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 actually 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: Crème de la Cream Brightening Moisturizer.
What is Gua Sha?
Either you’ve seen it in your favorite beauty supply store, watched Lizzo use it on TikTok, or maybe even read about it in magazines, but one way or another, you’ve probably at least heard of gua sha. Gua sha, for those of you who don’t know, is a small tool sort of shaped 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 probably 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 have a kind of boot shape to them.
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:
- It helps strengthen the jaw line - If there is one primary reason most gua sha fans use this tool, it’s probably this. If your jawline isn’t quite as strong as you’d like, try running a gua sha over it for a few weeks and see if you don’t see an improvement!
- Have issues with puffiness? Gua sha can help with that! Especially if you have puffiness in the eye area, take a gua sha and gently press it into the skin around the eye area. Chances are, you’ll see vast improvement in the puffiness around your eyes (but just remember to use an eye cream like our Eyes Eyes Baby anti-aging eye cream as well).
- 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 so if your skin is experiencing dullness, try using a gua sha for a few weeks (and supplement it with our Nectar of the C vitamin C serum, which is known for helping to brighten your skin!) we bet you’ll see a big difference!
- Gua sha promotes lymphatic drainage - Along with sculpting the jaw line, gua sha is probably best known for its ability to promote lymphatic drainage. Why does this matter? The lymphatic system is responsible, in part, for helping remove toxins from your body. Some feel that this process helps firm the skin.
- Gua sha is like a mini-massage for your face - One time using gua sha and we’re guessing you’ll make it a regular part of your daily skin care routine if for no other reason than the fact that it just feels so great. 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!
- 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 anyway (more on that below), so why not kill two birds with one stone and use it to distribute your skin care products?
How to Use a Gua Sha
Although many people are familiar with what gua sha looks like, few seem to know how to give themselves a gua sha facial (even Lizzo confessed to being a little confused). In fact, it’s actually pretty simple. Just remember, though, that how you use it isn’t necessarily set in stone (if you’ll pardon the word play!). Once you’ve got the basic idea, play around a little 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.
- Use a little serum or moisturizer so the tool will glide easily across your face. Either put a few drops on your face or on the tool, and you’re good to go!
- 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.
- 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 explain what to do with each side of the tool). Most gua sha have some kind of indentation or l-shape which 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.
- Remember to keep your gua sha very clean! Like all makeup and skincare tools, you want to be sure that yours is kept very clean, otherwise, you could inadvertently end up spreading bacteria all over your skin!
- Above all, be gentle - When you first start using gua sha, it might not seem possible that such a delicate little tool could really be all that effective, but in fact, it is! For that reason, you don’t want to press too hard or scrape 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. Also, you might want to consider doing a small patch test with your gua sha, especially if you get a plastic one, as some people are allergic to certain kinds of plastic.
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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