Experts share how to choose the right one


If you’ve browsed TikTok skincare, you’ve almost certainly come across someone doing gua sha – a beauty treatment using the old but buzzing facial sculpting tool that has taken social media by storm. If you want to try it out for yourself, knowing the best practices is important – and that includes having the right face oil for gua sha massage.

“Gua sha involves using stones in the shape of a half moon to massage the face in a specific pattern that stimulates circulation and promotes lymphatic drainage,” said Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD, certified dermatologist at La Jolla Dermatology, at Bustle. And while it may seem like a modern fad due to its growing popularity on social media (#guasha currently has over 770 million views on TikTok, FWIW), it’s actually rooted in centuries-old traditions. “Gua sha is a simulation technique formalized by Chinese medicine and practiced by professionals, transmitted as a therapeutic means in Chinese households,” explains Ada Ooi, celebrity facialist, expert in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and founder of 001 Skincare, adding that contemporary gua sha tools have been adapted from those used in ancient Chinese medicine practices and specially designed to treat the various contours of your face.

To use these tools properly, keep scrolling through expert info on gua sha.

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Gua Sha benefits for the face

When you slide your gua sha stone against your skin, it helps improve circulation and promote lymphatic flow to reduce puffiness, says certified dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical dermatology research at Mount Sinai. . New York Hospital. Shirazi echoes this and highlights the main benefits of the technique of reducing inflammation and relieving facial tension.

Many people also find that making gua sha helps sculpt their face and define the jawline, adds Shirazi. “This is usually due to improved lymphatic drainage,” she explains, adding that the face “swells” overnight because fluid collects in the face and around the eyes when you lie down. “After a series of gua sha, your cheekbones appear more sculpted as excess fluid is injected into the body’s natural detoxification. [process],” she says.

Using face oil during Gua Sha

One of the most important parts of your gua sha treatment is your face oil. “When you massage the skin, you want to make sure that you are using a topical treatment that reduces friction,” says Dr. Michelle Henry, MD, a certified dermatologist in New York City. Famous esthetician Mimi Luzon agrees, pointing out that using a facial oil before massaging allows the gua sha to glide easily, which prevents unintentional pulling or tugging on the skin.

“It’s important to have something that provides enough slip so that you can really move the [tool] along the contours of the face, ”says Shiri Sarfati, Miami-based beauty expert and licensed esthetician. For work, oils tend to work better than serums, she explains, adding that serums just aren’t “slippery” enough. And if you’re naturally oily or acne-prone and hesitate to spray your face with oil, don’t worry: Sarfati and Henry say non-comedogenic oils should be fine for your skin, which includes formulas. which use grape seed oil, sunflower oil, hemp seed oil and sweet almond oil.

How to properly use Gua Sha

Once you’ve got your topical oil and thoroughly cleansed your skin before applying it, it’s time to massage the skin. Zeichner suggests an “out and down” application as opposed to upward movements. “The goal is to remove excess fluid from the skin,” he tells Bustle. “So you want to use the tool in the direction in which the lymph fluid normally flows. “

And remember: while the intention may be to promote drainage, there is no need to exert excessive force on the skin – light pressure will do. “Heavy strokes can lead to bruising, irritation and broken capillaries,” Shirazi warns. Simply slide the gua sha in light, feather-like movements and work towards the sides of the face, and you are good to go.

Buy face oils for Gua Sha

For a luminous finish

Shirazi suggests Mario Badescu’s Nourishing Rosehip Oil, which leaves skin hydrated and nourished without a greasy sequel. Plus, rosehip oil has a myriad of benefits, ranging from brightening your skin tone to fading hyperpigmentation.

For a calmed complexion

Zeichner suggests pairing this vitamin-rich product with your gua sha facial treatment, as it is formulated with antioxidant-rich camellia oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, omega 3s , 6 and 9 and more. Together, the nutrients help soothe the skin and leave it looking healthy and glowing.

For skin protection

Klur’s powerful antioxidant blend of super hydrating squalene, Coq10, and vitamins C and E work together to protect and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier so it feels pleasurable and supported for your sculpting treatment.

For a boost

Henry suggests Byroe’s pear serum oil for facial massage, highlighting its list of powerful ingredients like vitamin C and red algae – the latter protects the skin while attracting moisture. “It is full of antioxidants which are very useful in building [an] shield the environment and reduce the risk of collagen breakdown, ”she told Bustle.

To Plump

The combo of this oil of vitamin C, gold (real), grapeseed oil, and omega fatty acids from argan oil all help promote rapid absorption of the oil from Grapeseed in the formula for more even, smoother skin.

For sensitive skin

Shirazi recommends Drunk Elephant Marula Oil, which moisturizes and protects the skin. Rich in antioxidants such as tocopherol (vitamin E) and omega fatty acids, this oil is also suitable for all skin types, including super sensitive ones.

Referenced studies:

Nielsen, A., Knoblauch, NT, Dobos, GJ, Michalsen, A., & Kaptchuk, TJ (2007). The effect of Gua Sha treatment on surface tissue microcirculation: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Explorer (New York, NY), 3(5), 456-466.

Yang, M., Zhang, H., Yue, R., Shi, Q., & Bian, Y. (2018). Gua Sha attenuates thermal hyperalgesia and decreases the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in serum in rats with lumbar disc herniation induced by autologous nucleus pulposus. Traditional Chinese Medicine Journal = Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan, 38(5), 698-704.

Yuan, QL, Guo, TM, Liu, L., Sun, F. and Zhang, YG (2015). Traditional Chinese medicine for neck pain and low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS a, ten(2), e0117146.


Ada Ooi, famous facialist, expert in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

Dr Azadeh Shirazi, MD, certified dermatologist

Dr Joshua Zeichner, MD, Certified Dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Dermatology Research at Mount Sinai Hospital

Dr Michelle Henry, MD, Certified Dermatologist

Celebrity esthetician Mimi Luzon

Shiri Sarfati, qualified beautician

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