Rollers and Gua Sha — Do They Actually Work?

One of Instagram’s latest beauty trends is pictures of jade or crystal facial rollers next to a beautiful face or held in a manicured hand.

Do these actually work?

There are in fact two separate questions to address here. Is roller massage good for your face? Does a roller have to be made of jade/crystal?

Let’s start with roller massage. Facial massage with a roller is a well-known massage method easy to apply at home without any special training. The greatest advantage to roller massage is just that: with a roller one does not need to study massage techniques and synchronize the movements of right and left hand. Light, cool, steadily rotating smooth cylinder is a perfect instrument for massaging one’s face.

All you’d need is an outline of key massage lines (tip: always massage your face from the centre outwards in almost horizontal lines, and your neck downwards in long stroking movements applying very little pressure) and you’re ready to go. Massaging your face for just a few minutes every day will reduce puffiness, if you’re prone to it, and generally beneficial for your blood circulation.

Does it matter if your roller is jade or crystal? Nope, not at all.

The material of your roller is not important. It can be polymer, metal, crystal, gemstone, etc. The important thing is that the roller is not too heavy and the material non-toxic, easy to clean and low heat conduction, i.e. able to remain cool during a few minutes of massage.

Of course, gems and crystals are pretty and mysterious, they look good on pictures and make routine massage feel extra glamorous. So, why not. Choose a roller to your taste and enjoy!

Now, Gua Sha is another matter.

This I would not recommend trying at home. Chinese facial with scraping a flat jade over the skin is a peculiar technique which requires experience and good understanding of the method, not to mention the use of special oils. You’ll be better off leaving it to professionals.

Gua Sha can be dangerous if you have thin, fragile or damaged capillaries. On the face and neck it should be performed with great caution, and beauty professionals agree that Gua Sha is a relatively small branch of wider massage technique. Sure, you can buy Gua Sha scrapes and stroke your face gently, but unless you know exactly what you’re doing, it’ll be just a game with no particular benefits for your skin.