We have all seen the promises made about the practice of facial gua sha. Anything from improvements in fine lines, to lifting and sculpting to brightening your complexion. Can a facial tool really do all that?! I am sharing everything you need to know about gua sha, including my favorite Wildling Empress Gua Stone Stone plus how you can add this practice to your skin care routine and reap the benefits!
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What Is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is an ancient healing technique that uses a massage technique (often described as a scraping motion) on the surface of the skin of different parts of the body. It’s performed using a skincare tool – most typically a jade or rose quartz stone. It originally started on the body, but has since been adapted for a facial technique using more gentle pressure.
Gua sha helps to increase blood circulation, help drain lymphatic drainage, tone the skin, and give an overall lift to the skin. As you glide the stone across your skin, you are de-puffing it and bringing new blood into your skin. When new blood is present, cell regeneration happens more quickly, which makes it easier for your skin to repair itself. It also helps to remove toxins from your skin which can cause acne or dull skin.
The reason this is needed for the lymph system is that our body has the heart to pump the blood throughout our circulatory system however, our lymphatic fluid doesn’t have a pump. Our lymphatic system is twice the size of our circulatory system and needs to be moved. So our skin needs to be manually massaged to get it moving!
It’s a simple practice that can really change how your face looks overall. It might seem silly to think a little tool can produce such an effect but as I say, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! The best way you can see the changes you are getting from regular gua sha is to take a before and after picture. Also, perform the facial massage techniques on one side and then take a picture before finishing up with the other side. You will be amazed at the difference you see.
Gua Sha Benefits
Benefits of gua sha that I have noticed include: an increase in brightness and a glow, along with a decrease in puffiness and an overall face lift- it’s the cheapest facelift you’ll find!
There is even research on gua sha to show that it is actually doing what it claims to be able to do. According to the Cleveland Clinic:
“Gua sha has been proven to help relieve tension in the face, reduce puffiness and inflammation, and it can even help reduce sinus pressure.”
There is another study that shows increased blood flow to the area that had gua sha performed. The study looked at an area of the back, but in my opinion, no reason to think there wouldn’t be increased circulation when performed on the face too! This brings needed oxygen and nutrients to the skin and gets rid of toxins. Without this, your skin can look dull and less youthful.
There is even a case study showing improvements in facial expression lines, wrinkles and skin texture after gua sha. As this is just a case study, there is definitely more research needed to actually prove this, but anecdotal reports are similar to this case study in that it does help improve fine lines and wrinkles.
Keep in mind, while some results will be seen immediately as with most things, regular use is best. More results will be seen in the days and weeks to come after implementing a regular gua sha practice.
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Wildling Empress Gua Sha Stone
This stone is like no other gua sha stone and was made to maximize your gua sha results. It is made from Bian stone, whereas most other gua sha stones are made from quartz. Bian stone is made up of 40+ trace minerals that are known for their healing properties to the body. The stone even emits measurable ultrasound pulsation, a far-infrared wave and emits negative ions. The best part – these are all known for their antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Who wouldn’t want to add something like this to their skincare routine!
The stone is also constructed with 5 different edges and points that will allow you to really enhance your gua sha technique and practice. I love how the Empress Gua Sha Stone has many different angles which helps to effectively target specific areas, unlike other gua sha tools. For example, it has the U-shaped angle which is meant for targeting boney areas of the face and neck. It also has a comb side which is perfect for activating circulation on flat surfaces of the face. The short side of the Empress Gua Sha is used for under the eyes and those hard to reach places on the face such as the nose, and the brow bone area.
How To Gua Sha – A Step-By Step Guide
To get the best results from your gua sha practice, follow this step-by-step guide:
- You want to make sure your face is properly cleansed and clean before starting any gua sha practice. Check out my favorite Green Beauty Cleansers here!
- Once the face is clean, add an oil to the skin. Wilding has a specific oil they created just for using a gua sha, however you can use any oil that will give your skin some slip. The goal of the oil is to properly hydrate the skin so you have some slip to it while using the gua sha.
- Start in the back of the neck as you begin your gua sha practice. The neck connects the blood to the face and helps with circulation. It’s a great place to start waking up your circulatory system before you move to the face. You want to take the U edge of the Empress Gua Sha and start from the base of your neck and move in upwards strokes. The pressure should feel a little more intense since your neck is strong. Once you reach where the base of your head and neck meet give the gua sha a slight shimmy. This helps with drainage.
