A Beginner’s Guide to Facial Tools
As skincare enthusiasts have reveled in innovative technologies to heal their skin concerns, the practice of using stone facial rollers (and more specifically, Gua sha tools), have been standard practice for many centuries despite becoming an incredibly massive trend in the last few years. This type of skin treatment initially targeted those with a more natural and even a non-invasive approach to skin with the added benefits of an affordable price tag and ease of use.
Gua Sha is the original form of pain management and lymphatic drainage of the two styles – traditionally used as a practice for energy flow and blood circulation all over the body. In the form of a facial tool, they have been manufactured as smaller stones usually in jade, quartz or agate with rigid ends to gently scrape over the skin, promoting oxygenation and regeneration. They’ve also been coined as a fantastic way to release pain along the jaw and sinuses.
Facial rollers, however, have been created as Western adaptation of the Gua Sha tools to create a softer glide when used alongside oils or serums. They work to penetrate the product effectively while their shape provides ease that is hard to misuse.
For the purpose of this piece, we will be discussing both tools and how they work on the skin, based on common questions our therapists are asked in the studio.
Do they work?
Facial rollers and Gua sha tools can work. While the main marketing pitch for these tools have been their anti-ageing effect, it is unfortunately the least likely result that you've heard (sorry, beauty bloggers). At the very least, massaging the face with these tools will increase oxygen flow due to the encouragement of blood circulation. What this does is allow for easier delivery of nutrients into the skin (perhaps even your anti-ageing moisturiser).
Regardless, facial rollers are primarily used as a DIY Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Lymphatic drainage is a process your body undergoes regularly to eliminate swelling and toxins from the body, however some people have more sluggish Lymphatic systems, where targeted draining techniques can alleviate some of the pressure and pain associated with these systems.
There have been manual lymphatic drainage techniques found to help reduce swelling in specific areas of the body. Because we all have lymph nodes at the base of our nose, outside the mouth, along the jaw, behind the ears, under the chin and in the back of the neck, it is possible that we could use a tool to help direct the flow of fluid toward those areas.
Other associated benefits of the jade rollers that you may read about are generally the benefits of a Lymphatic drainage massage – as improved blood circulation can help a myriad of issues like skin dullness, calming inflammation, and release of toxins. It’s important you practice good hygiene with your jade roller and/or facial tool, because if they’re not cared for accordingly, they can spread more bacteria. See below for hygiene recommendations.
Another, less weighted benefit of facial rolling is that it is a beautiful self-massage tool that promotes a slower, more present approach to skincare. We’re so used to slathering on products while we ‘look’ in the mirror that using a facial tool may actually assist in the ritual of routine and allow for a little more space in caring for your skin.
What’s the difference between all the stones?
If you don’t think a lymphatic massage will help decrease your morning eye puffiness – let’s talk a bit more about the properties of the stones. You’ll see plenty of different facial rollers on the market – all ranging in stone purity and also ranging in colour.
The bottom line is that crystals each have their energetic benefits, but one physical, results-specific property worth mentioning is that Jade and Agate are denser stones than the likes of Rose quartz, for example. Stone density means it’s adaptive in nature and can stay cooler for longer as its molecular structure disperses heat easier than other stones.
How do I use a facial roller and Gua sha tool?
Download our Little Company instruction guides HERE.
Tip – For serious depuffing of your face (particularly under the eye), pop your roller in the fridge overnight. Wrap it in a clean tea towel to ensure it’s not in contact with any of the fridge’s contents.
How do I clean and store my facial tools?
Hygiene is particularly important with facial tools. While the stones can have antibacterial qualities, cleaning the tools from skincare products and storing them appropriately is best practice.
Clean a Gua sha after every use by wiping it down with a clean, warm cloth. For your Jade roller, you can do the same yet try to avoid brass as it will oxidise with water. You can do a deeper clean with gentle soap, however to avoid rusting the metal, pat it dry immediately. Store your tools in a cool, dry place. Outside of the bathroom is probably best as it’s always slightly damper than your bedroom side table.
For those taking it to the next step – you can clean your facial tool by washing it with salt water or immersing it in a dry bowel of salt overnight. Salt is considered cleansing in drawing negative energies out of the tool to avoid transfer back onto the skin.