The Active Edit

Mastering Gua Sha Tool

written by: Kristen - Beauty Editorpublished on 27 Nov, 2023

You can do it at home, you can do it on social media and yes, I have even seen it done openly in a busy airport departure lounge. That’s right, I’m talking about the Gua Sha facial massage craze that has established itself as a therapeutic part of the skincare routine. And for good reason, this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

The modern Gua Sha tool is a smooth, shapely stone like Rose Quartz, Bian stone or Jade that is almost like a heart shape. This helps it to glide over the skin and hug the curves of your facial contours. When used in skincare, the benefits of this cool and super smooth tool include lymphatic drainage to detoxify the skin, combat puffy eyes from lack of sleep, alleviate dark circles and sculpt the jawline for more shapely facial contours. The Gua Sha has even been noted to brighten the complexion and firm the skin as the technique of using a Gua Sha tool is claimed to promote circulation and collagen production.

What is Gua Sha? 

If you asked me 10 years ago, what is Gua Sha, I would have assumed it was a dish from an exotic menu! The practice of Gua Sha originated from ancient Chinese medicine to influence the stagnant “qi” within the body. Qi is the life force and vital energy believed to impact physical and mental wellbeing. Today, the traditional therapeutic Gua Sha technique is practiced by massage therapists, Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and dermal therapists alike and involves scraping the skin with a smooth-edged tool until petechiae appear (those small red bumps mentioned earlier). Traditionally this device was an animal horn, a wooden spoon or even a coin however, modern Gua Sha tools are far more luxe made from natural crystals to further influence and enhance health benefits. 

The name “Gua” means scrape and the “Sha” means sand in reference to those petechiae that appear. The scraping of the skin is firm, but not uncomfortably so. Think of it more as a stimulating facial sculpting massage that actually feels invigorating and relaxing. You can also enjoy an array of skin beautifying benefits as this practice stimulates collagen (firming), promotes lymph drainage (detoxifying) and brightens the complexion thanks to all that wonderful blood circulation being stimulated. Furthermore, the natural crystal benefits of Jade help decrease stress and anxiety, whilst Bian Stone and Rose Quartz are believed to calm and promote accelerated healing. No matter your choice, there are many benefits to be enjoyed.

How to Use Gua Sha

When it comes to Gua Sha, it’s imperative to master the technique, and the good news is learning how to use Gua Sha isn’t all that difficult. Prepare the skin well by cleaning it prior with a face cleanser, then apply your preferred serum or face oil. This provides slip on the skin which helps the Gua Sha skincare tool & beauty device comfortably glide over the face without pulling or dragging. Some people even like to perform a cleansing massage with a Gua Sha tool using an oil cleanser to help it move freely. But what if you don’t like the feel of oil on the skin (shout out to all the fellow oily skin types)? You can also use your favourite moisturiser or even the ASAP Soothing Gel makes a great oil-free base with enough slip for the Gua Sha to glide.

Now you may wish to YouTube a couple of tutorials so you get the technique just right however, essentially, you want to work from the inside of the face outwards to stimulate lymphatic drainage. For example, use the smooth edges of the Gua Sha tool from the chin along the jawline to the ears with a medium to firm pressure. Work along the upper lip and sides of nose towards the ears, then soop under and over the eyes to de-puff and smooth fine lines. The forehead can be covered next, from between the brows working up in strokes towards the hairline. Then semi-circle the face from forehead hairline down to the collarbones to finish. With each zone you want to repeat the massaging movements until the skin appears a little flushed. The traditional technique produces petechiae, or tiny red bumps, which has been used as an indicator of bleeding under the skin and adequate stimulation achieved. Achiveing a little flushing is a good start though as the more intensive treatment is best left to the experts. Of course, this technique in home beauty routines should be gentle, enjoyable and pain free so be sure to go easy on yourself. Adopt a moderate pressure and cease anytime it becomes uncomfortable.

And why let your face have all the fun? Did you know that Gua Sha can be used on the body to help minimise the appearance of cellulite and stimulate circulation? Simply switch out your face oil for a clean body oil and let the smooth edge of the Gua Sha follow the lymphatic drainage path in an upward massaging and stroking motion.

Proper Cleaning Techniques

Like all face tools & treatment devices it is imperative that the Gua Sha tool is carefully cleaned before and after each use to prevent the spread of bacteria. Gel & foaming cleansers make the perfect wash for your Gua Sha as these are often mild and gentle on the delicate crystal device. Avoid harsh detergents, abrasives and brushes as these can create micro scratches in the crystal’s surface which in turn, can create a new home for bacteria to thrive. The aim is to protect that super smooth surface to ensure many more uses for your face to enjoy. At the end of your decadent facial stone be sure to wash the delicate Gua Sha stone, pat it dry with a clean towel and use a mild disinfectant like the Foreo Silicone Cleaning Spray to keep your face tools sanitised between treatments. Once you know how to clean Gua Sha properly, your skin sculpting tool will be ready to glide the next time you need to soothe, sculpt and de-puff your skin.

Take the Next Step: Elevate Your Skincare with Activeskin’s Gua Sha Tools

There you have it, Gua Sha for the face offers an array of benefits including minimising fine lines, firming, detoxifying, de-puffing under the eyes and contouring the jawline. The beauty of this technique at home is that it can become a stimulating facial massage for all skin types. Once you’re all blissed out and about to float away, be sure to take time to clean your Gua Sha tool well to remove oil residue and keep it in tip-top condition. And if you can’t wait to get your hands on a skincare Gua Sha tool, be sure to browse our selection right here at Activeskin. Discover the most popular Gua Sha tools and eye massagers including the best-selling Mukti Organics Bian Stone Gua Sha and the Retreatment Botanics Rose Quartz Gua Sha

Add this beautiful ritual as part of your personal skincare routine and we have no doubt that you will become hooked. Repeat this Gua Sha technique weekly to prolong the temporary results and enjoy more radiant and healthy skin as a result.