“Does gua sha work?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get as a beauty journalist.
The process of gently scraping the skin to improve blood flow and create a more contoured complexion has gone viral on every social media channel with impressive before and after created when only used on half of the face.
The process is praised for its ability to firm and sculpt and has even been praised for its anti-aging benefits. More than anything else, however, it is that it is a very relaxing and holistic wellness practice that can be easily incorporated into your skincare routine and performed at home, as well as by skincare professionals. Relieves muscle stress, improves your mental health, and has skin care benefits too – what’s not to love?
We asked Ada Ooi, TCM Practitioner and Founder of 001 Skincare and Mimi Luzon, Skincare Specialist and Celebrity Facialist, to decode the traditional healing practice.
What is Gua Sha?
Ooi explains that it is a “traditional Chinese medicine technique that consists of scraping the skin using a stone or a smooth-edged instrument. Works on both points of the Chinese meridians and stimulates the lymphatic drainage system to promote blood circulation, improve skin oxygen levels, move blood and qi [energy] to regulate body systems, improving the transformation and transport of nutrients, also displacing toxins and stagnant elements to be transformed as waste “.
What are the benefits of Gua Sha?
“Promotes blood and qi circulation, increases white blood cell count to boost immunity, releases stagnation and tension,” reveals Ooi.
Adds Luzon: “By running gua sha on your face, you can reduce swelling and help sculpt and firm the skin, leading to an overall younger and plumper appearance. It also helps improve the effectiveness of your oils and serums. the face as it helps them to be absorbed into the skin, which means you can get more from your products in the long run. “
What do you need for gua sha?
The first and most obvious purchase is for one of the designated smooth-edged stones mentioned above, but Luzon also suggests incorporating “A moisturizing and nourishing facial oil or serum, which is the key to a great facial massage.”
what are you doing?
Ooni breaks it down:
You will need to work on freshly cleansed skin to make sure you don’t press dirt or pollution on the skin as this could cause irritation and breakouts.
After cleansing, apply a face oil or a serum to glide – the gua sha will also help your skincare products to be absorbed better.
For gua sha, you want to use a stone or smooth-edged tool to do the scraping. Start by placing the gua sha tool on the masseter muscle (the chewing muscle of the jaw), apply medium pressure and massage in a circular motion, I describe it as “grinding the fascia” to release all the tension from eating, speaking and grinding unconsciously.
Do this at least five times.
Place the gua sha tool in the center of the chin, slide up to the front of the ears and move to stimulate the triple hottest meridian. The points here are nerve related, so it can really help relax the face for proper alignment, then bring it down to the side of the neck and end at the neck bone for drainage.
Do this at least five times.
Luzon points out that you should use a “gently up and out” swipe motion throughout the process. He also recommends “making a downward motion towards the lymph nodes to drain fluids and use short strokes in one direction. If you want to reduce swelling, work lightly, then more firmly, to relax the muscles ”. Don’t forget the forehead! “Work the tool with small horizontal strokes on the brow bone to lift, or hold and press up between the eyebrows to release tension.”
Quite simply, “Yes!” Explains Luzon. “Massaging your face for just five minutes a day is a great way to incorporate self-care, which is really important for reducing stress and helping healthy skin. Since it helps stimulate lymphatic drainage, it can be really effective in sculpting the face ”.
Ooni agrees: “Gua sha can release muscle tension and help drain unwanted stagnant fluids, which helps reduce swelling, giving a lighter feel and look.”
Shop the best gua sha tools below
High performance FaceGym Multi-Sculpt Gua Sha
Trace this tool along the contours of your face to bring the FaceGym experience to your home. The London and New York based salon is changing the face game by offering a muscle workout, rather than a traditional lotion and potion treatment.
This is one of the kit pieces that the brand uses with six edges for the ultimate multitasker. By adding to your skincare routine, you can lift, shape, remove tension, release blockages, aid in drainage, and even address fine lines and wrinkles. Refrigerating and the stainless steel construction will be a godsend to calm and deflate.
Buy Now £ 45.00, Net-A-Porter
Odacite Gua Sha Blue Sodalite Beauty Tool
When poor skin, sleepless nights and poor digestion are taking you down, the ritual of this gua sha treatment is here to help calm anxieties. This tool is designed to stimulate the skin with massaging movements and smoothing and anti-wrinkle effects. The curvy side allows it to glide over the skin without pulling, especially when paired with a face oil or serum. Blue Sodalite stone is all about peace, balance and tranquility, so your worries and worries dissolve with each stroke of the stone.
