Jade roller connoisseurs move aside, Gua Sha is the new kid on the block. Actually, Gua Sha isn’t a new trend at all. In fact, Gua Shas are an ancient Chinese traditional medicinal tool once primarily used to relieve muscle pain, tension, and to promote overall healing (through improved circulation). It’s pronounced “gwah-shah” which originates from the Chinese word for scraping.
The idea behind the Gua Sha is this—energy (what the Chinese call “chi”), blood, and fluid can often become stagnate due to poor circulation. Everyday, about 20 liters of bodily fluids flow around the body. Roughly 2 to 3 liters are picked up by the lymphatic system and become lymph fluid (1). Build up of lymph fluid can cause swelling, increase the look of puffiness, and result in an overall bloated appearance around the stagnant areas. Gua Sha tools help to physically increase circulation, move any slow moving fluid, and aid in lymphatic drainage.
What is a Gua Sha? How to Use a Gua Sha Tool?
Gua Shas are simple flat tools typically made out of an energetic stone (such as jade or rose quartz). They come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are meant to perfectly contour the face, neck, and jawline during a Gua Sha massage session.
For a more thorough explanation, check out our quick How To Gua Sha Guide at the bottom of this article for more details. Using a Gua Sha tool is simple and takes less than 3 minutes. All you have to do is apply a cleanse your skin, apply a facial serum, and glide the Gua Sha across each section of your skin.
What Are the Benefits of a Gua Sha?
How to Choose an Authentic Gua Sha?
When shopping for a Gua Sha stone, beware of the fakes. Authentic Gua Sha tools are made with real crystals & stones like Jade, Rose Quartz, Blue Sodalite, and others. Fake Gua Sha tools are made from plastic, glass, and composite materials designed to look like real crystal, but offer none of the benefits of real crystal (such as durability, the ability to cold a cool temperature, and various specific energetic properties). You can usually spot a fake Gua Sha because it will be really inexpensive (<$15), lightweight, won’t stay cool for long when held, and breaks easily.
No need to become a Gua Sha expert overnight—we’ve taken the liberty of researching and reviewing dozens of Gua Shas to bring you this list of the best of the best. These Gua Sha stones are made by legitimate brands who use authentic crystals that are durable and healing. While each Gua Sha may be shaped differently, each one works on all areas of the face (including the neck, eyes, and jawline). Enjoy!
Using a Gua Sha Facial Sculptor is easier than you think! Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite easy to quickly Gua Sha frequently as a part of your daily skin care routine. Here’s how you do it:
Massage with Gua Sha: Hold the Gua Sha at a 15 to 30-degree angle against the skin. Then, in a sweeping motion, glide the tool in an upward/outward motion all over the face. Repeat 3-5 swipes on each section of the face. On the nose, use a downward motion when gliding. Use the smaller parts of the tool to work around the eyes. If your Gua Sha has a notched edge, use that to work around the jawline and eye-bones. Begin with light pressure, increasing slightly as you feel fit–but never fully press. If the tool begins to drag your skin, apply less pressure and add a drop of serum to the Gua Sha.
No Gua Sha sculpting treatment would be complete without an amazing facial serum. Not only does a good facial serum help the Gua Sha tool to effortlessly glide across the skin, the Gua Sha massage helps the serum to better absorb into the skin. A true win-win! For a complete list of facial serum options (plus a quiz to help you choose), check out our Best Organic Facial Serums & Oils article. In the meantime, here are some of our favorite serums to pair with a Gua Sha massage:
Q: What are the benefits of Gua Sha?
A: Gua Sha offers an incredible amount of benefits not only for your face but your overall health as well. You may experience a reduced risk of lines and wrinkles, tighter skin, a release of toxin build up, and better absorption of your skincare products.
Q: What is Gua Sha used for?
A: Originally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a muscle and tension reliever, Gua Sha has entered the beauty market as an overall skin radiance tool. With consistent use, you may experience a reduced risk of lines and wrinkles, tighter skin, a release of toxin build up, and better absorption of your skincare products.
Q: Can Gua Sha be harmful?
A: Safe for use for most people and skin types, Gua Sha should be avoided by those who have recently had Botox injections to prevent any negative effects, and should never be used directly over cystic acne, pimples or open wounds as it can cause irritation and infection.
Q: Does Gua Sha help cellulite?
A: Gua Sha stimulates blood flow which could help with reducing the appearance of cellulite. The benefits of Gua Sha for cellulite have yet to be studied, but seeing that it’s a great overall health tool; it’s well worth it.
Q: Does Gua Sha help wrinkles?
A: Tension in the face (from anxiety and stress) may lead to an increase in wrinkles and fine lines (3). Massaging daily with a Gua Sha facial tool sculpts and tones the face shape, increases blood circulation (more than 10 times), and encourages collagen production (4).