Hamdan also recommends you oil your face before use. A traditional red oil called St. John’s Wort is commonly recommended.
A few important things to remember:
With all beauty tools, some things sound a little too good to be true. Dr. Hamdan left us with a few pro tips before you get started scraping.
Don’t use this tool if you have any rashes, sunburns, cuts, or blood coagulation issues, as it would not be safe.
There is no need to store the product in the fridge. By cooling the tool, the cold tends to constrict blood vessels; you actually want to bring the blood to the surface for this technique.
Clean your tool with a mild detergent and water every few days and dry promptly.
Do not share tools, and if you find you need to sterilize the tool, use a product like Milton’s Solution.