Skip to content

What Even Is Gua Sha Anyways?

Our Avo Spa Gua Sha set, in partnership with our friends at Mount Lai!

From your Instagram feed to your local Sephora, there’s a not-so-new tool that’s taking over the beauty world. Gua Sha tools, those brightly colored stone blobs that people with flawless skin all seem to swear by, are everywhere you look. But, what exactly are they? And where did they come from? 

As Stephanie Zheng, founder of Mount Lai, explains, the stones span back centuries as part of an ancient Chinese holistic treatment for a host of health issues. “In Chinese, Gua Sha translates to “scraping” and is basically the process of using a flat stone on the skin,” she explains. 

It was initially used as a treatment to increase circulation and relieve pain, inflammation, and areas of tension on the body — from the back to the legs. Over the years, people discovered that those same circulation benefits could actually help with look and feel of your skin, making your face look more lifted and radiant and releasing jaw and facial tension.

The practice itself is hundreds of years old and the technique used today hasn’t changed much. As Zheng notes, “it mainly follows lymphatic massage and those parts where the lymph nodes are located don’t change.” The tool itself is also pretty similar, although you might notice that it can vary in shape and the stone used (typically rose quartz or jade).

The practice itself is hundreds of years old and the technique used today hasn’t changed much.

While any hard, smooth, flat surface can technically work for this type of lymphatic massage, Gua Sha stones are designed specifically to fit into your hand and best sculpt the contours of the face. Zheng’s own Mount Lai line of tools is shaped specifically to fit into your hand and reach all areas of the face, from your neck to your brows to your undereyes. 

It’s often recommended that you go to see a professional for your first Gua Sha facial so you can experience what it looks and feels like with the proper technique. However, with at-home tools and YouTube tutorials readily available, you can do it on yourself if you’d rather not spend the money. It’s a great morning pick-me-up to boost sluggish circulation, reduce puffiness, and give your skin a fresh-faced appearance. 

Look for products with a creamy, silky texture to add some slip.

Zheng has some tips if you’re going to try Gua Sha out on yourself: “You don’t have to use very hard pressure, you definitely need a light touch. People usually press down much harder than actually necessary.” She also adds that you should always apply a face oil, serum, or moisturizer before you Gua Sha, “so you’re not pulling the skin and you’re just guiding the tool along the skin.” We recommend our Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask or the Pineapple-C Bright Serum — they both have a silky texture that allows the stone to glide over skin, plus they can help enhance those glow-giving Gua Sha results.

As to why the practice is experiencing a modern day revival, Zheng theorizes that it’s because people are looking for more holistic ways to treat the skin. “Consumers nowadays are definitely paying more attention to their health and to how they treat their body and are looking for more natural alternatives,” she says. “So, there’s a lot of wisdom in ancient rituals.”


Glow Recipe

Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask


Glow Recipe

Pineapple-C Bright Serum


Glow Recipe

Avo Spa Kit


No comments found

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.