You may have seen jade rollers popping up lately in conversation, at your local beauty store, or on Instagram. This trending product promises several benefits, including depuffing the face, smoothing fine lines, reducing dark circles and calming inflammation. Jade rollers are often talked about with gua sha (to learn more about that, check out our explainer here), and they were one of Underscored’s most popular items of 2019. But do jade rollers really deliver on these lofty promises? Our team talked to an expert, and here’s what you need to know.
Turns out, even though it’s been trending lately, jade rolling is not a new concept. “Jade rolling has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine,” says New York-based aesthetician Debra Krueger, owner of Debra Krueger Skin Studio. “The gemstone was used to draw out negative energy and balance ‘chi’, which is also known as ‘life force’ or ‘energy’ in traditional Chinese medicine.”
The idea behind it is fairly simple: Jade is relatively cool to the touch, and has the ability to stay cool even when it comes in contact with the skin. “This cooling helps with brightening your complexion, reducing puffiness, stimulating lymphatic drainage, and promoting blood circulation,” Krueger says. “Healthy blood circulation carries oxygen to skin cells, and it will also help penetrate products deeper into skin tissue. In that way, it reduces fine lines and wrinkles.”
People who use jade rollers tout their ability to help with lymphatic massages. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body to help get rid of water, toxins and other unwanted materials. A review of studies suggests that lymphatic massages may help stimulate the lymphatic system, thus facilitating the removal of toxic buildup. Fans of jade rollers say that leads to brighter skin, improved complexion, and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
“The design of the roller itself helps, as it is a component of dual ends, where one side is a large oval stone, and the other side is a smaller circular stone. The different sizes allow for proper rolling coverage on different areas of the face,” says Krueger.
Technique is extremely important when it comes to using a jade roller. While it can be an effective at-home skin treatment, not using it in the right way might end up doing more harm than good.
“It’s important to start with a clean, fresh face with your serum of choice. Use medium pressure and take your time,” Krueger says. Here’s her step-by-step guide:
- Neck: “I like to work from my neck upwards. Use the large oval side and roll up and down the neck, from one side to the other with medium pressure, to kick-start the lymphatic system.”
- Jawline: “Still using the large oval side, move to the mandibular bone (jawline), and start at the center of your chin. Work from the middle of the chin across towards your earlobe, and do five to six passes on each area as you work up the face. Repeat on the other side.”
- Forehead: “Next, move to the forehead, this time using the larger oval side. Start at the center. Work from the center across towards your outer temples, doing five to seven passes, and repeat on the other side. Then, cross by starting at the brows, and move upwards towards the hairline. Move it across the forehead.”
- Eyes: “Using the smaller end with medium pressure, gently roll from the inner corner towards the outer corner, up towards the brow bone. Make sure to get the undereye area and crow’s feet. Roll back and forth, about 10 times. Repeat on the other side.”
It’s also important to note that like many other skin care trends, a jade roller isn’t for everyone. “I would also avoid using the roller if you are having any types of skin rashes or cold sores, and also acneic skin should avoid it, since the jade roller can spread bacteria around,” says Krueger. “You should also make sure you sanitize your roller with mild soap in between uses.”
Since there are so many options on the market, picking the right jade roller for you is a challenge, especially since not all of them are legitimate. “If you’re spending less than $20 on your roller, chances are it’s fake,” says Krueger. “There are lots of stones that are dyed and