The Ultimate Guide to Skincare Tools
A skincare routine doesn’t have to just include toners and moisturizers. It also encompasses any tools you may use, too. And although skincare gadgets are decidedly having a moment right now, many—like jade rollers—have been around for centuries.
According to Taylor Worden, celebrity esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin in New York City, there’s a skincare tool for pretty much every concern. “Depending on the gadget, [tools] can help with lifting, hydrating, contouring, toning, or exfoliating,” says Worden.
Because there are so many gadgets to choose from, we break them all down below. Read on for some guidance on choosing the best skincare tool for your complexion and how to use it.
SKINCARE TOOLS TO TRY
Best For: Dullness, Uneven Texture, Aging Skin, and Clogged Pores
Dermaplaning is an exfoliating practice that uses a blade to not only remove dead skin cells, as traditional scrubs and AHAs do, but also facial hair. (Note: This isn’t a shaver. The blades on eyebrow razors are meant to remove facial hair, not dead skin cells. Dermaplaning provides a much closer exfoliation.) While it’s traditionally done in-office, our Instant Gratification At-Home Dermaplaning Tool allows you to enjoy the benefits from your very own sink.
The results? Unblocked pores, brightened tone, and unbelievably soft texture. The lack of dead skin cells and facial hair also allows your other skincare products—such as serums—to penetrate the skin more effectively. Plus, skin’s smooth canvas ensures a more seamless makeup application.
To dermaplane, start with clean, dry skin. Hold the tool in one hand (like you’re holding a pencil) and keep skin taut with the other. Glide the dermaplaner down along the contours of your face in short, gentle strokes (no pressure needed). Remove any buildup on the blade between each section, and avoid going over the same area more than twice. Don’t combine with any other exfoliants; instead, restore hydration by following up with a hyaluronic acid serum, moisturizer, or facial oil. Get the complete tutorial here.
Best For: Puffiness and Facial Tension
While gua sha has been a form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries, you’ve probably seen the practice popping up on TikTok as of late. While many mistakenly believe Gua sha refers to a jade, rose quartz, or amethyst stone with a heart-like shape, gua sha actually refers to the practice of scraping the skin using a tool. Gua sha is performed to encourage blood flow, relieve tension, and move stagnant energy (known as qi/ci), but many also swear by its sculpting and contouring abilities. “You can gua sha every day and night with an oil to help with lymphatic drainage and toning the skin,” says Worden.
While there isn’t enough scientific research to back up its benefits, it sure does feel soothing regardless. We suggest pairing yours with the Antioxidant Oil-Serum which contains nourishing ingredients like vitamin E and sodium hyaluronate. Some suggest using a mini tool to perform gua sha on the undereyes to reduce puffiness and remedy dark circles, but proceed with caution: Tugging and pulling at the skin can aggravate this delicate area. We suggest using a jade roller instead (more on that below).
Don’t forget the skin beneath your chin, too. You can invest in a body tool for gua sha as well or simply use your facial one. Slather on the Keep It Supple Body Oil beforehand to deliver a glow from head to toe.
Jade RollerBest For: Puffiness, Inflammation, and Dryness
Jade rollers and gua sha have a lot of similarities: they both stem from TCM, relieve tension, encourage lymphatic drainage, and can be used on a daily basis. Jade rollers are particularly touted for their stone’s naturally cooling abilities, which can reduce inflammation and facial puffiness. They’re also known to help moisturize the skin by pressing hydrating ingredients deep into the pores.
After applying serums, moisturizer, and/or facial oil, gently roll onto the skin in an upwards motion, applying light to medium pressure. Start at the neck and work your way towards the hairline. If your jade roller has two sides, use the smaller piece for the undereye area after applying an eye cream (we suggest the Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm). Regardless, always roll over the skin beneath the eyes gently, moving from the inner crease to the brow bone.
Red LED Light Mask
Best For: Aging Skin and Acne
Those red LED light masks you’ve no doubt seen all over Instagram? They can “help with fine lines and promote the production of collagen,” explains the esthetician. They’re also known to help clear up blemishes, too. While there is some evidence that these LED light masks work, they can be expensive and frankly, time-consuming (Worden advises using them 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes). They work best coupled with a strong skincare routine, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen daily and layer in products for aging skin afterward, such as retinol.
Facial Acupressure Wand
Best For: Facial Tension and Puffiness
Acupressure is another TCM practice where pressure is applied to specific areas of the skin, called acupoints, to relieve tension and reduce puffiness. It’s also a major stress reliever, which has many benefits for the skin such as preventing acne and soothing redness. Even better, acupressure wands are one of the more affordable (and easy-to-use) tools on the market.
After the last step in your skincare routine (such as applying the Advanced Night Cream), use a Facial Acupressure Wand to massage pressure points for three seconds each (follow the guide below). Apply with light to medium pressure, moving outwards from the center of your face.
Best For: Dullness and Puffiness
Those red circles you’ve seen celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston donning on their backs? They’re known as cup marks, leftover from another TCM practice: cupping. As it turns out, it exists for the face too. Similar to the other TCM practices, these small, flexible cups “help with lymphatic drainage and circulation,” says Worden, brightening the skin and reducing facial puffiness.
To practice facial cupping at home, start with clean skin or one lightly moisturized with oil. Place a cup onto the skin and leave it there for just a few seconds (not too long, otherwise it can leave behind discoloration or bruising) before moving on to the next area. Continue on the rest of your skin, swapping out the cup sizes for smaller areas, like the T-zone, undereyes, and around the mouth. The increased blood flow may give you a little flushing, but if you notice any broken capillaries, reduce or stop use. You can always book a facial cupping session with a qualified professional to get the lay of the land first.
Best For: Aging Skin
Did you know? Microcurrent face tools stem from technology used to help treat patients with Bell’s Palsy, a condition that weakens the facial muscles and causes a dropping appearance. These devices use an electric current to strengthen the muscles beneath the skin, lifting, firming, and toning its appearance, says Worden. A professional can use this gadget on you during a microcurrent facial or you can use similar technology at home. Caution: These tools do not come cheap. Also, like LED masks, the in-office tech is much more powerful than at-home microcurrent tools; you’re likely to get better results with a professional visit.
Before starting, you must apply a conducting gel (this allows the electric current from the tool to reach the skin). Turn it on and move upwards, focusing on the cheekbones, jawlines, brow bones, and forehead. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a pacemaker, or an electrical plate, avoid microcurrent tools and incorporate firming skincare instead.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU USE SKINCARE TOOLS?
Even with the above guidelines, remember that everyone’s skin is unique. “Always follow the gadget’s directions and listen to your skin,” says Worden. And with electronic tools in particular, “test out the gadget first and make sure you don’t have a reaction,” says the pro. “Start with the lowest level and work your way up to the more advanced levels.”
Just like other exfoliants, it is possible to use dermaplaning tools too often. “I would only use this, at maximum, once a week,” says Worden.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN TOOLS
Cleaning your tools is perhaps the most important step of all to avoid a buildup of bacteria and residue. Each tool should have instructions on how to best keep it clean, although many (like a gua sha tool or jade roller) can be sanitized using a Reusable Cotton Pad and a bit of rubbing alcohol or hand soap.
If you’re using a dermaplaning tool, make sure to always use a sharp blade to avoid nicking the skin. While our tool is reusable, swap out the stainless steel blades every 3-4 uses and, when you’re ready, order refills.
SHOULD YOU REFRIGERATE YOUR SKINCARE TOOLS?
Some swear by storing tools in the fridge (or even freezer) to take advantage of a cold temperature’s de-puffing, anti-inflammatory benefits. Before running to the kitchen—or investing in a skincare fridge—make sure your specific tool is safe to store there. Worden advises that most jade rollers can be kept in the fridge; while the stone naturally has a cooling effect, keeping it cold “feels good and helps with puffy undereyes.”