It seems the jade roller wheeled its way into the general public’s consciousness only around 2017. The ancient skin smoothing and soothing tool caused a sharp spike on Pinterest that year, with researchers reporting that ‘derma roller’ pins saw a massive 345% jump in saves.
The chatter online steadily got louder. The beauty column inches racked up and influencer affiliate sales cashed in. Its roll out into the mainstream skincare lexicon spurred on by a slew of celebrities, Victoria Beckham among them, crediting their impossibly taut jawlines to the use of a jade roller.
Now, jade rollers have firmly established themselves in toolkits of facialists, skincare gurus and beauty enthusiasts alike. Their rise is at least partly down to the wider wellness movement that marries skincare with self-care and promotes all-natural beauty products and techniques.
Even Covid-19 has had a part to play in the jade roller’s popularity (it seems no part of our lives hasn’t been impacted by ‘it’). Cut off from our beloved beauty therapists, the masses took things into their own hands. Some retailers doubled their percentage of sales of skincare tools from the year prior to when the pandemic hit (remember those simpler times?).
The jade roller and its cousin the Gua Sha, were chief among those skincare tools experiencing spiralling sales. Both offering results but also a ritualistic self-care element that we were, and are, craving much more.
What is a jade roller?
A jade roller is a facial massage tool made from pure jade stone, or other gemstones. The simple mechanism features an oblong stone that’s attached to a handle with a metal frame, like a paint roller. Many versions are dual-ended, with a smaller stone on the opposite end for use on the delicate eye area.
Although the jade roller has been only recently embraced by the wellness brigade, there’s nothing new about jade rollers. They have been around for centuries. In fact, there’s evidence of them as far back as seventh-century China.
You’ll see pretty pink rose quartz versions too. In Chinese medicine, both jade and rose quartz have been go-to gemstones for millennia, believed to possess different properties that enhance the skin and, depending how woo-woo you want to get, mood.
Rose quartz is said to repair, de-stress and decongest complexions. While 100% pure jade stone is believed to have healing and protective properties. Jade is linked to kidney function too, giving the body a helping hand eliminating toxins from the skin.
Made from the same precious stones, a Gua Sha is a (Instagrammable) pebble shaped tool from the Chinese medicine toolkit that works in a similar fashion to a jade roller, and duo are often available to buy in a set.
What does a jade roller do?
Put simply, a jade roller is used to de-puff and detoxify (bye-bye breakouts) by stimulating lymphatic drainage. Applying the correct method, a jade roller acts as a quick-fix face workout, promising to boost circulation and eliminate puffiness, so your face looks more sculpted.
Jade stone’s cool, super smooth surface also allows you to access deep into the muscles and tissues, all without having to apply too much pressure – kick-starting cell repair and triggering regeneration.
The tool is a whizz at relieving tension that can cause wrinkles and fine lines over time, especially around the forehead, eye and jawline areas – great for the nervous teeth-clinchers among us.
Used post skin-care product application a jade roller can help ingredients soak in better too; boosting their effectiveness, and ensuring you get more bang for buck when using expensive potions and lotions.
How do you use a jade roller?
Once you’ve applied skin care products (either after serum, oil, moisturiser or moisturisng mask – in that order, or after any of these suitably slippery steps), you use the jade roller to massage your face and neck all over for three to five minutes.
To see the best effects you should use a technique that works with your body’s natural lymphatic drainage system, to get things moving, so to speak. Working outwards and upwards, draining any excess fluid from your face.
Using broad sweeps always, you start by smoothing the stone in upward motions from your clavicle to chin, then up and out along your jawline, over cheekbones and from centre of your forehead to your hairline, and so on.
The lymph glands are just beneath surface level so there’s no need to apply too much pressure, and t’s best not to use the roller close to your eyes. Stick to below your eye socket bone and easy does as you wheel your way around this delicate area.
If you’re more of a visual learner, you can find lots of videos on YouTube to show you the best way to use the mechanism.
What effect does it have?
The effects of a jade are both immediate and long term. After a few minutes using the correct method you’ll straight away notice a pink flush in your face, signifying that you’re stimulating blood flow.
You’ll instantly notice your face feels more taut and firm too, and the morning after using it the night before you might find that your face doesn’t greet you with its usual puffiness.
A simple, and very satisfactory, trick is to ‘roll’ one side of your face completely before starting the next. Comparing both side by side you can visibly see the difference between the two sides – hello cheekbones, goodbye puffy jawline.
Used on a long term basis you’ll notice a difference in the tone and clarity of your complexion. Just a little more glowy, a little more bouncy. The results are akin to a chemical-free, injection-free, affordable face lift.
When it comes to tension relief, as soon as you glide it across your face you’ll experience a slight aching as the pressure seems to dissolve – much like the type of pressure you feel when you use a foam roller or carry out myofascial release on other parts of your body.
It’s the type of tension didn’t even know you had been holding onto until you picked up a jade roller and started rolling. Soon you’ll wonder how you managed without this smoothing, soothing stone.
Then there’s just the pleasure linked to the ritual of using a jade roller. It’s really quite meditative, and enhances the ceremony of your entire skincare routine. To heighten the satisfaction keep yours stashed in the fridge, or even freezer. This adds to the cooling, calming effect and boosts the de-puffing action too.
Even at a room temperature, though, the tool is pleasantly cool, but builds temperature as you work your facial muscles.
Where to buy a jade roller?
You can pick up a jade roller from almost every online and IRL skincare retailer these days, with a range of price points. All will do the trick, but just ensure that what you’re buying is 100% pure jade stone and do your homework on where they are sourced from making sure it is ethical.
The downsides to the cheaper versions are the quality of the jade itself and the fragility of its structure – the head can sometimes come loose from its metal frame. The downside of the dearer version is, well, the prices. A word of warning though, neither option fares well when it falls from your bathroom sink and meets a tiled floor.
Do you need a jade roller?
The jade roller’s ubiquity and cult following is obvious and well-established, but the question as to whether you need a jade roller is less clear cut, and depends perhaps on which your definition of ‘need’ you’re applying.
Let’s be honest, we don’t actually need a multistep skincare regime. We don’t need several streaming service subscriptions. We don’t need a stash of chocolate in our home office desk drawers. But do we deserve all of the above? Absolutely.