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Keeping up with beauty trends and fads is almost as hard as keeping up with the Kardashians. There’s always something new to try, whether it be a sparkly eyeshadow palette, shiny new lipsticks, face masks made with snail secretions or a face tool meant to aid with reducing puffiness.
Enter the jade roller: a paint roller–type tool for the face made from solid jade stone that’s been said to decrease puffiness and under-eye circles, and even minimize the look of fine lines. As Maria Tallarico at The Strategist wrote, jade rollers have been used by empresses and members of high society in China since the 17th century, but have recently experienced a boost in popularity in the U.S.
The tool generally features a larger stone for cheeks, jaw and forehead and a smaller stone for under the eyes and around the mouth. To use it, apply gentle pressure while rolling the tool from the center of your face in upward and outward motions.
The gentle massaging motion is supposed to increase circulation and “stimulate the lymphatic system and lymphatic drainage throughout the face,” Jennifer Stoeckert, holistic facialist and creator of Minimal Beauty, told me.
Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, M.D., a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York, agreed that jade rollers can help with lymphatic drainage.
“Whenever there’s stagnant circulation or swelling at all in the face, massage can help that lymph fluid drain into the [proper] channels and away from around your eyes and certain areas where it tends to settle,” she said.
However, she added, “I don’t think you’re going to get the collagen stimulation from a jade roller or massage device that you get from Fraxel on your face, or even microneedling.” (Fraxel treatments use laser technology to treat a broad range of skin damage, from age spots to wrinkles and other signs of aging, while microneedling is a treatment that involves penetrating the skin with tiny needles to help boost collagen.)
“It’s great for acute things like puffiness or redness,” Stoeckert said, noting that the jade stone is cool to the touch, which can be soothing on the skin. Many people, she added, also use the jade roller to help work treatment serums and oils deeper into their skin, while others simply like the ritual aspect of using the tool.
The lymphatic drainage that the roller is meant to stimulate can also help prevent or clear breakouts, Stoeckert said, though Dr. Chwalek was less certain of this claim; she told me she was unaware of a solid connection between acne and lymphatic drainage.
However, she did say that the relaxing properties of using a jade roller could indirectly help breakouts. It’s possible that the massaging motion of the jade roller can, on some level, stimulate certain hormones and have a relaxing effect on one’s well-being and stress levels, which can, in turn, affect acne, Dr. Chwalek explained.
Just be sure to massage gently, as too much pressure could rupture pimples, leading to further inflammation or breakouts. Stoeckert recommended keeping the roller clean by washing it with soapy water after use.
Curiosity about jade rollers got the best of me, so, naturally, I decided to try this seemingly magical beauty tool for myself.
Equipped with a brand new jade roller, I set out to use it every morning for a week, hoping it would result in brighter, less tired-looking skin. (I used this one sold by Minimal Beauty for $19, but other options can run you anywhere from $6.99 to over $60.) I have been plagued with dark under-eye circles since high school and anything that claims to help rid them is on my must-try list.
I woke up on the first morning of the test period excited to give the tool a go. I washed and toned my face then applied my serum or oil ― one of my go-tos is A Complete’s Highly Concentrated Youth Preserve serum ― and then began rolling it along my jawline, cheeks and forehead.
Stoeckert recommended using the roller on a clean face, as you don’t want to rub any dirt or makeup deeper into your skin. She also recommended rolling down your neck, too.
“As you drain the face, you want to make sure that all the energy and movement can drain down into the neck and into the lymphatic ducts as well,” she said.
The coolness of the jade felt quite nice on my skin ― it was soothing, as promised. The massaging motion was definitely enjoyable, and I think it helped release tension in my face. (For extra coolness, you can store the roller in the fridge.) While I noticed some very slight redness after rolling the tool over my face, especially on my forehead, it disappeared within seconds.
I didn’t notice my face looking less puffy than it normally does, nor did I see much of a difference in my dark circles, but I did love the feeling of the cold jade under my eyes. Even if I didn’t look more awake, I felt more awake.
What I liked most about the jade roller was how good it was at working my serum into my face. Generally, after I’ve applied a serum or oil, I’ve always felt like I needed to wait for it to soak in before being able to apply anything else, but after using the jade roller, I was able to apply my moisturizer (I’m currently using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream) right away.
Overall, there wasn’t a huge difference between my skin on Day 1 and Day 7 (as seen in the photos above ― be nice, that’s what a beauty writer who hates mornings looks like when she rolls out of bed) but I still enjoyed using the jade roller and will probably continue using it, if only for its soothing and relaxing effects.
Stoeckert said that the roller isn’t meant to be be a cure-all.
“One tool or one product or one anything I don’t believe ever cures or fixes anything,” she said. “I’m big into a 360-degree approach ― internal and external ― so the jade tool is a wonderful tool to be part of that approach, as well as understanding how important the lymphatic system is for a glowing complexion and healthy skin.”
All in all, yes, I’d recommend jade rollers, especially if you’re a fan of the ritualistic aspect of sticking to a beauty routine. And in case I haven’t said it enough, the coolness of the jade really did feel great on the skin. For that alone, I’d say it was worth it. And considering there are plenty of affordable options out there, buying a jade roller is a pretty low-stakes investment.
As Dr. Chwalek told me, “I don’t think it will hurt you. And if it’s part of your overall wellness regimen and it makes you feel good, I’d say by all means, go for it.”