Beyoncé and Meghan Markle may be recent converts to the ancient Chinese facial glow-boosting facial massage technique of gua sha. But one woman was way ahead of them: Katie Brindle, founder of wellness brand the Hayo’u Method. I first met Katie, a former opera singer-turned Chinese medical practitioner and acupuncturist, 18 months ago and she introduced me to the magic of the beautiful jade heart-shaped gua sha stone, used by Chinese women for thousands of years.
She’s a passionate advocate of why it’s so right for now. We’re all suffering increasingly from stress and it shows on our face. With a simple press-stroking technique, using Katie’s Hayo’u Beauty Restorer, £38 we can begin to remove stress from the face. And who doesn’t notice when ‘stress face’ strikes, in the form of lines, wrinkles, a papery pale complexion and breakouts?
Katie often sees patients in her Chinese medicine clinic who are fastidious about their diet and supplements but who are not seeing the benefits in their skin, as she tells us in the video. “If the if your circulation doesn’t get to your skin, these nutrients are not getting to where they need to go,” she points out. “That’s what gua sha does.”
I’ve been a fan of the original Beauty Restorer ever since and have written about it many times on Get The Gloss. It has now won three awards and has been picked up by prestigious retailers Victoria Health and Net-a-Porter.
There’s been a lot happening at Hayo’u HQ in recent months. Katie has not only published a book, Yang Sheng, The Art of Chinese Self-Healing , but launched three new jade beauty tools, with even more benefits not just for the skin but for overall health. I caught up with her to find out what they are and how to use them.
1. The Hayo’u Beauty Restorer: your facial glow essential
This original hero tool is designed to nourish the skin by bringing blood to the surface, Katie explains in the video. Using the rounded edge of the tool, you ‘press stroke’ across your skin in a gentle but firm upward movement following the contours of the face, says Katie. “You’re looking for a red flush – it’s drawing the microcirculation, which sits just under the epidermis of the skin, up by 400 per cent. In beauty terms, that’s important because you are drawing nutritious oxygenated blood to the surface of your skin from the inside out.”
Although gua sha flushes the skin with blood, providing nourishment from the inside out, that doesn't mean we don’t need our favourite skincare (hurrah!). The tool works with our creams and potions and can even help them penetrate better. Remember to cleanse your skin first, Katie advises. You can do it over oil, or even over water in the shower.
In the video, Katie also demonstrates acupressure points on the face which can be stimulated with the Beauty Restorer to relieve tired eyes, a clenched jaw and sinusitis. The tool can also be drawn along the chin to tone the jawline.
We’re all more aware of the environmental impact of our beauty and it’s heartening to remember that gua sha tool predates the invention of plastic by several centuries. Katie points out that the Beauty Restorer is a one-off purchase, it won’t end up polluting the sea and it doesn’t ask us to throw out the contents of our bathroom cabinet – it works with what we have.
There’s been much talk about crystals in beauty and Katie reminds us that jade is a crystal with healing properties, it’s beautifully cool to the touch. I love to hold my Beauty Restorer over my cheeks and eyes to relax screen face and soothe puffy eyes. It’s also a welcome relief from a hot flush or after a workout.
If you have inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, acne or rosacea, press stroking the face isn’t advised. Instead, Katie recommends holding the flat side of the tool on to your face to calm inflammation and press stroking across the chest instead. Skin conditions such as these indicate inflammation in the body, she explains. Using your gua sha tool on the decolletage can stimulate an anti-inflammatory response. “Most modern-day illnesses are caused by the inflammatory response, largely due to stress,” she explains. “Gua sha has also been scientifically proven to improve immunity.” She goes on to demonstrates a gua sha technique which is particularly good for hay fever and colds.
2. The Hayo’u Beauty Restorer Lite: a natural Botox alternative
The original Beauty Restorer was created for a quick one-minute ritual to create a fresh flush in the cheeks every day. Gua sha devotees who loved the results began asking Katie whether they could do it for longer – and how. So she came up with a thinner tool, the Beauty Restorer Lite, £35 , which could be used for up to an hour. “It’s your Netflix tool,” says Katie, whose evenings are spent gua sha-ing in front of a box set.
This is very much an evening technique as the redness is more pronounced, but the effects are deeper. The thinner edge also allows you go into the finer corners of the face.
Katie tells me she used to have Botox to zap the wrinkles on her forehead, but now she uses the Beauty Restorer Lite to press stroke them away. It makes expression lines softer, she says. The Lite can also be used on the body.
3. The Beauty Restorer Precision: for banishing lines around eyes and lips
The Beauty Restorer Precision, £35 , is Katie’s preferred tool, she says, “because I’m very prone to lines and wrinkles.” Its fine edge is perfect for helping tackle crows’ feet, eye bags, hooded eyes and lines around the lips. Katie demonstrates the featherlight stroke technique needed for this tool. Used around the lips it can also act as a plumper, as Katie shows. It’s also great for healing chapped lips.
4. The Beauty Restorer Comb: for headaches, hair boosting – and cellulite
Another traditional tool that is becoming an integral part of our modern beauty arsenal is the jade comb. The Beauty Restorer Comb, £38 is beneficial for thinning hair because it feeds the follicles with blood. Katie herself has suffered from fine hair. “What used to drive me nuts about all these products for fine hair that you’d have to put onto your scalp was that they would make my hair look horrible because they were so sticky.”
Instead, she uses a jade comb at night. “If you are having a bad hair day it invigorates the scalp and makes the hair look more bushy,” she says. I've used it too and find it a great can step in for dry shampoo. “It’s also fantastic for headaches or tiredness, if you’ve been at your desk for a long time, it gets the circulation back into your scalp,” adds Katie.
Recently Katie was visiting Taiwan where she discovered an unexpected and ingenious use for the jade comb. “It’s called Body Combing, you heard it here first! It’s fantastic for cellulite, I cannot get over it. It’s just like body brushing but feels more invigorating.”
While body brushing focuses on lymphatic drainage, combing has a deeper effect on circulation, she says. “The problem with cellulite is that the circulation is not moving. I will regularly do this for five or ten minutes in the shower because it feels so great.”
The final word...
For all-round beauty health and wellbeing from a fresh face, to supporting the immune system, fighting inflammation, calming hayfever and dealing with tension headaches and orange peel skin, these are multitasking tools that we all need in our handbags – and in our lives. Katie likens them to makeup brushes – you have different types for different purposes. But unlike makeup brushes the Hayo’u jade tools can make an instant difference not just to the way you look but the way you feel. I can vouch for that!
Written in partnership with Hayo’u. The Beauty Restorer and Comb both cost £38, The Lite and Precision £35. Katie demonstrates how to use the tools in our video above. To shop and more in-depth videos demonstrating how to do gua sha go to www.hayoumethod.com