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A Guide to The Different Materials of Gua Sha Stones

PHOTOGRAPHY VIA ISTOCK

The Chinese facial tool in rose quartz is calming and opens up the heart chakra, while amethyst is cooling and releases muscle tension.

By Sarah Bancroft

Date July 2, 2019

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By now you’ve likely heard of gua sha, the Chinese art of facial lifting that has recently swept the beauty world. The practice involves using a tool to sweep the face in an upward motion releasing stagnant blood and lymph, to promote circulation and healing. Used in China for centuries as a folk remedy, the name translates as “to scrape” (gua) and “sand” (sha). While that sounds a little harsh, it’s actually very soothing and has been credited with all kind of health benefits, from relieving stress to preventing hair loss, as well as tightening and lifting the jawline. While there are many online tutorials on the methods and movements that make up the practice, the tools come in different materials, and work best with skincare that provide slip, glide and moisture.

Originally, people used Chinese soup spoons to perform gua sha, and even one’s knuckle can be used in a pinch, says Sacramento-based gua sha practitioner Valerie Yager of Valerie Yager Skincare. Her favourite tool is clear quartz, which she says is “programmable” for each individual who uses it. She also likes tools with a comb edge for scalp stimulation and unblocking lymph in the neck, which is symptomatic of “tech neck.” Yager uses Laurel Whole Plant Organics Hydrating Elixirs in her treatments. Chrystal Macleod, founder of Harlow Skin Co. sells gua sha tools at her Vancouver Harlow Atelier and loves both the jade and rose quartz tools equally. She personally uses them with Harlow’s Youth Dew Face Elixir for “an intense moisture fix.” Whistler-based blogger and podcaster Erin Treloar of Raw Beauty loves her K’Pure Natural Body Care gua sha tool. “It’s heart-shaped rose quartz and comes from a company I wholeheartedly believe in. It’s a perfect tool for beginners.” As for products, she starts with Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator Spray which she loves for its smell (marshmallows) and its reasonable price point ($28 for 2oz.) and then uses K’Pure Lighten Up Skin Brightening Serum or Saje Sensitive Elixir Calming Skin Serum. For the DIYers out there, siblings Sean and Sara Panton’s Vancouver-based essential oil brand Vitruvi offers this recipe to make your own gua sha oil with evening primrose, bergamot, geranium and rosehip.

Click through to find the best material for your gua sha tool:

Jadeite or Nephrite Jade

The most common tool material, Jade is a naturally cool stone, which makes it ideal for gua sha which generates heat in the face. It’s also credited with having a qi energy that is similar to the human body and with balancing properties. This is your tool if your goal is contouring, lifting and skin clarity.

Buy Now Rose Quartz

Naturally calming, rose quartz is the gemstone most ideal for sensitive and reactive skin, and conditions such as rosacea and acne. It is said to open up the heart chakra, making it conducive to healing. Keep it in the freezer for even more benefits.

Buy Now Green Aventurine

This glistening form of quartz mined in India is said to eliminate old patterns (think wrinkles) and promote renewal. It is also said to promote happiness (bye bye frown lines).

Buy Now Bian Stone

This is the most authentic material for gua sha tools, originating in the village of Sibin in China. Bian stone also has the highest rate of electronic pulses which allows it to resonate with the body (3670 pulses versus jade which has 1834 or buffalo horn which has 353). It’s also the heaviest of the materials, allowing for deeper penetration and stress relief.

Buy Now Amethyst

Bee Lush Amethyst Gua Sha

($30 USD, Bee Dewy)

Definitely the most attractive stone, amethyst is said to have a cooling effect on the skin, and can aid in releasing muscle tension in your jaw and temples. Scraping it along your jawline will smooth out calcification caused by inflammation (feel the little crunches).

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