beautiful redhead getting facial gua sha performed on her in Pasadena. Esthetician is using a dark green gua sha stone.

The Beginners Guide to Facial Gua Sha

Posted by Cheeks & Co on

Our Gua Sha Glow facial is the most popular facial at Cheeks & Co in Pasadena, but still, facial gua sha is a mystery to many. It’s a buzzy trend, with Instagram and You Tube influencers bolstering its power through tutorials -- Harper's Bazaar wrote an amazing post about it here, and the glowing Britta Plug created a large catalogue of facial gua sha tutorials. There are even brands like Plug’s Wildling, which are specifically designed around gua sha and products to help you gua sha from home like facial oil and stones.

There is a reason it is so in demand. Not only is it relaxing (if you do not fall asleep within five minutes of your professional gua sha facial, then we are doing something wrong), but the benefits are remarkable and 100% natural. There are no down sides and nearly zero contraindications (our boring technical term for conditions which you can not use it on).

But back to it being a mystery. Even if you have heard your friend rave about the amazing result she got from just five minutes of Gua Sha, chances are you are still not sure where to begin. Or, maybe you already bought a beautiful jade gua sha stone, but it is buried in the bathroom drawer because you are intimidated to use it. We hear you! To help, and because we just love it so much, we put together a cheat sheet that will hopefully give you the courage to start your gua sha journey and give yourself a gua sha facial massage at home. Or, better yet, if you are in the Pasadena area just book a facial and we will take it from there, all you need to do is show up and we will do the rest. As always, email or call us with any questions about your next facial.

We are champions of gua aha, and often joke that when people book ‘The Undecided’ facial at Cheeks & Co (the treatment booked when you aren’t sure which facial to get), 10 times out of 10 we recommend Gua Sha Glow. All you really need to know about gua sha is listed below.



What is facial gua sha

  • Gua Sha is a Chinese massage modality. It is ancient, but only recently has it gained momentum as a massage modality for the face.
  • Gua Sha for the face is quite different than gua sha for the body. Gua Sha for the face is gentle and you will not bruise as is common with gua sha performed on the body. So, rest easy.
  • Facial gua sha should not hurt.

Why we love facial gua sha

  • The benefits of facial gua sha are not only just in appearance but holistic as well.
  • Some of the benefits of facial gua sha include improved skin tone, clearer eyes, lifting of the facial muscles, overall lift in the face, reduced puffiness of the face (especially diminished under eye bags), reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, cleared nasal congestion, improved immune system, improved and often times cleared acne. Results vary per person.
  • The results with gua sha can be instant, and length of time they last depend on the individual and the treatment received. The holistic benefits last for months, and often longer. Results are cumulative as well. 

How to perform gacial gua sha

  • There are many styles of gua sha ‘tools’ available online, but the commonality is a flat stone (most often made of Jade) that is used to ‘scrape’ or ‘glide’ along the face, neck, and décolleté. Different shapes focus on different areas of the face and neck. We use a professional Beauty Secrets Nephrite Jade stone in our facial, but recommend you purchase a gua sha stone designed for at home use. The shape of a stone you use on yourself is different than one used on other people.
  • Soft, gentle pressure is used when working around the lymph nodes.
  • Stronger pressure is used when working muscles and fascia.
  • There is no such thing as too much facial gua sha, you can do it daily, morning and or night.
  • Always work from the middle of the face outward, or down in the direction of your lymph flow.
  • Always start on the bottom and work upwards. If doing a full treatment, start on the décolleté and finish on the forehead and or scalp. Yes, you can gua sha the scalp.

overhead shot of redhead in pasadena getting gua sha performed on her eye area using a dark green gua sha stone.

  • We say facial massage but do not forget to work your neck and décolleté which are equally important.
  • The fluids of the face (including lymph) drain out the side of your face, under your ear, so when moving fluid always ‘drain’ in that direction.
  • There is no universal ‘right’ degree at which to angle the stone. Each move requires a different angle.
  • When working your facial lymph, it is common to feel a drip in the back of your throat. This is a good sign; it means things are moving in the right direction.
  • You will want a gentle glide of the stone so apply a light facial oil before you start and keep hydrated with a Hydrating Toner throughout if you lose the glide.

overhead image of botnia's replenishing treatment oil. Glass bottle, with a white pump top and a white label with flowers on it.

overhead image of josh rosebrook's hydrating accelerator toner

  • Always cleanse your face before you apply your facial oil and begin the massage.
  • You do not need to work the entire face at once. It is quite common to focus on one area for each treatment, example, just work on your eyes for 10 minutes.
  • Always hydrate with a tall glass of water after your treatment.

Who should and should not have gua sha performed on them

  • You can work with acne, just not massage directly on top of active acne and/or pustules. When working congestion work under the breakout.
  • There is no age limit or minimum for facial gua sha, anyone can do it and will benefit from it.
  • Pregnant and nursing woman can get gua sha and will benefit from it. We avoid certain areas on women in the third trimester, but we still perform it throughout the pregnancy. It is so relaxing, Gua Sha Glow is one of our most popular facials for expecting moms. It is even more popular than our Baby on Board Facial!
  • Men love gua sha too. You can work over a beard as well.
  • Yes, you can get a gua sha Facial when you have Botox and/or fillers. The only caveat is you do not want to work directly over the areas you had Botox as gua sha has a tendency to metabolize Botox at up to double the normal time, meaning your Botox will last half as long.

We realize this is a lot of information to digest, so take your time, start slow or just book a gua sha facial in Pasadena, and we promise you will be well on your way to expert status in no time.

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