Facial Rollers and Gua Sha: a Crash Course for Beginners

Jade rollers and gua sha tools are fascinating skincare tools, but how do you use them? Here’s a crash course for beginners + how to pick the best tool for you!

Facial Rollers and Gua Shua: a Crash Course for Beginners

Jade vs Rose Quartz Gua Sha and Facial Rollers

There are so many variations of facial rollers and gua sha tools floating around; you might think a rock is just a rock but there are actually a lot of differences to take into account!

JadeRose Quartz
Lighter than quartzStone stays cool longer
Provides more resistance while massagingSmoother texture/glides easier
Less brittle than quartzGlasslike texture
Facial Rollers and Gua Shua: a Crash Course for Beginners

I personally prefer rose quartz because the dappled look of quartz is so eyecatching! I also love the silky smooth glass-like texture of rose quartz. Jade has more resistance than quartz which can be beneficial for some gua sha techniques. The easy gliding effect of rose quartz makes it a great starter roller or gua sha tool material for beginners.

The rose quartz tools mentioned all throughout this post are by the brand Gimore and you can find them on Amazon here. The quality of these rollers and scraping tools are amazing! They’re polished to perfection and have become my go-to tools for my daily session of massage. If you want to try a jade version of the facial roller and gua sha I recommend this set!

This post contains affiliate links; if you snag a product through my link it will send some spare change my way to keep this slice of the internet up and running. Some of the products mentioned here were sent to me for testing purposes.

Jade vs Rose Quartz Gua Sha and Facial Rollers
Jade vs Rose Quartz Gua Sha and Facial Rollers

How to use a gua sha tool

If you’ve gotten this far I assume you have a rough grasp on how to use your gua sha tool, but just in case you need a refresher I’ve linked a super helpful video below. Sinyoung Cohan explains how to effectively work through a gua sha routine + how to position your tool correctly for the best results!

Before you start using any tools make sure to prep your skin with a facial oil or an oil-based serum. It must be an oil-based product because anything water-based will dry too quickly and not provide enough “slip” for your roller or gua sha. If you try to use these on dry or just damp skin they will tug on your face and can cause irritation.

I recommend using something like this Marula Oil or a Rosehip Seed Oil would be perfect as well. Most blended facial oils on the market have fragrance, essential oils, citrus oils, or all three included in their formulas!

All of those factors can cause irritation and when you’re deeply massaging a product into your skin with a method like gua sha or jade rolling it’s imperative that it does not have any chance to irritate your skin.

How to use your facial roller

Sinyoung also published a fantastic walkthrough of her facial rolling routine. This guide is a tad lengthy; you can adjust the playthrough time to 2x to get a quick visual guide on the order of which areas of the face to tackle first.

I’m a visual learner so I prefer video demonstrations like this compared to the confusing flow charts you’ll likely find when you Google how to use gua sha and facial rollers.

Gua means “to scrape” in the Chinese language while Sha means “a reddish skin rash”. Gua sha instruments are traditionally used to scrape the skin in strokes which results in reddish streaks. These bruises can take a few days to a week to heal and can be tender while healing.

Facial gua sha should never leave marks and it’s very important to use a gentle touch while massaging facial areas! Traditional gua sha being done on the body is usually focused on relieving tension from sports injuries, stress, scar tissue or after a bout of illness. Facial gua sha is far less intense and is more focused on the lymphatic draining benefits of massaging the face with a tool.

What are the benefits of gua sha?

  • relieves tension in the neck and face
  • promotes lymphatic drainage
  • relieves tension and sinus pressure caused headaches/migraines
  • de-puffs under-eye areas
  • decreases fine lines and wrinkles
Different kinds of gua sha tools

Facial roller benefits

Jade and rose quartz rollers are sort of like the watered-down version of gua sha. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means they have a gentler touch and are quicker to use! Facial rollers are great for really getting into sensitive areas like under the eyes where a gua sha tool would be too aggressive.

