If you’re looking for the best natural face oils to use with your gua sha practice, I got you covered! I’ve tested dozens of face oils and practiced gua sha for several years, so I know which ones work best. Plus, I consulted with traditional Chinese medicine doctor and gua sha practitioner Dr. Ervina Wu, who is also founder of TCM brand YINA, to find out her top face oil recommendations for gua sha and why they’re the best!
Face oils are not only a staple in a skincare routine, but also a must with any gua sha face massage practice. “It’s important to create slip when practicing gua sha through an oil or balm. You want your gua sha stone to be able to glide smoothly without tugging or pulling the skin, especially for facial gua sha,” Dr. Wu tells us.
Using a face oil is an integral and crucial part of a gua sha massage, because the skin needs to be slippery for the gua sha tool to slide smoothly across without stretching the skin.
What is Gua Sha?
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves scraping the skin with a flat tool or gua sha stone to promote blood flow, circulation and lymphatic drainage.
The result: firmer, smoother skin and less acne, blemishes, fine lines and puffiness. After testing dozens of face oils while practicing gua sha, I’ve narrowed down this curated list to my top picks and recommendations that provide the best gua sha results – and have a deep and authentic connection to the rich cultural tradition of gua sha.
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How to Choose the Best Face Oil for Gua Sha
When choosing a face oil for gua sha, Dr. Ervina Wu shares with us “It depends on if you are going to wash it off or keep it on. You can use any oils that are compatible with your skin and won’t break you out since you will be using a good amount. Some oils to consider are rosehip seed, camellia seed, perilla seed, or safflower. “
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best natural face oil for gua sha. First, you want a face oil that won’t dry out quickly and has a texture that allows your tool to glide without friction. When there isn’t enough slip, you end up tugging and stretching the skin, which leads to more sagging!
Second, be sure to use a face oil according to your skin type. For instance, if your skin is sensitive or ace prone you should avoid heavy oils like coconut oil and look for a non-comedogenic oil that’s sensitive skin friendly. Dr. Wu shared with us her advice on what face oils are best for acne prone skin. “Choose a lightweight, skin-mimicking oil like camellia seed oil. Our Clarify Botanical Serum is a great choice with a non-comedogenic oil blend of perilla, camellia, and safflower. It also has soothing and clearing botanicals like lotus and ginseng. If you have active acne, definitely proceed with caution. There are gua sha techniques to help “disperse” the heat and calm the inflammation. However, it’s best to let your skin heal or see a licensed cosmetic acupuncturist who can help,” said Dr. Wu.
Lastly, the oil should be nourishing and strengthening and free from any harmful ingredients. Scraping the skin during gua sha means you’re pushing ingredients deep into the skin’s layers, so you want to be sure they’re as skin beneficial as possible.
Below, we’re breaking each natural oil and why they’re amazing for gua sha.
Jojoba oil is one of the best oils for Gua Sha for a number of reasons. Its molecular structure is very similar to the natural oils produced by our skin, which allows it to absorb instantly and continue to moisturize skin after your gua sha treatment is over. It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores and works for all skin types, and it’s a bit more affordable than other oils.
Rosehip oil is another top face oil for gua sha for many reasons. It helps improve collagen and elasticity levels in the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, fade acne scars and fight free radicals thanks to its high Vitamin C content. If you have dry skin or mature skin, rosehip oil should be at the top of your list.
Squalane oil is the best face oil for Gua Sha for people who don’t like face oils or are sensitive to oil. It mimics skin’s natural oils and is the most lightweight oil overall.
If you prefer a weightless oil that feels more like liquid than oil, squalane oil is a great option. It might be too thin for some people, so if you want something more moisturizing yet still lightweight, opt for argan oil or jojoba oil.
Camellia Seed Oil
Camellia seed oil provides excellent slip for gua sha yet doesn’t feel greasy at all!
It’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids to effectively neutralize harmful free radicals and achieve glowing skin. Plus the one I recommend is infused with TCM herbs and botanicals.
Hemp Seed Oil
Another one of my favorite face oils for gua is hemp seed oil, especially for acne prone skin. It has a comedogenic scale of 0, which means it does not clog your pores and has one of the highest fatty acid contents of any natural oil in the world.
Hemp seed oil can soothe eczema and acne, help repair sun damage, improve tone and texture and fight inflammation.
Almond oil is especially great for people with dry or sensitive skin thanks to its high levels of vitamin E content.
It’s a little thicker than other face oils, so you may want to mix it with a lighter oil like grapeseed oil sunflower oil. Almond oil contains oleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties to continue to soothe skin long after your gua sha session is over.
Grapeseed oil is a non-comedogenic oil that’s so lightweight, non-greasy and packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
It absorbs immediately without leaving a greasy feeling and improves overall skin health for those looking for additional benefits. Grapeseed oil is also generally more affordable than other oils.
