Gua Sha vs. Jade Roller

gua sha vs jade roller

All skincare fanatics know the importance of a good facial massage. And today more than ever, the market is overflowing with facial tools. These are usually newer versions of previous ones. But, even then, the two basic tools, gua sha and jade rollers, stand out the most. Especially as people have began looking for non-cosmetic ways to depuff and sculpt their faces.

With these two trends becoming more and more famous, the question arises: gua sha vs jade roller, which one should you choose?

Whether you choose gua sha or jade roller, you’re sure to have a more radiant complexion. But there are various other factors that have a say in picking one between gua sha or roller. This can be their origins, what they do for your skin, how to use them, and so on.

Let’s settle the war between face roller vs gua sha, and find out which one is better for you!

Origin Story: Gua Sha vs Jade Roller

Gua sha and jade rollers aren’t a recent discovery… they’ve been around for centuries! Both have their roots in Eastern beauty rituals (that’s one place where they are similar).

Gua Sha

Gua sha basically means “scraping” in Chinese. It has its roots in Chinese medicine – dating back as far as the Paleolithic era (that would be around 2.5 million years ago!). Historical texts, e.g. the Mawangdui medical manuscripts, mention the use of Bian stones (this was a specific type of jade used for gua sha treatments).

Back in the day, the concept of ‘chi’, a vital energy that flows through the body, was famous. When chi stagnates, it could lead to pain and inflammation. That’s where gua sha was used as a healing practice. By scraping the skin's surface with the smooth gua stone, the practice was believed to break up stagnant chi – and hence promote healing. The reddish marks that were left behind were believed to symbolize “pushed out” stagnant energy.

Jade Roller

The jade roller, on the other hand, has a more aristocratic story. It can actually be traced back to the 7th century AD. Fun fact: it was a prized possession during China's Tang Dynasty.

These rollers were believed to promote circulation – while also reducing puffiness. And, as a result, maintain a youthful appearance. The cooling touch of the jade was thought to improve complexion and help with headaches, too.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, people began taking interest in traditional Eastern medicine practices. And so, gua sha and jade rollers became famous in the West.

How They’re Made

Gua sha or jade roller – how are they both made? Their design is actually pretty simple, but craftsmanship is required to make them smooth and effective. Let’s learn about the materials used to make each of these facial massage tools.

Gua Sha

Initially, gua sha tools were made of soup spoon or even animal bone. Today, you can find new (and innovative) materials in their making. For example, bian stone, green aventurine, amethyst, and rose quartz. Jade is sometimes also used. At times, you may find a gua tool roller made of steel, plastic, or porcelain. 

In terms of build – a roller gua sha has a flat and smooth surface with curved edges. These will hug the contours of your face.

Jade Roller

You’ll find jade rollers in many different shapes and sizes. But the classic design features a rolling pin-like handle with a smooth jade stone on each end – one larger for your cheeks and forehead, and one smaller for your eyes.

What About the Crystals?

Are you one of those people who think the crystals in your gua sha or roller enhance its benefits? Many sellers do promote the idea that specific crystals – such as rose quartz promoting love – add some more benefits to your tool. But there’s really no scientific evidence to support these claims. (It’s actually more of a psychological impact).

What They Do for Your Skin

jade roller vs gua sha benefits

When it comes to gua sha vs jade roller, both work to improve your skin. But they do diverge slightly in terms of how they work.

How does Gua Sha Work

A gua sha tool roller works directly on tissue level, and stimulates lymphatic drainage. This increases circulation, moves excess fluids, and flushes out any toxins from tissues. This, in turn, detoxifies your skin. The process of gua sha also tightens your skin muscles (the secret to a sculpted appearance). 

However, keep in mind: the technique requires a bit more skill. It may also cause temporary redness.

How does Jade Roller work

Jade rollers have a gentle depuffing action. They promote the circulation of your blood. This can improve (skincare) product absorption, and leave your skin looking brighter. They're also fantastic at releasing facial tension. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing facial massage, consider jade rolling that face.

This technique is more gentle than gua sha, though. So, there will be lesser chances for redness/marks.

Which One is Right For You?

Gua sha or jade roller, which one will work best for you? You want to assess your skincare goals to reach the answer!

Gua sha directly targets your facial muscles – and it works really vigorously. This means it gives you a more lifted/sculpted appearance. However, note that gua sha is an advanced technique so you’d need to learn it beforehand. Because it's vigorous, it also may not be suitable for sensitive skin types.

On the other hand, jade rolling is suitable for depuffing – and has a gentle effect. It helps your skincare products penetrate deeper into the skin. So, opt for a jade roller if you’re looking for a relaxing facial massage. It’s also a more suitable option if you have sensitive skin.

In terms of time commitment – gua sha is preferred two to three times a week, while a jade roller can used daily (or twice daily).

In a nutshell, the following mini-guide can help you pick one of gua sha and jade roller:

  • For sculpting and deep tissue work: Consider gua sha.
  • For depuffing and relaxation: A jade roller is a good idea.
  • For beginners: The jade roller has a gentle approach.

And the good news is, you don’t really have to pick if you don’t want to. You can even use both! Layer gua sha twice a week with the daily use of a jade roller – and you’ll love the results. 

How to Use Them

Jade roller and gua sha also vary in terms of how they’re used. While jade rolling is fairly easy, you’d need to learn a bit about the gua sha technique.

Jade Roller

  1. Cleanse your skin and apply a facial oil.
  2. Gently roll the larger stone upwards and outwards on your cheeks and forehead.
  3. Use the smaller stone on your under-eye area. Roll outwards from the inner corner.
  4. Repeat 5-10 strokes on each side.

Gua Sha

  1. Cleanse your skin and apply a facial oil.
  2. Hold the tool at a 30 to 45-degree angle, and very gently pull/scrape it across your skin. A rule of thumb: all movements should be upward and follow lymphatic flow. Repeat each movement four to five times before moving onto the next area of your skin.
  3. Repeat this along your jawline, forehead, cheeks, undereye, etc.
  4. Avoid rolling back and forth (use one-directional strokes only).

Be sure to wash your gua sha tool after every use. When you get the hang of it, you can also (slightly) increase the pressure you apply to the tool. Remember to only go as hard as you’re comfortable.

Once you’re done with the practice, you can continue with your regular skincare routine.

Gua Sha vs. Jade Roller in a Nutshell

gua sha vs jade roller differences

FAQs

Which is better gua sha or jade roller?

No tool can be considered ‘better’; it really comes down to your personal skincare goals. It is true, however, that facial Gua Sha uses a unique stroke. This creates pressure and stretch at the same time. And this makes it more effective than the jade roller (for sculpting facial features like your jawline).

Do you use gua sha or jade roller first?

You can use gua sha and jade roller in any order you wish. But many people use jade rollers first. This is because jade rolling can gently increase blood circulation and warm up your skin—thus preparing it for the more intense work of gua sha. Plus, if you have any puffiness around the eyes, jade rolling can help get rid of that before you get to actually sculpting your face.

Conclusion

Gua sha vs jade roller – which one takes the prize? Both are great in their own ways for sure. And the one you choose depends on your personal goals for skincare. If you’re looking for a more vigorous practice and sculpted complexion, gua sha is the way to go. If getting rid of puffiness and better absorbing your skincare is the goal, consider jade rolling. A good facial massage can be achieved with either gua sha or jade roller. And, for the best of both worlds, consider adding both of them to your skincare routine. 

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