In the digital age, most turn to Instagram’s dermatologists – also known as influencers – for skincare advice. If this sounds like you, then you have probably seen them incorporate a crystal into their daily routine, claiming it gives the effect of a facelift in just one session. However, this tool is more than a millennial-pink marketing ploy. It is used for the Gua Sha massage; a technique rooted in ancient Chinese tradition.
Gua Sha involves scraping a tool over the skin to ease tension stored in tissue. Don’t let ‘scraping’ put you off, though – the tool is usually made of jade, rose quartz or amethyst, and has rounded edges to glide painlessly across the skin. Originally a treatment for the body, the gentler Gua Sha facial is now a much-loved part of celebrity skincare routines - Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle MacPherson and even Justin Bieber are said to be fans.
The technique increases circulation, decreases puffiness and promotes collagen production – the redness caused by the scraping triggers a repair response in the skin, leading to increased collagen levels and cell turnover. Known as the Eastern facelift, regular use has also been shown to lift the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and add more definition to the face. It can even be used to relieve headaches or tension in the neck, and to banish stubborn cellulite.
Given the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, there is no better time to practice an at-home facial. Here’s our guide to achieving a salon-quality facial while self-isolating:
First things first, apply a face oil or serum to ensure the tool can move freely and doesn’t irritate the skin. To soothe, lift and de-puff, start from the neck and work the tool’s curved side over the skin in downward strokes of varied pressure. Then move on to your face, beginning at the centre and moving upwards and outwards in short strokes. To release tension, glide the tool horizontally over the brow bone or between the brows. Remember to only go in one direction, not back and forth.
To use as a cellulite buster, firmly glide the tool over affected areas, again, in one direction only, to release tight connective tissue. Gua Sha is safe enough to be practiced daily although you must not press too hard or you could end up with broken capillaries.
Here are some of BAZAAR's favourite tools:
Image courtesy of Instagram/Herbivorebotanicals