Argan Oil is one of the best face oils for oily skin because of its ability to help regulate sebum.
Sebum regulation means skin won’t become overly oily and lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Argan is also slightly thicker than jojoba oil.
Tamanu oil is a highly versatile oil that has been used in traditional medicinal for inflammation and acne.
It’s rich and thick, so I would recommend mixing with another lightweight oil. This is a deeply healing and anti-inflammatory oil that would be a great addition to your gua sha treatment.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea Buckthorn Oil is non-comedogenic and great for aging, dry and rosacea-prone skin.
It has a particularly high nutrient profile rich in antioxidants, vitamins, fatty acids, providing incredible nourishment for skin. Sea Buckthorn originates from China and looks a little like carrot syrup with its deep orange hue.
Sea Buckthorn a little bit thicker than more lightweight oils like grapeseed oil and sunflower oil, but doesn’t feel overly greasy and will feel amazing on dry skin.
Sunflower oil is non-comedogenic and sinks right into skin, making it great for acne-prone skin. It’s high in Vitamin E and can help combat signs of skin aging.
Plus, sunflower oil one of the more affordable face oil options out there.
Avocado oil is another amazing versatile option for gua sha and people with dry or aging skin. It contains vitamins A, E, and K, improves skin elasticity, deeply moisturizes skin and strengthens the skin barrier.
Sesame oil is common in Ayurveda and enriched with antioxidants that improve skin health. Its dense, rich texture provides fantastic slip for gua sha, but if you find it too thick, simply mix in a lighter oil like sunflower or grapeseed oil.
Oils I Don’t Recommend for Gua Sha:
– Coconut Oil: I don’t recommend using coconut oil for gua sha because it’s too heavy and pore clogging for many people
– Olive oil: Olive oil is another oil that feels too greasy and heavy on the skin.
– Castor oil: Castor oil can also be too heavy for certain individuals and cause breakouts.
Best Face Oils for Gua Sha
Here are the best face oils for gua sha in the USA! Each one is all natural with certified organic ingredients and has an authentic connection to gua sha’s traditional Chinese medicine roots.
One of my top picks and recommendations for a face oil for gua sha is the Amaki Skincare Japanese Tsubaki Face Oil. This is an impressive blend of a variety of oils that provide deep nourishment to skin and long lasting slip for your gua sha tool.
It’s got lightweight and non-pore clogging Argan oil, soothing Chamomile oil, brightening sunflower oil, skin softening jojoba oil and moisturizing rice bran oil – all for an affordable price.
This face oil feels silky and non-greasy and really goes deep into the skin. The bottle may look small but it actually contains the standard 1 oz of product.
What I love: It has plenty of additional skincare benefits from combining multiple nourishing oils and it’s super affordable!
What I don’t love: The floral scent is very fragrant and might be too strong for some people.
For the most authentic gua sha treatment, my top pick is YINA’s botanical serum. This luxe organic face oil is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and contains a proprietary Chinese medicine plant complex of Rhodiola, Angelica Root, Gromwell Root, Bakuchiol, and Asian Knotweed in a base of organic Camellia Seed Oil.
It allows my gua sha stone to glide effortlessly across my skin and feeds it with adaptogens and powerful antioxidants, leaving my skin feeling soft, supple and nourished.
What I love: It has a deep and authentic connection to gua sha’s traditional Chinese medicine roots and is packed with Chinese medicinal plants and organic, wildcrafted ingredients.
What I don’t love: Price is not budget-friendly
Price:$85 (code OBL saves)
One of my favorite affordable face oils for gua Sha is the Han Skincare Restorative Face Oil. This is a blend of nine face oils that enhance the glide of the Gua Sha tool and deeply nourish and improve skin health.
It’s got Organic jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil, plum seed oil, cloudberry seed oil, sea buckthorn oil, moringa seed oil and organic hibiscus seed oil to reduce fine lines, improve elasticity, fight inflammation and strengthen the skin barrier. It works for all skin types including sensitive and has no essential oils.
What I love: This is most affordable natural face oil for gua sha in terms of ingredient quality.
What I don’t love: Some people may not do well with the castor oil in it.
Cocokind Watermelon Hemp Oil (great for acne prone skin!)
If you’re looking for the best face oil for acne prone skin during gua sha, look no further than Cocokind’s Watermelon Hemp Oil. This is a lightweight face oil with certified organic hemp seed oil, watermelon seed oil and rosemary oil that absorbs immediately and provides plenty of slip throughout your Gua Sha treatment and long after.
It doesn’t feel like it’s sitting on the skin and has a bit of a drier consistency compared to other face oils. The hemp seed oil is amazing for calming breakouts and soothing inflammation without clogging pores.
What I love: It’s non-greasy, light yet rich enough for gua sha and SO affordable.
