What is Gua Sha?
While we use the term Gua Sha to refer to the face tool taking skincare and self-care by storm, the term itself refers to the healing technique from ancient times. The practice does not focus on the specific tool, as many tools have been used over time, such as a spoon, or even knuckles.
The Gua Sha tool is also called a scraper, though when used for skincare or the face, the motion is less of scraping and more of a gliding technique. The practice itself is aimed at soothing the skin from a series of ailments—specifically built-up stagnant fluid. The motion of the Gua Sha aims at flushing out lymphatic fluid and is said to produce numerous benefits in the process. This flushing out of the skin produces a redness that encourages the body to repair itself and produce collagen. This process can reduce both inflammation and puffiness in the glided areas, smooth out wrinkles, and reduce dark circles when done under the eyes. While Gua Sha is typically thought of as geared towards the face, it can be useful on the scalp and other parts of your body as well.
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Benefits of buying a Gua Sha Tool
When buying one of these tools, there are several factors to keep in mind. First, the shape of the tool matters. Different shapes are produced, aimed at matching and contouring different areas of the face as well as different face shapes. Your tool should curve with your face to ensure the best results. The texture of the Gua Sha tool should also be smooth so it is soothing as it goes over your skin and should be easy to hold when gliding. This will allow you to keep the best grip on the tool when using it as well as apply the correct amount of pressure comfortably during each session.
The material of the tool also matters. Some materials offer specific benefits, though a special material is not necessary to begin the practice. Gua Sha tools are crafted from both natural and synthetic materials, from stones and crystals to plastic. The choice is up to the user and what they desire to get out of the tool. Some prefer a material that offers a cooling effect since the friction of the gliding can cause heat, while others will seek out a material rich in antioxidants, or even a specific crystal could be their desire. In the end, that choice is yours.
Products to consider: Black Obsidian Gua Sha Tool
How to Use a Gua Sha Tool
While everyone’s routine will be different, some key elements remain the same and should be considered when beginning Gua Sha. Be gentle with the pressure that you apply, only increasing when your body becomes more accustomed to the practice. Use even strokes across your skin and stay consistent with the direction you are gliding. When you first start out, try using Gua Sha once a week to acclimate your body. Increase the frequency when you become familiar with the technique and how your body reacts to it. For dedicated users, the goal should be a daily practice of Gua Sha.
To begin the actual gliding, be sure to apply water or oil to your skin before the first stroke. Start from your chin and work your way up your face to the top—use the curved side of the tool for this. The flat side is aimed at reducing puffiness and soothing redness. Be gentle when gliding across your face and firmer where you are trying to combat any puffiness. Be sure to avoid broken skin and acne when performing Gua Sha. And when using the tool on your neck, be sure to glide downward.
Should You Be Using Gua Sha?
While the practice holds ancient origins, Gua Sha is only recently gaining popularity for widespread use. Many attest to its numerous benefits and healing qualities. Consider adding this healing practice to your skincare routine.
Written by Siobhan Quinn
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk