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How to use a face roller: How it works + benefits

Face rollers have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years as more people look for ways to level up their self care routine.

They come in various shapes, sizes and materials and focus on different skin concerns. 

Face rollers work by helping with lymphatic drainage and promoting blood flow which in turn promotes a healthier, more radiant complexion.

Research tells us that even a 5 minute massage can significantly increase blood flow in the face – with a relative change of up to 25%. 

So if you’re looking to incorporate face rolling into your nighttime routine, read on to discover the benefits of using a face roller. 

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • What is face rolling?
  • What does a face roller do?
  • Face roller myths
  • How to use a face roller
  • How often should you use a face roller?
  • Face roller vs gua sha
  • Best face rollers to level up your self-care routine


Let’s go!

face roller

What is face rolling?

Face rolling involves the use of a natural stone or metal face roller to gently massage the face.

Semi-precious stones like jade and rose quartz are typically used in face rollers, as well as stainless steel.

The act of face rolling has been around for thousands of years, with its origins being traced back to China as far back as the 7th century.

The Chinese believe that semi-precious stone like jade has energy-healing properties. 

When used in a face roller, it is thought jade helps to keep the skin youthful and soothe inflammation.

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face roller

What does a face roller do?

Here are the benefits of face rolling:

  • Improves blood flow
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves lymphatic flow and drainage
  • Cools and soothes the skin
  • Reduces puffiness
  • Provides relaxation and reduces stress.

#1 Improves blood flow

Research from the Tokyo Institute of Technology found that face massaging using a roller can increase skin blood flow for more than 10 minutes after the massage.

Adding that face rolling can also widen the blood vessels in the long term. 

Increased blood flow helps skin to heal, so it is great for anyone suffering with acne or eczema-prone skin. 

#2 Improves lymphatic flow and drainage

One of face rolling’s main benefits is that it improves lymphatic flow and drainage in the face. 

Your lymphatic drainage system is closely linked to your immune system.

When there’s any blockage in your lymphatic system, fluid can start to build up and cause swelling and inflammation. 

Face rolling works by encouraging the transportation of lymphatic fluids and the removal of any toxins from the skin.

#3 Cools and soothes the skin

Natural stone and metal face rollers have a cooling effect on the skin, which can help to soothe swollen and inflamed skin. 

#4 Reduces puffiness

Face rolling may decrease puffiness in the face by stimulating lymphatic drainage. 

When you use a face roller on the under eye area, it has been shown to reduce under eye bags. 

#5 Provides relaxation and reduces stress

The act of face rolling promotes relaxation and can help to improve your mood. 

Some studies have shown that face rolling helps to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels, which are known to contribute to ageing. 

By taking 5 minutes out of your day to focus on self care, you will be doing a mindful activity which has many positive benefits for your mood. 

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face roller

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Face roller myths:

Despite the claims that you may read online, face rollers don’t have any permanent effects. 

Whilst you may see de-puffing effects by regularly using a face roller, it won’t slim your face.

The only way to truly do this is through proper nutrition and exercise. 

Lastly, face rollers won’t cure a condition like acne or eczema.  

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How to use a face roller

Before you use your face roller, you may want to place it in your fridge so you can benefit from a cooling effect. 

Here’s a step by step guide on how to use a face roller.

#1 Clean your skin

Face rolling works best on freshly cleaned skin, so make sure you wash your face and remove any makeup before applying the roller to your skin.

#2 Apply serum or moisturiser to your face

Apply your favourite serum and/or moisturiser to your face and then roll! 

The face roller will help to spread them to your skin more evenly.

Any serum or moisturiser with hydrating properties will work well. 

#3 Roll outwards

The key is to use a sweeping rolling motion, don’t roll continuously back and forth on the skin as this could increase puffiness and swelling. 

Likewise, don’t press aggressively on your skin – be gentle!

Roll outwards from the centre of your face – this will help to increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage.

Start on the chin, work from the centre outwards, then move up to the cheeks. 

Under the chin, sweep outwards towards the sides of the neck and the collar bone.

#4 Roll for 5 minutes

Make sure you continue rolling for roughly 5 minutes to really experience benefits. 

Although don’t be tempted to roll for longer than this as you won’t see any different or longer lasting results. 

#5 Clean your face roller

Clean your face roller with a cleansing wipe or rubbing alcohol before putting it away.

This will ensure any bacteria from your face doesn’t stick around. 

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face roller

How often should you use a face roller?

Face rollers are safe to use every day.

Rolling once a day for 2 to 5 minutes can make a big difference over time. 

There are many short term benefits of using a face roller, but when used long term, some studies suggest they can help to improve blood vessel dilation response.

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Face roller vs gua sha

You may be wondering: “What’s the difference between face rolling and gua sha?”

Both practices have their roots in eastern medicine and help to improve lymphatic drainage and blood flow.

Many people incorporate both face rolling and gua sha into their self care routine. 

Whether you choose to use a roller or a gua sha tool really comes down to personal preference. 

Here are the key differences and similarities:

Face roller:

  • Face rollers have a handle to roll gently on the skin.
  • Helps to provide a cooling effect on the skin.
  • Some see face rolling as a more speedy and convenient way to stimulate blood flow and lymphatic drainage. 

Gua sha:

  • Gua sha tools are designed to be held in the hand as you massage your skin. 
  • Helps to massage deeper into the skin’s surface, which can make a difference when treating deep-set wrinkles and cystic conditions like acne. 

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face roller

Best face rollers to level up your self-care routine

Here are some of the best face rollers:

#1 Best jade face roller: Lumity Life Jade Face Roller (£25)

This double-ended jade face roller from health and wellness brand Lumity comes in two sizes.

The smaller size is great for getting at hard-to-reach places like the nose and under eye area. 

Lumity offer a range of facial oils that can be used along with the roller to help your skin look refreshed and energised.

Rave review: “I have been using the jade roller with the nutrient anti-aging oil. I love the cooling, relaxing feeling on my skin. It also forces me to spend a bit more time on me, during my morning and night face routine.”

#2 Best metal face roller: Brushworks Zinc Face Roller (£29.99)

This zinc face roller from Brushworks is great if you want a deeper massage.

The roller has a sleek, ergonomic shape which makes it comfortable to hold. 

It can be applied to most areas of the face, including the jawline, eyebrows, forehead, cheeks and nose. 

Rave review: “This roller is the best thing ever! It makes my face look much more contoured and less puffy. I keep it in my fridge and I feel like it’s even better when it’s cold! I use it as the last step in my skincare routine, or to wake my skin up when I’m tired or hungover!”

#3 Best rose quartz face roller: MIJ Rose Quartz Face Roller (£12)

This double-ended rose quartz face roller from MIJ has no shortage of admirers, with rave reviews from the likes of Vogue and Glamour. 

The larger end is great for rolling across the forehead, cheeks and jaw.

Whereas the smaller end tackles areas like the nose, eyebrows and under eye area with ease.

If you prefer a more bespoke-looking roller, then this tool is for you!

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