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At this point, you’ve probably heard of jade rollers, but mark our words—gua sha tools are the next Eastern medicine skincare tool you need to try, ASAP. “Gua sha is a modality of traditional Chinese medicine that uses a tool, such a stone, that runs over the skin to break up tension due to stagnation from water retention, muscle tightness, or other congestion,” explains Giselle Wasfie, D.A.C.M. and founder of Remix Acupuncture + Integrative Health in Chicago.
While gua sha tools can be used all over the body, they're especially beneficial for the face. They feel cooling and soothing—plus, they can help boost lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness and inflammation, says Wasfie. While those are pretty much instantaneous benefits, there’s also a long-term play: Gua sha can help stimulate collagen production to fill in fine lines and boost skin elasticity. It's also just a darn nice moment of self-care, Wasfie says. (And we agree.)
Ready to get gua sha-ing? Check out our list of the best gua sha tools, below.
This is a top pick for both Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue and Wasfie, who says it’s the one she uses the most. “Designed by an acupuncturist who does a lot of facial rejuvenation, it has all of the sides you need for different areas of the face in one high-quality tool,” she explains. More specifically, there’s both a heart-shaped side and pointed side, the latter of which has a comb-like edge that feels especially nice when used moving up from your forehead to your scalp.
This is another comprehensive gua sha tool, says Wasfie. Crafted by esthetician Britta Plug, who’s well-known for her online gua sha demos, it's specially designed so that each of the four sides fits perfectly against the curves of the face. It’s also ergonomic and very easy to hold. Plus, unlike the standard rose quartz and jade options, this is distinct in that it’s made of Bian stone, which is composed of more than 40 healing minerals (and has a very sophisticated black hue).
Keep your gua sha tool in the freezer, like Wasfie does, to further up the refreshing and cooling benefits.
Interested in trying gua sha or just don’t want to shell out the big bucks on a tool? This is a top-tier affordable alternative. Despite the price tag, it’s still made of real jade and boasts a similarly effective and easy-to-use shape as it’s much more expensive counterparts.
According to Wasfie, the tools from this brand are as quality as their products (which are a hit with team Byrdie), and calls the rose quartz energy soft and soothing. There’s an outwardly curved edge that’s perfect for the jawline, an inwardly-curved edge that’s great for flushing out fluid, and a scalloped side for areas where you want some extra pressure and massage.
Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus vouches for this tool, a simple heart-shaped option made of rose quartz. The curved edges grasp the contours of your face (think the cheekbones or jawbones) perfectly. Oh and did we mention that rose quartz is known for promoting love and romance? Sign us up.
Wasfie says this larger-sized tool is great for covering broader areas of the face, such as the cheeks, though we also like the tapered point that makes it easier to reach smaller spots, too. Another good rose quartz pick, happy reviewers rave about how this has changed their skin, as well as how sturdy it is.
While this obviously looks different than most other gua sha tools, the spoon-like shape makes it one of Wasfie’s favorites to use on the face, particularly around the eyes. “You can easily target puffiness around the inner eye, swelling under the eye, and laugh lines,” she explains. Along with the rounded edge, however, there’s also a flat edge, so it can still do double-duty for the more standard scraping or gliding motions you’d want to use on the rest of your face.
Wasfie says this is also a good option for larger areas of the face. As far as the stone goes, jade is known to block negative energy and promote calmness and peace. So while using your gua sha tool in the morning is a great way to wake up your skin and combat overnight puffiness, the energy of this particular option also makes it great to use as an extra way to help you chill out come bedtime.
This is not only an Amazon best-seller (that happens to be another great wallet-friendly pick), it’s also a trio. Ideal for gua sha pros or those who just want to experiment with stones of various shapes and sizes, these are perfect to use not only on the face but on the body, too. There’s a more traditional v-shaped option with a nubby edge, a square shape that’s our pick for using around the eye area, and an elongated version that’s great for targeted spots.
Meet the Expert
Giselle Wasfie is a Doctor of Acupuncture + Chinese Medicine, as well as a board-certified acupuncturist and herbalist. A former magazine editor and music journalist, she opened REMIX Acupuncture + Integrative Health in Chicago in 2012, one of the city’s best-known destinations for holistic wellness. Along with acupuncture, Wasfie is also trained in cupping therapy, gua sha, moxibustion, tui na, and the meditative arts of Qi Gong and Tai Chi, and received a certification in facial rejuvenation from the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. She’s also the founder of a line of 100% natural, essential-oil, and Chinese herbal-based beauty and aromatherapy products, REMIX by Giselle Wasfie.
How to Use a Gua Sha Tool
Ideally, Wasfie advises making gua sha a five-minute ritual as part of your morning skincare routine. Apply a little serum or face oil so that the tool glides more smoothly, then stroke or gently scrape it against the skin in small strokes across your face, moving down toward the neck to promote drainage, and then upward on your forehead for a lifting effect. (FYI, gua sha tools typically have different shaped and textured sides to be used on different spots.) Like any beauty tool, you will want to clean it regularly—soap and water will get the job done, or a quick spritz of alcohol. Just be forewarned that these do get slippery when wet so we suggest laying it out on a towel when washing, so as to avoid slippage and breakage.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. A lover of anything and everything Eastern medicine-related, she gua shas regularly and feels it’s a skincare step everyone should try.