What is a Gua Sha Facial?

What is a Gua Sha facial, what are the benefits, and what does it do? Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese practise that involves scraping the skin with a tool. A Gua Sha facial is a gentle but effective therapy that can be used to improve skin tone, boost radiance and reduce puffiness.
gua sha


Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with over 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness.

A qualified Wellness Coach and Nutritional Therapist, Natalie is passionate about helping women to live a healthier, happier, non-toxic life as naturally as possible.

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One of the most popular self-care and skincare techniques of the moment is Gua Sha. But what is a Gua Sha facial, what are the benefits, and what does it do?

Self-care is the latest buzzword in health and beauty to promote well-being. So it’s not surprising that we’re turning back to ancient rituals and therapies.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese practise that involves scraping the skin with a tool. This aims to improve blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage. (The body’s natural waste disposal unit –  to expel toxins.)

Traditionally, Gua Sha was performed on and by family members, with a variety of tools from jade stones and antlers to porcelain soup spoons. The scraping tended to be quite vigorous – and not very relaxing – often leaving the skin red and sore. But it was believed that by stimulating the skin’s surface in this way, healing was encouraged.

Gua Sha Benefits for Face

Gua Sha is a gentle but still very effective therapy that can be used to improve skin tone, boost radiance and reduce puffiness. Jade or rose quartz stones can be practised on the face or body, and I’ve been road-testing both tools. In fact, I’ve found the facial tool to be a simple and beneficial way to give myself a DIY home facial. 

What Gua Sha Tools to use

What Tool to Use

Gua Sha massage tools are usually made from rose quartz, known for its healing properties, or jade. You can use either on your face, as these tools are designed not to cause broken veins and capillaries.

The stainless steel tool above is for the body, as muscles in the quads and back are a lot bigger and need a stronger tool to break down knots and cellulite. More importantly, I find the stainless steel tool has reduced my cellulite on my thighs quite considerably!

Finally, the smaller tool is for around the eye area, as this is where the skin is most sensitive, but it’s an area that most people carry extra fluid and fine lines.

The comb at the end is for the scalp, this tool is great for stimulating the scalp to promote new hair growth, and it also feels so relaxing too. These tools are all from The Hay’ou Method.

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Why Jade Stone

In Feng Shui,  jade is used to encourage prosperity and abundance, and as the ultimate lucky charm. I’m hoping that by giving myself a Gua Sha facial regularly, I’ll be attracting both of those into my life – I will let you know! Jade also has a reputation for being the stone of “eternal youth, making it perfect for a facial.

gua sha facial map

The Benefits of a Gua Sha Facial

Any type of facial massage will benefit the skin. Gua sha benefits for the face include increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface, helping to promote a healthier, more glowing complexion.

Devotees of Gua Sha facials also believe that using tools increases the benefits of facial massage. Studies have shown that this daily massage ritual can improve microcirculation by up to 400 per cent, helping to reduce dark circles and puffy eyes and even decongest sinuses.

How Often

Regular use can also help to smooth fine lines and soften wrinkles and plump-up skin (this might be the result of collagen production.) The movement also helps to eliminate toxins and blocked energy or ‘chi’ that can cause pain and inflammation if allowed to build up.

Once a week is enough to see the benefits! Then, if you wanted to do more I would concentrate on another body part, as you don’t want to cause bruising or broken capillaries.

what is a gua sha facial

Gua Sha benefits for face

Using a gua sha stone is also deeply relaxing and meditative, mainly as a result of working on the Third Eye Chakra ( known as Ajna in Sanskrit.) This is located in the centre of the forehead between the eyebrows.

The Third Eye is linked with enlightenment, spirituality, and intuition. This is why stimulating it with yoga or massage is thought to aid relaxation and deepen meditation.  

Watch this Video for a Step by Step Gua Sha Facial

My Step-by-Step Gua Sha Facial

Before I started the facial massage, I misted my face with mineral water. You can also use your favourite floral water.

Next, I applied a little face oil. You can use any facial oil that helps reduce friction and increase glide. I used Hayo’u Beauty Oil, £33, which contains a combination of nourishing oils including camellia and palmarosa. It’s the perfect consistency to use with the jade tool, allowing it to move over the skin easily but without being too oily or greasy. 

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I used the award-winning Jade Gua Sha Tool, which scooped the Beauty Shortlist Editor’s Choice Award 2019. 

To begin, I used the flat side of the tool, held at a slight angle to my face, scraping various areas of your face and neck in the directions shown in the image below. Repeat about 5 – 8 times. Always use the flat side of the stone and avoid using the edge of the stone as this can create too much pressure and may cause broken veins and capillaries.

When you are ‘massaging’ around the eye area, use a lighter pressure as skin is more delicate here.

To reduce under-eye puffiness, hold the stone under each eye, pressing gently for a few seconds.  

The Gua Sha Facial is suitable for most skin types but should be avoided if you have had Botox, facial surgery, a history of blood clots (thrombosis), or any severe facial bruising such as a black eye.  

Gua Sha Facial Before and After

I have to say that I am really impressed with the Gua Sha facial Tool. I always see an immediate difference and think gua sha benefits for the face are really noticeable. Most importantly, I really look forward to my sessions which I find very relaxing.  It gives me time for myself whilst benefiting my skin. A double-whammy!

Normally, I do my Gua Sha facial in the evening, as it does cause some redness and flushing of my skin. However, the next morning my skin definitely looks more radiant and glowing. I have definitely noticed my fine lines have diminished, and I feel my face looks plumper too. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is in my lips. Rubbing the stone over my lips has, without a doubt, made them plumper – who needs collagen!

Don’t forget about the body tool – I absolutely love it and think it’s better than a foam roller for getting out knots. And it definitely reduces cellulite – hurrah!

Gua Sha body tool reduces cellulite and knots

Have you tried a Gua Sha Tool or you’re going to try one? Let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear your experiences of a Gua Sha Facial!

Natalie Shirlaw is passionate about healthy living and writes posts about wellbeing. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to pin it or share it!

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