What I don’t love: Packaging can get a little messy over time.
For those who want the best Korean face oil for gua sha, my top pick and recommendation is the Whamisa Organic Flowers Face Oil. It’s certified organic and vegan with a BDIH Cosmos Organic certification and has a unique light yet rich enough consistency that’s perfect for gua sha.
They use organic oils derived from camellia and green tea seeds, calendula flower oil to soothe inflamed skin, evening primrose oil, jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil along with fermented flowers and root extracts common in traditional Chinese medicine.
This face oil feels so luxurious and amazing on the skin and provides great slip throughout all my gua sha treatments.
What I love: It has over 95% organic ingredients, an amazing floral scent and provides amazing slip.
What I don’t love: It’s only .8 oz instead of a full 1 oz.
Pink Moon Over the Moon Gua Sha Facial Oil
Specifically formulated for gua sha, Pink Moon’s Over The Moon Gua Sha Facial Oil provides amazing slip and glide while deeply nourishing skin with organic sunflower oil and Moringa seed oil. It’s non-comedogenic and great for acne-prone skin without leaving any greasy sensation.
The calming floral scent of neroli, rose and sandalwood adds a grounding element to a gua sha treatment.
What I love: It’s one of the few face oils that are specifically formulated for gua sha!
What I don’t love: It doesn’t have as many ingredients to benefit skin as other face oils.
Out of the four 100% Pure face oils I’ve used with my gua sha routine, my favorite one is their Super Fruits Facial Oil. It’s light and non-greasy and packed with antioxidants from amazing nutrient-rich superfoods like açaí, goji berry, pomegranate, mangosteen, prickly pear seed, cranberry and blueberry.
It helps my gua sha tool glide over smoothly and injects a healthy dose of antioxidants into my skin, leaving it so much more nourished and brighter.
What I love: It has tons of superfood nutrients in a lightweight sunflower oil base.
What I don’t love: The pump is a little annoying to use compared to a dropper.
Another Korean face oil for gua sha I recommend is the all natural and organic Aromatic Neroli Brightening Facial Oil. It has a couple of great natural oils for Gua Sha like sunflower seed oil and jojoba seed oil and is a little bit thicker (but not greasy!) than other face oils thanks to shea butter.
This is a great face oil for dry, dehydrated, ageing, dull and even sensitive skin to use with gua sha. The neroli oil helps improve skin elasticity, repair broken capillaries and even skin tone and firm sagging skin.
What I love: It works great for longer gua sha treatments, has a fragrant neroli scent
What I don’t love: The dropper is not the best quality and some people may not enjoy the neroli scent.
Which Gua Sha Stone Should You Use?
Now that we’ve covered all the best face oils to use during gua sha, you might be wondering which gua sha stone you should pair with your oil. We asked TCM doctor Ervina Wu what type of gua sha stones she recommends and if certain stones are better than others.
Dr. Wu tells us, “Gua sha tools can be made of various materials, including jade, rose quartz, and metal. You can choose any stones or shapes your heart desires as long as it inspires you to practice your gua sha ritual.
We’ve tried and been given dozens of gua sha stones over the years, and one that we keep reaching for the most was the Bian stone.
Bian stone is really special. It’s a cosmic stone that has over 30 traced minerals and possesses far-infrared rays that are beneficial to the body. Bian therapy is considered a healing modality in China and actually predates acupuncture. This stone can only be found in Shandong, China. A lot of Bian stones you see on the market are not genuine or pure.
For YINA, we never set out to create a gua sha stone since the market has so many options. So for us to bring one to life, it needed to be something special and versatile. We chose authentic Bian stone as our material with a shape and size that can be used for the face and body (the original practice of gua sha).”
Is there a difference between gua sha stones on Amazon and high quality ones?
There is a major difference between cheap gua sha stones on Amazon and high quality ones. You can not only feel the difference immediately but there are noticeable physical differences as well.
Dr. Wu says, “We believe when you hold a high quality stone, you would know immediately. Quality gua sha stones are usually more substantial or dense, smooth, and the energy or Qi that they give are more vibrant. Here are some tips to help you pick the best tool for your needs:
Choose a reputable brand with positive reviews and a history of producing quality Gua Sha tools. Bonus if the brand is also AAPI-founded.
Look for stones that have smooth edges all around. Being carved from a natural material means that each gua sha stone will have varying colors and markings.
Know your gua sha stone’s origin, where it was sourced and made. For us, we work with a Chinese government certified, women-owned and operated facility in Shandong that carves and finishes each and every stone by hand.
A quality stone can last a long time with proper care. They are natural materials after all and can break if you drop them. However, synthetic gua sha stones are weaker and can break under pressure of use. My niece received a generic stone from Amazon from her coworker for Christmas. Upon the first use, it snapped in half! A lot of stones from Amazon are likely mass produced and poorly made using materials that may not be what they advertise.”
