Even with all the innovations in skin care, sometimes it’s the oldest things that really work the best. Case in point: gua sha. Pronounced gwah-sha, it’s a beauty enhancement and healing tool that’s been in use for literally thousands of years.
Thought to have originated in China and Southeast Asia, it’s now been discovered by modern beauty practitioners and can be found everywhere from beauty supply shops to drug stores. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what gua sha tools are, what their benefits are, and how to use it for both skin care and other issues.
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: One of the oldest known beauty products, gua sha has been used for literally thousands of years as a beauty enhancement device.
Good to Know: Although gua shas vary steeply in price, there is one available at pretty much any price point you can think of.
Recommended Products: Just Dew It Hydrating Serum.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a small tool, shaped somewhat like a butterfly with closed wings. Usually made out of jade or rose quartz, it’s available at pretty much every price point.
Roughly translated, gua sha means “to scrape petechia.” Petechiae are those little reddish pink spots that occur on the skin, usually due to minor traumas and/or bleeding. This is likely because the use of gua sha can sometimes produce little red bumps on the skin.
As we mentioned, gua sha stones come in many different substances and shapes, although most are either jade or rose quartz. That said, everything from obsidian to amethyst to porcelain can be used. Most are a sort of melted heart shape, while some are actually heart shaped. Still others have a jagged or combed edge, while yet others may resemble the shape of a boot.
Which gua sha you use and even which part of the gua sha you use will have to do with what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, some boot-shaped gua sha are meant to be scraped against the jaw area while some curved-shaped gua sha are meant for the neck. And of course, which price point you’re looking at is up to you — the great thing about gua sha is that you can find them at every level.
Benefits of Gua Sha
It depends who you talk to, but most devotees of gua sha will tell you it cures everything from sagging jaws to weak lymphatic systems. Let’s take a look at just some of the benefits of gua sha:
1. It helps strengthen the jaw line - If there is one primary reason most gua sha fans use this tool, it’s probably this.
2. It can soothe puffiness - If you have puffiness in the eye area, take a gua sha and gently press it into the skin around the eye area. The coolness of the stone can help soothe puffy eyes. Follow up with an eye cream like Eyes Eyes Baby.
3. It restores a glow to skin - One of the things gua sha does best is increasing circulation in your skin. When it does, it helps restore a glow to the skin.
4. Gua sha promotes lymphatic drainage - Use of gua sha in the correct areas of your face and neck can promote lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system is responsible, in part, for helping remove toxins from your body. Some believe that this process helps firm the skin.
5. Gua sha is like a mini-massage for your face - It’s fantastic for releasing tension after a long, stressful day, and remember — you can use it on your body as well as your face, especially on areas that get really tense, like your neck and shoulders.
6. Gua sha is a great way to distribute serum or moisturizer - You need a little moisturizer or serum to get gua sha to glide easily on your skin (more on that below), so you can also use it as a tool to apply product.
How to Use a Gua Sha
Using a gua sha is relatively simple. How you use it isn’t necessarily set in stone. Here are the basics:
1. Use a little serum, like our Just Dew It hydrating serum, or moisturizer so the tool will glide easily across your skin. Put a few drops either on your face or on the tool.
2. Start from the center of your face and glide the gua sha up and out towards your jaw or forehead. Never start from the outside and move in, as you’ll be encouraging wrinkles.
3. It depends what shape your gua sha tool is, but determine which side you’ll use on what part of your face by looking at the directions. Most gua sha will come with some type of diagram that explains what to do with each side of the tool. Each gua sha has some kind of indentation or “L”-shape that is meant to be used on the jawline. Rounded edges are sometimes used on the cheek bones, and more refined points are often used around the delicate eye area.
4. Remember to keep your gua sha very clean. Wash it after every use with a gentle cleanser or mild soap; otherwise, you could inadvertently spread bacteria all over your skin.
5. Above all, be gentle. Don’t press too hard or scrape your skin too vehemently. Although the idea is to get blood flowing and restore life to the skin, you don’t want to cause any major trauma. In addition, consider doing a small patch test with your gua sha, especially if you get a plastic one, as some are allergic to certain kinds of plastic.
Once you’ve got the basic idea, practice using your gua sha and see what feels right for you. Keep in mind that using gua sha isn’t something you should do instead of your regular skin care routine, but in addition to it.
We hope that helps take the mystery out of gua sha and inspires you to use it. If it’s worked for other people for thousands of years, we have a feeling it will work for you, too!
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