- Gua sha originates from China and literally means “scraping”
- It helps enhance circulation and eliminate toxins from your face for that extra glow
- Using a hand-held gua sha tool, scrape in gentle yet firm short strokes, 3-5 times per area, check out my video tutorial below too~
Hopefully you’ve already read about my love for face massages. Here, I’ll cover details of the at-home face massage I do almost every day. My massage tool of choice is the gua sha.
Gua sha originates from China and literally means “scraping.” The essence of a gua sha face massage is to scrape the entirety of your face, using a small hand-held tool with a smooth edge. In China, it’s used on the entire body and sometimes people scrape until it causes mild bruising.
In Seoul, where I learned this technique, it’s focused on your face and the scraping motions are firm but still gentle enough that you wouldn’t expect bruising. Did you know one of the best compliments a woman can receive in Seoul is, “wow, your face is so small?” Weird but true. Women in Seoul are obsessed with having a small v-line face (meaning, your jaw line is svelte and has a v-line shape). It is believed that a proper gua sha massage can help you achieve that.
A gua sha massage is supposed to help enhance circulation and eliminate toxins from your face. By scraping your face with repeated strokes, the gua sha helps stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Try it – you’ll immediately see that your face looks more radiant. Especially, if you work your cheek bones, it’ll look like you found the perfect shade of blush.
In terms of what to look for in a gua sha tool, focus on the shape that’s easiest for you to use. They make it in all sorts of fancy materials these days but it’s the motion and technique that matter, not the material. The one that I use is super simple. I got it from my mom who always has a ton on hand, so honestly, I’m not even sure what it’s made of.
Before you begin, make sure you have an ample layer of silky serum or face oil on your face. The last thing you want is to have the gua sha tool cause friction and unnecessary tugging. Also, it’s great to have all of your skincare products on since the gua sha will help enhance absorption. I do it as part of my nighttime ritual – after my face oil step. Also, great if you can keep your gua sha tool in a cosmetics fridge. The cooling sensation will feel amazing.
The technique is simple. Hold the gua sha with the curved side to your face at a slight angle and glide it in and out, and (generally) down and up. Many ways to do this, but I start with the upper part of my face and move down, ending at the neck and collar bones.
For the upper face, I start scraping from my eye brows to my forehead, gentle yet firm short strokes, 3-5 times per area. Once I cover the entire forehead (you probably have 6-7 strips), I move on to my eyes. Here, I scrape around my eye bones. For the top eye, it’s basically tracing your eye brow bone, in and out. For the under eye, it’s tracing the under eye/upper cheek bone.
Once I’ve done both sides, I move down to the lower face. I’ll scrape my cheeks – once starting from the nose area moving towards my ears, then from the corner of my mouth towards the ears. Lastly, my jaw line. I’ll scrape from the bottom of my chin, all the way to my ear.
Once I’ve finished with my face, I move on to my neck and collar bones. For my neck, the motion is actually top to bottom. This is a deviation from the general rule to always move against gravity. I got advice from my Korean facialist that in order to properly drain the lymph system, it’s important to scrape from behind your ears, down your neck and into your collar bone.
Basically, the face scraping motions above are pulling the toxins to the ear area, and you are then taking them from the back of the year, down the sides of the neck and dumping them in your collar bone area. As your neck tension is released with each scrape, it should feel pretty amazing.
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