Beauty school

Gua Sha 101: How to use this amazing facial tool

Want to whack up the dial on your skin brightness?

Or chisel out your cheekbones that you didn’t know existed?

Or maybe even de-puff your eyebags?

Then Gua Sha, made of divinely polished stones, offers some serious face sculpting.

Thanks partly to its lymphatic drainage and ability to bring fresh blood flow to your skin.

But we hear you. Can this centuries-old approach offer such beauty benefits?

Why not join us as we explore everything there is to know about this cool, zen tool.

What is Gua Sha Therapy?

Gua means ‘scrape’, and Sha means ‘petechiae’ tiny, purple spots in Chinese.

Gua Sha began as a complete body treatment, where a semi-precious stone was used to release trapped ‘chi’ (energy), stimulate circulation and promote overall healing.

Whilst initially a body treatment, the version that has become popular today and is going viral on social media platforms like Instagram is now performed on the face.

The Gua Sha Tool Explained

The gua sha scraper comes in different shapes and performs several actions on your skin.

While the type of stone used for gua sha is not essential, the shape is; we recommend using one that is comfortable to grip, smooth and round and fits the curvature of the area you want to treat.

Different stones have different properties; some are antimicrobial, some like rose quartz, and others like jade and amethyst are cooling, helping to counteract the warming effect of the natural friction that stimulates circulation.

How to use a Gua Sha Tool

  • the divot or aperture is small and ideal for your jaw
  • the pointed convex edge is perfect for scooping your brow area
  • the double-curved side helps to promote blood circulation under your eyes and cheeks
  • the concave side is ideal for scraping the skin and sculpting your neck and shoulders and broader parts of your body
  • the teeth edge effect softens and smoothes fine lines and stimulates the skin on and around your cheeks and cheekbones

How to Use Gua Sha on Your Neck and Face

So how do you get the benefits of gua sha at home?

Whilst there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to how to use your gua sha tool, the following routine may be helpful as a guide:

  1. Ensure your hair is completely off your face
  2. Cleanse your skin and apply your favourite facial oil, like Xcell Complex.
  3. The concave side should hug the curves of your skin, and the flat part should rest close to it.
  4. Begin at the back of your neck, glide up toward the hairline, and press at your scalp’s base.
  5. Next, move across to one side of your neck, stretch your head to the side, and then the other as you move your Gua Sha tool upwards. Finish with applied pressure at your jawline. And repeat at the front of the neck.
  6. Next, with the minor cleft or divot, start from the centre of your chin, press and massage your jaw muscle with small circular motions and end with pressure points at the base of your ear. Repeat this a few times and follow the same movement on the other side.
  7. Take the small rounded end of your gua sha massage tool at the area under your eyes, pull it towards your temples, gently draining outwards, and repeat on the other eye.
  8. Next, place the tool on its angled end, press into the space under your eyebrows, and hold until you feel the tension release and drain.
  9. Finally, place the tool against your forehead and slowly pull it towards your hairline; this is an excellent tension-relieving move.

Hands: If you feel tension in your arms and hands, the gua sha massage is the perfect remedy. It will relieve stress around tired muscles and stimulate blood circulation.

Eyes: It’s great for drainage under your eye, helping to alleviate the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.

Lips: Gua sha skincare extends to your lips. It is an excellent tool for plumping them, lifting the facial contours around your mouth and smoothing the vermillion border around the lips.

Neck: Starting with gua sha on your neck encourages circulation and nutrients to travel towards your face, moving sluggish lymph.

One study looked at people with chronic neck pain; they were put into two groups and monitored in a clinical trial. Those who received gua sha treatment improved their pain significantly.

Eyebrows: Don’t ignore your brows. You are going over your third eye here, so take long, slow motions to help clear this chakra. Sometimes, emotions may come through while working on this area.

Use easy, feather-like strokes to flush the lymph into your body’s drainage system.

A Quick Guide to Your Lymphatic System

Your lymphatic is an impressively complex waste-drainage system.

