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Gua Sha Skincare: A Beginner’s Guide

While you might already have a beloved jade roller, there is another skincare tool that can be surprisingly helpful in keeping your skin fresh and youthful. A skin-scraping massage stone, known as a gua sha tool, should be essential to any skincare routine.

This flat, curved stone, usually made of jade, can help you chisel out cheekbones, tighten jawlines, and depuff your baggy eyes in minutes. It perks up your look by enhancing blood flow, which helps deliver more nutrients to your face.

But what is gua sha skincare, and how can a single small stone offer you so many beauty benefits? We’ll dive into it below.

What Is Gua Sha Skincare?

Is this the first time you’ve heard of this skin-scraping massage? It’s not actually a new technique! This type of facial skincare dates back several centuries to traditional Chinese medicine, around 220 CE. Ancient practitioners hoped to encourage blood flow to the body to instigate healing and create an attractive, glowing blush.

Gua sha skincare was originally used on the body to strengthen and heal the muscles. But modern practitioners have adapted it for use on the face with gentler, rotational scraping motions. The newer techniques build on the original to help with lymphatic drainage and minimize bloating and swelling in your face.

Benefits of Gua Sha Skincare

Rose quartz gua sha skincare tools

We’ve already listed some benefits of this skin-scraping massage, including increased circulation and better lymphatic drainage. But what does this mean for you?

  • Increased Circulation: Lowers fluid retention and puffiness.
  • Improved Collagen Production: Firms the skin and softens the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Relieves itching, redness, and discomfort.
  • Minimized Dark Circles: Makes you look younger and healthier.
  • Sculpted Face Muscles: Gives you a tighter, more defined look.

Since everyone is a little different, your results will vary depending on age, skin type, skincare routine, and other factors. However, adding gua sha to your skincare routine will produce visible effects when used consistently.

How to Use A Gua Sha

You don’t have to go to a spa to get the benefits of gua sha! You can easily add it to your routine at home to enjoy its benefits on a regular basis. Finding a gua sha tool that works for you is a unique experience. So explore the shapes, sizes, and materials available to find something that feels like it was designed specifically for your skin and the contours of your face.

Once you find the perfect gua sha skincare tool, it’s time to learn the fundamentals of the massage process. We recommend soft, gentle pressure for even strokes against your skin that move in the same direction as your lymphatic flow.

Some people like to combine long and short strokes to precisely sculpt and shape targeted areas while moving excess fluids toward the lymph nodes. Your target areas and facial needs will determine your massage style.

Facial Lymph Nodes

 A woman using a gua sha skincare tool for lymph node massage

There are several areas in your face where you can massage excess fluid toward lymph nodes. These include:

  • Around your ear
  • Along your jawline
  • Under the eye
  • Beneath your cheekbone
  • On the side of the neck
  • Above the collarbone

How-to Instructions

  • Apply a quarter-sized amount of facial oil or moisturizer to your face.
  • Scrape the tool over your entire face, neck, and decolletage.
  • Work with smooth, even motions, contouring muscles towards your lymph nodes.
  • Spend five minutes sweeping the gua sha skincare tool up and down your face.

Even with gentle pressure, you can expect your skin to take on a reddish, pink blush as circulation and lymph drainage momentarily increase.

How Often Should You Use Gua Sha?

You don’t need to do gua sha every single day. Twice a week is typically enough to ensure the temporary effects last for the long term. You’ll need to experiment with your skin’s tolerance for this scraping massage, as more sensitive skin may only be able to withstand gua sha once a week.

Start by using your gua sha routine once per week and slowly increase the frequency until you feel like you’re getting the best possible effects.

Professional vs. At-Home Gua Sha

 A woman receiving a professional gua sha skincare massage

While some skincare treatments are impossible to do on your own, gua sha skincare can deliver the same effects at home or at a spa.

If you’re completely new to gua sha, you may want to see a specialist for your first time and take notes of the pressure and motions they use to produce the desired effects. Once you understand the process, you can mimic the treatment at home to get the same results.

While an aesthetician may be better trained in the more nuanced use of gua sha techniques, you can still enjoy dramatic benefits without spending extra time and money at a spa.

Is Gua Sha Skincare for Everyone?

This skin-scraping massage is typically suitable for all skin types, but there are situations where you should avoid using gua sha.

Don’t use your gua sha tool if you have a sunburn, rash, or are experiencing blood coagulation concerns. Furthermore, if you have painful acne, be very careful around those areas and avoid going directly over large pimples if possible. Always use gua sha on clean, fresh skin.

Does Gua Sha Hurt?

Body gua sha is a forceful massage that reshapes the connective tissues surrounding your muscles and organs. However, the key to using gua sha for skincare on your face is gentle pressure. Done correctly, it should not pull or chafe your skin. If you’re feeling long-term irritation, you’re probably pressing too hard.

If you have any specific concerns, we recommend consulting with your dermatologist or aesthetician before continued use.

How to Choose Your Gua Sha Skincare Tool

The NOTO gua sha skincare tool

As we mentioned, gua sha tools range in size, shape, and material. When you start your search, we recommend finding a tool with smooth, rounded curves that will fit around the various areas you want to massage. Your gua sha skincare tool should also be comfortable to hold with a secure grip that allows you to apply even, subtle pressure to your face.

The simplest gua sha tools are shaped almost like a leaf or teardrop, with a fat flat base that tapers towards a rounded tip. Often, these tools are ideal for beginners who aren’t sure which parts of their face require the most care. However, we prefer a gua sha tool that’s a little more versatile with more dramatic sweeps, curves, and sizing that offers added hand control and larger variations to contour your face and neck.

Finally, you must consider the material of your gua sha skincare tool. Since jade is the traditional choice, it’s a good place to start. But you can also find stones with antimicrobial properties, as well as cooling and warming effects. Whichever stone you choose, make sure it’s made of a natural crystal or material, like jade, amethyst, or rose quartz.

Benefits of Different Stones

Your material preference may stray into the realm of crystal mysticism, as some stones are believed to have additional benefits for your skin and body.

  • Amethyst: Relieves stress
  • Rose Quartz: Reduces inflammation
  • Turquoise: All-purpose healing
  • Jade: Improves circulation
  • Bian Stone: Eliminates toxins and helps with skin disorders

Even if you don’t believe in the effects of various gems, the material will affect the density and weight of your tool. So you want something a little heavier that provides deeper penetration and more powerful effects.

Start Your Gua Sha Skincare Routine with NOTO

A NOTO gua sha skincare tool and facial serum

At NOTO Botanics, we have our own version of a gua sha skincare tool to help you maximize the benefits of your daily routine. Our Bian stone gua sha tool has a bulbous bottom and tapers to a slender, rounded tip. Because our tool has such a unique shape, it’s more versatile when attempting to massage different areas of your face.

When using our tool, massage the spoon-shaped portion along your temples, jawline, neck, and cheekbones to enhance blood circulation. Use the tapered, ball-point end to clear out sinuses and relieve muscle knots under your skin. Since the tool is a stone, it is cooling naturally. So it can also help depuff your eye area.

For best results, we recommend using NOTO’s gua sha skincare tool with our Deep Serum or Moisture Riser Cream. Our products are packed with high-performing botanical ingredients and essential oils, which smell divine. So you not only treat your skin but also receive aromatherapy benefits, creating a spa day-at-home feeling. Shop NOTO to look and feel good!


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