Written by Grove Collaborative

We tried it: Do jade rollers work?

Last Updated: June 1, 2021

Jade rolling feels good, looks pretty, and, as far as skincare routines go, is pretty low maintenance. But does it really prevent signs of aging and how do you actually do it? Grove writer, Mackenzie Sanford, gave it a try and is here to document her experience and results.

I hoard skincare products like a dragon hoards gold. I’ve got acid toners, a jar of snail mucus, Egyptian Magic, four cleansers, a gua sha tool, my beloved blackhead strips, and now –– a jade roller.


I’ve been wanting to try out one of these bad boys for ages. They look like the type of elegant curio you’d find on the vanity of Hedy Lamarr, and they boast alluring claims of lymph drainage and sculpted cheekbones to boot — although it was this video that really sealed the deal for me.


So, what’s all the hype about? Do jade rollers really work, or am I just a sucker for pretty things? Let’s find out.

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What is jade rolling, anyway?

The dragon’s treasure

Jade rollers have been around since the 17th century, when they were used in the beauty routines of ancient Chinese royalty. They work their magic by a two-fold process: first, they stimulate blood circulation by gently massaging your facial tissues, leaving your skin brighter and subtly contoured.


The second way they work is by draining lymphatic fluid. Lymph fluid moves white blood cells and nutrients through your body, but it also excretes toxins. Unlike blood, which moves fairly quickly on its own, lymph fluid is more slow-going and can become “stuck,” causing swelling and puffiness. Enter jade rolling. It works stagnant lymph fluid out of your face, resulting in less puffiness and more glowing radiance.

How to use a jade roller

The core tenet of jade rolling is to do it on a clean face, lest you move makeup and dirt deeper into your skin with the tool. Lubricate your freshly washed visage with a good serum or moisturizer that has a lot of slip — otherwise the roller could pull and tug at your skin and potentially contribute to wrinkles.


There’s really no right or wrong way to use the jade roller, but it’s recommended that you roll in upward strokes from the center outward, applying a medium pressure. It helps to visually split your face in half, and work one side at a time, in this order:


  1. Neck: Using the large end of the roller, start at the base of your neck and roll in upward strokes, stopping at the base of your skull. Roll five to ten times on the right side of your neck, then repeat on the left side.

  2. Cheeks: From the center of your chin, begin rolling upward toward your ear. Repeat the motion five to six times then move to the opposite side.

  3. Forehead: Hold the roller parallel to your eyebrows, and roll from the center of your forehead to your temple. Repeat five to six times, then switch to the other side.

  4. Under eyes: Now use the small end of the roller to gently roll from your inner eye toward the outer corner. Repeat ten to fifteen times, then move to your other eye.

  5. Brows: Place the small roller between your eyebrows, and roll out over your eyebrow. Repeat five to ten times, then switch brows.

  6. Jaw: Still using the small roller, run it over your jawline bone from the bottom center of your chin up toward your earlobe five to six times, moving it back and forth over any areas that feel especially tight.

That’s it! As you roll, you’ll probably notice your skin start to flush. This is a good sign –– it means your circulation is increasing.

How often should you use a jade roller?

For best results, jade roll daily for five minutes. I think when people fail at it and write off jade rolling as just another fad, it’s because they aren’t doing it consistently for long enough.


To get the most out of my jade roller routine, I set a timer on my phone for five minutes and roll away. It’s a good time for daydreaming of magical beasts in faraway lands and staring lovingly at my cat.

How should you clean a jade roller?

As with any skincare tool, too much buildup on your jade roller can cause acne and irritation –– thanks, but no thanks. Eschew the icky nasties, and clean the roller after each use to keep moisturizers, body oils, and bacteria from accumulating.


On lazy days, I wet a cotton pad with micellar water and give the rollers a rub-down, but about once a week, I wash it with a gentle cleanser and warm water.

Do jade rollers work?

I jade rolled my face and neck every day for a week to see if it really does what it claims to do.


Sculpting

Claim: Jade rolling lends definition to the cheekbones and jawline.


Verdict: While it’s (sadly) impossible for a jade roller to slim your face, they do a pretty decent job of contouring and sculpting, especially with daily use. After a couple days, my round cheeks were a little more defined, but there was no noticeable difference on my jawline.


Glowing skin

Claim: Skin has a healthy glow after jade rolling.


Verdict: Jade rolling increases blood flow, which can result in plumped, firmed, and glowing skin. This was definitely something I noticed from day one. My skin had a healthy, rosy glow, like I’d been running hand-in-hand with a handsome-yet-dangerous faerie king through his enchanted forest instead of waking up late and staring at my phone for an hour.


Decreased puffiness

Claim: Rolling decreases redness and puffiness.


Verdict: Puffiness isn’t a problem for me, but a lot of people rave about jade rolling to defeat morning puffiness. Improved circulation and lymphatic drainage helps ease swelling, so it stands to reason that jade rolling would be great for this purpose.


Try putting your roller in the fridge or freezer overnight for a little extra oomph to get rid of swelling in the AM.


Relaxation

Claim: Jade rolling provides a gentle facial massage that relieves tension and relaxes facial muscles.


Verdict: The divine sensation I got the first time I used my roller could rival the pleasurable tingles I get from my favorite ASMR video. The jade roller eases the tension I have in my jaw from anxiously clenching my teeth all day like I’m driving 245 kph on the Autobahn. And a few strokes over my cheeks does wonders for relaxing my other overworked facial muscles.


Faster product absorption

Claim: Jade rollers help deliver product deeper into your skin, aiding quicker absorption.


Verdict: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this to work, but it did. I have one serum in particular that takes forever to absorb, but it smells really good so I keep using it.


I dolloped the usual amount on my face after cleansing, rolled my heart out for five minutes, and let me tell you –– instead of looking like a greasy mess for an hour, the serum absorbed super quickly and left me with a subtle, dewy glow. Jade rolling is also great for moving face masks deeper into your skin.


Lymphatic drainage

Claim: Jade rollers move stagnant lymph fluid and flush toxins that accumulate underneath facial tissue.


Verdict: Manual lymph drainage is a real thing, and there’s science to back it up. While it’s hard to say if all my jade rolling succeeded in kicking my lymph fluid into gear, my face certainly feels less stuffy and more awake than it did pre-jade roller.

Before and after jade rolling

Before jade rolling

After jade rolling

Final thoughts on jade rolling

On aesthetics alone, I give the Superbloom Jade Quartz Facial Roller a 10/10. I’ve given it pride of place on my vanity so I can admire its beauty amongst my hoard of treasures while I primp and preen.


It’s got a lovely weight to it that highlights the quality of stone used, unlike some rollers on the market which are made from plastic and harsh dyes. It’s super easy to use, and I love how it makes me feel like I’m going the extra mile — especially on days when self-care is the last thing on my mind.

About the author: Mackenzie Sanford is a writer and musician reading too many Medieval fantasy novels in the Midwest. She’s been writing for Grove since 2020.

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