Face Yoga

Gua Sha routine for beginners

Written by Migle AnusauskaiteUpdated on 23 May 2024
Face Yoga

Gua Sha routine for beginners

Written by Migle Anusauskaite.Updated at 23 May 2024
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that is now widely adopted as a facial massage using a special gua sha stone. It can be performed by a professional in a salon or by yourself at home as part of your beauty routine. Gua sha massage is an efficient, noninvasive technique that can help reduce facial puffiness, encourage blood flow, and relax facial muscles.

Is gua sha a good fit for me?

While gua sha is generally safe and many people also find it pleasant, its efficacy depends on your problematic areas and your commitment to the routine. You will see the best results if:
  • Your body tends to retain water more easily which causes puffiness and under-eye bags,
  • You have a lot of tension in your neck and jaw,
  • You have migraines or sinus congestion,
  • You want a more youthful appearance and enjoy consistency in your beauty routines,
  • Or you want a temporary “facelift” before an event.
Gua sha is NOT for you if:
  • You’re prone to rashes or hematomas,
  • You’re currently sunburned,
  • You have blood coagulation issues,
  • You suffer from acne, rosacea, or eczema.

Does it really work?

People use gua sha for different reasons, including health benefits, beauty treatments, and simply for relaxation. Lymph drainage is where gua sha proves to be the most effective: smooth strokes along the lymph nodes and muscles help to get rid of excessive liquid, depuffing the face and even clearing sinuses. It can also provide relief for migraine sufferers and help release tension in your neck and jaw. If you’re interested in how to use gua sha to achieve a more youthful and “sculpted” appearance, the answer is—consistently. It is helpful to think of gua sha massage as one of those everyday routines you do for your body, like brushing your teeth or going to the gym: something that benefits your health and appearance, but only if you incorporate it into your weekly schedule. Luckily, just like brushing your teeth, gua sha doesn’t need to take longer than a few minutes!

Are there any dangers of gua sha?

Apart from medical counterindications, gua sha face massage is safe for everyone, as long as you don’t apply excessive pressure. A gua sha facial should feel good, so if you’re doing it at home, avoid dragging your skin or “grinding” on it—instead, clean and moisturize your face and neck, relax, and enjoy the sensation! The friction of massage warms your face up and encourages blood flow, which in turn helps the absorption of the product (moisturizer, lotion, face oil…) into your skin. To avoid the absorption of anything you DON’T want into your skin, make sure to wash your face and hands, as well as clean your gua sha stone before the massage. DO:
  • clean your face, hands, and gua sha stone,
  • moisturize your face and neck,
  • perform smooth strokes with light to medium pressure.

How to use gua sha stone?

The mysterious stone might be the most alluring and confusing aspect of gua sha – with so many varieties of stone, it’s hard to know which one to choose. If you’re just beginning your gua sha journey, a simple, not expensive stone would be a good start. You should look for jade or rose quartz stones with completely smooth edges and avoid metal and plastic varieties, as they could irritate the skin. More expensive stones usually have more varied edges – you can choose one once you’re advanced in your routine and feel that something is lacking, but a simple stone will do wonderfully for beginners. Just slide the stone, keeping it almost parallel to your face. This will ensure the smoothest gliding and won’t drag your skin. Again, don’t forget your moisturizer of choice, and clean the stone before each use. DO:
  • choose jade or rose quartz stone,
  • start with a non-expensive stone,
  • keep the stone almost parallel to your face when performing the massage.

What’s the technique?

The abundance of gua sha tutorials on the internet might seem overwhelming—luckily, the gist is very simple: perform outward and upward movements on your face and neck. As for how to use gua sha – just follow the natural shape of your face and choose the side of the gua sha stone that feels the best on a particular part of your face (e.g. the flat side might feel good on your forehead and the indented side – on your jawline). Use your other hand to gently hold your skin from the spot where you start the movement and see what feels good for you! Another option is to go to a professional and remember the steps of their gua sha technique that you like the best.

An example of a simple gua sha routine:

  1. Using the indented side of the stone, perform 5-10 upward movements on each side of your neck and shoulders.
  1. Continue with outward movements along your jaw, the indented side of the stone cupping your jaw.
  1. Using the flat side of the stone, start with the side of your mouth and follow it upward towards your ears—feel the tension dissipate from your biting muscles.
  1. Using the indented side, massage your cheeks, defining your cheekbones.
  1. Using the smallest side of the stone, gently massage your undereyes – avoid dragging the sensitive skin.
  1. Use the indented side of the stone to massage over and under your eyebrows.
  1. Finish with upward movements on your forehead into the hairline using the flat side of the stone.

How long to perform gua sha on your face and neck?

Incorporating a new step in your routine makes one worry – will I actually have time for this? There is no definitive answer to how long you should do your gua sha routine – it rather depends on how often you do it. If you perform gua sha every day, two minutes could be enough, and exceeding ten minutes is even discouraged. You can also count the number of strokes you do on each area: 5 to 10 strokes are recommended for the best results. If, on the other hand, you’re doing gua sha only once a month or before a big event, you can go as long as an hour – but don’t repeat a routine that intense every day. With proper technique and consistency, gua sha for your face can be a simple yet effective addition to your self-care practices. Remember to prioritize gentle strokes, proper skin preparation, and regular cleaning of your gua sha stone to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, leading to healthier, more radiant skin.
Reviewed by Angela Rosoff, a Certified Face Yoga Method instructor, 500HR Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga teacher, and a Luvly app face yoga expert. She has developed her health coaching practice for the past 10 years and has focused on face yoga for the past two years with client great response.