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This traditional face massaging technique has been taking the beauty world by storm

‘Gua sha’ has been around in traditional Chinese medicine, for more than just beauty purposes.

We’re always looking for new and inspiring ways to get creative with both our self-care and skincare routine and we kind of hit the jackpot with this one. 

Arguably, for many people, skincare falls under the same category as self-care, given that indulging in a skincare routine can be both meditative and beautifying. It’s nice to have nice skin, and it’s nice to pamper and treat yourself.

Yet whilst going to the spa is a great way to spend the day, and going for a facial is always an enticing option, oftentimes we’re lacking the hours in a day or the patience for the traffic to actually make it there. If only there was a way you could relax those facial muscles at home…

If you’re the type that likes to use their hands, and either a) love jade face rollers or b) love the idea of face rollers without the commitment, you need to start looking into gua sha face massage. Even if you don’t fancy face rollers at all, actually, gua sha offers a lot in terms of natural therapy for the face, and some even believe it to give them a better night’s sleep. Read on for more.

(Image credit: Herbivore Botanicals)

First things first: what is gua sha?

It may be a hot item in 2020, but gua sha actually has its roots in ancient traditional Chinese medicine. Roughly translated, gua sha means as much as pressing (gua) and redness (sha), referring to a deep form of facial massage. Granted, you won’t want to press so hard that your face turns red, but the meaning still holds true (and anyone who has ever engaged in a little facial exercise will know the light flush is a good thing).

Gua sha massage is designed to relax various facial muscles and get the blood flowing by boosting circulation. It is said to decrease puffiness and ease tension through lymphatic draining. The cooling stone, often jade, also offers a calming aspect to the whole experience, which many believe to be energising, too. The result? Firm, glowing, and healthy-looking skin. 

How do I practice gua sha?

Whilst we’re putting a spotlight on the face, gua sha can actually be used on the body or scalp too. The main thing is that you use the tool in combination with either water or oil. It’s different to the face roller because it takes more time, and is aimed to be a deeper massage experience, as the shape of the tool also allows for more versatility. The greater fuss and lesser rush make it an ideal self-care ritual.

According to Net-a-Porter’s guide, the steps are as follows: 

  1. Hold the gua sha massage tool with the curved side to your face and glide it gently up and out, starting with the neck, jawline, chin and around the mouth, between three and five times per area. Always take short strokes in just one direction, not back and forth.
  2. Press the tool flat to the skin, under the eyes or over any redness, to soothe and de-puff.
  3. Work the tool in small horizontal strokes over the brow bone to lift, or hold and press upwards between the brows to release tension.
  4. Stroke down the neck, never upwards, to drain fluid.
  5.  If you want to reduce puffiness, work lightly, then more firmly, to relax muscles

Where can I buy gua sha tools and oils? 

There are many gua sha tools on the market. Firstly, you’ll want to select a stone that suits you best. Going by Mount Lai‘s stone guide, jade is to balance, rose quartz is to soothe, amethyst is to calm, and black obsidian is to warm the skin. All a worthy option, whichever way you want to approach it, below, find the list of gua sha massage tools and oils to consider. 

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok

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Hayo’u is a popular choice for those embracing gua sha at the moment. This ‘beauty restorer’ is made from rose quartz which is said to retain heat and cold to aid in reducing inflammation and support cell renewal. It’s also gorgeous to look at, which makes for a lot of the fun, too.


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A more traditional colour, this jade Mount Lai gua sha massage tool was designed to address loss of firmness and elasticity in the skin. It’s great for anti-ageing as it claims to also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has a lifting effect, which is a great natural alternative to something chemical like, say, botox. 


Herbivore Botanicals is another one that has been promoting gua sha massage for a while now. This rose quartz tool aims to promote lymphatic drainage to improve the appearance and elasticity of the skin. Applied gently, it can help relieve tension as well as better absorb skincare products. 


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Can we take a moment to admire this beauty? Not just soothing to look at, this Mount Lai gua sha tool is made from calming amethyst, designed to smooth the skin and leave it radiant after use. Again, it also tackles those fine lines and wrinkles, and looks to make the skin more firm. 


We bet you weren’t expecting this shape. Designed by renowned celebrity facialist Angela Caglia, this set of rose quartz massage tools was created to roll around the eyes to help de-puff the area. Boosting circulation and improve elasticity for brighter skin, it’s ideal for those who wake up with puffy or tired eyes, and works even more wonders when you store them in the fridge a few hours before use. 



We love the journey behind this one. This potent Costa Brazil elixir features the brand’s exclusive Kaya Oil, which comes from the Amazon rainforest, and is known and loved for its antioxidant properties. The formula is light and absorbs very quickly, and boasts a blend of Tucuma, Brazil nut, and Pataua extracts. Very hydrating, and packed with Omegas and Vitamins. 



Our list wouldn’t be complete without Sunday Riley. Apply this one before bed as a soothing, sleeping night oil, combining retinol with German chamomile essential oils. It’s designed to prevent premature ageing, and reduce the visibility of fine lines, uneven texture, age spots, dryness, and dullness. Given that it is rich in blue azulene, any redness of the skin is also visibly balanced. How to sleep with peace of mind knowing that your skin is taken care of? This product right here. 




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Here’s one you can use on your body, too. The Hayo’u custom-blended body oil was designed to use together with their products, particularly for their own ‘De-Stress Method.’ The oil is enriched with frankincense and lotus flower to relieve stress, as well as sea buckthorn oil to soothe dehydrated or irritated skin. Head to toe relaxation.

Lisa Gries
Creative Content Director, Bangkok
Lisa loves to travel, and is always on the lookout for the world’s best nap spots. She’s a serious Asian art history nerd, and has a knack for languages and coffee table books. She hopes to publish her own novels one day, one of which will likely be called ‘All The Great Conversations I Had In A Bangkok Speakeasy.’ It’s a work in progress.