Face rollers are an underrated beauty tool with real skin benefits. It’s one of the easiest and most accessible ways to pamper yourself since they give a fantastic facial massage in mere minutes. It’s like giving yourself an at-home facial whenever you like!
While we readily admit that sometimes brands go overboard about what they can do, they can still have a real effect and may deserve a place in your skincare routine. We’ve already covered the best face rollers you can buy, so in this post, we’ll focus on all the other important info: how they work, who they’re best for, and more!
In this article:
- What Is a Face Roller?
- How Do Face Rollers Work?
- Types of Face Rollers
- Face Roller Benefits
- How to Clean Your Face Roller
What Is a Face Roller?
Face rollers are simple little skincare tools, with jade rollers and rose quartz rollers being the most common types. Their shape reminds us a little of paint rollers, with a handle with an oval piece attached to it. When you run the facial roller over the skin, that stone presses in gently, giving an incredibly pleasant massage that also has some really lovely skin benefits, especially when it comes to targeting puffiness, irritation, and dryness.
Jade Roller History
Jade roller designs first originated in Imperial China, and the tool itself is actually called yushi gunlun. The reason why they’re made of jade is likely because the stone has a lot of significance in Chinese culture, as something that used to be incredibly valuable and representative of wealth and good fortune. These days, if you visit the Palace Museum in Beijing, you might be able to find some centuries-old face rollers.
However, it’s only in recent years that jade rollers became popular in the West. As with any skincare innovation, they were touted as the incredible secret of Chinese women, supposedly all the more powerful because of the magical healing powers of the jade crystal.
The eye-catching design combined with the dramatic “product story” made jade face rollers one of the more exciting new skincare items, and before you know it, a ton of brands were producing them. Soon enough, facial rollers made of quartz also started popping up, helping to make everyone’s skincare shelfies just a little more aesthetic.
How Do Face Rollers Work?
Face rollers, whether made of jade or any other crystal, are essentially face massaging tools. In practice, using a jade roller is not too different from getting a facial massage with hands.
The massage stimulates the skin and brings a bit of blood to the face, it helps skincare products penetrate into the skin quickly, and, most intriguing, it can eliminate puffiness and tone up the face a little bit through lymphatic drainage.
There are a few differences between a face massage with hands vs. with a face roller, but all are pretty minor, albeit quite neat:
- First, with a face roller, you don’t have to worry about your hands soaking up any of your skincare products or getting sticky from them.
- Second, quartz and jade rollers are very smooth, so they glide over the skin quickly and easily with a touch less friction.
- Finally, they can retain a cold temperature (especially if you keep them in the fridge), so you get the added soothing benefit from the cooling touch.
Types of Face Rollers
While jade is the most popular stone used for face rollers, there are also many other types available on the market. The most common facial rollers are made of
- Rose quartz
Jade is the most affordable gemstone used for face rollers, and it is naturally cold, just like metal facial rollers.
Rose quartz rollers are the next most common type. They are especially popular thanks to the lovely color, smoother texture, and ability to hold the temperature (both hot and cold) for a longer period of time.
Amethyst rollers are pretty similar to the rose quartz ones, with the exception of being slightly more expensive. They are also said to have healing properties for acne, however, there is no research to prove this.
You can also find face rollers made with other gemstones, like blue aventurine, as well as ones with vibrating motors for a better massage.
Face Roller Benefits
These are the most significant benefits you can expect from using a facial roller:
- Enhanced skin care penetration helps with dryness and dehydration;
- Relaxation thanks to the lovely massage;
- Slightly (and temporarily) firmer-looking skin thanks to the fluid drainage;
- Temporarily reduced puffiness or circulation-related darkness under the eyes;
- Reduced redness or sensitivity from the cool temperature of the crystal.
A Bit of Healthy Skepticism
One of the most common questions beauty lovers have about jade rollers is whether they actually work. While you can definitely expect the benefits we outlined above, there are also a few effects we’re a little more skeptical about.
To start, some sources suggest that facial rollers can actually tone the muscles under the skin, like exercise. However, while a massage can help loosen up tight muscles, it can’t “tone them up,” and it doesn’t count as exercise, so there’s absolutely no basis for this assertion.
The firming effect of the jade roller comes strictly from its potential ability to drain some excess fluid below the skin, but that’s more of a treatment for puffiness than it is for sagginess or loss of tone.
Second, some brands attribute special healing qualities to the specific crystals the face roller is made of. While different stones and crystals do have different physical properties, a lot of crystal healing claims are rooted in alternative medicine or New Age spirituality. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying New Age practices, but it’s important to remember that they’re not rooted in science.
How to Clean Your Face Roller
Because they’re made of porous crystals, face rollers can harbor some bacteria if they’re not well taken care of. You should clean your face roller after every use (especially if you’ve used face creams or oils), and you should also consider sanitizing it a few times a month.
To clean your face roller, it’s best to use a regular dishwashing detergent or hand soap. Gently wet the heads of the roller with water, and then massage them with soap. Finally, rinse your roller clean, and gently towel dry it. If it’s not 100% dry, leave it somewhere where it can air-dry, and finally, place it in the fridge or back in its container.
How to Sanitize Your Face Roller
Every once in a while, you might want to sanitize your face roller instead, especially if you have acne-prone skin or if you think your roller might have been compromised.
To sanitize your roller, either spray it liberally with a 70%-90% alcohol spray or let it soak in a bath of alcohol for 5-10 minutes. Finally, don’t wipe it down, but instead, let it air-dry so the alcohol will evaporate naturally.
Photos via @tinsleyerin, @herbivorebotanicals, Instagram