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What The Heck Is Gua Sha?

What The Heck Is Gua Sha?

And should you be doing it? Let's investigate.

Beauty & Fashion

In between working from home and spending hours teaching myself new Tik Tok dances, I'm taking the time to give my skin some TLC. With being home and in my comfort place, it's a great time to add to my skincare routine.

I'm not gonna to lie, I missed the whole rose quartz roller trend, but Gua sha could possibly be the next best thing. It's no secret that a lot of skincare trends come from Asian therapy and wellness techniques and this is no different.

So, what the heck is Gua sha?

Gua sha (pronounced gwa-sha) is a natural therapy that involves massaging your skin with oil and an uniquely shaped smooth-edged tool (also known as a flat jade) to improve blood circulation. For centuries, it's been used for the body — mainly the back, arms, now it's showing up in facial routines on and offline.

Why should we do Gua sha?

Besides its ability to improve blood circulation in your face, the Gua sha technique also breaks down tension, reduces the appearance of bags under your eyes, wrinkles, and blemishes. And a huge plus is, you can save yourself a $75 visit to the spa and just do it yourself!

You're probably thinking, how is this any different from the jade roller? With Gua sha you have dedicated tools that cater specifically to each section of your face, instead of blindly rolling something back-and-forth on your face. Gua sha follows the natural shape and flow of the body to tighten and tone your skin.

How do we use Gua sha?

When I initially got my Gua sha kit, my thought was WTF is this? It was three weird shaped stone-like tools that I had no idea how to use. Remember when I said it has a dedicated tool to cater to the flow of your body? Well,that's why it looks so weird. Essentially, all three tools do the same thing, but you can choose which one is more comfortable for you.

Here's a step-by-step breakdown:

  1. Start on clean skin and prep your face with oil.
  2. Also start with clean tools, we're not trying to spread bacteria.
  3. Start at the neck and work your way up to the forehead in a smooth but firm motion.
  4. Use upward and outward strokes on the neck, jawline, chin and mouth area.
  5. Sweep across the cheeks.
  6. Once you get under your eyes, switch to an even gentler upward motion.
  7. End with upward strokes from your forehead to your hairline.

*A pro tip is to always go in upward motions. My mom used to say use upward motion on your face for youthful skin, downward motions equal aging.*

Lastly, how many times should you do Gua sha?

You'll see better and faster results if you do Gua sha often — it's not a one and done method. Three times a week is recommended, but there's nothing wrong with easing the method into your nightly routine.

Shop The Post:

*Some links are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through the link, xoNecole may earn a small commission.

Facial Gua Sha Empress Collection

Goop

$129

Gracious Om Gua Sha 3-Piece Kit

Gracious Om

$45

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Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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