Clean Beauty Ritual

Detoxing the beauty industry, one word at a time.

facial gua sha

Facial Gua Sha with Sandra Chiu & Josh Rosebrook

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"I like to be dewy, it's kind of my thing. It works for my skin." - Josh Rosebrook

"Follow your intuition, listen. Such a huge thing. If we really are listening, we're going to be guided to what serves us." -Josh Rosebrook

"Skincare is my job." - Josh Rosebrook

"For me, it's not about anti-aging, it's about pro-health." - Sandra Chiu

Last Wednesday, I made it to the Facial Gua Sha class taught by Sandra Chiu of @treatmentbylanshin and Josh Rosebrook of @joshrosebrook skincare. It was hosted by The Detox Market of course!

What is facial gua sha? Pronounced "gwa saa", it's a form of facial massage and traditional chinese medicine where you pull a flat carved piece of jade or rose quartz slowly across the face.

When we walked inside, there were two tables set up with flower center pieces and white table cloths. Each place was marked with a small black bag, a 4 oz bottle of Josh Rosebrook's Hydrating Accelerator, a teeny tiny vial of Josh Rosebrook's Active Infusion Serum and an instruction paper with gua sha facial techniques. Sandra was passing out Kaia Naturals face wipes so we could remove our makeup. Then we all sat down. I ran into Stephanie of Ouli's Ointment (which I'm currently reviewing) she's a lot of fun. Water and champagne were being passed around. I helped myself to some crackers and kale salad.

Sandra and Josh began speaking about the benefits of facial gua sha and the difference between facial and body gua sha. Body gua sha, is faster paced where you take the jade tool and scrape. Sandra said if there is pathology in the skin, red flecks will appear while scraping. Giving the practice it's namesake: "gua" meaning scraping and "sha" meaning sand. It leaves marks on the body that look like big purple bruises or how Sandra put it, "a hickey gone wrong". It sounds like an intense treatment, I'm not sure if I'd personally try it or not but it sounds interesting. I do however want to try acupuncture!

With facial gua sha, it's a slower and gentler practice. You pull the tool slowly across the face in repetitions of five or more. Some of the benefits that Sandra mentioned are smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles, depuffing the face, increasing circulation, sculpting and helping to reduce congestion for acneic skin.

I asked a question while they were talking about facial oils, Sandra said she noticed that a lot of people apply too much of their facial oil. This made me curious because back, right after I graduated high school, I started experimenting with my skincare by putting straight 25,000 i.u Vitamin E Oil on my face. This was unheard of because we were told that putting oil on your skin was bad, especially if you had acne. The cleansers I was using at the time were those really drying, benzoyl peroxide sls cleansers. I felt that it was exacerbating the problem, not helping it. I switched to a different cleanser, Cetaphil (BLECH. I can't believe I used to put this on my skin >__< I thought it'd be more gentle at the time. I was trying to transition to healthier choices guys lol) I thought it was less drying and I was doing the vitamin e oil at night religiously. I tried the vitamin e oil because I felt that that's what my skin really needed. I saw a difference with my acne and dryness. It didn't completely solve the problem, but I remember it helping my breakouts lessen and my skin looked calmer (I don't do this anymore. Too sticky. But I did for a long time use Jason's Naturals Vitamin E Cream, which I still love) Sandra said she would normally never tell someone with traditional acneic, greasy skin, to put straight Vitamin E Oil on their skin or that at least she would do it cautiously. But that for someone with dryer skin, it made sense and that ultimately she said it was good that I listened to my intuition. Josh followed up nodding, saying, "Which is key. Follow your intuition, listen. Such a huge thing. If we really are listening, we're going to be guided to what serves us." He also said he did the same thing in the 90s. He made the connection between our skin's moisture and oil, saying, "Our skin moisturizes itself with oil, why not try to moisturize the skin with oils?

Next Josh showed us how to properly prep for the gua sha treatment. He said that for him and his skin, he likes his skin to always be hydrated and never dry -- "I like to be dewy, it's kind of my thing. It works for my skin."

Josh's prepping technique with a face mist and facial oil:

  1. Mist liberally on the face and neck with your chosen face mist.
  2. Use your palms to press the water into your skin.
  3. Spray again.
  4. Take about a half a dime size of your facial oil or serum and warm between your palms then apply to your face.

Sandra had us all tie our hair back and she explained the proper use of the gua sha tool. She said the most common thing she sees in these classes, were people not getting the tool flat enough towards their skin. Some techniques require the edges, but for the most part you want to get it as flat on your skin as possible.

Something that Josh said was important for the ritual and that really resonated with me, was to be present while doing this. Take deep breaths and clear the mind with each stroke. Like yoga for the face! I loved this as I have a tendency to speed through my mornings and evenings, whether I'm rushing off to work or trying to get to bed on time. To put it frankly, I need to slow the F down. This is something that Josh and Sandra said is great for that. To take a moment for yourself, for self care. Sandra recommended doing it before bedtime to calm the nerves.

First we did the neck. Sandra says this is good to do first because it's opening the channels for fluids and drainage as you work your way up. Speaking of up, she also said to always go up with your strokes to get the muscle lifting and depuffing benefits. Also to massage where needed while going through the different techniques! We worked up the jaw, (my favorite part, I tend to clench my jaw) then onto the cheeks, then under the eyes, then the brows and finally the forehead. Sandra and Josh all watched as we went through each technique and helped to correct or guide us through them. We did one particular side of the face first and it was crazy how immediate some of the results were on the people around me, including myself. The skin particularly around my nose and mouth had depuffed visibly compared to the other side. My brow looked lifted and the puffiness under my eyes had decreased slightly. There was a woman sitting across from me who had severe wrinkles all over her face and they had relaxed quite a bit. We re-applied our face mist and oil then did the other side.

Afterwards, we all got up and milled around the shop. I chatted with Sandra for a little bit about neck pain and the odd breakouts that were happening under my jaw. She said it was most likely hormonal, but if she was treating me that she would do a whole detailed interview with me to really get to the bottom of it. We chatted a bit longer about chinese medicine and skin things. I thanked her for her time and the talk and then waited to speak with Josh.

I watched him demo his Nutrient Day Cream for someone, I asked if I could try a bit and I was amazed at how quickly this stuff absorbed into my skin. There was no white zinc oxide streaks at all. It was completely invisible. It's officially on my review waitlist. I then geeked out with Josh a little bit about sunscreens and also that they were getting new packaging soon for his products! ( I think it's already debuted!) I showed him some of my photographs and he really liked them which sent me over the moon haha. His energy is so warm and kind! I thanked him for the evening and decided to head on home.

I hope you all enjoyed my recap of the evening! Have a great weekend everyone!