Gua sha: the easiest facial you’ve never heard of
Gua sha is a facial technique rooted in traditional Chinese medicine practice that works to even the skin tone, boost circulation, and support collagen production. Touted as a “one-minute facial,” the practice both gentle and easy to learn, making it the perfect addition to your weekly beauty routine.
The gua sha stone, also called a “scraping stone,” is a triangular, rounded tool that’s traditionally made out of Chinese Xiuyan jade.
“(The process) stimulates lymphatic drainage, which carries waste and toxins away,” said Hayo’u founder and Chinese medicine practitioner Katie Brindle. “Plus, you are easing stored tension in your face and neck. It also feels really cooling on the eyes, or indeed anywhere else that is puffy.”
Although the process may seem a bit daunting at first, just take your time, use a light touch and you’ll be a gua sha regular in no time.
Step one: After following your normal skin cleansing routine, dry your face with a clean towel. With dry hands, press your fingertips along the sides of your nose and along your jawline. Make about ten gentle, sweeping motions along your facial contours to help boost circulation and elastin.
Step two: Moisturising is key to a gua sha facial, as the damp surface allows the stone to glide effortlessly across your skin. Don’t be afraid to spritz your face liberally with either water or facial oil before placing the stone on your face–to get the full benefits of the facial, your skin needs to soak up that necessary hydration.
“Whilst I’d recommend using a facial oil–the process of gua sha helps it to penetrate into the deeper layers to nourish the skin–if you’d prefer water, that’s fine too,” said Brindle.
Step three: Keeping the stone flat and using a light to medium pressure–about the same as you would use scratching an itch–and glide the stone up and down, moving from each area slowly.
“If you get a bit of a red flush, don’t worry, this will quickly disappear,” said Brindle. “It varies from person to person as everyone’s skin is different. It’s a good thing though, it’s a sign that you’re boosting circulation under the epidermis.”
Aim for about three to five “swipes” per area, and don’t be afraid to press the tool–gently–onto any areas of inflammation to encourage circulation in that specific area, but avoid any spots of rosacea or inflamed acne.
Step four: Time to rinse off the stone and enjoy your freshly glowing skin, no aftercare necessary. Repeat as often as you’d like for a relaxing, meditative at-home facial.
If you’re looking to start on the gua sha path, check out The Beddha’s €79 “goddess care” line, see right. It includes both a gua sha stone and roller, which the website claims will both help “eliminate the build-up toxins in the lymph nodes.” While a gua sha facial generally only uses the “scraping stone,” a little extra massage never hurt anybody.
However, for gua sha purists, Hayo’u offers its authentic Xiuyan Jade beauty tool for £38, or as part of a full kit with ultra-hydrating oils for £79.
While jade is the traditional stone of choice thanks to its cooling properties, you can also try a rose quartz, sodalite or aventurine from Cult Beauty (£28-40) if you’re truly committed to your aesthetic. Whatever you choose, you’ll be refreshed.