Do you love getting facials? Or are you more of a homebody who prefers pampering yourself from the comfort of your own home? Either way – facials are one of the most relaxing and soothing experiences in the world. But have you heard about a growing trend that’s taking facials to the next level? It’s the ancient Chinese practice of gua sha, or scraping; it can expertly chisel out cheekbones you didn’t even know you had and even de-puff those pesky eye bags.
But how is gua sha so beneficial? Keep reading for the Blunt take on this timeless practice resurging from the past, along with how to use some of the best gua sha techniques in skincare:
What Is Gua Sha And Where Did It Originate From?
Before we dive into the best gua sha techniques to try, let’s cover what gua sha is and how it began. Dating back to the Stone Age, gua sha is one of the oldest forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves using a flat, smooth, precious stone (such as jade, opalite, or rose quartz) to gently scrape and massage the skin in places like under the eyes, forehead, cheeks, and neck.
Massage therapy (AKA gua sha) made its way to the USA in the 19th century. In 1887, Dr. Thomas Stretch Dowse (MD) said, “Some physicians suggest that stress may be responsible for 75% of all disease in the Western world, including psoriasis and eczema, high blood pressure, backache, poor eyesight, and depression…the solution is to use massage therapy.”
Skin Benefits of Using Gua Sha Techniques
Pictured: The Skin Benefits of Gua Sha | Source: BeeWaxed
While other forms of facial massage (like jade rollers) can be beneficial, a gua sha provides noticeable and long-lasting results. Using the gua sha stone, with the right pressure and at the right angles, helps to contour and sculpt your face, rather than just depuffing it. Basically, the gua sha stone can penetrate deeper into your skin, resulting in visible benefits.
By using the best gua sha techniques (more on this below), here’s what skin-related benefits you may notice:
- Better functioning of your skin from the inside out
- Lymphatic drainage that reduces puffiness in your face and neck
- More blood flow and better circulation for a glowing complexion
- Clear skin that's free from harmful toxins
- A smooth, toned complexion with less visible fine lines and wrinkles
- An enhancement of your skincare’s absorption (which boosts your products’ effectiveness)
What You Need To Know Before Starting Gua Sha
Before we jump into the best gua sha techniques, there are a few things you need to know first:
- If you take blood thinner medication, using a gua sha isn’t recommended
- Likewise, skip gua sha if you have sunburns, open wounds, rashes, or irritated skin
- If pregnant, check with your healthcare provider first and avoid scraping your abdomen
- Use light pressure on the areas where your skin is thinner, like under your eyes
- Always apply a facial oil first when doing gua sha – like our ultra-nourishing Seed Face Oil, Isolate Face Oil, or Moonrock Facial Oil; this makes the massage more comfortable, while also preventing bruising, tearing, and pulling
Best Gua Sha Techniques to Try at Home
Now that you know everything gua sha-related, let’s chat about how to perform gua sha on yourself in the comfort of your own home. Here’s a quick guide to the best gua sha techniques for different areas of your face (don’t forget to cleanse and apply your fave Blunt oil first!):
- For your neck, stroke gently upward to your jawline with the wide side of your gua sha tool. This can tone and lift, while also improving blood circulation and draining fluid. Try doing this step twice with medium pressure before moving on.
- For your jawline, begin at the middle of your chin, moving the curved side of your gua sha along your jaw until you reach your ear. This technique can lift and firm your skin, but make sure to only pull in one direction, not back and forth.
- For your eyes, begin just below the inner corner of your right eye. Gently sweep the narrow side of your gua sha under your eye and towards your hairline until you reach your ear. Repeat on the opposite side for balanced results.
- For your forehead, start at the top of your right eyebrow, moving the wide edge of your gua sha tool upward until you reach your hairline. You can repeat this motion starting from both the middle of your eyebrows and above your left eye.
- For your cheeks, place the wide, flat edge of your tool to the right of your mouth. Drag it upwards, moving past your cheekbone but stopping before you reach your ear. We recommend repeating this on the opposite side of your face, too.
BLUNT SKINCARE PROTIP: Don’t forget to wash your gua sha tool after each use. Simply spitz the stone with rubbing alcohol or if you don’t have alcohol on hand, you can use your favorite cleanser to rinse it.
Check Out Blunt’s Dope New Rolling Stone Gua Sha Tool to Look Ultra-Toned 24/7
While gua sha has a rich history, it’s still being used today by people all around the world as an integral part of achieving and maintaining good skin health and vitality. If you haven’t added this secret skin weapon to your beauty arsenal yet (or if you want to upgrade your previous tool) then we have good news: We just launched our ultra-lightweight, super smooth Rolling Stone Gua Sha Tool; it’s perfectly crafted to fit in your hand and it’s made of opalite crystal.
To grab one of our game-changing Rolling Stone Gua Sha Tools, click here. And before you go, tell us – which of the best gua sha techniques we listed above are you trying first?
- Maximilian Braun, Miriam Schwickert, Arya Nielsen, Stefan Brunnhuber, Gustav Dobos, Frauke Musial, Rainer Lüdtke, Andreas Michalsen, Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese “Gua Sha” Therapy in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Pain Medicine, Volume 12, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 362–369, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01053.x
- Marion T Cao K Roman J. Gua Sha, or Coining Therapy. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(7):788. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.0615
- Nielsen A, Knoblauch NT, Dobos GJ, Michalsen A, Kaptchuk TJ. The effect of Gua Sha treatment on the microcirculation of surface tissue: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Explore (NY). 2007 Sep-Oct;3(5):456-66. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2007.06.001. PMID: 17905355.
- Chu ECP, Wong AYL, Sim P, Krüger F. Exploring scraping therapy: Contemporary views on an ancient healing - A review. J Family Med Prim Care. 2021 Aug;10(8):2757-2762. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_360_21. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34660401; PMCID: PMC8483130