Facial and Back Gua Sha – An Ancient Chinese Therapy

Gua Sha is actually an ancient Chinese therapy that involves scraping the skin to promote blood circulation and removing toxic.

First, liquid medicine of olive oil or herbs is rubbed on the painful area or acu-points to stimulate blood circulation in the body. Then the skin will be scraped using a jade or horn blade from top to bottom according to the direction of blood flow.

Some blood capillaries break and release the red blood cell, hemoglobin. Such stimulation can promote blood circulation and remove obstruction in the collateral and toxins from the body, which then relieves pain. Though red, purple or black bruises appear after the scraping, during the treatment, the patient rarely feels any pain.
Facial gua sha is a lot different from the gua sha that you perform on your back. Facial gua sha is more relaxing as well comparing to the back gua sha. Benefits include increasing blood circulation, reduce wrinkles and dark circles under eyes and even face lifting.
After the redness from the broken capillaries disappears users clain to truly see their skin glowing and a lifting of the skin. In terms of wrinkle reduction and decreasing dark circles, it can be hit or miss, and will most likely take several treatments to see circles fade.
Fun fact about jade horns; Jade is the universal symbol for good luck and has been treasured in China as the royal gemstone for 5,000 years. Jade is a stone of the heart and is said to increase a person’s capacity for giving and receiving love. Jade is also a stone of fidelity.

Scrapping can also promote the metabolism, detoxify the body every day used, and discharge waste.

You can buy the horn online or in most Chinese supermarkets. There are numerous TCM Clinics and Shanghai and Beijing that also specialize in this.

Another fun fact, ivory and jade combs are said to promote hair strengthening and to prevent hair thinning and hair loss!


Chinese Influence in Korean Beauty

One of the most prevalent brands in China, is the:

The History of Whoo Hwa Hyun Line

This is Korean brand is a premium whiteninghydrating, and anti-aging line with precious concentrated ingredients that dates back to court recipes of Queen Jahee, a Chinese beauty.
From the ancient Chinese dynasties, Queen Jahee stayed indoors to keep her skin fair. She had a special skin care recipe that was written down and preserved because of its effectiveness (and thankfully the Hwa Hyun is concentrated with it). She would use crushed Jade powder and Gold powder and roll it gently on her skin, massaging it thoroughly onto the skin – she did this everyday to preserve her beauty. It was written down that, although she was of mature age, she had skin of a seventeen-year old (all this information is from the Korean SA I talked to 🙂 – she translated the brochure for me). The History of Whoo used her recipe, and combined it with powdered Siberian Deer Antlers, and other 40 medicinal herbs for more effectiveness (a more modern invention of Queen Jahee’s recipe).

The History of Whoo has created the Hwa Hyun Balancer (toner) 150ml, Hwa Hyun Essence 50ml, Hwa Hyun Lotion 110ml, Hwa Hyun Eye Cream 25ml, and Hwa Hyun Cream 60ml.

~Potent Ingredients~

Jade Powder: In ancient China, jade powder was used to remove pigmentation and aid in whitening the skin. It forms a moisture barrier on the skin to help protect the skin from losing moisture, elasticity, and stimulate the regeneration of new cells.
Technology: The technology used is of course nano-technology – The History of Whoo has stabilized the gold powder, jade powder, deer antlers, and other 40 medicinal herbs to nano-size so these ingredients effectively reach within the deepest layers of your skin to regenerate your skin.
The Hwa Hyun line is for whitening too – so how does this compare to The History of Whoo Seol Whitening line? Firstly, the Hwa Hyun line is much for moisturizing and hydrating to the skin. Both are treatment lines, however, The History of Whoo Seol Whitening line is made for all skin types – so if you have dry skin, no it may not hydrate your skin, but for normal or normal/combo, it will keep your skin at a normal state.
The Hwa Hyun line is for dry skin types (normal and oily skin types can use this too – as it will help with oil production), which will help keep your skin hydrated – its an all in one cream!  You can find it online and in major department stores.
So even the gorgeous women of Korea have China to thank for their skin!

Skincare Tips from Empresses and Concubines

Women everywhere give top priority to skincare in their daily beauty regime. And as the body’s largest organ, the skin deserves special attention. Chinese beauties of yester-millenia practiced aromatherapy, applied organic facial masks and took herbal remedies in efforts to maintain their flawless complexions. Judging from historical descriptions of the legendary beauties Empress Wu Zetian and the Tang concubine Yang Guifei, their efforts paid off.

