woman using gua sha

How to use a gua sha

Read our guide on everything you need to know about how to use gua sha, gua sha facial techniques & gua sha stone advice.

How to use a gua sha

Gua sha is nothing new. In fact this ancient Chinese alternative therapy pre-dates acupuncture and has been used for centuries to promote healing.


Gua - to scrape - and sha - meaning 'petechiae' (tiny, flat red, purple spots) - is a traditional Chinese massage where a tool is used to literally scrape the skin in order to boost circulation and break down stagnant energy (or, as it is known in Chinese medicine, Qi).


It is predominantly known and used in the West as a facial tool, but traditionally gua sha is an all-body treatment that is used not just to promote a glowing complexion, but to treat sickness.


Beloved by those in the beauty know, gua sha is highly prized for its sculpting and defining powers, its ability to boost lymphatic drainage to reduce puffiness and inflammation, and de-puff eye bags. It also brightens and tightens the skin, smoothing wrinkles and diminishing fine lines. Could gua sha facial be part of your beauty regime?


We explore the benefits of gua sha, gua sha stone and how to use a gua sha.

woman using gua sha facial

How to use a gua sha

What are the benefits of gua sha?

woman knowing how to use gua sha

Gua Sha is great for:

  • clearing stagnation⁣
  • easing puffiness
  • improving microcirculation⁣
  • toning and smoothing skin⁣
  • destressing the skin
  • reducing inflammation
  • easing away discomfort, tension, and puffiness
  • ⁣breaking down muscular tension

Our lymphatic system - the body’s waste-drainage system - flushes away interstitial fluids that collect beneath your skin, but it sometimes needs a little nudge. As it has no pump of its own it relies on our muscles contracting. As we don’t use our facial muscles as much as we do, say our quads, lymphatic fluid is more likely to collect here. This is why a gua sha stone can be such a useful tool as gently scraping the skin stimulates lymphatic flow and drainage, releasing excess fluids that can make the complexion look a little tired or puffy. 

How to use a gua sha

What is gua sha stone?

Traditionally gua sha could be any household tool. Now, in the West at least, it is usually a stone or crystal - either real or synthetic - that is shaped like a little flat, smooth and rounded pebble. 

There are a wide range of materials used, nephrite jade and amethyst are popular as they are both naturally cooling, while rose quartz’s calming properties are ideal for sensitive skin. There are also stainless steel versions available. 

Experts recommend investing in one with a good grip that has varying contours on each edge to fit the curvature of the area you want to treat. A gua sha with a jagged tooth edge can up the intensity when used down the back of the neck or to target fine lines and wrinkles.

A heavier tool can be easier to use, allowing you to press firmly, stimulating a greater response.


woman using gua sha

How to use gua sha

product for gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 1

Begin with your usual cleanse. Use a gentle cleanser to prepare the skin, such as the NIVEA Naturally Good Micellar Face Wash.

serum for gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 2

Apply a facial oil or a serum to your face to give the gua sha stone some slip. Try the very effective NIVEA Cellular Luminous630 Anti Dark-Spot Face Treatment Serum that complements the gua sha facial and lightens dark spots.

woman learning how to use gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 3

Experts say to work in an upward, outward direction only and press lightly. Apply even strokes against your skin. You don’t need to press too hard, light strokes can be every bit as beneficial.

woman doing gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 4

Draw the gua sha upward on your forehead for a lifting effect.

woman knowing how to use gua sha on face

How to use gua sha:

Tip 5

Use all over your face or target areas that need extra attention, such as your forehead or chin, to stimulate lymphatic drainage and encourage toning

cream to use for gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 6

The oil or serum should be fully absorbed after the gua sha facial. You may choose to apply a serum and moisturiser - or a sunscreen if you have used the gua sha in the morning - afterwards. The NIVEA Rose Care Moisturising Gel Cream is a great after-treatment moisturiser that refreshes and hydrates, while the antioxidant benefits of rose will enhance the detoxing powers of the gua sha.

woman happy after gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 7

Never use gua sha directly on broken or inflamed skin or over a breakout.

woman happy in the sun

How to use gua sha:

Tip 8

Try keeping your gua sha in the fridge in hot weather for an added cooling benefit. 

soap to clean gua sha

How to use gua sha:

Tip 9

Wash your gua sha regularly with soap and water.

How to use a gua sha

How often should I use gua sha?

Consistency is key, although experts say you’ll notice the difference after the first use, the more you use it, the better the results will be. But to begin with the frequency will depend on your skin type and your skin’s tolerance for it.

Start slowly - once a week - before building up to at least two or three times a week before working up to daily. Once you’ve built this five-minute ritual into your life, it will become an essential tool in your beauty kit.