As more holistic, Eastern approaches to health and beauty gain evermore popularity around the world, it should come as no surprise that gua sha, a massage technique used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and in other East Asian healing therapies, has now entered the skincare spotlight.
What is gua sha?
The low-tech treatment involves sweeping a carved and polished stone across skin, which encourages lymphatic drainage and increases blood flow. And the effect is powerfully anti-inflammatory; research has shown that in body treatments, it helps with everything from migraines to back pain. The gua sha facial, while much gentler than the body treatments, has nonetheless impressive results—it depuffs, firms, clears congested pores, and leaves skin all-around more radiant. Best of all: it’s rather easy to do yourself. Below, watch a video tutorial from L.A.-based shamanic facialist (and gua sha pro) Julie Civiello Polier, and read on for a step-by-step breakdown.
The complete gua sha facial tutorial
Since dead skin cells block nourishing ingredients in the mist and oil from penetrating, make sure you’ve recently exfoliated using the Resurfacing Moisture Mask (we recommend using it once or twice a week). Next, generously spritz your skin with the Renew Nutrient Mist—it will help your oil sink in more deeply (and therefore work better). Finally, generously massage a few drops of the Pure Radiance Oil of your choice onto your face, neck, and collarbone.
Perform each move a minimum of three times (maximum of ten times) and then repeat on the other side of your face and neck.
- Sweep up the midline of your forehead and then glide across your forehead. Holding the smooth side of the tool at a 15-degree angle to your skin, gently glide from the center of your forehead out, wiggling once you get the hairline (this maximizes lymphatic drainage).
- Glide very gently under your eyes, (add more oil if you feel you’re pulling the skin too much). Begin at your temple and glide toward your nose to drain puffy eyes. Glide from nose and out to temple and up to hair line to lift the eyes and brows.
- Glide over your cheekbones. Move from the side of your nose toward the top of your ear.
- Sweep under your cheekbones. Start at bottom of your nostril and go up and under your cheekbone toward your ear.
- Glide over your jaw bone. Start at the midline of your chin and sweep along your jaw to direct that tension towards your ear lobe.
- Hug underneath your jawline. Turn the gua sha so the grooves fit into your jawline and sweep outward to just below your earlobe.
- Sweep down your neck. Move from the top of your neck to just above your chest.
- Sweep underneath your clavicle. Go outward toward your shoulders.