Zhang Lihua, renowned beauty and concubine of Chen Shubao (553-604), last Southern Dynasties Emperor, compiled the earliest recorded imperial skincare recipe. Zhang preserved her striking good looks with the help of a facial cream made from egg-white and powdered vermilion. It was concocted by pricking a hole in an egg big enough to extract the yolk, pouring powdered vermilion into the egg white and sealing the hole with wax. The egg was then replaced inside the hen’s womb and left to incubate with the coming clutch. The cream that congealed inside the sealed egg reportedly whitened and smoothed the complexion.

Empress Lü Zhi

Empress Lü Zhi (241BC-180BC), wife of Liu Bang, founding emperor of  the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220), set great store by Tremella fuciformis. Both in civil life and as empress, she started each day with a bowl of soup made from this edible jelly fungus.

Tremella fuciformis is sweet to taste and rich in natural colloids. By nourishing the yin it stimulates the circulation which, in turn, revitalizes the complexion. Imbibing this fungus keeps facial pigmentation and freckles at bay, promotes gastrointestinal peristalsis and reduces fat absorption. Tremella fuciformis is cheap and easy to prepare. Simply soak it in water and braise with rock candy, lotus seed, and pawpaw to make a thick, nourishing soup.


Yang Yuhuan(Yang Guifei)

Yang Yuhan (719-756), better known as Yang Guifei, or the fragrant concubine, is probably the most famous of Tang beauties.

Yang was the most favored concubine of Tang Emperor Xuanzong (685-762). Her power over him secured high government appointments for members of her family. Historical records of speak of Yang Guifei as having a “face that puts flowers to shame.” Yang maintained her luminous complexion with her own almond cream recipe:


Soak a towel in a bowl of warm water mixed with one table spoon of almond oil and one of honey. Cover and uncover your face with the towel a few times. The combination of almond oil and honey softens and smoothes the skin. Yang’s personally concocted almond preparation maintained her glowing, youthful complexion. Bathing in spring water toned her body, keeping it supple, and milk baths moisturized her skin, bringing out its healthy glow.


Empress Wu Tse-tien

Empress Wu Tse-tien (Wu Zetian, 625-705) was the only female emperor in Chinese history. Wu Zetian had been a de facto ruler of China through her husbands Emperor Taizong and his son and succeeding emperor Kaozong from 665 to 690. She broke all precedents in 690 when she founded her own Zhou dynasty.

Historical records speak of her youthful-looking complexion at the age of 80. Chinese motherwort (yi mu cao) was a main ingredient of Wu’s facial beauty preparations.

Wu named one of her recipes “fairy powder.”


1. Pick Chinese Motherwort (yi mu cao) on the 5th day of the fifth lunar month and let it dry in the sun.
2. Pound the herbs into powder, add flour and water and shape them into egg-shape pills;
3. Burn the pills and pound them into powder;
4. Add talcum powder and kermes (dried bodies of female scale insects).
To use:
Wash face and body with the powder, morning and evening.

Wu also nourished her complexion with a more complex herbal facial mask.


Mix with lard the powdered Chinese herbs Siebold wildginger (xi xin), Rhizoma polygonati odorati (wei rui), astragalus root (huang qi), Typhonium rhizome (bai fu zi), Chinese yam (shan yao), Magnolia liliflora (xin yi), Cnidium officinale (chuan qiong), Radix angelicae dahuricae (bai zhi), and Fructus trichosanthis (gua lou) and spread on the face.

To use:

Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse off with cold water.

Wu habitually ate food rich in protein and microelements, such as skin and tendons, aquatic foods and flower jam. She was also a devotee of aromatherapy, and would burn special herbs whose fragrance cleared her head and helped her stay alert.


Princess Taiping

Princess Taiping was the youngest daughter of Wu Zetian and Emperor Gaozong (628-683), and wielded much power during the reigns of her mother and two brothers (both of whom ruled twice), Emperor Zhongzong (655-710) and Emperor Ruizong (662-716). She was of particular influence during the latter’s second reign.

Empress Wu shared her royal skincare recipes with her favorite daughter.

