Ready For Expert-Level Gua Sha? This Brand Makes It Easy
Gua sha has been around for, uh, a while. Even in its modern boom, it's been around for a few years now. And, still, there's plenty of confusion out there regarding what tools to use and with what products. That's why when I heard all about Wildling Beauty—a brand that was created and centered all around the gua sha ritual—I thought, Of course! What a concept! How has this not been done before!
For full disclosure, Wildling Beauty was founded in part with mbg Collective member Britta Plug, the holistic esthetician and gua sha guru. After being introduced to the ancient practice a few years ago, Plug started implementing it in her daily skin care routine and in her practice and has since become one of the go-to experts on gua sha. So when I got to try out the stone and products, I went straight to the source and got a demo from Plug herself.
"We [my cofounders Gianna De La Torre, Jill Munson, and I] thought, wouldn't it be amazing if there was a skin care line that increased all of the benefits of gua sha? I would get so many questions about what's 'the best' product to use or 'the best' stone to use, so we just thought we'd make it," says Plug. "We've been formulating this for ages, and when I actually started using it on clients, I was actually getting results faster—faster de-puffing, quicker re-texturization."
How to layer your products.
The two products—Wildling Facial Gua Sha Empress Tonic and the Wildling Facial Gua Sha Empress Oil—are formulated specifically to encourage lymphatic drainage and boost the effects of the stone. To start, mist on the Tonic: The key active is the wild sweet fern, which is an ancient herb often used to stimulate the lymphatic system. It also has calming Damascus rose, which makes it smells divine. (And according to the brand, the entire tonic is distilled in the way that it was traditionally.) Follow with the oil—no matter what, notes Plug, you need an oil before using your stone—but this one has a botanical complex that helps brighten and firm skin.
And even if you're not using their line, it's important to use a mist or tonic and oil combo before your own ritual—most people know about oil, but misting prior actually preps the skin for the oil: Oil acts as a seal and needs moisture underneath to trap in. This way you're not only encouraging circulation and detoxification, but you're hydrating skin too. (In my normal gua sha routine, I'm a big fan of a toning mist and brighting oil combo anyway: like John Masters Organic Rose & Aloe Hydrating Toning Mist with Uma Ultimate Brighting Face Oil.)
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What are some expert-level moves with the stone?
The chic, custom demi-matte stone here is the Bain stone. "It was actually formed when a meteor struck a mountain in China; It's a supercharged stone," says acupuncturist, herbalist, and co-founder De La Torre. "It's like the original therapeutic stone in a lot of ways."
And what really struck me was how intricate the stone was. Not only was it ideal for your more standard gua sha—for a tutorial on how to gua sha, see our video here with Plug here—but there were so many curves and dimples to really target specific areas of the face. It's like a master class in gua sha. And since we've already covered plenty of the basics here, I thought Plug could show us all the more advanced ways to use this.
For "the elevens"
You know those little furrow lines that form from scrunching your brow—especially when stressed? With your nondominant hand, hold your forehead with your thumb and finger: Take the rippled edge of the stone and move it horizontally across the lines quickly. It helps activate the blood flow while relaxing the muscle over time, lessening the appearance.
Around the eyes
Colloquially known as "crow's feet," these little lines are usually the first to show up with age. Holding your skin tight at the hairline with your finger and thumb (I place my thumb at my cheekbone and pointer just above my temple), hold your stone at a 90-degree angle from the skin, slightly pointed down. Again, with the rippled end, gently massage the area by moving it back and forth. It's delicate skin, so keep the pressure light.
For plump lips
Consider these a sub for filler: Push your lips out and hold with your non-gua-sha hand. With the rippled edge of the stone, move it up and down quickly along the outer edges to cause friction, which causes the plump appearance.
The wide dip on the end of the stone just perfectly hugs your cheekbones. It has since become my personal favorite move—starting at the apple of your cheek, again with the stone lying flat, drag it to your ear several times. It helps lift your face and gets rid of any puffiness. And after? I skip highlighter entirely! Who needs it when your cheekbones are that sculpted?
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.