Gua sha – The Traditional Chinese facial technique that could help change your skin
If you’ve looked in to gua sha in the past, you will likely have been greeted with hardcore images of bruised backs and beetroot coloured skin, as the practice traditionally involves scrapping the back with rose quartz, jade or even cupping to drain excess fluid, treat chronic pain and improve circulation. But for those of us who aren’t quite ready to fully embrace this element of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has since evolved in to a simple holistic therapy that you can do for yourself in the comfort of your own home.
We’ve tried and tested our fair share of home remedies and unusual facial trends (throw back to when we physically zapped the dirt from pores), often to be presented with a bill that burnt a hole in our purses; however all you need here is a card-sized piece of quartz, or a even a roller, which costs the equivalent of lunch, and can be used time and again. Plus, turns out it’s pretty great for your skin.
How does it work?
Traditional gua sha treatments make use of a smooth-edged instrument, where then the practitioner applies massage oil to the skin and uses the tool to repeatedly scrape the skin in a downward motion; however, a gua sha facial uses this tool, or a jade roller, to swipe (or firmly roll) along the jawline, under and across the ccheekbonesand forehead to move lymphatic stagnation and release muscle tension.
The aim is to de-puff your face and encourage more blood flow throughout the skin as well as speed up cell regeneration and tissue repair. Bonus points: the movement tones muscles in your face, firms the skin and evokes a sense of ‘chi’ (and is pretty relaxing, too!).
What do you do?
So, how does one achieve such a radiant and glowing complexion?
- Start by prepping your skin and applying your favourite serum or oil to your face, patting in gently.
- Firmly grip your gua sha tool and start from your “third eye” scraping left and then right of your forehead before moving up towards your hairline.
- Move the tool towards your eye area and sweep both above and below both eyes and out towards the end of your eyebrow (as if you’re applying the perfect feline flick).
- Scrape the tool down either side of your nose, across your cheekbones (where you would contour) and along either side of your nostrils and out from the corner of your lips, before running the tool back and forth above them.
- Take the tool and scrape upwards and along your jaw lines, before ending with your neck, moving the quartz upwards towards your forehead.
- End with one big sweep, collecting and draining all the lymph that you’ve moved to the side of your face. Sweep from the centre of your forehead right under your hairline, down your temple, down to your ear until you reach your neck – repeat several times before continuing with your usual skincare routine.
Remember: Don’t use the same force that you would use when practicing gua sha on the body; your face is much more sensitive, so be gentle and use light pressure!
Not sure why to buy the tools? We’ve found them in various markets such as on: Cat Street (Upper Lascar Row Antique Street Market) in Sheung Wan, Jordan Jade Market, on the corner of Electric Road and Yacht Street in Tin Hau and even jade rollers at The Mandarin Oriental – but you’ll be able to buy them online at fairly reasonable prices, too.
This article originally ran on Sassy Hong Kong.