Preparing The Skin
Because the goal is to essentially scrape the skin with pressure, a slippery component must be applied prior to using the Gua Sha tool.
Traditional Chinese practitioners recommend using water, but in true evolutionary style, the beauty world suggests an infused oil is best to maximise results.
Serums could also work but if they’re an easily absorbed water-based formulation, chances are your skin will soak it up before you get a good chance to Gua Sha.
For us, we recommend opting for a nourishing oil-based treatment or essence, to ensure you’re maximising efforts and avoiding friction pain at all costs.
A fantastic antioxidant rich and nourishing oil is Rose Hip Seed. Naturally occurring within the rose plant, and very affordably priced, this thick and rich oil is the perfect viscosity to use the Gua Sha tool with. A few drops per area will suffice as the perfect slipping agent to easily glide your tool over.
To begin, we recommend kicking off your Gua Sha sesh with a good thorough cleanse, followed by the application of your preferred face oil, then getting stuck in with your tool. Best practices below.
The Traditional Gua Sha Tool
Translating to stroke redness from Mandarin, the Gua Sha is intended to be used with substantial pressure along certain systems of the face to aid in lymphatic draining, reduce inflammation and stimulate flow.
Adopting techniques similar to those in acupuncture and reflexology, the positioning and direction is of utmost importance when using the tool its intended way, and for maximum results.
The tool itself is a flat-shaped palm/-sized rounded utensil, typically made from a cooling stone such as jade or quartz. One side of the tool should be more angular than the other, this allows for firmness around the chin and jaw area.
Unlike the jade roller (whose main function is to reduce puffiness with cooling), the Gua Sha is to be used with two hands.
To correctly use the tool, establishing an anchor point to hold with your other hand is crucial. Whether you’re holding the anchor point of the chin, nose, temple or wherever, establishing this point means the skin can remain taught.
In an upward and outward manner, firmly guide the Gua Sha slowly to release tension with the help of the slipping agent applied earlier.
Alternative Gua Sha-like Tool
Usually classified a ‘sculpting tool’ these Gua Sha-esque designs are have been created to achieve a similar anit-ageing and tightening result but have veered a little from the original Chinese way.
These modernised tools mimic a similar effect, but are shaped differently, or created out of a non-conventional Gua Sha material.
For example, the Angela Caglia Rosebud Eye Treatment Set is a dual tool that focuses on the under and upper eye area to release sinus tension, as well as draining excess water. Borrowing the traditional rose-quartz stone from the Gua Sha, the treatment set has a cooling effect (which can always be accelerated by putting them in the fridge prior to use) to help reduce the appearance of dark circles and depuff.
To use, simply apply very light pressure to glide the tools in an outward motion around the eyes, neck and décolleté.
If relaxation is the goal rather than depuffing, we recommend running them under some warm water to mimic the self-care soothing effects of a warm stone massage. You can also use these over the top of a sheet mask to help the serum penetrate the skin more deeply.
If you’re after facial tools that might be supercharged with battery power or different technology, check out our recent article on the vast world of modern skin tools.