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W H A T   I S   G U A   S H A   A N D   C A N   I T    H E L P    Y O U  ?

Image by Cherrydeck

I’ll never give up on my beloved jade roller, but there is another skincare tool I can’t stop thinking about: the jade scraper. Also known as a gua sha. The gua sha works by stimulating the surface of the skin to encourage excess fluid to flow through the lymphatic system. This results in not only a smoother and more sculpted face, but the sweeping movement can also boost circulation. Using a gua sha is an effective, simple and quick way to give yourself a lymphatic drainage facial massage, which can instantly depuff, uplift and brighten the complexion. 

How to Use a Gua Sha 

So how can you get the benefits of gua sha at home?

When practicing gua sha on the face, the technique should be gentle and thought of more as a way to massage the face. I like to use a combination of short and long strokes across the areas that need it. Lymph nodes are located beneath the surface of the skin. An easy, feather-like stroke of a gentle facial gua sha technique is all it takes to flush the lymph into your body’s drainage system. The process stimulates lymphatic flow and drainage, releasing excess fluids.The lymphatic system is an important immune function that flushes toxins from the body. Our lymph nodes are located on our neck and behind our ears. When they become clogged with excess fluid, the face can appear swollen, bloated and dull. Along with factors like hormonal changes, diet and alcohol consumption and laying down for long periods of time can cause fluid retention in the soft tissues of the face, hence why some people experience puffiness when they wake up. By performing gua sha techniques, you are giving your lymphatic system the boost that it needs to rid yourself of the fluids that are stuck beneath the surface of your skin and causing your face to bloat.

At home, I apply a 50p-size facial oil and then use the tool over my entire face, neck, and décolletage. It isn’t hard to use at all.  

If you're a gua sha newbie, it's a good idea to see a pro first. Along with experiencing the professional treatment, your esthetician can also help show you the proper technique to follow in order to achieve maximum results. Choose a good gua sha tool and use it every morning for five minutes. 


Step 1

First, cleanse your face as usual and then apply a few drops of facial oil or cream ensuring there is plenty of slip.

Step 2

Starting at the centre of your forehead and working upwards and outwards towards the temples, apply a gentle but firm pressure, sweeping the tool across the skin ensuring the curvature of the gua sha hugs the contours of the skin. Always work upwards and outwards to ensure we are massaging fluid away from the face and towards the lymph nodes.

Step 3
Next, moving to the mid-face and cheekbones, glide the stone across this section sweeping outwards towards the hairline.

Step 4
Moving the gua sha to the chin, starting at the centre and working downwards along the jaw line towards the ear, gliding the tool past the ear and down the next finishing at the collarbone. Repeating on the other side.

Step 5 
The next step is the neck, working upwards from the collarbone to the jaw line in a gentle but firm motion.

Step 6 
Finishing with the shoulders and back of the neck to promote blood flow and alleviate tension, glide the gua sha upwards from the shoulders to the base of the skull with a slightly firmer pressure of that applied to the face.

First, apply a light facial oil to the face to ensure the stone glides over the skin. To begin the facial massage, I recommend using the tool of your choice to make smooth movements from the cheekbone towards the chin using a downward motion. This allows the fluid to drain away from the face in sync with your body’s natural flow. Smooth, upward movements can also lift the skin. To do this, move the stone in a long upward stroke from the chin to the outer edge of the eyebrow. Pressure when applying facial gua sha should be light and pain-free.

How Often Should You Gua Sha? 

As you start to familiarize yourself with it and get more comfortable with your techniques, you should aim to use gua sha at least two to three times per week. Once you get into a routine of performing gua sha you’ll achieve the best results doing it daily.

When to Avoid Gua Sha and Potential Side Effects 

Gua sha is not recommended for those with rashes, sunburns, or blood coagulation issues. 

How to Choose Your Gua Sha Tool 

While the type of stone used for gua sha is not important, the shape certainly is. I recommend finding one that is smooth and rounded and fits the curvature of the area you want to treat. It should be comfortable to grip

Also from my experience I recommend gua sha tools with varying contours on each edge, so that you can find the right curvature to fit the angles of your face. When a tool has a few different angles and curves along its edges, that will provide you with more options, especially as you learn what works for you. The variety of contours will also allow you to use your tool on various parts of your face including your jawline and cheekbones. 

The material of the stone is also something to look out for. "Some stones have antimicrobial qualities that make them especially well-suited for facial techniques. Some, like those made from nephrite jade and amethyst are naturally cooling, which helps to counteract the warming effect of the technique. And  finally, my favourite rose quartz for anyone with reactive skin because of its natural calming effects.

Make sure a gua sha tool is well made. A quality tool made with authentic crystal or other natural material will often be of a slightly heavier weight than a synthetic tool. And while the weight of your stone will ultimately be a matter of personal preference, a heavier tool can help you achieve better results simply by being more substantial in your hand as you perform your techniques, which allows for deeper penetration (which provides greater stress/tension relief).

The Benefits of Gua Sha 

Stimulates circulation:

One study found that gua sha can stimulate circulation in targeted areas. Anecdotal evidence has found that it could also help ease the appearance of cellulite by lowering fluid retention, though there's not quite enough science to back that up.


Helps produce collagen:

Anecdotal evidence has found that gua sha can help decrease puffiness and soften fine lines and wrinkles by helping the body produce more collagen, thereby brightening the complexion.


Decreases inflammation:

Gua sha can help temporarily relieve pain and tightness in certain parts of the body, even leading to results that last. Those studies suggest that gua sha has an impact on inflammation (which often leads to pain).


Diminishes dark circles:

By helping soften fine lines and stimulating collagen, gua sha can help diminish dark circles (at least, temporarily) and temporarily tighten skin.


Sculpts facial muscles:

Used on the jawline and cheekbone area, gua sha can help release tight facial muscles and give the temporary appearance of a more sculpted face. It won't get rid of a double chin (it can't target fat), but it could help ease puffiness in the short term.

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