You don’t need to be a skincare fanatic to know that the beauty industry has been hijacked by some really chic-looking tools. Just scroll through your Instagram feed and you are bound to come across at least one influencer using the Gua Sha or jade roller.
To say that these tools are new to the world of beauty would be wrong. They might be the latest obsession for almost everybody talking about skincare on social media, but they have been around for centuries. In fact, both the Gua Sha and jade roller have been a part of the ancient Chinese medicine system since time immemorial—except skincare wasn’t always what they were designed to be used for.
So why are these tools such a rage amongst skincare gurus—especially those who propagate clean beauty? Are they really worth the time and money? Are they all hype or are the results as phenomenal as everyone claims? Well, we’ve got the answers to all your burning questions. But first, let us dig deep to understand how these tools work.
Gua Sha works the muscles and boosts circulation
Scraping, bruising, and healing—these are the tenets of a Gua Sha massage. The bruising is superficial and is used to dispel stagnated Qi (or chi), which the Chinese believe to be the vital energy in the body.
“Gua Sha works by creating trauma on the skin, thereby forcing it to heal and remodel itself to become healthier. The pressure you feel during a Gua Sha massage also works to improve lymphatic circulation and drainage,” says Dr Kiran Sethi, a Delhi-based skin specialist and founder of Isya Aesthetics.
According to a 2007 study published in Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing, using Gua Sha boosts blood circulation in the smallest blood vessels of the body—thereby relieving muscle pain. This is exactly why this tool has been traditionally used for body massages so as to relieve joint and muscle pain.
But that doesn’t mean it has no benefits for your skin. A gentle Gua Sha massage—the keyword here being gentle—can boost collagen production and reduce puffiness by boosting circulation. And since this tool also works the muscles, it can help relieve tense facial muscles.
Jade rollers can help your products penetrate deeper into the skin
When it comes down to what jade rollers can do for your skin, it’s the blood circulation benefits of the tool that you can count on. “Jade rollers can help in boosting blood circulation a little, but they are more often used to improve deposition and absorption of actives deeper into the skin,” explains Dr Sethi.
Add to that the cooling nature of the jade stone, and you’ve also got a remedy for puffiness. That said, using this roller on your face won’t give you results that are any different from other types of face massages. So, a remarkably lifted skin that looks like a baby’s bottom isn’t what you should expect when you roll this jade beauty all over your face.
You NEED to know how to use Gua Sha and jade rollers the right way
Now you might be tempted to buy a Gua Sha or jade roller and get massaging ASAP, but the truth is if you don’t know how to use them properly, you’re not going to see results. Choosing the right tool for yourself is important, but so is nailing the technique.
“Choose Gua Sha for lymphatic drainage,” says Dr Sethi. “You need to use it a few times a week in sweeping motions across the lymphatic drainage pathways to see results,” she adds.
But that’s not all you need to keep in mind while using a Gua Sha. Aggressively pulling and pushing your skin with this tool is going to do you more harm than good. You also need to lubricate your skin with an oil that suits you before you get going.
Since jade rollers help with better absorption of products, it goes without saying that you need to use one underneath. “Use the roller in short strokes gently on top of your serum or oil,” suggests Dr Sethi.
“However, don’t use it too often after applying actives like (AHAs and retinoids) as that can cause irritation and even rosacea. Actives aren’t designed to penetrate too deep into the skin, so when you try to force them in, you are bound to see flare-ups,” she explains.
So, should you invest in a Gua Sha or jade roller?
Simple answer: there is absolutely no harm in buying one. If you are committed to learning the right technique, these tools can help you massage your face really well—so much so that you can bid adieu to puffiness and embrace luminous skin. However, if you are after a chiselled jawline and sculpted face—and think tools like Gua Sha can help you get there—then you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. These tools are only good for lymphatic drainage and blood circulation, stresses Dr Sethi. The altered face shape that people boast of upon usage is just because of how well these tools work against puffiness. Nothing more, nothing less. However, if you are after a facelift and other major anti-ageing benefits—the rumours of which social media is rife with—then you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. A good facial massage can do wonders for your skin—and using a Gua Sha or jade roller will do them, too. Nothing more, nothing less.
Guide to buying Gua Sha and jade rollers
When it comes to buying a Gua Sha or jade roller, the options are endless. From dual-headed jade rollers that are actually made of rose quartz to real jade Gua Sha, there exists a wide variety of products—choosing from which can leave you dazed and confused.
While jade and rose quartz are both popular choices for Gua Sha and face rollers, both stones work equally well, when it comes to depuffing the face and boosting blood circulation. While in ancient China, jade was used to craft these tools—the only advantage that rose quartz has over the traditional green gemstone is its durability. Rose quartz is harder than jade, which makes it less prone to breakage and wear and tear.
While buying one of these face tools, choose an authentic stone. Whether you buy a Gua Sha or face roller, in rose quartz or jade, you need to pick a product with a high-quality stone that is NOT porous. A stone that is porous will absorb the oils and serums you use for the face massage instead of pushing them around, making your beauty tool a hotspot for bacteria.
Be very wary of chemically-treated stones that might have been dyed to look pure and authentic. After all, you don’t want a bunch of toxic nasties running around on your face, triggering blemishes instead of giving you glowing skin.
Want to invest in these beauty tools? Here are our recommendations:
1. Dromen & Co Rose Quartz Gua Sha Stone, Rs 1,999
This one is crafted from real rose quartz and feels cool on the skin.
2. House of Beauty Jade Gua Sha, Rs 1,700
An alternative to Gua Sha stones made from rose quartz, this one is crafted from jade stone—which is said to have balancing energy.
3. Ras Luxury Oils Jade Facial Roller, Rs 2,500
This double-faced facial roller is made from real jade, and is great for boosting microcirculation.
4. Le Marbelle Rose Quartz Vibrating Roller Face Massager, Rs 2,999
Made with pure rose quartz, this one also vibrates to add to your experience
Note: All products are available on Nykaa and Amazon