How to Use a Gua Sha on Your Face

Facial bloat- a term we’re hearing more and more often. Whether it’s from a lack of sleep, a salty meal or perhaps an extra glass of wine, water retention in the face is something that no amount of contouring can hide. When investing time and money into serums, cleansers and multiple additional skincare steps, it’s a shame to let a puffy face counteract all of our efforts. That’s why people everywhere are googling ‘how to use a gua sha on the face’. Proven to release tension, inflammation, and swelling, this Chinese medicinal instrument is taking the world by a storm. There’s the obvious skepticism- can rubbing a flat stone against the cheeks really give a natural face lift? With the right facial massage techniques and oil to accompany it, the gua sha is not only facial-sculpting, but can make a great addition to a wellness ritual.

What are the benefits of a gua sha?

In order to protect long-term health and beauty, we must go beneath the surface of the skin. Taking care of your mind, body and spirit each day will induce that awakened and bright-eyed glow. The spiritual benefits of a gua sha is that it is an inexpensive, simple way to start your wellness journey. Ten minutes of facial massage in the mornings is a way to find your calm and set the tone for the day. When used in the evenings, it can release any tension you may have picked up throughout the day, whether that be from the morning commute, back-to-back meetings or looking after someone.

Aside from this, once you know how to use the gua sha on the face, you can benefit from all of it’s other perks. The benefits of a gua sha include the friction of the stone against the face which creates a controlled trauma and stimulates blood circulation to the area (the flushed cheeks afterwards). The skin will then start to repair this trauma by making new collagen which contributes to that plump, bouncy look. The gua sha also promotes lymphatic drainage which shifts excess fluid build-up from the face. The benefits of a gua sha are holistic. It multi-functions as both a skin-sculpting and meditative tool.

Where did the gua sha originate?

The gua sha originated from traditional Chinese medicine, ‘gua’ meaning scrape, and ‘sha’ referring to a rash. This is because how Chinese therapists practice this detoxing ritual is slightly more intense than how we use the gua sha on the face today. The original practice of the gua sha is to scrape the instrument with strong pressure against the body. It is said that doing this will keep a persons energy, or chi moving freely around the body. When chi is unbalanced, it can lead to pain or tension in the area where there is a build up. It is also used to stimulate blood flow and promote collagen production. A tool that serves for both wellness and vanity, it’s no wonder it has been welcomed with open arms into the skincare world.

Chinese medicinal tea with chinese writing in a book

Facial massage technique

As it may be tricky to squeeze in a full-body Chinese massage on a daily basis, we are left to learn how to use a gua sha on the face.

  1. Whether you use it in the mornings or evenings, the facial massage technique remains the same. The first step is to prep your base with an oil. You want the tool to slide across, so make sure the entire face is covered.
  2. Next, begin to soothe the skin with the rose quartz. Hold the tool flat under the eyes or any inflamed areas.
  3. Holding the curved side flat at your chin, move it outwards towards the ear with short strokes. Follow down the neck to drain puffiness.
  4. With the same facial massage technique, move the gua sha across the cheekbones.
  5. Hold the corner of the tool at the inner corner of your eye and sweep it along the eyebrow line towards the temple. Remember to be gentle with this area as the skin around the eyes is sensitive.
  6. Lastly, hold and press the gua sha upwards between the brows to release any tension.

What oil to use with a gua sha

As important as it is to actually know how to use the gua sha on the face, it’s equally important to use a facial oil to perfect your facial massage technique. When a gua sha is used on dry skin, you can end up over-scraping and over-stimulating your skin. This leads to inflammation and redness that hangs around. If you’re wondering what oil to use with a gua sha, it’s best to use four or five drops of a moisturising oil to allow the tool to be able to glide around the face without tugging or pulling. The vitamin and omega-rich Avocado, Evening Primrose and Macadamia in the ESPA Replenishing Treatment Oil nourish and soften the skin for a smooth, hydrated finish. The natural, calming scents will transport you into a spa, a perfect way to start your morning or end your evening. Warm the drops in your hands and press gently onto the face before using your facial massage technique.

Yes, this little tool will drain that morning swelling, however, the benefits of a gua sha go beyond this when implemented into a daily routine. Set your day with a peaceful tone, end it with relieved stress, and find your inner calm throughout by penciling in the spa-like ritual you deserve.

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Josie Wilkins

Josie Wilkins

Writer and expert

Josie is an Online Beauty Editor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Her passions involve all things skincare and beauty and in her free time she likes to travel, read and get her beauty sleep.