When it comes to skincare, I’ll never give up on my peels, serums, microcurrent, and jade roller, but lately I’ve been loving a more low tech approach that yields amazing results instead, using a super old school Chinese method called Gua Sha. “Gua Sha,” which directly translates to “scraping” in Chinese, is a healing technique in traditional East Asian medicine that uses a smooth crystal tool for facial massage (and other body parts too).
I had been using a jade roller for a few years intermittently, but prefer the gentle “scraping” motion I’ve learned with this method. It invigorates my skin and I can immediately feel a boost in blood flow, like nothing below the surface is stagnating. Gua sha can relieve facial and jaw tension, promote cell renewal, renews facial contour, firms and lifts sagging skin, reduces inflammation, puffiness, diminishes blemishes, relieves encourage lymphatic draining, provides a great brow lift, and breaks up fascia. I swear I have fewer headaches, and my face looks contoured and more youthful after a session. Research shows the stimulating blood flow through this therapy can have anti-inflammatory and immune-protective effects that last for days following a single treatment.
Personally, I learned how to do an at-home facial and the proper directional method from pro Kari Jansen of Poppy and Someday in Laurel Canyon and it was so helpful. The gua sha workshop I attended was part of a day long wellness retreat full of yoga, meditation, tarot readings, and fresh seasonal meals so basically heaven. Two big takeaways from the lesson I had was to work until the skin is red and to look for a tool made from rose quartz or jade, rather than acrylic. Kari says, “You want to Gua Sha until your skin turns pink or even red. For it releasing toxins, excess fire or inflammation, increases blood flow, and breaks up congested & cold lymph. When it’s deep red your body is releasing lactic acid and moving stagnation.”
I’m totally giving gua sha credit for clearer, brighter skin that feels and looks invigorated. The larger tool I have is also great for massaging my chest, arms, and thighs, boosting blood flow and improving the look of my skin’s texture. I’d definitely recommend seeking out a gua sha treatment or trying an at home facial.
If you’re looking for inspo, check out holistic skincare Britta Beauty on instagram. Her videos are not only great to have on hand if you're new to gua sha.
1. You’ll notice how much heat gua sha produces so, you can prime your skin with a bit of facial oil or moisturizer to ease friction. This is not at all a critical step, but it definitely feels great.
2. Starting at the base of your neck, take the flat side of the tool and move upwards towards your chin applying reasonable pressure.
3. Move to the chin. From the base of your chin, take the same flat edge and sweep upwards towards your cheekbones. Repeat this step on each side of your face three times. If you feel particularly tense in your jaw, you might want to focus on this area. The jaw is my favorite part and Kari taught me how to identify and blast the stagnation “crystals” that accumulate there.
4. Switching to one of the smaller angles on your tool (there are usually a few, you can choose the most comfortable for your face shape), begin on the side of your nose and sweep outwards over the cheekbones towards the temples and over your brows for a lift. End with a few swipes up the nose towards the forehead.