Buy Now £ 40.00, Space NK
Gua sha Hayo’u Clear Quartz Beauty Restorer tool
With its clear design, you may find that this tool runs the risk of disappearing on the side of your bathroom sink, but it’s a powerful little addition to your skincare routine that allows you to incorporate the ancient ritual.
The soothing practice of sweeping your complexion encourages nutrients and oxygen to the skin’s surface – and it only takes a minute. Use the curved edge to press on the acupressure points on the face, while the flat edge should even out skin tone and help with lymphatic drainage.
Buy Now £ 42.00, Selfridges
Skin Gym Cryo heart in stainless steel gua sha
Take your facial massage to new heights with this stainless steel tool that comes in a handy heart shape for every facial contour, large or small. This is another option that will give every part of your face a thorough check, whether it’s the jaw, chin, forehead, cheek, under eye, or forehead that needs a muscle release. Relax and cool off with additional refreshing and soothing benefits when refrigerated.
Buy Now £ 38.00, Selfridges
Facial wand Gua Sha of the psychic sisters in amethyst
Soothe and calm tired skin with a few strokes of this amethyst-based tool. By the experts at Psychic Sisters, this tool has been purified with sage to maximize the healing and balancing properties of this type of facial massage. Use all over the neck including the neck to stimulate circulation and counteract swelling.
Buy Now £ 24.95, Beauty Bay
MZ LEATHER Gua Sha
Promote a brighter, lifted complexion with this tool from the MZ SKIN range. The label was founded by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Maryam Zamani to bring the clinical experience to the comfort of your home. Based on rose quartz, it is supposed to promote better circulation, reduce sagging and release toxins, while offering a feel-good boost from the ritual itself.
Buy Now £ 40.00, Liberty London
ESPA Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool
Just a few swipes of ESPA’s Rose Quartz instrument is the ultimate self-care experience. Use on every part of the face to encourage nutrients and oxygen to the surface of the skin which is then sent down the neck to release the lymphatic vessels. Recreating the ancient beauty ritual has a lifting, modeling and relaxing effect, while it soothes, firms and reduces swelling.
Buy now £ 40.00, ESPA
The White Jade Gua Sha White Company
The ancient Chinese massage therapy of gua sha has benefits for the skin and creates a mindful ritual that will encourage you to feel beautiful from the outside. By The White Company, this instrument has been handcrafted with natural white jade quartz with a heart-shaped design that can reach all different facial contours.
Buy Now £ 20.00, The White Company
Wild Rose Quartz Gua Sha
The combination of gentle and deeper strokes will do wonders for releasing muscle tension and initiating lymphatic drainage. Incorporate this Wild Source rose quartz gua sha tool into your regular skincare and you’ll feel the benefits of facial stress, whether it’s caused by wrinkled brows, jaw grinding, or tension headaches, as the stress melts away.
Buy now, Liberty London
Lanshin Intro Gua Sha Instrument – Nephrite Jade
If you’re just starting your gua sha journey, this tool may be just what you’re looking for to nail the basics. It uses a dark green nephrite jade stone to invigorate the complexion and fight skin congestion.
Buy Now £ 60.00, Net-A-Porter
Angela Caglia Rose Quartz Gua Sha
Rose quartz is said to encourage healing and loving energy, so it makes sense that it is a common material used for gua sha. It is placed at the center of this stone by celebrity beautician Angela Caglia (the “Hollywood Glow Girl” as she is known). She replicates the facial massage treatment in her spas in New York and Los Angeles with this modeling tool that counteracts the visible signs of aging by increasing blood circulation, toning and smoothing.
Buy Now £ 46.00, Net-A-Porter
001 Skin care microsculptor n.3
001 Skincare founder Ada Ooi explains: “MicroSculptor No. 3 is fabulous for face and body massage. It is designed to perfectly adapt to any contour of the face to perform a stimulating and relaxing massage on the face, neck, jaw and décolleté.
It’s larger than most other gua sha tools on the list, so you can use it on both your face and body to maximize the lifting, toning, and circulation boost it provides from head to toe.
The ergonomic design is crafted with Shan Dong’s favorite Chinese medicine Bian stone and infused with 40 minerals that can be used cool or lightly heated for all the benefits of lightening, detoxifying, reducing dark circles and fighting puffiness.
Buy Now £ 48.75.001 Skincare