A beginner’s guide to gua sha for firmer, more radiant skinPosted on February 5, 2020 Written by: 100% PURE ®
While Western consumers have only recently discovered this ancient beauty secret, the practice of gua sha originated centuries ago in China. Gua sha is traditionally an intense body massage, where therapists use scraping motions to treat ailing skin and muscle conditions.
The good news is that this practice is much more gentle on the face, using a gentle gliding in lieu of “scraping” or “coining”. This practice is meant to release muscle tension and result in a host of beauty benefits. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the various benefits of gua sha facials, the right techniques, and how to get the best results.
Since it doesn’t take long, a gua sha facial can easily complement your regular skin care routine. While relaxing facial muscles is one of its main benefits, here are some other reasons to use gua sha facials regularly:
A gua sha facial can temporarily slim your face by reducing puffiness, especially in the eye and cheek area. This can result in a more contoured shape around cheeks, jawline, and other areas prone to puffiness.
Softens scar tissue
Gua sha helps break up and soften scar tissue, especially when done consistently over long periods of time. Scar tissue can lead to lumpiness beneath the skin and uneven texture, and gua sha is often utilized for reversing these effects.
Helps reduce fine lines
While this practice isn’t a miracle worker, gua sha facials can help release tension in your face. This tension can lead to furrowed brows and a clenched jaw over time – even when we think we’re relaxed. One of the main causes of wrinkles are repeated movements, like scrunching your eyebrows and frowning. Gua sha interferes with these movements and helps you maintain a relaxed facial posture on a day to day basis.
Similar to scar tissue, gua sha facial techniques help break up fascia: connective tissue that can sometimes interfere with circulation. Breaking up that fascia more regularly leads to better circulation week to week. Loosening up your muscles and relaxing is never a bad thing, either!
While this practice can work for almost anyone, you may have to avoid or modify gua sha techniques depending on your skin type.
If you have an inflamed skin barrier, you might have to avoid gua sha because of potential irritation and redness. This includes people with active acne, rosacea, eczema, and sunburns. You should also avoid performing a gua sha facial with open pimples that are oozing or bleeding.
If you have sensitive skin, make sure to use very gentle movements on your face to avoid irritation.
#1: Cleanse and tone
Cleansing helps wash off sweat and makeup from the day, which can harbor bacteria – which will only be spread when you do your massage! Toning helps make sure all of your makeup comes off, and primes your skin for a properly pH balanced routine. Try the hydrating combo of Rose Micellar Cleansing Water and the Restorative Sea Culture Toner for smooth, softened skin.
#2: Select your tool
Most gua sha tools will be in the shape of a half moon. This allows the tool to hug and contour the curves of your face. Avoid using tools with cracks or sharp edges, as these can catch on yor skin and cause damaging microtears.
You should also choose gua sha facial tools made of jade or rose quartz. These crystals are said to have different healing properties, and offer a crisp, cooling sensation for your skin.
PRO TIP: Don’t be fooled – some sellers dye acrylic tools in crystal patterns. These dyes can cause skin irritation, so be sure to buy only authentic jade or crystal materials.
#3: Apply a serum or oil
After cleansing and toning, apply a hydrating serum or facial oil to reduce the friction between skin and your gua sha facial tool. These formulas will create a smooth, slippery surface for your tool to glide over. This eliminates chances of yanking or tugging, which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
#4: Perform the facial
Hold the tool with the curved side towards your face. Don’t pull down on your face, which can cause sagging over time. Instead, glide the tool up and out; this motion encourages lymphatic drainage. You can repeat these motions up to 5 times for best results.
You can start at the neck and slowly move your way up. Gently work the tool over your jawline, chin, and mouth area. Don’t forget your cheeks, undereye area, eyebrows, and forehead. You can use your free hand to provide some light resistance as you glide the tool across your skin.
Remember to use a light to medium pressure. If you notice any pain or severe skin redness, you might be massaging too harshly!
PRO TIP: If you’re short on time, performing a gua sha facial for up to a minute can provide significant benefits. You can choose to massage your face for up to five minutes.
#5: Finish with a facial mist
Use a soothing mist, like pure rose water or aloe water, to calm any redness you might have after. Facial mists are also helpful for enhancing absorption of your facial oil.
We’ve covered the steps you need to perform this skin-enhancing facial. Here are some extra steps you can take to ensure your facial doesn’t end in disaster!
Clean your tools
Cleaning your tools will help you avoid spreading acne-causing bacteria onto your face. You can use a DIY cleaning mixture after you perform your facial. A simple mix of warm water and sulfate-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free dish soap can work wonders.
Use your gua sha tool cold
For an energizing cooling sensation, place your jade or crystal tool in the refrigerator for a few minutes. If you like your tools to be extra cold, leave them in your refrigerator overnight to give the materials a leg up on puffy skin.
Avoid sticky formulas
On days when you perform a gua sha facial, use light and non-sticky formulas in each step of your routine. Even one sticky formula in your lineup can lead to friction and dragging during your gua sha step.
Try your hand at a gua sha facial for de-stressing at the end of a long day. Feel free to use this technique in your morning and evening routine – even on your lunch break! For best results, perform a gua sha facial weekly. Consistency is key!