Benefits of Gua Sha
Gua Sha can help with so many skin concerns like puffiness, sagging, acne scars wrinkles and dark circles. The key to reaping benefits from Gua Sha is doing it consistently. Over time you should see a number of skincare benefits including,
1. Lymphatic Drainage
Gua Sha promotes lymphatic drainage which will help flush toxins away and out of the face and promote circulation. A slow lymph system can cause puffiness, swollen skin and worsen acne.
2. Helps reduce Cystic Acne
Contrary to popular belief, you can do Gua Sha on acne. Thanks to its ability to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, gua sha can reduce acne breakouts by moving congestion. Do NOT do gua sha on broken skin.
3. Fights acne scars
Gua sha can speed up skin’s healing process by bringing fresh blood to skin cells and reduce the visibility of acne scars.
4. Reduces Puffiness
Gua Sha can remove fluid build up and move stagnant fluid away from the face, leaving skin looking tighter.
5. Reduces dark circles and dull skin
Thanks to improved blood circulation skin can look brighter and revitalized even if only temporarily.
6. Softens wrinkles and fine lines
The manual scraping action helps relax tense muscles that lead to wrinkles.
7. Contour jawline and cheekbones
Consistent scraping the jawline and cheekbones in the correct motions can help contour, lift and sculpt those areas.
How to do Gua Sha
Gua sha is very easy to learn and the best part is trying out different facial techniques! Check out our full guide to the best Gua Sha techniques here. You hold the tool’s curved side against your face and slide it in upwards and outward movements always.
The best way to begin is with your neck and work your way up with the jawline, chin, cheeks and forehead though I’ve seen Gua Sha practitioners also start from the scalp and work their way down.
With gua sha it’s important to remember to lay your gua sha tool flat against the skin and use medium pressure when gliding it across the skin. A common mistake many people do is scraping their skin using just the edge and not the surface.
Don’t scrape too lightly or too hard either. It’s also important to be extra gentle around the eye area since the skin is so delicate. Repeat the same movement 10-20 times for each section of the face. Pro tip: At the end of each glide you can give your tool a little wiggle at the edge of your face to stimulate more blood circulation.
Does Gua Sha really work? Yes! One session can provide an immediate decrease in puffiness and temporary lift. Practicing gua sha daily can over time help improve skin health, reduce breakouts and sculpt the face. You won’t experience drastic changes but subtle changes over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What oil is best for acne-prone skin when using gua sha?
For acne-prone skin, be sure to use natural face oils that are lightweight and non-comedogenic. Rosehip oil, jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, squalane oil and grapeseed oil are all great options and can help with fighting inflammation that comes with breakouts. My overall favorite face oil for acne prone skin is hemp seed oil.
What Korean face oils work well for gua sha?
Korean face oils are famous for their ability to nourishand hydrate skin. Some of my favorites are Whamisa Organic Flowers Face Oil which features camellia seed oil and Aromatica Neroli Brightening Facial Oil which features sunflower seed oil. These not only provide great slip for gua sha but also infuse skin with antioxidants and help to improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.
Do I need to use face oil when doing gua sha?
Yes! Face oil is absolutely necessary when doing gua sha.
Which oil is recommended for sensitive skin with gua sha?
Use a gentle and calming oil that soothes skin like chamomile oil and calendula oil.
Is castor oil a good option for gua sha?
Castor oil is not recommended for facial Gua Sha because it’s overly thick and heavy and can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.
What are some good options to use on the face with gua sha?
Some of my favorite organic face oils for gua are rosehip oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil, camellia seed oil, argan oil and rice bran oil. They’re soothing, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and highly nourishing.
Can you do Gua Sha for body?
Absolutely! Gua Sha was originally used to heal the body during ancient times and has been adapted for the face more recently. Dr. Wu added that balms are also great for gua sha. “A little pro tip: We recommend practitioners and estheticians to use a small amount of our Decolletage Treatment. The balm’s silky texture makes it ideal for facial gua sha or facial cupping treatments since it takes a bit longer to sink into the skin. A little bit goes a long way.
If you’re looking for something ritualistic, our Botanical Serums line offers beautiful blends of skin-friendly oils and healing botanicals. Note: they also absorb quite quickly (and nicely) into the skin. So I recommend applying in small areas as you gua sha.
For body gua sha, which we love and think more people should do, a nourishing body oil or balm is fantastic. We are partial to our dear Recovery Body Treatment balm with its blend of Qi-moving herbs and forest bathing scent,” says Dr. Wu.
Andrea is a clean beauty expert from Los Angeles, California with 10 years of experience in clean beauty, natural skincare and organic living. She writes for Organic Beauty Lover using her expertise to guide readers in choosing the best clean beauty products. Andrea graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 and has worked at multiple skincare companies, big and small. Connect with her @organicbeautylover.