If you’ve only just heard of Gua Sha in the last five years, you’d be forgiven; an ancient Chinese acupressure technique, facial Gua Sha has, in recent years, become a mainstream trend and for good reason too; known to aid with lymphatic drainage, ease tense muscles and increase blood flow – all of which can give the effect of a more sculpted and less bloated face.
I’d been hearing about Gua Sha all over Instagram (and with brands like Skin Gym and Mount Lai really capitalising on the technique), I was interested in seeing the supposed benefits for myself. Although there are a variety of places to buy a Gua Sha tool, ranging from the more affordable on Amazon to the pricier assurances of real precious stone, I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t necessarily matter where your tool is acquired as long as it does the job.
First of all, how to use your tool?
Start off with a clean and moisturised face. In the daytime, I like to do my gua sha routine after my moisturiser and before my SPF to make sure that I don’t have any pilling of product.
On the sides of my neck, I move the stone, applying light pressure in a downwards motion to encourage lymphatic drainage. On the front of my throat, I move the stone upwards to lift.
Moving onto my jawline, I switch to the small toothlike side of the tool. For 10 repetitions, I move the tool along, making sure to hold at a 45 degree angle.
On the cheekbones (and really, a heavy hand isn’t necessary), I push toward the top of my ears and massage every time I reach my temples to help release tension.
Using the flat curved edge, I massage the side of my cheeks (below the cheekbone). It can help to stabilise the skin with your other hand to avoid excess pulling
Finally, I focus on my temples by starting from the outside of my eye and lifting gently towards my temples. I also use the tool on my forehead and on the bridge of my nose, between my eyebrows; I have a habit of frowning and so I hold a lot of tension there. To finish off, I go in with SPF (always 50) and I’m ready for the day
So down to the real question- is there a point to Gua Sha?
I definitely saw some immediate results after my first use; my face was less bloated and my skincare products absorbed in to my skin quicker (though whether this is attributed to the fact that the facial massage took time is something to be argued). I did find that I was a lot more relaxed afterwards; the tool allowed me to relax muscles I didn’t even know I had which in turn eased some of the headaches I sometimes suffer from.
Over the course of the month, I found that using the tool in my evening routine reduced the swelling in my face the next morning and when used in the morning (apart from the obvious soothing properties), I felt a lot more alert. Additionally, the more I used the tool, the less work I needed to do in each session; some days, I only needed five strokes compared to the ten I started with.
To conclude, I strongly recommend adding Gua Sha into your daily skincare routine; hands are also good tools, but they don’t produce the same pressure that the stone tools do. Furthermore, compared to jade (and other stone or metal) rollers, the Gua Sha tool sculpts and drains more efficiently. Seeing as the results hold overnight, if you have a busy morning routine, there’s no need to abandon your massage altogether- give your face its workout the night before. Gua Sha is something that I believe is accessible and holds benefits for all of us; whether you’re simply looking to release tension or promote healthier looking skin.