If you’ve been anywhere on social media lately, you’ve likely seen someone posting images of their gua sha or sharing their go-to gua sha routine. And if it's sparked your interest in the tool, you're not alone! The beauty ritual has gained massive popularity in Western cultures over the past couple of years, with influencers spreading knowledge of this tool across the globe.
But is gua sha really worth the hype? Below, we’re sharing everything you need to know about gua sha, from what it is to why it benefits your skin.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese practice that literally means “scraping” in Chinese. It is a health and beauty tool made from jade (or other semi-precious stones), metal, animal bone, or horn. These instruments are specially carved in a way that compliments the natural contours of your body and face, so the muscle scraping massage has optimum benefits.
Why Gua Sha?
Gua sha helps disperse toxins through increased circulation and aids the lymphatic and immune systems. As the body's blood is reabsorbed, it promotes an enzyme with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. This partly explains why gua sha has been used for centuries to treat a range of conditions from fever to chronic cough and migraines.
Most recently, the practice of gua sha has been adopted by skincare enthusiasts. When it comes to skincare, gua sha can help you deal with various issues such as scar tissue, lymph drainage, puffiness, and dark circles.
Here are some of the skincare benefits of using gua sha:
- Relieves tension
- Helps in lymphatic drainage
- Reduces puffiness
- Redirects energy
- Increases your sense of calmness
- Stimulates circulation
- Flushes out toxins
- Smooths fine lines
- Promotes skin elasticity
Types of Gua Sha Tools
The most common tool used for gua sha is the stunning jade stone, which has cooling and balancing properties. You can also find gua sha stones made from rose quartz, obsidian, and copper.
Another beautiful thing about the growing popularity of gua sha is that there are now various stones and quality materials to choose from. If there is a precious metal or stone that you feel more drawn to, there’s a chance that you can find a specially crafted gua sha made from it.
We’ve created our gua sha tools with 99.9% pure copper (with trace amounts of zinc and iron) to support overall skin health. Copper has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that coincide harmoniously with the gua sha ritual. So if your skincare goals include less collagen breakdown, fewer breakouts, less inflammation, fewer signs of premature aging, and increased firmness—then consider choosing copper as your go-to gua sha material.
How to Use Your Gua Sha
If you are new to the practice of gua sha, it is always best to start with the help of a professional or observe some YouTube videos on the technique. But be sure to learn from experts. (Most people you see on social media aren’t performing gua sha correctly!) This is a gentle technique, so always proceed with caution to not cause disruption to the face and neck.
The main idea behind gua sha is to apply the tool to your skin with firm but gentle pressure, making upward, outward, and downward motions. The massage should be attentive and relaxing, don’t move too quickly or apply too much pressure that you risk bruising.
You always want to perform gua sha on slightly slick skin—we recommend applying facial oil to help the gua sha slide seamlessly and smoothly along your face. (Friction is not your friend!) Using our Superfood Beauty Oil is an ideal option because it contains essential minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids that will improve and enhance your skin’s natural radiance. Bonus: The gua sha massage aids your skin’s absorption of the oils you apply.
Many people showcasing their gua sha routine on social media will hold the gua sha tool at a 90-degree angle on the skin. While this is okay for some movements, you generally want the gua sha tool to be at an acute angle to the skin, around 15 to 45 degrees. This is essential for proper lymphatic drainage and minimizing skin damage.
Basic Gua Sha Routine (Step by Step):
- Apply 4 to 5 drops of Superfood Beauty Oil (or as much oil as you need for slip) to your face and neck
- Hold the gua sha using your dominant hand
- Keep the gua sha at an almost flat angle to your skin (15 to 45 degrees)
- Using soft pressure, begin by working on the neck, then all the way up to the underside of your chin
- Motion the gua sha from the center of your face and move outwards
- Repeat each stroke 5 times on both sides of your face
- Be very gentle, especially around the eye area
- You can apply added pressure when working around the jawline
Here is a great video explaining the process. If you are new to gua sha or have doubts, it’s advisable to seek a professional’s help. We only recommend freestyling your routine if you’re comfortable with your learning experience.
What Oils Should You Use?
The oil you use when performing gua sha depends solely on you and your skin. For instance, if you need to moisturize your face, use an oil that promotes deeper hydration. Similarly, you can use an oil that targets specific skin concerns such as uneven skin tone, inflammation, anti-aging, and so on.
But it is vital that you use oil when performing gua sha (not a serum, not a moisturizer). A facial oil provides the slip you need for a facial massage and prevents the gua sha from tugging your skin. The Sacred Mama Organics Superfood Beauty Oil is perfect for your gua sha routine because it supports properly moisturized skin, is nutrient-rich, non-comedogenic, and is designed to work alongside gua sha tools.
If you have any questions regarding our Superfood Beauty Oil, our Copper Gua Sha tools, or would like to share your experiences with gua sha, please do so! We love hearing from our beauties. (updated July 11, 2022)