When it comes to anti-ageing skin care, you’ve probably seen it all. Wrinkle-reducing creams, hydrating face masks, vitamin C serums, and retinol-based products may already have a permanent place in your routine.
Another one to add to the potential must-try list? A jade roller.
In the same way your muscles feel more relaxed after a nice massage, the skin on your face can experience the same release of tension after being exposed to the massaging techniques of a jade roller-at least, that’s what the skincare-obsessed side of Instagram claims.
A jade roller is a small beauty tool that looks a lot like a mini paint roller for your face-except it’s made of stone and looks a lot prettier on your vanity. Take one look through the 30,000 posts tagged #jaderoller on Instagram and you’ll find countless women massaging their face with the tool, often after applying a sheet mask or serum.
But what exactly does a jade roller do for your skin-if anything? Can it really give your complexion a more youthful look? We asked the skin pros to weigh in on how jade rollers work, if their benefits are legit, and exactly how to use one if you’re curious to try it for yourself.
What is a jade roller and what does it do, exactly?
Rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, a jade roller is a handheld massaging tool that you roll across your face in a back-and-forth motion for a few minutes at a time. Most companies that offer jade rollers promise that they help de-puff, firm the skin, increase circulation, and decrease inflammation.
The use of the gemstone jade plays a vital role here, thanks to its ability to maintain a cool temperature, despite being exposed to body heat. In fact, one of the ways to tell if it’s really jade in the first place is to place the stone in the palm of your hand. If it warms up, then it’s not jade.
Like many people, dermatologist Dr Erum Ilyas was skeptical of jade rolling. However, the concept behind the benefits of jade rolling is rooted in science, she says.
First, a quick primer on your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. Lymph fluid—a colourless fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells—makes its way to tissues all over your body, including your face. From their, a network of lymph vessels (connected to your lymph nodes, which attack toxins like bacteria and damaged cells) transports and drains the fluid into your blood.
“We do know that fluid tends to accumulate in the soft tissue of the face and around the eyes, which can worsen with allergies, rosacea, high blood pressure, and hormonal changes, and it can start to change the texture of the skin on the face if left there for prolonged periods of time,” Dr Ilyas explains. “Aside from medications, the use of a jade roller to gently work this excess fluid back into the lymphatic system can help control the effects of this swelling.”
So, do jade rollers work?
While there aren’t scientific studies to back up the benefits of using a jade roller, most dermatologists are in agreement that it can certainly do no harm and may very well enhance the health and appearance of the skin—at least, temporarily.
In fact, even before jade rollers became super trendy on social media, Dr Ilyas was telling her patients to use their fingers to massage out the extra fluid in their skin, but a jade roller may be even more effective. “The jade stone stays cool even when it’s touching our skin, which restricts dilation of the blood vessels in the skin with firm and constant pressure from the gliding motion of the stone,” she explains.
Jade roller benefits for your skin
Lack of sleep, eatings lots of salt, hormonal changes, and simply crying can cause puffy skin and under-eyes. “With all of these conditions, our blood vessels dilate and fluid becomes trapped in the superficial layers of the skin, which can make our skin look ruddy, our pores seem more prominent, and our fine lines and wrinkles more accented,” explains Dr Ilyas. “A jade roller can help ‘milk’ this excess fluid out of the skin and back into the lymphatic system.”
Reduce eye bags
Ageing is often the culprit of the soft tissue around the eyes collecting fluids, as are allergies, eye makeup irritation, rubbing eyes, and not getting enough sleep. “Once that fluid is caught up in the soft tissues around the eyes, it can linger for a long time,” says Dr Illyas. “The smaller end of a jade roller can help gently massage this fluid out of the soft tissue around the eyes without being too harsh as to cause bruising or further irritation.”
Relax facial muscles
“The soothing effect of massaging the skin, especially around the eyes and the forehead where the muscles attach directly to the skin, can help relieve tension,” says Dr Ilyas.
Fight signs of ageing
The jade roller is often hailed for its anti-aging abilities, which stem from the reduction in excess fluid that can age the skin. Additionally, Dr Ilyas points out, that by temporarily relieving tension held in the facial muscles (namely the forehead and around the eyes), you may appear less stressed, which translates to a more youthful look. Unfortunately, jade rolling is not a miracle cure that erases wrinkles.
How to use a jade roller effectively
If your goal is to reduce puffiness under the eyes and mitigate dark circles, it’s best to keep your jade roller chilled in the refrigerator before rolling over skin.
Avoid submerging your jade roller in water for a long period of time, as this will degrade the integrity of the crystal and rust the metal.
“A desired eye and face serum must be applied to clean skin prior to rolling as well, ideally one containing hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water,” says aesthetician Bobbi Del Balzo. You can also apply a hydrating sheet mask and use the jade roller over it.
For lymphatic drainage, it’s all in the technique, says Dr Ilyas, and should take a few minutes at most:
- Start with the bottom of the face-specifically the center of the chin-and work your way up, rolling outward across the jaw and up toward the ear. Follow this same pattern all the way out towards the cheek.
- Next, start adjacent to the nose and roll outward over your cheek towards your ears.
- Using the smaller stone end of your jade roller, work from the inner lower eyelid over the gentle skin under the eye and outward to the temple.
- Place the roller between your eyebrows and roll out over each eyebrow, again slightly above this area, then straight up towards the hairline.
The bottom line: Jade rollers are not a skin care necessity, like face wash or moisturiser. However, if you enjoy pampering yourself and want to give your complexion a little TLC, jade rollers can be a helpful addition to your daily routine, especially if you deal with puffy skin.