We tested viral TikTok skincare tools so you don't have to
Gone are the days of the simple sheet mask (may it hold a special place in our hearts). Instead, thanks to #SkinTok (that's skincare TikTok, obvi) and viral trends like "glass skin" and the "clean girl aesthetic," we're officially obsessed with how we get our glow.
Face-sculpting Gua Shas? Cooling ice rollers? Futuristic red lights? Check, check and check. But do these tools actually help...or are they just passing fads that will end up in the back of your bathroom drawer in a few months? Even worse, could these products cause more problems than they claim to solve?
We tested them all so you don't have to. Let's level up your DIY spa sesh *and* do right by your skin.
THE GUA SHA
"Gua Sha" is both a technique and a tool derived from traditional Chinese medicine. Gua Sha "promotes lymphatic drainage, which helps to eliminate extra fluid in our skin," explains medical esthetician Jessica Berto. Translation: Gua Sha boosts circulation and nixes puffiness. Does that lead to a permanently contoured face? Nope, even influencers need a filter for that. But day-to-day depuffing? Count us in.
HOW TO USE IT: After cleansing, apply a facial oil or moisturizer. Hold your skin taut and glide the Gua Sha—using upward strokes—across your skin. Start with your forehead and temples, then move to cheekbones and finish along your jaw. Dermatologist Dr. Rina Allawh recommends using two to three times a week.
KEEP IN MIND: Avoid massaging too close to your eyes, as "the skin is thinner—and you're more likely to cause bruising," cautions Dr. Allawh. Dealing with a bad breakout? Skip the Gua Sha so you don't spread bacteria and make your acne worse.
THE ICE ROLLER
Think about every time you've soothed swelling with an ice pack. Ice rollers work the same way—with the added circulation-boosting benefits of a traditional facial roller. These reduce redness and inflammation (yes, that includes breakouts) by constricting blood vessels in the skin, explains dermatologist Dr. Hyemin Pomerantz.
HOW TO USE IT: Gently roll across your face to wake up your skin. Use upward motions and focus on your cheeks, brow bone and jaw. You can also combat puffy eyes, adds Dr. Allawh.
KEEP IN MIND: "It's important to avoid leaving the ice roller on just one area. Cooling the skin too much can cause mild tissue damage," says Dr. Pomerantz.
THE JADE ROLLER
Similar to the Gua Sha, this handheld roller helps depuff skin and increase circulation. Plus, it boosts your skin's ability to absorb serums and moisturizers. Snag a classic in green or change it up with rose quartz or another crystal. We love a double-ended roller (aka one with a smaller roller side) to treat the area around your eyes.
HOW TO USE IT: Roll back and forth across your face, focusing on your cheekbones and jaw, explains Berto. Pro tip: Try rolling over a sheet mask for better absorption and a spa-worthy massage.
KEEP IN MIND: Clean your jade roller regularly, like you do your makeup brushes. (You don't want to wash your face only to use your dirty roller right afterward.)
THE FACIAL COOLING WANDS
Think of them as the ice roller's chill cousin. Working on more sensitive parts of your face (like orbital bones and eyelids), facial cooling wands ease red, inflamed skin and tighten pores, explains Dr. Pomerantz.
HOW TO USE IT: Berto suggests using these wands toward the end of the day: "They speed up our lymphatic systems the way a cold-water facial cleanse wakes up our skin."
KEEP IN MIND: Since you'll sore most cooling wands in the fridge, not the freezer, you can use them on the thinner skin of your face without stressing about damage.
THE RED LIGHT THERAPY WAND/MASK
This tool uses the power of light to bust blemish scars and redness. "Red light has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin than other types of light, which is beneficial for deeper, cystic acne," reveals Dr. Allawh.
HOW TO USE THEM: After cleansing and drying, apply a supplemental serum (try The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum, $6), then glide the wand across every part of your face for three to five minutes.
KEEP IN MIND: Though the wand works best for targeting specific areas, if you want to treat your whole face (and multi-task while you do it) a red light mask is just as effective.
Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our October/November 2023 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.