You can gently run over the eye area with a scraper tool but be extremely careful because the skin surrounding your eyes is thin and fragile when compared to the rest of the face.

Are jade rollers or gua sha tools better?

This purely depends on what benefits you’re looking for! If you want something to help your products absorb quickly but won’t take too long to use I would recommend you go with a facial roller.

If you’re looking for something more intense to tackle puffiness and help lymphatic drainage you should go with a gua sha tool. You can also use them together or switch between them from day to day so you’re not stuck with just one!

Can you use gua sha or facial rollers on acne?

It’s best to avoid scraping over areas of active inflammation or any cystic acne flare-ups. You can do the strokes on the other areas of the face and especially on the neck to promote lymphatic drainage. If you put too much pressure on inflamed areas it can actually worsen the situation by further aggravating your skin!

You can place your gua sha or facial roller in the fridge and press it gently into areas of inflammation to help calm your skin without aggravating it further with scraping motions. Otherwise, it’s best to put down the scraper during breakouts.

Are jade rollers or gua sha tools better?

Can you put a jade roller in the freezer or fridge?

I highly recommend throwing your facial roller or gua sha tool in the fridge for 25-30 minutes before use. The chilled stone feels amazing on hot days and greatly benefits puffy under eyes! If you’re in a rush you can also chill your tools in the freezer for 5-10 minutes for a quick chilly fix. Using the smaller end of the roller after chilling it has been one of the only things to actually improve my puffy under eyes and dark circles.

Other skincare products can also benefit from being chilled! It can boost the shelf life of your skincare products and prevent bacteria from growing in containers after fingers get dipped inside. Check out my full breakdown on whether a skincare fridge is worth it here!

Can you use a jade roller with fillers or botox?

Beauty editor Cheryl Kramer Kaye described how she accidentally re-arranged her fillers after getting a little too addicted to using gua sha tools! Using a facial roller over fillers can also pose this risk.

The main benefit of using these massage tools is to promote lymphatic drainage and blood flow by thoroughly massaging your facial tissue. You can safely use a jade roller in other areas but it’s best not risk massaging over filler enhanced areas of the face.

Should you use face roller before or after moisturizer?

You should always prep your skin with a facial oil or oil-based serum before using a facial roller or gua sha tool. Your skin will likely be thoroughly moisturized after your massage and not actually need a moisturizer.

If you still want to moisturize, apply your product after massaging. Make sure it’s an oil-based moisturizer or it might pill up from the leftover facial oil! When water and oil-based products mix they can ball up into clumps. Check out my full guide on why this happens and how to stop skincare products from pilling here.

Can jade or rose quartz rollers deposit minerals into your skin?

When I first dove into the world of jade rollers and gua sha I kept seeing articles and brands claim that the naturally occurring minerals found in jade and rose quartz and other gemstones would somehow get deposited into your skin during application and work wonders. Unfortunately, this is a load of B.S.

If this was true the tools would erode over time and show visible damage. There is simply no way for minerals to enter your skin through a simple touch!

How to clean your facial roller and gua sha tools

It’s important to clean your tools between each use to avoid the buildup of leftover facial oil and to prevent breakouts. You can carefully wash your jade rollers or gua sha tools in warm soapy water and towel them dry.

Some cheaper facial rollers use glue to attach the metal handles. If you have a roller using glue make sure to use cold water or the heat might damage the glue holding the roller together!

Headache & migraine relief with gua sha + jade rollers

A 2007 study found that gua sha can highly benefit those suffering from chronic migraines! I frequently get eye strain caused headaches because I work on a desktop all day and using a chilled facial roller has worked wonders for me.

I used to rely on cold washcloths paired with ibuprofen to wait a headache out. I keep one of my jade rollers in the fridge 24/7 now to nip those tension headaches in the bud. Rolling on the temples usually does the trick for me.

Which is your favorite, gua sha or facial rollers?

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