I want to age gracefully. Eyes may roll as I’m not yet thirty, but I mean it. I want to look like myself in later years, albeit an older version, but still the most natural and best-looking rendition I can muster. Next to sunscreen, sleep, and my mom’s genes, though, what really can be done? In recent years, beauty tools touting a bounty of healthful claims abound; it’s hard not to notice them pressed to the contoured cheek of every blogger on Instagram and Youtube. So, just as they say “prevention is key, start using eye cream now,” I bought myself a jade roller to see how facial sculpting fared in my morning routine. And, if it actually ended up working, I could thank my youthful foresight, years from now.
But first, what exactly do these face tools aim to achieve? Both the gua sha and jade roller have been vital to traditional Chinese medicine for the past 2,500 years. Gua sha, a little bent heart-shaped tool used for skin scraping, is more vigorous than the jade roller, yet both are meant for oxygenation and skin rejuvenation. Face tools are used to brighten complexions, reduce tension in the facial muscles, stimulate lymphatic drainage to eliminate toxic buildup in the body, reduce puffiness, boost circulation, and reduce the appearance of fine lines. It’s no wonder that this ancient practice has found its way into modern Western culture to “feed our collective compulsion to contour,” Harpers Bazaar aptly notes.
I wasn’t ready to invest in a high-quality jade roller, so I turned to Amazon to find one that was highly rated yet cost effective. I settled on this one because it was affordable, an Amazon’s Choice, and also came with a gua sha. Within days, I was ready to shape my baby face into the most Bella Hadid version of itself.
I really didn’t know where to begin, so I pulled up Melissa Wood’s Youtube tutorial because I’ve followed her for years and she speaks so positively about facial sculpting. After watching the video I’ve embedded below, I grabbed my own jade roller and got to it, saving the more slightly more intense gua sha for once I got the hang of things.
First, I cleansed my skin then applied a nice avocado face oil to my face and neck for plenty of gliding lubrication. Jade is a naturally cool stone, so you really don’t have to pop it in the freezer first unless you want to, lot of people do. I started with my neck, running the jade roller from the base and up my throat to my chin about 8 times in a row. The key to facial sculpting for lifting and contouring is to start at the base and center of the face and work out and up. Logical enough! I rolled over each part of my face in sections; jawline, cheek, undereye, and forehead, running the stone up and out around 8 times the way Melissa describes.
The sensation of sculpting instantly became addictive. I loved the snatched feeling I was giving my face, the pink that pulsed on my cheeks, and the awake sensation that glowed as I glided and rolled. After a few mornings, I observed myself slipping into a calm state as I began sculpting, which is a truly great way to begin a day. I quickly took advantage and let my mind go blank, narrowing my focus to running the stone over my face and breathing deeply in and out. I even smiled softly to myself. For real.
I actually love my gua sha most in terms of ‘effectiveness.’ This tool is more vigorous than the jade roller (it’s been used for pain management) and I love to use it before an important event like a big shoot or casting. Both tools, however, truly make my skin feel smoother, tighter, and brighter. Dermatologist Ellen Marmur told The Cut that sculpting temporarily reduces swelling, but that any kind of facial massage is good. She “praises the roller’s ability to increase circulation to the skin, explaining that it’s good for “bringing fresh blood, oxygen to the skin.”
And then I hit the Holy Grail. In August, a photoshoot landed me in the makeup chair at a ripe 7am, so the kindly makeup artist switched on her Jillian Dempsey Gold Bar and vibrated my face into wakefulness. It may cost a small fortune at $195, but not even the strongest coffee in the world could prep and tighten like that bad boy. I covet. One day, one day.
As for smoothness, I haven’t noticed any reduction in fine lines or wrinkles because I didn’t have any before I began. It will be hard to compare with my future skin if the beauty tools actually prevent them from showing up, but I’d rather face sculpt than sit back with the alternative. Using a jade roller and gua sha makes me feel fancy. Face sculpting really does brighten and awaken my face, and most importantly, it calmingly prepares me for the day ahead. For me, it’s a win.