When it comes to keeping your skin plump and youthful, chances are you already have a pretty impressive arsenal of skincare products to reverse the signs of ageing. But there is probably one product missing from your routine - and it’s not a serum, face oil or moisturiser. It’s a gua sha tool and it’s been keeping complexions all radiant and glowing for centuries.
Pretty with a purpose, here’s everything you need to know about the skincare tool taking over your Instagram feed.
What is gua sha?
Gua sha is an ancient Chinese natural therapy which involves scraping and massaging the skin with a stone to relieve tension, promote blood flow, and lifts and tones to provide a natural facelift. “Gua sha increases circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to our cells,” explains Sskin skin therapist Amba Brennan who uses the facial tool in many of her in-salon facial treatments. “The result is skin that looks rejuvenated with a healthy rose-coloured complexion.”
Studies have shown that gua sha can boost circulation by up to 400%.
A gua sha tool can be made from a variety of stones, including jade, rose quartz, and Tiger’s eye, and come in various shapes that work with the contours of the face to provide a deep and customised massage. Holistically, gua sha is also believed to redirect energy flow and provide healing benefits depending on the type of stone used.
Gua sha stones stay naturally cold, which aids in calming inflammation and redness in skin.
Do I need to use a gua sha?
A gua sha tool is suited to just about anyone. As it helps ease muscle tension, it’s the perfect self-care cure for stress. It can also be great for treating headaches and tight jaws. When it comes to your skin, those prone to puffiness will benefit from the lymphatic drainage and detoxifying results. And if you’re looking to reduce signs of ageing, gua sha can help improve skin elasticity, lift and tone the face, and ease muscle tension to soften the look of lines and wrinkles.
Who shouldn’t use a gua sha: “I would avoid using this tool if you are suffering with acne, are prone to broken capillaries, or have any open wounds,” advises Brennan.
A skin expert’s gua sha tips
Consistency is key
“Start off with two to three times a week and increase to as often as once a day to promote lymphatic drainage. The morning is a perfect time to focus on reducing puffiness, particularly around the eyes; in the evening, the focus can be on relieving tension in the jaw and neck.”
Boost the benefits
“To amplify the benefits of gua sha, I suggest infrared yoga. This form of exercise aids in detoxifying your body as well as improving blood flow and circulation to your skin.”
Adjust the pressure
“When using your gua sha to reduce puffiness, I suggest using a lighter pressure. Or for those who hold tension in their face, you can simply apply a slightly firmer pressure to relieve the muscles.”
Customise your experience
“For an individualised experience, choose the shape of gua sha or type of stone based on your skin’s needs and the stone’s symbolism.” The rounded curves of your tool are great for the cheeks, while the angled sections are best for hugging the jawline and brow bone for a deeper massage. As for choosing the right stone for you, rose quartz is considered an emotional healer; jade helps balance your energies; and Tiger’s eye promotes mental clarity.
Where does it fit in your skincare routine?
A gua sha can help boost the benefits of your skincare products, and visa versa, your skincare products help your gua sha to do its thing. “I would suggest using these tools on a clean, hydrated skin and recommend a facial oil or serum with enough slip to help glide the tool smoothly over the skin's surface,” says Brennan. After applying your facial oil or serum in your skincare routine, reach for your gua sha and take the time to slowly and purposefully massage it over the contours of your face to relive muscle tension while simultaneously driving your potent skincare deeper into the skin.
Gua sha can also be used just before applying your makeup - it’s Australian makeup artist Ashlea Penfold’s secret to her signature radiant makeup looks.
“A gua sha tool is the perfect self-care essential for encouraging you to slow down your skincare routine, feel pampered, and achieve beautifully radiant skin.”
The technique: “Using the different shapes of the stone that best fit the contours of your face, hold the tool almost flat to the skin, rather than a 90 degree angle,” notes Brennan, who shares her how-to guide to using a gua sha below:
Step-by-step guide to using a gua sha
- Base Camp Beauty / @basecamp_beauty