Long before jade rollers became a signature of the #selfcare Instagram, they were integral to Chinese skincare. Like gua sha tools, jade rollers have been used for centuries to destress, massage, and maintain the skin, and in recent years, they’ve surged in popularity in Western beauty routines. Yet despite the jade roller’s storied history, the tool’s efficacy has been (somewhat unfairly) doubted. To learn more—from what jade rollers really do to how to use them for the best results—we reached out to New York City-based celebrity facialist Cecilia Wong to share her expert intel.
WHAT ARE JADE ROLLERS?
“This is a tool that has been used for centuries by Chinese empresses and emperors. This was one of their ways to the fountain of youth,” Wong states. But thankfully the ritual is no longer reserved for the wealthy, or for antiquity. “It is still used by many in Asia today and it has become a staple in their skincare routine.”
And the rollers may not actually be made of jade; you’ll often see them made of rose quartz, amethyst, or other semi-precious stones—but they all perform the same function. As the name suggests, you lightly roll it over the skin to enjoy its effects. “This tool is designed to be used all over the face, neck and décolleté. There are also smaller jade rollers that are made for the eyes,” says the facialist.
WHY YOU NEED A JADE ROLLER
Jade rollers are, of course, skincare tools—but Wong adds that their effects may also help regulate the qi (pronounced “chee”). “They are used for smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles and to promote a brighter complexion,” explains Wong. “Due to the gentle pressure of the tools, this also helps to stimulate blood circulation, promoting qi to the face area and relieving muscle tension.” (Jade itself is associated with balancing the qi as well.) The massaging motion can also help promote lymphatic drainage. “This will drain out excess toxins, puffiness and help to rebound the skin, leaving skin more toned and lifted,” explains the facialist, adding that it’s especially useful “after a late night partying, or after a night of wine and pasta—a few minutes of using the jade roller will help minimize the effects.”
HOW TO USE A JADE ROLLER
Like any skincare practice, using a roller every now and then won’t show significant results (although it will still feel nice whenever you do it). “With consistency, one will definitely reap benefits from this tool,” says Wong. All you have to do is roll it in upward strokes over your skin, ideally after applying moisturizer or facial oil, focusing on areas of tension, fine lines, and puffiness. The stone also stays cool to the touch, which refreshes and calms the complexion. “I would recommend leaving the roller in the freezer overnight before using it. The coolness will help alleviate puffiness, combat swelling, and boost the overall glow,” advises the facialist. “Also, be gentle on the skin, there’s no need to use too much pressure—you don’t want to damage any nerves or capillaries.” Repeat every morning, night, or anytime you want a little skincare relief.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US