- Once one side of the back of the neck is done you can move to one side of the front of the neck. The pressure used on the front of the neck should be very light since it’s more fragile. You want the gua sha to be turned at a slight angle while doing it. It should not be straight on. Use downward strokes starting at your jaw line and working down your neck. Doing this 5 times. When you get to the middle of your neck use the U shaped edge and use the same downward movement.
- Once you have done one side of your neck, move to that same side of your face. Moving from the chin up to your ears 5 times making sure to hug the gua sha to your skin and not straight on. Use the opposite hand holding your gua sha to slightly hold the skin taut to avoid over pulling the skin. The pressure is light to medium as you start to work on your face. I like to use the comb edge when working on my cheek area and the U shaped side for my jaw area. Shimmy the gua sha at the top to help with lymphatic drainage. Repeat this on one side of your face until you get to your eye area.
- For my eye area I switch the short side of the gua sha tool. Turn it vertically and start at the corner of your eye with it hugging the side of your nose. Then glide it up to the side of your head.
- Then move on to that same side of the forehead. You will be switching to the combed edge of the gua sha. The first section is one side of your brow and working your way up to your hairline. Then repeat in the middle of your forehead between your brows. Using light to medium upward strokes 5 times.
- Once you complete the middle of the forehead, move to the side of the neck and face you haven’t done yet and repeat the process again at the base of the neck. Moving around to the front of the neck and then the opposite side of the face. Using the same gua sha technique and edges described above to complete your practice on the whole face.
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Gua Sha Tips & Tricks
- Use light pressure- It might be tempting to use firm pressure but you don’t need to. In fact, your lymphatic system prefers a lighter pressure.
- Make sure and apply enough facial oil to prep your skin beforehand- If you don’t apply enough, you could be tugging your skin too hard. You want a great slip for your gua sha tool to work properly.
- Avoid breakouts- Don’t glide your gua sha over breakouts or open wounds, you want them to heal not infect them!
- Shimmy- At the end of your gua sha stroke, shimmy your gua sha tool, this helps for maximizing lymph drainage.
- Hold your skin- With the opposite hand, it’s important to hold your skin taut as you glide the gua sha tool. This helps to avoid over tugging the skin. Plus, it can maximize gua sha results.
- Use at a 45 degree angle- This is paramount for making sure your hugging the skin with the gua sha tool and getting the best results.
- Put it in fridge- Putting it in the fridge can offer even more benefits when it comes to waking up the skin and de-puffing.
Conclusion: Does Gua Sha Live Up To The Hype?
Does gua sha live up to the hype? Absolutely! It’s something that takes practice but once you’re consistent adding this ritual into your everyday routine it can really pay off for your skin. Not only de-puffing the skin, but improving circulation, and detoxifying through lymphatic drainage. It also can help calm your mind and de-stress – it feels amazing when done over tight muscles. Whether you do it at night, or in the morning, it’s a ritual that provides so many health and beauty benefits.
Gua Sha FAQ’s
Does Gua Sha hurt?
No, gua sha shouldn’t hurt as you don’t want to use much pressure, but rather light fluid movements, especially on the face where the skin is thinner.
How Often Should You Gua Sha?
Three times a week is recommended at least, to support minimal results, however, once a day is going to provide the maximum results. In the morning or at night. I prefer in the morning for de-puffing the skin. However, I’ve found that at night it helps me to wind down and relax.
What Should I Put On My Face Before I Gua Sha?
When performing gua sha you want to do it on cleansed skin that’s been well hydrated with a hydrosol, then apply a face oil beforehand – never on bare skin. This helps to prep your skin and give the gua sha tool some slip as you’re moving it over your face.
What Is The Difference Between Jade Roller And Gua Sha?
I often get asked what the difference is between jade rolling and gua sha- allow me to explain. They are both beauty tools, but jade rolling is a more simplified and quick approach to gua sha. It doesn’t take as much skill. It’s more for someone who doesn’t have quite as much time too. Gua sha hugs the skin more and has different edges that help contour your face more. It takes a little more time too than had rolling. How are the ends results? Similar but you’re definitely going to get more out of a gua sha session than a jade rolling session. It just depends on how much time you want to take and the results you want.
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