Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 11/13/2021
If you’ve ever spent time searching for ways to reduce puffing, get radiant skin or just scrolling through Instagram, you’ve probably heard of face rollers.
Typically made from jade, pink quartz or other minerals, face rollers are typically promoted as do-all devices for your skin that can get rid of swelling, contour your face and give your skin a radiant, eye-catching glow.
While not all of the purported benefits of face rollers are backed up by science, they do offer a variety of skin care advantages.
Below, we’ve explained what face rollers are, as well as the benefits they may be able to offer for your skin’s health and appearance.
We’ve also explained how you can use a face roller to smooth your skin, stimulate blood flow and decrease puffiness.
Finally, we’ve busted a few common myths about face rollers and explained how a face roller can fit in as part of your existing skin care routine.
A face roller is a small, handheld item that’s used to massage your face. Most face rollers are made using valuable minerals such as jade, quartz or amethyst, while others are made using stainless steel, plastic or other materials.
Face rollers are typically dual-ended, with roller balls at either end. Most face rollers have two roller balls of varying sizes and/or textures, allowing you to massage your chin, forehead and cheeks, as well as your more defined facial contours.
Like with other skin care devices, facial rollers can vary hugely in price. Some are available for $20 or less, while high-end jade stone or quartz rollers can cost as much as $200 or more.
Most modern face rollers are inspired by the ancient Chinese healing practice of gua sha, which involves scraping the skin with jade to encourage healing and rejuvenation.
Proponents of face rollers often claim that they can make skin smoother, slow down or reverse the effects of aging on your skin, improve your mood and quality of life and enhance your facial contours, such as your cheekbones or chin.
While there isn’t any scientific evidence to back up many of these claims, research shows that facial rolling and similar practices may offer real benefits for your skin.
Facial massage techniques have long been promoted for their ability to promote relaxation and maintain healthy skin.
Research shows that using a facial roller may help to promote blood flow to your face, which is important for maintaining your skin and other tissue.
In a study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2018, researchers tested the effects of facial massage rolling on blood flow.
They found that short-term massage with a face roller increased blood flow for approximately 10 minutes after the massage.
Steady, consistent blood flow is essential for maintaining the health of any tissue, including your skin.
While the blood flow benefits of facial rolling don’t last for long, they may help to keep your skin looking and feeling its best, especially if you massage your face with a roller several times each day.
When excess fluid builds up inside your skin, it can cause your face to appear puffy and reduce the visibility of your natural contours.
Makers of face rollers have long claimed that they reduce puffiness through a process referred to as lymphatic drainage, or removing lymph fluids from the face.
While scientific research on the relationship between facial rolling and puffy skin is limited, there is real scientific evidence that applying cold to your skin can control swelling and make your skin appear less puffy.
For example, cryotherapy — or the application of cold substances to skin — has long been used to control skin swelling by constricting blood vessels.
While using a room temperature facial roller probably won’t have this effect, you may be able to reduce swelling by chilling your face roller in the fridge for a few minutes before rolling it on your skin.
Few things are as relaxing as a calming, therapeutic massage. Just like getting a foot or body massage can promote calmness, research suggests that facial massage may help to prevent anxiety and promote a more positive mood.
In a study published in the journal Biomedical Research, experts measured the effects of facial massage on a group of 32 women.
They found that the women showed improvements in some tests of anxiety and mood, such as the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Profile of Mood Status (POMS), after receiving a 45-minute facial massage.
While this study’s findings are promising, it’s important to keep in mind that it didn’t involve the use of a facial roller for massage.
Although there’s no research on skin rollers and wrinkles specifically, research has found a link between facial massage and improvements in some aspects of facial skin aging.
In a study published in the journal PLoS One in 2017, researchers found that women who used a commercial anti-aging cream showed bigger improvements in wrinkles and skin texture when they massaged their face with a device than when they applied the treatment normally.
This suggests that massage may improve the absorption of anti-aging products and other skin care treatments, or that it could have an anti-aging effect on the skin on its own.
It’s important to note that this study didn’t involve facial rollers, meaning the same benefits may not be possible with facial rolling alone.
Using a facial roller is simple. In fact, it only takes a few minutes every day to use a facial roller to improve blood flow and promote healthier skin.
Follow the steps below to use your facial roller effectively:
Start by washing your face using warm water and, if necessary, your choice of cleanser or facial wash. Facial rollers work best on clean skin. Avoid using hot water, as this may dry out your skin and increase your risk of developing irritation.
