It seems like everyone on Instagram is jade rolling without me. Everywhere I look, people are either talking about or showing themselves vigorously dragging what looks like a mini paint roller made of stone into the hollows of their cheeks and jawlines. “It’s de-puffing,” almost all of them justify. Others swear by jade rolling’s face-slimming and “natural” contouring benefits.
After passing by a crystal store the other day selling them for $29.99 and receiving countless DMs from people asking if face rolling really works, I sought to find some answers — or at least, some consensus. I talked to aestheticians, dermatologists, and face-rolling junkies to debunk or confirm some of the most frequently heard statements I’ve heard about jade-rolling. Here’s what I found out:
Jade rollers massage your face.
Tina Craig (also known as Bag Snob), has six jade rollers and has been jade rolling every single day starting from a few years ago. Craig tells me that jade rollers were a part of her Taiwanese childhood: “My grandmother always had some sort of jade roller. [She had] rollers that went up and down her spine ([and] one of her grandchildren could always be counted on to roll her as [they] thought it was a fun game).” Nowadays, her Taiwanese friends continue to jade roll, claiming that it helps with slimming the face and defining the jawlines.
Any facial you’ve ever gotten includes a face massage when the aesthetician sweeps her hands over your face and performs lymphatic drainage, a technique that drains the lymph nodes. Much like a body massage, this is meant to remove tension or stiffness in the face resulting from general life living, and non-Botoxed facial expressions. Your face afterward feels sort of like a rubbery Jim Carrey’s. If you’re doing it correctly, you can use a jade roller to give yourself a sort of at-home, cooling, stony face massage if you can’t fly your esthetician to Barcelona to perform on-demand facials like Madonna. Aesthetician Renee Rouleau, whose clients include Demi Lovato, calls a jade roller a “great massage tool.” Roll it onto your face’s lymph nodes (here’s where they are) and it should feel good.
Jade rollers de-puff your face.
True, sort of.
Call puffy-face syndrome what you want: ramen, sushi, sugar face, or just general every morning face. When I saw that jade rolling could help de-bloat the face, I was intrigued, especially after a late-night Koreatown outing.
Rouleau says that it depends. From her experience, lymphatic drainage massage does help with decreasing facial puffiness, and other New York fancy facialists swear the same. She used to work with a plastic surgeon who used her massage technique to decrease swelling. But an average jade roller may not be able to get into the nooks and crannies of your lymph nodes the same way an expert facialist’s fingers might. As she explains, “For true lymphatic drainage, it’s a very specific technique that you have to do to ‘drain’ your face. The average jade roller isn’t really going to know how to do that.”
However, she does add that jade rollers are great for circulation. Even if you can’t perform a lymphatic drainage worthy of a Cate Blanchett penis facial, 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.” You can also vary the pressure of the roller. The deeper you go, the more red the skin becomes. “If it’s bright red versus light red, that indicates how quickly your skin circulates.”
Dermatologist Ellen Marmur adds, “The cool jade stone roller does have some immediate effects and temporary benefits like reducing swelling.” Longtime jade roller Craig, who can often be see on her Instagram Stories rolling on planes and in daily life, says, “I roll in the mornings, my complexion gets brighter from increased circulation, and it’s a great stress reducer. Professional facial massages can be pricey and time consuming but you can do it yourself at home for a fraction of the price.”
Jade rolling helps skin care better “sink” into your skin.
Maybe you’ve seen an Instagram influencer praise jade rolling for allowing skin care to better “penetrate” your skin. That’s cute — but all of the experts agree that it’s not really true. Think of a jade roller as like a butter knife. You can use the knife to more spread peanut butter perfectly to the edges of a piece of toast, but it doesn’t make the nutty spread “sink” better into the bread. Likewise, if you jade roll a serum on top of your face, it might help it to spread more evenly, but it doesn’t help it penetrate more deeply into your skin.
Admittedly, cold temperatures are frequently used in facials because they can have the effect of drawing something more easily into the skin. Some fancy facials incorporate ice cubes, which, Rouleau explains, “immediately constricts the blood vessels, creates a vacuum effect, and pulls things deeper into the skin.” However, even though jade is cooling, it is an adaptive stone. While putting it in the fridge does make it cold immediately, once it’s on the skin, it begins to warm up and adjust to the the temperature of the skin.
If you’re going to jade roll, here’s how to do it correctly: Think up. “Never roll down,” emphasizes Craig. “Always go up and out.” Gravity already pulls things down, so you don’t need the jade roller’s help with that. Don’t massage on dry skin. Just as you wouldn’t want your massage therapist to massage you without oil, be sure to add a serum, lotion, or oil onto your face as you jade roll to reduce friction. Make sure you pay for a quality jade roller. “Jade is a soft stone, and rolling daily might crack it, causing rough edges on your skin,” says Marmur. The benefits are also cumulative, according to Craig. “Face rolling is like a regular workout. People tell me that I must have been born with good skin because it didn’t work for them after doing it three times. But that’s like expecting Tracy Anderson’s body after three workouts!”
Jade rolling also isn’t for all skin types. If you already have a lot of inflammation, or a skin condition such as eczema or rosacea, jade rolling probably isn’t for you. “You don’t want to increase more circulation than you already have,” says Rouleau. There also aren’t any scientific studies on jade rolling or the benefits of face massage. Studies — particularly the gold standard of scientific studies, double-blind studies — are expensive, and there’s no Face Massage Council that wants to sponsor them. But dermatologists agree that it’s not harmful, and even they do it in their private time. Dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, Purvisha Patel says, “I only face roll when I have a lot of congestion or swelling in my face. After a late night out, a lot of salty food, if I have allergies or if I accidentally slept on my face.” So roll with the homies if you want to.
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