how often should you use your gua sha tool?
Gua sha is a great tool to have in your at-home natural skincare routine toolbox, but if you don’t know how to use it, and most importantly how to get the results you want, it will just become another beauty casualty sitting in your bathroom drawer. Don’t let that happen! It’s too good to forget about. Trust me. But, like any new thing, it has to become a habit in order for you to remember to use it, or take the time to use it. So I will say this, consistency is key with natural skincare, however, the laundry list of benefits associated with gua sha and facial massage is long and very exciting.
Now, full disclosure, I am an Acupuncturist, which means I’m a nerd. Jk, sort of, but beyond that it means I studied gua sha and when you study something you really get to see all the ways it’s amazing. I used gua sha in classes, clinics, learned expert tips and tricks over the years and still use it practically every day. So naturally as an acupuncturist I think about gua sha regularly because I have come accustomed to thinking about this tool as a remedy of many sorts. It’s one of the first things I think of when I feel a cold coming on, have a stiff neck or notice my skin is looking a little dull. To sum it up, gua sha yields the best results when it becomes a habit. A literal routine. It’s not going to be an injection of botox, but it can yield some amazing benefits when used regularly for skincare. That being said, I want to add that if gua sha doesn’t become your daily habit, it still holds value. A simple gua sha routine can do wonders to address anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, headaches, malaise and even melancholy. We’ll touch on that a little bit later.
I keep my gua sha tool on my bathroom counter right next to my facial oil. My counter is not cluttered (yea, I’m one of those minimalists) so this means after my morning shower or nighttime facial rinse I see two things: facial oil and gua sha tool (and a facial roller). I apply a toner or rose water spritz, followed by my oil, followed by a simple gua sha routine. Gua sha has become my routine of choice, and has become a self-care habit, which means I use it, even if for just a few minutes. The photo above is the before and after of a 24 day gua sha challenge I did in December of 2020. I promised myself I would do a simple 10 minute gua sha routine for 24 days straight. I heard once that it takes 21 days to make a habit (source unknown about that fun fact), so I have adopted that as my rule of thumb when I try to incorporate something new into my routine. Is it something I can do for 21 days? Then if I reach that goal and want to continue I feel that much more empowered to do so.
So I did gua sha for 24 days, and continue to do it about 6 days a week. I don’t keep a schedule with it, and some days it’s just a couple minutes, but this routine feels so good and grounding in the morning. The act of using the gua sha tool over my facial oil helps to work the oil into my skin, this is incentive enough for me to at least do a few swipes with the tool. I also tend to get tired eyes and gua sha really does help to relieve the tension around my eyes and helps me feel more awake.
As I said I tend to use my gua sha tool first thing in the morning after I shower or rinse my face. Gua sha is an invigorating action that increases circulation in the tissue. This helps to impart that natural glow and enlivened feeling you get after a gua sha routine. The facial roller I use in the evening to again relax any tension held in my face, eyes or jaw. Facial rolling is a more relaxing modality perfect for the evening while you’re watching a show. I actually like to do it while I am lying in bed in the evening. I am not a meditator, but I love to relax in the evening, close my eyes, take deep breaths, relax my nervous system and visualize my future reality. ;) Ha...see...I’m a nerd. Anyway, sometimes while I lie there I use the facial roller to help melt away stress. I have also been known to have a facial roller in my car to use as a relaxation tool if stuck in traffic. Really, anytime is a good time for facial gua sha.
So when is the best time to use your gua sha tool? When you think about using your gua sha tool! When something pops into my mind like that I look at it as a sign that my body wants it. Once your body gets used to the practice of gua sha it may start to crave it. Invigorating the circulation and working stress and tension out of the muscles is a really magical thing. Massage has been a healing modality for thousands of years, but somehow has been worked out of western medicine. Our bodies love movement, like exercise and massage, and these are tools to help us access health and healing at any moment.