Next, apply your favorite moisturizer, serum or mask. This helps to stop the facial roller from pulling on your skin or causing irritation. It may also improve the absorption rate of your chosen skin care products.
Give the skin care product some time to be absorbed by your skin. Try waiting for 30 to 60 seconds after applying moisturizer or other skin care products.
Starting from your jawline, gently move the roller upwards to your ear. The facial roller should pass over your cheeks and cheekbones. Roll several times on one side of your face, then switch to the other and complete the same motion.
Starting from your forehead, move the roller towards your temples. Roll upwards with a soft, gentle motion. Just like before, make sure to repeat this motion to target both sides of your forehead.
Try using the skin roller on other parts of your face. You can gently roll sideways under your eyes, upwards on your forehead towards your hairline, or carefully roll along your jawline in an outward motion to target puffing and loose skin.
After you’ve used the facial roller on your face, use it on your neck. Make slow, careful movements from the center of your neck, going outwards and upwards to treat the skin that moves when you talk, smile or make other movements with your jaw.
Make sure to only use your roller in one direction, not back and forth. Use a gentle touch when you apply the roller to your face. If the facial roller is pulling on your skin or hurting you, you’re using too much pressure.
After you finish using your face roller, carefully clean it using soap and warm water. Rest it on a clean towel or cloth to dry it out between uses.
You can use your facial roller as part of your daily beauty routine, or whenever you feel like your face is looking puffy, tired or showing issues such as dark circles.
Avoid using your facial roller if you have painful, itchy or irritated skin.
If you’re using a facial roller to combat puffiness, try cleaning your face roller and storing it in the fridge between uses.
This may help to lower puffiness by cooling your face and constricting your blood vessels.
Like with many other natural skin care products, there are lots of myths about what facial rollers can and can’t do for your skin tone, skin texture and overall health. We’ve busted a few of these common myths below.
Many holistic health websites claim that rose quartz or jade rollers offer unique benefits, such as the ability to transfer the healing powers of a rare mineral to your skin.
While there are real benefits to rolling your skin, many of the powers attributed to jade, obsidian, quartz and other “healing crystals” aren’t supported by scientific research.
Another common claim made about face rolling is that it can drain harmful toxins, chemicals and other substances from your face and body.
While massaging your skin can promote lymphatic drainage, there’s no scientific evidence that it has any effect on toxins.
There’s also no evidence that “toxins” or other substances can build up in your face or other tissue in the first place.
Thankfully, your body already has a highly effective system for getting rid of toxins in the form of your liver, kidneys, lungs and even your skin.
Another common myth is that using a face roller as part of your daily routine can make your face physically slimmer.
While facial rolling can temporarily reduce skin puffiness, it can’t burn body fat or make changes to your bone structure.
As such, you shouldn’t expect to see any long-term changes in the width or shape of your face from rolling alone.
Using a face roller is a good way to relax, stimulate blood flow and maintain your skin. While not all of the purported benefits of facial rolling are supported by science, there is evidence that face rolling may play a role in helping your skin look and feel its best.
If you decide to use a face roller, we recommend the following:
Avoid overspending. Many face rollers are expensive. For example, it’s not uncommon for a jade roller from a well-known brand to cost $100 or more, especially if it’s marketed as a luxury beauty tool. When it comes to face rollers, there’s no need to overspend. Whether you shop online or in person, you should be able to find a good quality face roller in the $15 to $50 range.
Try using your roller on a daily basis. It only takes a few minutes to get the benefits of a face roller. Try adding it to your daily beauty regimen for better product absorption and improved blood circulation.
Take a break if your skin feels uncomfortable. Rolling shouldn’t hurt your skin, but if it does, it’s important to take a break. If you have sensitive skin, try to use your facial roller every other day, or just once or twice a week.
Refrain from using a face roller if you have open sores our wounds, however, as a roller can actually make your skin worse and even help spread infection.
Finally, while a facial roller may help to treat puffing and improve your skin’s blood circulation, it shouldn’t be viewed as a do-all skin care device.
If you have acne, fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation or other common skin care products, a facial roller on its own is unlikely to solve them.
Instead, you’ll get far better results from proven, science-based skin care products such as moisturizers and medicated creams.
Maintaining smooth, great-looking skin isn’t just about doing one thing. Instead, it’s about taking care of your skin from every angle using a range of proven, science-based products, habits and lifestyle choices.
Interested in learning more about caring for your skin? Our guide to building a face care routine covers everything you need to know about caring for your skin, from slowing down the effects of aging to protecting your skin from UV damage, acne and more.