Unfussy self-care rituals are just what we need in these tumultuous times… and let's be real: times are often tumultuous for mamas. Whether you're adjusting to life with a newborn or homebound for, oh, some other reason, you deserve to feel calm and cared for.

Enter: Facial gua sha—this writer's favorite get-glowy-quick technique.

An ancient Chinese practice, gua ('scrape') sha ('redness') uses a special heart-shaped tool made of jade or rose quartz to work deep into your facial muscles and fascia, releasing tension and inflammation and stimulating blood circulation. This helps to increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your skin, and move stagnant energy or chi. That may sound like a tall order, but this is one multitasking skincare gizmo, mama.

I first tried gua sha on my upper back and shoulders in my trusted TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner's office. Incredulously, I plopped on a stool, leaned against her acupuncture table and squirmed a bit as she scraped my skin in a downward motion, skeptical that this unassuming tool could possibly alleviate my chronic back pain. As I settled into the (admittedly strange at first) scraping sensation, though, I felt an undeniable release of strain… then a whoosh of blissful comfort. My stubborn aches had vanished.

You better believe I became obsessed with gua sha after that. My TCM practitioner explained to me that facial gua sha activates acupressure points along the 12 major meridians on your face, and doesn't yield the same red marks that my first round of back and shoulder gua sha did. (Reminder: sha means redness, which signifies healing in traditional Chinese medicine.) Plus, she assured me that using a gua sha tool is a piece of cake.

She was right: I was able to get the hang of things in no time.

Given my initial positive experience with gua sha, I expected my new self-care routine to rid of neck and jaw tension (spoiler: It did), but I never imagined that facial scraping could help me look, dare I say, radiant? Truly, regular use of this tool has left me luminous––at least from the neck up. So go on, treat yourself to an easy new pampering practice.

Want to add a little gua sha to your own routine? Check out our gua sha tool recommendations below!

Yina gua sha tool


Yina's gua sha tool is designed for use over your entire body. With a notched, curved, pointed and rippled side, there's a multitude of ways to manipulate it, from gliding the notch along your jawline, to gently "sawing" the rippled edge back and forth against your scalp. Yina's stones are made from authentic bian stone, which has been used in Chinese medicine for literally thousands of years. (According to legend, it has roots in a cosmic collision which causes it to possess a powerful combination of stone and minerals which have super healing potential. True or not true, we'll take any extra magic the universe has to offer.)

Pink Moon rose quartz gua sha tool


Made from rose quartz, this gua sha tool has a natural cooling effect to help reduce inflammation and puffiness. As an added bonus, Pink Moon helps small brands that are ethically and sustainably made, cruelty-free, and female-founded flourish.

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