For most of us, healthy skin isn’t a given; it’s earned. Through our skincare routine, our diets, stress management, and a constant curiosity to explore new techniques and tricks. Recently, we were introduced to a ‘new’ at-home method that promises to fight acne, wrinkles and inflammation, with just a few strokes a week. Of course, with those promises, we were ready to sign up ASAP.
Gua sha benefits are vast and plenty, but it may not be as straightforward as face-rolling. Here, we explore what gua sha is, how it upgrades your skincare routine, and how to test it out yourself.
Consider this your 101 guide to the gua sha facial:
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha, or its other name ‘jade scraping’, has been getting more attention lately thanks to influencers and bloggers, but in reality, it’s an ancient technique with roots tied to 220 CE. Yep, that’s right: centuries ago, Chinese doctors adopted this facial maneuver and ritual to promote natural cell turnover. The name gives a clue to the intent: ‘sha’ translates to ‘redness,’ which many believed was a sign skin was healing itself.
Though it was first meant to be a body treatment, it’s evolved to be primarily a facial technique that aids in lymphatic drainage to decrease the signs of aging and acne and inflammation. When paired with a skincare routine (aka, Covey!), your pores are better equipped to absorb your products.
Gua Sha Benefits
If you explore nearby spas and wellness centers in your area, you’ll likely see ‘gua sha’ on the facial menu. Many estheticians — and even dermatologists! — have adopted this ancient philosophy into their practices, largely do the impressive gua sha benefits.
Of course, you’ll still need to continue your daily Covey ritual of cleanser, vitamin C serum, and moisturizer to achieve radiant pores, but the addition of a gua sha practice adds another layer of skin support.
Here, the top gua sha benefits:
Reduces wrinkles and fine lines.
The gua sha method is used to drain our lymphatic fluids that are often clogged in our faces due to stress or unhealthy eating habits. With less build-up, our wrinkles become softened. And since this also stimulates blood flow, the gua sha increases collagen production, too! This all-too-important protein decreases with each birthday, so anything we can do to keep it pumping will help fight unwanted sagging and bags.
By including gua sha as part of your skincare routine, you’ll consistently nudge lymph, fluids, and blood to stay active, rather than remaining sedentary in your face. This works to minimize fine facial creases that can get deeper with age. With better circulation, you can improve overall skin health and elasticity.
We’ve all been there: margarita night with our girlfriends has resulted in mega inflammation in the A.M. Yikes. Puffiness happens to all of us and can be caused by stress, climate, diets, hormones, and other factors. Even something as simple as a super-salty meal, a crying session or a sleepless night can make us inflamed.
What’s happening? In short, our skin is holding on to fluid rather than releasing it. One of the most significant — and immediate — gua sha benefits is reducing the build-up. Within an hour of using your gua sha, you likely will see water retention reduce!
If you struggle with ongoing breakouts — whether blackheads and whiteheads or cystic acne — you will try anything to achieve a clear complexion. While a gua sha does work through the muck of both the epidermis and additional layers, at first, you might notice an uptick in flare-ups.
This is because you’re essentially ‘rocking the boat’, so to speak, so everything will come out because if clears up. Though normal, if this doesn’t change within a week or so, chat with your dermatologist.
How Can You Try Gua Sha At Home?
Ready to give this tried-and-tested technique a go? We are, too! To reap gua sha benefits as part of your skincare routine, take these two easy steps:
First: pick your tool
Unlike a face roller, which is the same design but with various stones, a gua sha offers many sizes and shapes. You may need to test out a few of the options to figure out which one matches the natural curvatures of your face. This will make it easier to ‘scrape’, and will result in better drainage and results.
You should be able to use your gua sha tool everywhere — from your cheekbones and forehead to your jawline and around your eyes. Different designs also are better suited for various goals, so keep those in mind, too.
The most common shapes for a gua sha tool are:
- Teeth edge: This tool features a side with ‘teeth’ and is said to be the best bet for wrinkles and fine lines.
- Concave side: This tool is meant to use on wider areas, beyond your face, including your spine, shoulder and neck. You can also use it on your face, but it may be tricky to reach smaller curves.
- Cleft: This tool has a small side, making it perfect for reaching nooks and crannies of your face.
- Double curved side: This tool is a traditional gua sha design and works to stimulate blood circulation throughout your face.
- Pointed convex edge: This tool can be used throughout your face but is especially helpful to run along your brows and eye area.
Once you have settled on your gua sha shape (or two!), it’s time to pick your stone. Like the face roller, each quartz offers a special meaning. While they can come in nearly any color, the most common gua sha stones are:
- Rose: This pink hue will help you fight any negativity and toxins you’re harboring, all while fighting the signs of aging.
- Black Obsidian: Traditionally, gua sha are made of this powerful material since it’s said to combine the benefits of earth, water and fire. Also, it’s tied to strengthening muscle tissues and repairing the damage.
- Jade: If you have imbalances, this green option will work to drain these emotions and build-ups. Plus, it’s tied to reducing puffiness.
- Amethyst: Money on your mind? Or just want an abundance mindset? If so, this is the gua sha stone for you since it soothes your skin while brightening it.
Second: try these techniques.
Now for the fun part: testing out your gua sha skills! In this step-by-step guide, we illustrate how the Covey routine and the gua sha method work in perfect harmony together:
- First, clean your gua sha tool to prevent any bacteria. Many people like to pop their gua sha in the freezer for 30 minutes to provide a cooling effect.
- Next, wash your skin with Covey’s cleanser. Pat dry, and apply our vitamin C serum. Your skin should be slightly damp from the serum, supple and ready.
- Place your gua sha tool in your hand in a comfortable way and snug to you. Make sure the curved section is facing your face, while the flat section is resting lightly on your skin.
- Now, it’s time to get to work! Use the wider concave side of your tool at the base of your neck, then begin working your way up toward your jaw. After you repeat this a few times on one side, do the other side.
- Next, ‘scrape’ across your jawline, starting at your chin and moving outwards to your ears in each direction.
- Using the flatter curve of your tool, make lines across your cheeks — from nose to ear — before moving on to your eyes.
- Be careful around your sensitive under-eye area, as you use the rounded edge to move from the tip of your nose to your temples.
- Draw with your tool from your brows up to your hairline. The flat side of the gua sha works best.
- Lastly, apply your Covey moisturizer and relax.
Gua Sha and Covey
As part of your Covey skincare routine, gua sha benefits are plenty. Learn more about Covey’s routine and sign up for our newsletter for other great beauty and skin health tips.