The second installment of this Skin Care Series features a practice that’s anything but new. Gua Sha is an ancient body healing technique derived from Chinese medicine that essentially uses pressure to release muscular tension around the face and neck. It’s a hot beauty topic because the results are typically a firmer, glowy face that many call “natural Botox.”
My cousin and I have been taking a deep dive into all things skin care over the course of the pandemic, exchanging texts about favorite serums, extraordinary moisturizers, tools and techniques (we share similar sensitive Irish skin so SPF is a whole separate conversation for us…) and she was shocked I didn’t have an established Gua Sha routine.
The process is simple: you take a specially-shaped jade (jade is the most common, though rose quartz is a close second) tool to gently massage the face in long, repetitive stokes performed in a systematic section-by-section sequence. There are a ton of how-to videos on YouTube; I like this one from Gothamista because it’s to the point and includes acupressure massage. Here are five things I love one month into my Gua Sha routine:
- It’s a Facelift Without The Surgery. Will you have the youthful glow of Gigi Hadad after one session? No. But the practice wildly improves circulation and releases tension while strengthening, lifting and toning, which means tighter skin without going under the knife.
- Goodbye, Tech Neck. “Oh look! Another Zoom meeting. Awesome.” Right now, we’re more digitally connected than ever, with our heads buried in our phone, our hands attached to the PC or laptop, or we’re sitting for yet again, another online meeting. Gua Sha helps reduce neck tension and chronic neck pain by alleviating the stress held in common pressure points.
- Radiance Restored. The “scraping” motion (that’s what they call it but it’s more of a gentle stroking) oxygenates skin cells and increases blood flow, resulting in sculpted, refreshed skin.
- About Face. Have you ever been in a yoga class where the teacher tells to relax your jaw and release your tongue from the roof of your mouth? I’m always shocked by how relaxed that makes me feel, right away — how I didn’t even realize I was holding tension in my face. Gua Sha is like yoga for your face.
- Cheaper Than Botox. You can find Gua Sha tools ranging from $10 on Amazon to around $30 at Ulta and Sephora. And no needles.
To be noticeably effective, Gua Sha should a regular practice. I’d love to do it in the morning but realistically, I find it easiest to do following my nightly skin care routine, right after applying REN Clean Skincare Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil
It’s fair to say there’s a lot of stress and anxiety right now as we wade through this pandemic, so any steps we can take to pause, exhale and and do a little something for ourselves that melts away tension is a win.
Happy Gua Sha-ing!