I’m going to be totally honest with you… I didn’t understand gua sha AT ALL at first. All my most holistic, woo-woo friends were preachin’ on it non-stop, but to me, it sooort of looked like a funky jade crystal you’d place on a bar cart for a pop of unique decor. I bought it and just let it sit near my sink because I was somehow intimidated by a jade-colored stone. When I came across a gua sha stone on my favorite natural skincare website, though, I bought it on a whim and figured I’d at least give it a go. After getting the hang of it, I was hooked and now I want to share my step-by-step guide to gua sha that will simplify the whole process for you!
What is gua sha?
In essence, I knew what gua sha was. It’s a facial massage technique using a curvy and grooved stone that helps eliminate puffiness and drain your lymphatic system. But… I’d see people sharing all sorts of different methods and techniques online that made it feel too complicated and time-consuming to figure out.
I needed to watch a few tutorials before I got into it and felt like I was doing it right… and then I promptly became obsessed.
I literally do gua sha twice a day, when I wake up and before I go to bed. Not only does it help me wake up more slowly and mindfully, but it also helps me to just take a minute for myself before diving into life. It certainly helps with swelling and puff, too, but it’s also just a relaxing, calming, spa-like ritual that you can experience at home in under 5 minutes.
Primally Pure has also said how amazing it is for discoloration or pigmentation (both of which I have from pregnancy) and to simply stimulate your skin and get the fluid moving. It feels like a gentle massage on my face and neck, and I usually just put a few drops of serum on my face and then go for it!
My go-to method for gua sha
Like I said, there are tons and tons of tutorials and guides out there for how to do gua sha. So much so, that it can become a tad overwhelming as you’re just getting started. I like to keep it super simple, because #momlife and because I truly, truly believe our self-care routines can be a daily reflex when we keep them bare bones.
Before I share my simple routine, first let’s talk about the actual gua sha tool itself! It has 3 different sections you can use in various ways:
1. The smooth long edge—good to use on larger, smoother parts of the face and neck (cheeks, forehead, and throat).
2. The toothy edge—great to use on areas with fine lines and discoloration.
3. The divet edge—for hugging bony parts, like the jawbone, spine, and brow bone.
How I do gua sha!
To prep: At night, I remove my makeup and wash my face with this natural cleansing oil. Then, I apply some serum, gently patting it into my skin to hydrate and lock in nutrients and moisture. (In the mornings, I usually skip cleansing my face and apply a few drops of serum unless I workout first thing!)
To pull: Using one hand and suuuper light pressure, start on the back of your neck and pull the gua sha stone upward from the base of your neck to your hairline. Work your way around from the back of your neck to the front, working from collarbone to jawbone. I recommend using the divet edge on your spine and the smooth long edge on the rest of your neck.
To continue: After your neck, start on the left side of your face working from your jawline, to your chin, to your cheek, to your under-eye, to your brow bone. Work in upward, outward, light, sweeping motions, going over each area 3-4 times. Repeat on the right side.
To finish: Using the smooth long edge, start from the middle of your forehead and sweep down the left side of your face: from your forehead to your cheek to your jaw and down your neck to your collarbone in one motion, 3-4 times. Repeat on the right side. This helps to drain any excess lymphatic liquid from your face/neck.
How to perfect your gua sha technique
So… pretty simple, right?! Just keep in mind these little tips as you gua sha for the best results!
01. Light pressure, always! You don’t want to pull or push to hard, be gentle on your skin. Use light pressure, especially on the delicate areas (around your eyes!) And hold it at a 15-degree angle from your skin (about a finger’s width).
02. Put both hands to work. As you’re pulling the stone with one hand, use your other hand to gently support your skin. You can pull your skin slightly taut with one hand while the other hand is holding the stone and applying pressure. Press lightly on the skin at the starting place of each gua sha movement to hold it secure.
03. Play with those edges! While there are recommended ways to use them, follow your intuition and what feels good. Like the toothy edge on your jawbone or the divet edge on your forehead? Go for it! It’s more important to use the right pressure and be consistent with your gua sha practice.
04. Stay away from trouble spots. No need to hit any spots that are giving ya problems. Avoid pulling over any active acne breakouts or serious irritation—it could irritate them further. Just sweep around any problem areas, no biggie.
05. Keep it clean. As with all your facial tools, you want to keep it clean! Clean your gua sha with warm and soapy water and dry with a cotton towel after each use to remove any bacteria. It only takes a few seconds but can make a big impact!
06. Give it a wiggle. After each and every sweeping motion, give the stone a small wiggle to really release and move out any lymph fluid. This helps your body drain the extra fluid and helps prompt it on its journey!
07. Keep it consistent! I notice the best results (aka: smooth, clear, de-puffed, and calm skin) when I commit to gua sha-ing on a regular basis. Plus, when you get into the routine of it, it really does feel like a treat at the beginning and end of each day!