Jade roller the millennial version of gua sha, has been popping up all over Instagram, and for good reason: this beauty tool is apparently one of the best things you can do for your skin (or so you’ve heard). It’s said to be an anti-aging staple, reduce puffiness and tighten your complexion, as well as help to absorb facial products. But what exactly is it, and how do you use it? We spoke to experts to get the lowdown.
The jade roller, originally used as a skincare ritual in ancient China, works by stimulating the lymphatic system—a network of vessels that transports lymph (a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells) around the body to eliminate water, toxins and other waste materials. Jade roller fans say massaging the face and neck with a jade roller can help stimulate this system, leading to brighter skin and a reduction in puffiness.
You can massage your face with a jade roller on its own or in conjunction with other skincare products, including facial oil, serums and moisturizers, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. He notes that the stone’s cold temperature can help constrict blood vessels and hydrate the complexion, which can lead to a more youthful-looking appearance. Similarly, he says that the stone’s smooth surface may make it more effective than your bare hands at spreading products and delivering a deep facial massage.
But be careful about the types of jade rollers you buy, he advises. Some cheap models on the market are made of fake jade, which might scratch or mark the skin when rolled. He recommends looking for a jade roller that has been ethically-mined and verified as authentic, which you can do by checking the density of the stone: genuine jadeite should feel cool to the touch, while nephrite feels warmer and is harder.
When using a jade roller, start at the bottom of your face—specifically the center of your chin—and roll outward and upward toward the ears and hairline. Then move on to your neck and collarbone, and roll in the same pattern. You can also use the smaller end of the roller around your eyes, but be gentle, as this area is thinner and can cause irritation if rubbed too hard.
For the rest of your face, start with your forehead and work outward towards your temples. Finally, you can use the smaller end of the roller on your cheeks to help plump and firm thin skin, reducing early signs of ageing like smile lines and crow’s feet.
You can also use a jade roller to massage your lips, which is an especially great idea before applying a hydrating lip balm. The small end can be used to target fine lines, while the larger end of the roller can help shape and define your pout. Just be careful not to press too hard, as you could bruise the delicate tissue and cause inflammation, explains dermatologist Bobbi Del Balzo. And always use a light hand—too much pressure can rupture tiny capillaries.