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Learn Why This Beauty and Wellness Practice Is Trending

Beauty trends come and go, often gaining short-lived viral attention before fizzling out. One beauty technique that’s taking off in the Western world is gua sha, but this is so much more than a temporary trend. Gua sha has been around for centuries as part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and has years of practice and culture behind it. 

If you want to know more about this wellness practice, keep reading to learn how to use gua sha and why it’s so popular.

September 20, 2022
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Table of Contents

What’s gua sha?

Gua sha originated during the Ming dynasty, making it an ancient practice in Chinese culture. The practice involves taking a smooth tool (typically made of rose quartz, jade, or metal) and gently scraping your skin to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and aid circulation, among other benefits. 

In TCM, the energy that flows through your body, called qi, can become stuck in certain areas, and scraping the affected area with a gua sha tool helps release it. Gua sha has also been used to alleviate illness and pain of various types. 

What are the benefits of gua sha?

Gua sha promotes healthy circulation, which has many benefits beyond just sculpting the face. This face massage technique also:

  1. Relieves muscle tension and eases chronic pain
  2. Reduces inflammation and puffiness in both the face and the body 
  3. Eases tension headaches and migraines
  4. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  5. Aids in lymphatic drainage
  6. Improves blood flow
  7. Relieves sinus pressure 

How to use gua sha

Looking for a gua sha facial guide? One of the best things about gua sha is that you can do it at home. 

Be gentle with your face when using gua sha — you only need to apply light pressure. Don’t tug on the skin, or you might contribute to wrinkle creation. A general tip is to divide your face in the center by your nose, then start your gua sha movements from the center, radiating outward. Always move up to avoid pulling the skin down. Gua sha instructions for the face vary from the body, and a professional performs gua sha on areas you can’t reach, like your back.

How to use a gua sha stone:

  1. Thoroughly cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser.
  2. Apply a serum, lotion, or facial oil to your skin, so the tool easily glides across the skin. 
  3. Hold the gua sha tool at a 45-degree angle and apply gentle pressure to your face.
  4. Neck: Scrape the tool up toward your jawline. 
  5. Jawline: Scrape the tool from your chin upward and out to your earlobe. 
  6. Cheeks: Divide your face at the center. Move the tool in sweeping outward motions following the contours of your cheekbones. 
  7. Under your eyes: Start at the inner corner of your eye and scrape toward your temple.
  8. Brows: Glide the tool from the center of your face outwards.
  9. Forehead: Start at the center and glide the tool upward in smooth strokes to your hairline.
  10. Remove excess oil or lotion to complete your gua sha routine. 

Depending on where you experience the most inflammation and tension, you may prefer to focus on specific areas, so customize your gua sha routine to your needs.

Best gua sha tools for beginners

Gua sha is a simple do-it-yourself face massage — all you need is the right tool to get started. While using a tool designed specifically for gua sha works great, even a smooth metal spoon will suffice. If you’d like to save your spoons for cereal, here are some of our favorite gua sha tools for beginners:

  • Mount Lai Jade Gua Sha: This tool is easy to hold in your hand and is made of jade, which feels cool and soothing on your skin.
  • Karavie Agate Gua Sha: With smooth edges and a bumpy side for more versatile movements and massages, this is a must-have. 

Gua sha tips

Now that you know the basics, here are some bonus tips on how to use a gua sha: 

  • Apply gentle pressure. Gua sha should feel relaxing, and the amount of pressure applied varies depending on where you’re using it — when massaging your face, apply less pressure than with your body. 
  • Avoid irritation. If your skin is sunburnt or irritated, let it heal before using a gua sha to avoid prolonging the healing process. 
  • Keep it in the refrigerator. To aid in de-puffing, put your gua sha in the fridge for a refreshing massage. 
  • Clean your gua sha. Any buildup of oils on your gua sha tool will be minimal, but we still recommend washing it before each use.
  • Find the right gua sha tool. There are many different types of tools available — look for one that’s comfortable for you to hold to make the scraping motion feel effortless. 
  • Move your gua sha in the right direction. Always move your gua sha in the same direction, avoiding going back and forth on your skin.

People also ask

How often should you use a gua sha?

Incorporate gua sha into your routine slowly, using it twice a week. How often you use your facial tool is up to you. You may find daily use preferable, or you just use it occasionally. 

When should I do gua sha?

Gua sha can be added to either your morning or night skincare routine. When you give yourself a gua sha massage depends on how it fits into your self-care routine. You may find it helpful in the morning to de-puff your face or as a way to release muscle tension at night from a stressful day.

How long does it take to gua sha your face?

There’s no set amount of time for gua sha. We recommend listening to what your body is telling you. If you feel your skin getting irritated or tender, it's probably time to stop. You can do gua sha for only a minute or use it much longer, depending on how tense your muscles are and the areas you want to treat. 

Try it yourself 

Gua sha provides many health benefits, and its roots in ancient medicine mean this practice is sticking around. While many have gua sha performed by a professional, it can easily be incorporated into your daily at-home self-care routine.

If you want to see others’ results with gua sha, check out Flip to find a creator that uses it. See what movements and products they recommend and learn about their experience with gua sha to help you decide if you want to try it yourself.

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