So you’ve been hearing a lot about Gua Sha. It was the hot new thing about two years ago, when the pandemic suddenly woke people up to the idea that sometimes skincare doesn’t come in bottles.
Gua Sha, a technique that’s been around for an age and a half as part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is a technique that improves blood circulation to the face and assist with lymphatic drainage.
It comes with a host of surprising health benefits including assisting with joint and muscle pain, migraines and even treating cold, fever, and other respiratory problems. People swear by its ability to fix their jawlines.
To perform Gua Sha, you’ll need to get a crystal tool. The standard fare across Instagram is a kind of lopsided heart made out of rose quartz, but traditionally, the tool has been made of jade. For people with acne, this particular shape is not recommended as you must not use the tool over your pimples and skin lesions! Instead, use a spoon-shaped tool like the one shown below. Don’t sweep across the face directly, instead use the narrow end to guide the tool around your pimples, cysts, zits and pustules.
You can buy it on Amazon
Unless you’re a big believer in crystals and their healing powers and energies, it doesn’t really matter what the crystal is — but it does help to bring a sense of sacredness and sanctity to the ritual. Carve out at least 15 minutes where you won’t be disturbed, put on some calming music, and relax. You’ll also want to keep the crystal clean, and keep it in a place where it is safe from breakage.
You’ll need plenty of space, and you’ll want to sit down for this. Before you begin, watch this video.
Step 1: Wash your face and pat it dry.
Step 2: Place a few drops of non-comedogenic face oil (argan and rosehip work brilliantly) between your palms, and apply it all over your face and neck. Make sure it’s not too oily, but your skin should be sufficiently lubricated so your Gua Sha tool can glide over your face smoothly. If you have oily skin, use a compatible serum instead.
Step 3: Lay the tool flat against your face, beginning from either side of your nose, below your under-eye area. Then drag it across your face upwards and outwards. People like to call this scraping, but that creates the idea of a harsh movement intended to somehow remove dead skin or surface cells—which is not at all what the movement is like. It is a gentle pressure applied evenly across your face.
Step 4: Make sure to rinse the Gua Sha tool well after use. You can even clean it with a wet wipe if you’re in a rush or if you are afraid of dropping it in the basin.
Gua Sha is not just about skin care, though its benefits do spill over to glowing skin. One of its superpowers is facial sculpting which helps you tighten up your jawline and reduce puffiness—so make sure you cover areas on your neck and go as far as just above your collarbones for a truly relaxing experience.
For that special cooling touch, keep your tool in the fridge overnight. Some people also say that the same effects can be experienced with an ordinary spoon. If you don’t feel like spending $15 on a fragile, weirdly-shaped object, try the spoon for a couple of days and see how it feels.
How does Gua Sha work?
What most people say about Gua Sha is that the stroking motion used with the crystal raises small, red, rash-like dots that show under your skin called petechiae. These are minor traumas to the flesh, which heal quickly, and when they do, they revitalize the skin. The stroking movements also follow along the facial meridians which are believed to correspond to certain organs of the body in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This leads people to believe in its anti-inflammatory, healing properties.
A lot of this won’t hold much stock with you if you’re a stickler for the scientific method. But when you make time for Gua Sha everyday, you can, at the very least, expect to see dramatic changes in your face shape. People report feeling better about themselves overall, and maybe the time taken out for self-care has something to do with it.
If your skin needs some support, why not give Gua Sha a shot? You might just become one of its many raving fans.