They say we’ve found our passion when we head to the office and don’t feel like we are actually “working” when we are — in fact — at work. Holistic health coach Britta Plug of Britta Beauty first found her life’s calling during her early teenage years. When Britta started giving both herself and her friends pressure-point facial massages after discovering a DIY routine in the pages of an aromatherapy book, she quickly realized that she was destined for a career in healing. She’s been dubbed ‘The Best Facialist in New York’ by Harper’s Bazaar — a hefty title to carry! — who, along with expertise in meditation, yoga, and herbalism, is a master of a facial healing technique deriven from ages-old East Asian medicine called Gua Sha. Although this technique is by no means “new”, it is steadily becoming the most covetable treatment by those in the know. Read on as Britta chats with us about what exactly Gua Sha is, and how you can reap its numerous health benefits at home, too…

Britta Beauty

What exactly is Gua Sha, and how do you use it in your practice?

Facial Gua Sha is a much more gentle version of the healing technique that is typically used on the body in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The way I use this technique on the face is extremely light in comparison. This technique works to release blockages in the skin and restore healthy circulation and vitality — resulting in skin that is clear, lifted, sculpted, soft and glowing overall!

Sounds amazing! How did you first start practicing Gua Sha?

I was curious about the technique when first I saw it offered as a class for professionals. I started incorporating it into my facials and was blown away by the results. I remember announcing that I wanted to give up on traditional facials, and ONLY do Gua Sha treatments from that point on. My sessions now incorporate a blend of techniques as well as herbal products, but have definitely evolved away from what one typically expects from a facial treatment.

What other kinds of things can we expect during a session?

A lot of massage, often including pressure point work and other manual techniques from Ayurveda as well as Lymph drainage work. Deep cleansing, masking, and botanical oils. More often than not I skip extraction.

Gua Sha

Can you share a quick routine we can do at night?

Sure! Divide your face into horizontal segments including: forehead, upper cheek, lower cheek and jaw. I recommend you pick one side to do first, and do the whole series before doing side two.

1. Starting at the forehead, do 3 strokes, working from the center line out to the sides.

Gua Sha

2. Repeat 3 strokes from center line outward on the upper cheeks, then lower cheek/jaw area.

Gua Sha

3. Next, do 3 strokes DOWN the neck, from right below the earlobe to the collarbone. This helps to detoxify the skin.

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4. Repeat on side 2 starting again at the forehead.

Gua Sha

This should only take about 5 minutes, but with attention and intention, can elevate your night routine, calm your nervous system, and help your skin be at its personal best.

We know that you love using oils. What kind would you recommend we use?

Something all natural that works with your individual skin! If you don’t know where to start, try Organic jojoba from the health food store.

Britta Beauty

What are the benefits to incorporating this massage technique into our face routine?

There are so many! You can expect clearer, brighter skin due to increased circulation, toning of the facial muscles, deeper penetration of products used, calming the nerves and reconnecting with your physical body and giving it some love!

Where can we get a Gua Sha tool? Is there one you recommend?

I honestly don’t have a single great source, but there are a lot on Amazon and Etsy!

Britta Beauty

Why do you think the Gua Sha technique is increasing in popularity?

When I started practicing this a few years ago, no one really knew about it. I think it’s catching on because it works! Also, as conscious women, we’re seeking real, sustainable, holistic solutions for our beauty care as we become more mindful in all areas of our lives.

Do you have any other nighttime rituals you use to decompress and wind down?

I love taking baths, and drinking a calming sleepy time tea like chamomile. I also love a balancing elixir, like Moondeli’s Calming Adaptogen Blend with Ashwaghanda and Ginger to help my body and adrenals adapt to the fast pace of my life!

What’s the most frequent issue you see mamas coming to you for? What advice do you have for them?

Making a baby takes a lot out of a mama’s body. So much life force goes to baby in the womb, and also while nursing. In nutrition school I learned that it can take up to 4 years for hormones to re-balance and for the body to fully replenish itself after giving life to a new human. I see this reflected in the skin, as deep dehydration and depletion, which is of course exacerbated by lack of sleep. My treatment plan for this is gentleness and deep nourishment. I create space for women to rest and receive during their session, while the skin also receives vital nutrients and skillful massage, focusing on replenishing from the outside in, as well as detoxification in the case that mama’s hormones are creating some skin breakouts. For home care my suggested strategy is to simply do what you can, and be skillful in the few steps you take. Even if you just do your skin care routine at night during this busy mama period, approach it with gentleness towards yourself, appreciation for how much you are giving, and let your simple routine be full of nutrients custom tailored to your skin.

Is there a secret to having great skin? How can we glow?

It truly is a holistic process! We glow from our radiant heart energy, and our inner vibrance, but we also want to nourish our cells on every level, with hydration, nutrient dense foods, and sleep to be our most radiant. Every aspect affects our glow, whether it’s a toxic relationship, work environment or diet. If you are in harmony within your body, your heart, and life, even if it is hectic as hell, you will glow.

What should we never do to our skin?  

Never strip it! No harsh soaps, peels, or retinols! I also don’t believe in putting toxins on the skin, because we absorb them into our system. But mamas usually already know that!

What are your thoughts on Botox? 

I believe optimizing circulation and boosting skin functioning to be much more skillful not to mention safer than numbing it and shutting it down.

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Would you ever get “work done” later on in life?

If there was a glaring issue that was very deeply affecting my self esteem, and all other options hadn’t had the desired results, then maybe! But I would be sure to check in with myself, my relationship to myself, and the energy I was approaching it from. I am even more wary of cosmetic procedures than I already would be for so many reasons because I’ve see my mother go through the horrific aftermath of a minor cosmetic procedure gone very very wrong.

Have you ever tried any “crazy” skin things, like a blood facial or something like that? What was it ?

The wildest facial treatment I’ve gotten is an acupuncture facelift, where I had my face turned into an acu-pincushion! There must have been 50 needles in my face! It was very overwhelming at first, even as someone who loves acupuncture, but I felt high as a kite and looked so plump and refreshed after!

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