which gua sha tool is best for you? what you need to know to start your organic skincare routine

gua sha tools gemstones nontoxic skincare jade roller facial roller Sure you see lots of information about Gua Sha and how essential a gua sha tool is to any nontoxic skincare routine. But have you then found yourself wondering which tool to actually buy? Well let's go over why facial gua sha tools are (mostly) made of gemstones and which gem is best for you. First...here's a quick explanation of what gua sha is. This makes it a little bit easier to understand why you'd want a certain tool versus other tools on the market. Gua sha is a method of “scraping” the skin that has been widely used in asian culture and medicine. It literally means to bring redness to the surface of the skin, and can be used on most areas of the body. When I was a student in acupuncture school I had a teacher demonstrate how to do gua sha for pain associated with liver congestion. And in this particular treatment we used the lid to a jar (disinfected of course) to get the job done! This is what my teacher had access to and it just goes to show that gua sha and therapeutic massage are effective and always available. Many people also use spoons for gua sha. 

Now you may be wondering what gua sha for liver pain, jar lids and spoons have to do with choosing a facial gua sha tool. Let me explain.

Gua sha (regardless of tool) invigorates the surface of the skin increasing blood flow, lymph fluid flow and cell regeneration. This is what you want when incorporating at-home facial rejuvenation into your beauty routine. However, facial gua sha has some particular boxes to check before we make our tool choice. We are going to look for a tool with these characteristics:

  1. Rounded edges, nothing sharp  
  2. Easily cleaned to remove dirt and oils
  3. Sturdy so it does not break
  4. Plastic and metal free

Rounded Edges: Facial gua sha is a gentle form of gua sha. We don’t really want to invigorate the skin enough to bring much redness (or “sha”) to the surface of the skin. In fact, less is more with facial gua sha. The goal of a facial gua sha routine is to gently invigorate the skin, increase circulation, balance muscle tension and smooth bound fascia. Sharp edged tools tend to be more aggressive and can leave marks on the skin that can last a few days. This is something we obviously want to avoid in facial gua sha. 

Easily Cleaned: This means it can be washed with soap and water and is non-porous. Porous materials tend to soak-up our chosen gua sha medium, our natural oils and dirt which can then breed bacteria. It is a best practice to clean your gua sha tools with warm soapy water to remove these materials so they are not reapplied to our skin with each use. A gua sha tool is a personal thing. It is something we use for our own health and well-being. It’s best to clean after each use. 

People have asked me about wooden gua sha tools. I think the notion of a smooth, well designed wooden tool (without snags or splinters!) is quite grounding. Wood would correspond with one of the 5 elements in traditional Asian medicine and is an element we would all benefit from learning from (i.e. being flexible versus being rigid. Ya feel me?). In terms of a tool, wood could be porous so I would suggest it for personal use rather than professional. Porous materials tend to soak in our body and facial oils which can become old over time, leading to bacteria growth. 

Sturdy: A strong tool is imperative when doing gua sha on the face or body. This is to avoid breakage which can create sharp and porous edges. See above to review why those things want to be avoided. So make sure your tool is strong and free of cracks. 

Plastic and Metal Free: For facial gua sha I tend to go for materials such as gemstone or non-porous stone because they have energetic properties that I want to incorporate into my daily routine. Plastic is a synthetic, petroleum based product that is best avoided due to it being a known hormone disruptor. Metal is fine, however it has a “reducing” quality in asian medicine. There are many metal tools found in the market that are used in clinical settings because they are easily sterilized. For facial rejuvenation we want to support and “tonify” the body rather than reduce it, this is why we most often use stone tools. Gold, however, is a tonifying in natural medicine and supports the body. If you can get a hold of a gilded facial gua sha tool, well by all means, comment on how that works for you! 

Now the big question...which stone should you choose?!

Firstly, I encourage you to reflect on what personal qualities you want to cultivate then research which gemstones coincide with these qualities. Gemstones resonate with each person in a unique and personal way. I like to think of this as an opportunity to cultivate self-love and appreciation.  

That said, I will describe a couple popular stones often used for gua sha tools and why I chose clear quartz and sodalite for Dresden Body + Wellness gua sha tools.

Rose quartz is a warming and invigorating stone, good for increasing blood circulation and addressing dull skin. 

Jade, which is likely not real jade these days as it has become a very precious stone and is usually quite expensive. Jade is known for being cooling and detoxifying for aggravated skin. 

Sodalite is a blue stone that has cooling properties for aggravated and reddish skin. It also corresponds to the throat chakra. I began using sodalite and blue tansy on the face and neck to activate the throat chakra. The throat chakra is known as the “mouth of the soul” in esoteric energy medicine. It is here we receive inspiration from the Universe, and also where we transmute and express these inspirations. The saying is “honor inspiration and expression” and this wholeheartedly corresponds to the 5th/throat chakra. Sodalite and blue tansy essential oil are medicinal on an energetic level to open this passageway and fortify our energetic systems, bolster self-confidence, strengthen our connection to our intuition and help us to express our unique souls to the world around us. 

Rock quartz is an all around strengthening gemstone that balances and detoxifies the entire system (both energetic and physical body), as well as increases our connection to higher consciousness and elevates our mindset. 

Yes, gemstones and healing rocks look beautiful, however, they also heal our energetic systems on a subtle level. When we work with them on a regular basis we bring the potential for subtle, yet potent, medicine into our lives. It truly is a personal reason why we choose the energetic medicinals we choose. Facial gua sha isn’t just about facial rejuvenation and glowing skin, it opens the door for personal healing. When we work with, and balance, our blood, qi and energy we rejuvenate at a level much deeper than skin. 

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