If you're on TikTok or Instagram you've probably seen the jaw-dropping 'before and after' videos depicting glowing skin and "snatched" jawlines people are crediting to something called 'Gua Sha'.
If you haven't heard of Gua Sha, it might be time to introduce it into your beauty routine.
Massaging the flat stone tool against the face promises to boost collagen, stimulate circulation and ease facial tension - something many of us struggle with during stressful periods.
Gua Sha has increasingly grown in popularity throughout the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, thanks to people having more time at home with an increased focus on skincare.
Searching it on TikTok results in thousands of 'how to' videos, including this technique video which has racked up over half a million likes.
But according to beauty technicians and health experts, Gua Sha is much more than just a TikTok trend. It's actually an ancient massage technique that follows the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, dating back centuries.
The massage technique sees the Gua Sha tool - often made of cooling rose quartz or jade - scraped along the skin with short and long strokes to stimulate microcirculation of the soft tissue, which increases blood flow.
According to Healthline, regular Gua Sha use is meant to address stagnant energy and inflammation under the skin.
"Inflammation is the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain. Rubbing the skin's surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing," a recent article reads.
As a beauty tool used on the face, it can help increase skin's glow and carve out the jawline of your dreams.
"Gua Sha is one of my favourite methods for helping to stimulate the body's lymphatic drainage, reducing puffiness and boosting circulation," says skin specialist Laura Duggan of Skintopia.
"At Skintopia we can show you how to use our Gua Sha, but to recreate this treatment at home the best method is to use upward, even strokes keeping the Gua Sha flat to the skin."
Duggan recommends making sure you "have some slip" to the skin with an oil-based product.
"The results are immediate, as soon as you notice a flush of colour to the skin you know that you have increased the flow of nutrient-rich blood to the face," she says.
If you've succumbed to the hype and purchased a Gua Sha to use yourself, Duggan has put together a guide for making sure you're doing it right yourself at home.
How to correctly use your Gua Sha
- Start with your hair tied back, double cleanse using an oil cleanser and then a gel/cream cleanser, before spritzing with your favourite facial mist.
- Apply your favourite facial oil to your face - at Skintopia we like to use Dermalogica's Phyto Replenish Oil or Melting Moisture Mask, or Biologi's rosehip oil.
- On the points illustrated in the image below, always glide the stone in outwards and upwards strokes.
- I love to start with breaking down tension in the neck. Start by using your Gua Sha stone on its angled end at the back of your neck. Glide the angles upwards towards the hairline and press at the base of your scalp.
- Next onto the sides of the neck, stretch to the side and move the Gua Sha on its angled end upwards and apply pressure until you reach the jaw. Then using the flat end, continue covering the full neck.
- Progress to the jawline, moving outwards and upwards from the chin, before finishing with pressure points at the base of the ear.
- Press and massage masseter muscle (prominent muscle of the jaw used for chewing food) with small circular motions.
- Sweep up and out across the cheeks with pressure points finishing at the ear.
- Pay extra attention around the eyes, always gently draining outwards. Place the tool on its angled end and press into the area under your eyebrows. Hold until you feel a tension release (10 seconds) and drain. This will help reduce puffiness - great to do in the mornings.
- Finish off at the forehead. Use the stone flat and glide from mid brows up to the hairline. Here we are going over our third eye so take long slow motions to help clear this chakra. Sometimes emotions may come through while working on this area.
Repeat x 3/6 times in each area, spending around 10-30 minutes.