What is a Gua Sha Face Tool and how do I use it?

28th November 2018

Ugh, puffy and pallid, that’s how my skin feels this morning after an indulgence on more of last night’s salty and sugary Christmas party food and drink than a healthy carrot baton could wave its smug little finger at. But I’m not here to moan, I’ve got the ruddy answer, that’s what, in the form of a pink quartz stone that brings with it more magic for your skin, the sculpting of your face and your stress levels than its diminutive, unassuming shape would ever let on. Wanna know more?

This genius little face tool (one of a whole family of scraping tools) hails from the centuries’ old  Chinese medical treatment known as Gua Sha, which the ancient Chinese Ming Dynasty wrote into major medical records as early as 1368. The “scraping” technique brings up ‘sha’ or redness that stimulates blood flow and the lymphatic system. This redness, improved circulation and blood movement that is brought about by the scraping movements mean that whilst musculoskeletal aches and pains can be alleviated, the skin is also left plumped, depuffed and is more ready to heal itself. When your circulation works better, your whole body, organs included, work better. Whilst this treatment in fairly vigorous on the body in China, the facial version is a lot lighter but no less of a game-changer.

Which shape Gua Sha tool to use?

You may have seen a full plethora of jade or quartz rollers on the gram and all over the scene recently and yes, they are cooling and delicate for the face and do go some way to depuff skin. However, I much prefer the smaller curved ones above which are a lot more versatile and their effects a lot more impactful and apparent, in my view. The cool rose quartz stone and particularly the various angles, strokes and shapes that can be formed with it, from the curved flat side on most of the face and delicate areas and the jagged edge up the jawline really will give you a workout for those stiffened and often stress-worn 40+ facial muscles and 300+ facial pressure points as well as the facial meridian lines that relate to the rest of the body in your face. A combination of pointed moves, lymphatic drainage and the circulation-boosting scraping strokes of the tool will melt away signs of puffy skin, stressed, tensed-up muscles, reduce heart rate and increase skin elasticity, even skin-tone and plumpness offering a rapid improvement in freedom of facial movement which, in turn,  can prime your whole self for some relaxation and quality zzzzs.

Here’s how to use a Gua Sha face tool

If you’re brand new to gua sha or have particularly sensitive skin, go gently to start with and avoid any areas with any open sores or areas of acne.

Onto cleansed skin, add a spritz of hydrating mist such as Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator, then a drop of facial oil. I like to use Skinirvana delicate but you can use a drop of serum or moisturiser too, about the size of a 10p piece or just enough to provide enough slip for the tool to glide over the skin does rather than dragging or pulling it.

5  step routine – 2 minutes

Step 1
Let’s start on the neck as that’s we collect so much tension that connects to many parts of your face. Start by stroking the tool firmly down the back of the neck with the jagged edge, down the large muscle towards the shoulder 5+ times on both sides, and feel that sweet release! Then stroke downwards with light to medium pressure using the curved side from just under the earlobe down to the collarbone 5+times to get draining that toxic lymph fluid that can only get moved out manually. Next, stroke upwards from the Adam’s Apple in the centre of the neck to the chin 5+ times.

Step 2
Let’s move now to the jaw, cheek, nose and mouth. Apply light to medium pressure to the centre of the chin with the jagged edge and wiggle on the spot to stimulate the acupressure point. Then draw the tool up the jaw bone towards the earlobe 5+ times on each side. Apply light to medium pressure on the acupressure points at the opening of your mouth on both sides and wiggle! Draw the tool over the lips with the curved side, then above and below them. Apply light to medium pressure to the sides of the nose and wiggle the tool to activate the acupressure point, (this one is great for sinus congestion). Then, holding the skin by your nose still with your other hand, with the curved edge comb your cheeks from centre outwards to the hairline and wiggle once there! Carry the movement up the face, from the centre outwards to just under your the eye area. If you’ve got some cheek tension, use the jagged edge to work into the tension moving upwards 5+ times.

Step 3
The Eyes. 
Go lightly here! Lay the tool flat under the eye to cool puffiness for a few seconds on each eye, then draw the tool ever so lightly outwards from below your eye with the curved side towards your hairline and wiggle once there! Repeat 5+ times.

Step 4
Brows and forehead. Start with the space in between your eyebrows (3rd eye) where you’ve a large, often tense, muscle and apply medium pressure onto the muscle and rock the tool from brow to brow. From the third eye in the middle of your eyebrows scrape up to your hairline with the curved side and wiggle the stone once there. Push the curved side against the start of your brow to release it, you can then also pinch your brows upwards along the brow muscle you’ve just released moving, this one feels so good!
Then, with the curved side under your eyebrow, scrape up slowly and firmly and over the brow and up your forehead to your hairline, then wiggle! Lastly, start from the brow and draw outwards with the curved side to the hairline and you’ve guessed it, wiggle! This will all help address fine lines, gets skin exercised and out of its rut, skin is lazy if you let it loaf about! 

Step 5: Finally The Allover Sweep: We need to move all the lymph fluid you’ve moved to the side of the face and ensure it gets moved on by your lymphatic drainage system. Sweep from the centre of your forehead right under your hairline, down to your temple, down to your ear until you reach your neck area. Do several times for a clean sweep and repeat on the other side.

Cleaning your tool:
To keep your face tool clean just use with some hand wash, shampoo or body wash. If I’m using my heavenly Neom Organics or Bamford Jasmine body wash in the shower, I’ll wash my face tool in it too. Other more basic organic washes I like are Dr Bronner’s 
or Dr Organic’s manuka honey wash.

A final wee fact for those breastfeeding mums: Did you know some of my local mum clients have been finding there’s an extra benefit to the tool and are using it to help unclog blocked milk ducts – who knew?! Have a go it that’s a challenge for you at the moment, and let me know how you get on.

Where to buy a Gua Sha face tool

The Nourish Shed is selling rose quartz gua sha face tools in a hand-made gold leather purse, so you can protect all those handbag jostles on the commute. You can buy it in your appointment at the Shed, or online here




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