Unlike your cardiovascular system, which uses the heart to pump blood, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump. Instead, it slowly circulates lymph fluid, which it does by contracting the muscles.

You can liken it to a waste disposal system. The interstitial fluids that collect beneath your skin must be flushed into the body’s natural detoxification system to keep your body healthy; a slow lymphatic system can lead to puffiness, sallow skin and other problems.

Gua sha is particularly helpful for lymph drainage, moving fluids into the nodes to be filtered. When using this tool, you give your lymphatic system the boost it needs.

What are the Benefits of Gua Sha?

Now that you know what it is and its origins, let’s look at some of the many benefits of Gua sha.

  • de-puffs eye bags
  • decreases puffiness
  • reduces inflammation
  • releases muscular tension
  • promotes collagen production
  • contours and refines your facial features
  • releases tension in the masseter the muscles of your jaw
  • sculpts and tones your underlying facial muscles
  • promotes blood circulation and natural drainage of the lymph nodes
  • new blood carries oxygen to skin cells, encouraging a healthy-looking flush
  • eliminates bloating caused by interstitial fluid, the waste fluid that gets trapped under your skin

Improves Pain Relief

Traditional gua sha involves the more complex art of scraping areas of the body to help relieve muscle pain and tension, much like a deep tissue massage.

Promotes Circulation

Another benefit of gua sha facials is improved circulation. The scraping action stimulates circulation, boosting blood supply to your skin, bringing nutrients to the surface and boosting collagen and elastin, generally making your skin more resilient and healthy.

Improves Fine Lines 

Gua sha is wonderful for treating signs of premature ageing, helping to alleviate expression lines and tension on your face.

Gently moving the tool across the face helps relax taut muscles, bringing a fresh supply of nutrients to mature skin and allowing it to return to its youthful glow.

Reduces Puffiness in Your Skin

The pressure and strokes with the gua sha tool can help eliminate fluid buildup and remove stagnant lymph from the tissues, pushing the waste through the lymph nodes to be filtered back into the blood system and providing a near-instant improvement to dull, puffy skin.

At-Home vs. Professional Treatment

Unlike microneedling or laser, which can be very challenging to achieve results, gua sha facials are easy to perform at home.

Skincare specialists are well-versed in the specific techniques performed on areas of the face so that you will get a more effective result from a professional treatment.

However, using it at home between appointments is a great way to increase and maintain those results.

Always ensure you use the correct technique outlined above to achieve maximum results.

What Should You Use With Your Gua Sha Tool

  • You can use a B+ niacinamide skin shot if you have active acne.
  • If you need an anti-ageing product, you can use an A+ skin shot to soften fine lines.
  • If your skin is dehydrated, sensitive, and lacks moisture, the H20 skin shot is perfect, delivering immediate calming, soothing properties and intense hydration.
  • An oil-based serum, such as Xcell Barrier Repair oil or Squalane, might be good for nighttime.

Safety Considerations and Potential Side Effects

You should be aware of some risks associated with Gua Sha facial massage; it should not be used on areas of your skin that are damaged or injured.

Gua sha is not ideal if you have sensitive skin, acne inflammation, and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, or blood coagulation issues; if you have a bruise, rash or cut, avoid using gua sha in that area.

Be careful with the amount of pressure you are using; applying gua sha too hard or too aggressively could lead to injuries and other adverse reactions on your skin.

Your skin may look a little pink or red initially after treatment. In some instances, it may bruise depending on your susceptibility to bruising—this is why we recommend applying only gentle pressure.

To Conclude. The naked truth

It’s incredible that a small stone can offer so many beauty benefits.

Call it Chinese folklore medicine or woo-woo wellness, but the craving for a more holistic conception of beauty feels very real when using gua sha.

If you want to de-puff your eye bags, chisel out those cheekbones or boost your skin and turn up the dial on brightness for that all-over glow, then this is the treatment for you.

It has spectacular results, promoting collagen production, stimulating lymph drainage, releasing toxins, and producing a positive immune response, kicking your body’s natural cleansing system into gear.

We believe this is one exceptional time-honoured treatment that should be part of your skincare routine.

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