Princess Taiping’s exclusive facial mask recipe: 
Grind peach blossoms that have dried in the shade into powder and mix into a paste with the blood of a black chicken. The mask nourishes and whitens the skin and stimulates the metabolism.

Soup made from this breed of “black-bone” chicken was, and still is, considered a tonic of immense medical properties. Tang dynasty women dosed themselves with black-bone concoctions to replenish their qi (vital energy) and blood, regulate menstruation and inhibit leucorrhea (period pains).


Princess Yonghe

Princess Yonghe was the daughter of Tang Emperor Suzong (711-762). She left to posterity recipes for her preferred facial cleanser and bath salts according to Taiping Shenghuifang (Taiping Sacred Remedies), the first national Song Dynasty (960-1297) medical book.

Princess Yonghe’s Herbal Bean Cleanser for expelling wind, stimulating the circulation, nourishing the skin and moisturizing the complexion.


90g Radix et Sophorae Tonkinensis (ji gu xiang), 150g Radix angelicae dahuricae (bai zhi), 150g Rhizoma chuanxiong (chuan xiong), 150g Semen trichosanthis (gua lou ren), 300g Fructus gleditsiae (zao jia), 250g soybean, and 250g Semen phaseoli (chi xiao dou).

To use:

Wash your face with the powder, morning and evening.

Princess Yonghe’s bath salts recipe for moisturizing the skin, removing spots and emitting fragrance


150g sheng glutinous rice, 30g oxhide gelatin, 30g Rhizoma et Radix ligustici (gao ben), 30g Rhizoma chuanxiong (chuan xiong), 30g Herba asari (xi xin), 30g Radix et Rhizoma nardostachyos (gan song), 240g Fructus gleditsiae (zao jia), 60g Radix angelicae dahuricae (bai zhi), 60g Lignum santali albi (tan xiang), 45g Rhizoma atractylodis macrocephalae (bai zhu), 45g Poria (fu ling), 15g Lignum aquilariae resinatrm (chen xiang) and 90g Fructus broussonetiae (chu shi zi)

To use:

Wash the face and hands with the powder
This herbal mixture cleanses, moisturizes and smoothes the skin and promotes a glowing complexion.
Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), popularly known as the West Dowager Empress, was of the Manchu Yehe Nara Clan. This powerful and charismatic figure was the behind-the-scenes ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty for the 48 years between the death of her husband in 1861 and her own demise in 1908.

Cixi set up a medical organ specifically to carry out research on the medical and skin-care properties of powdered pearl. Having maintained for decades the strict regimen of a daily draught of one spoonful of pearl powder and several tonic herbs, the Empress Dowager Cixi was a vital woman whose face was said to have a jade-like sheen.

Pearl Powder is a natural source of calcium made from the choicest freshwater pearls. It nourishes the bones, skin, and nervous system.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium are recommended for teens and young adults, particularly women. Adequate calcium intake nourishes the bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis later in life, but a daily dosage in excess of 2,000 mg is surplus to most people’s needs.

The Classical Chinese Materia Medica compiled by the famous Ming dynasty doctor Li Shizhen prescribes powdered pearl for facial skin health: “Spread on the face to lubricate the skin and nourish the complexion. Spread on the hands and feet to soften rough patches and smooth the skin.”

But skin-care recipes only work on women who maintain an essentially healthy, confident and positive approach to life. No amount of preparations or herbal remedies can mask the stress and strain mirrored in the face. Good spirits and a balanced mentality foster an inner beauty manifest in a balanced temperament and attractive personality. Do you pursue beauty of mind as hotly as you do a pretty face?


Snail Essence for Fighting Acne

It’s a big hit in Korea and Mexico, and now it has hit China (or maybe come back)…I am talking about Snail Extract!

Watsons is now selling Beauty Plus’s Snail Extract line, and  cosmetics companies all over the world, are now touting snail guts as the new heaven-sent ingredient for skin care. Further, creams containing large amounts of snail extract have been selling fast in Seoul.

Although Korea is hardly the first market for snail creams — European cosmetics companies have been selling snail cream for a number of years and a Chilean snail cream hit the market in 1995 — snail skin-care products have exploded in popularity among Korean women over the past year.

Snail extract is said to have rich ingredients

Snail extract “soothes, regenerates and heals skin,” says Jeong Chang-hyun, deputy head of product planning for cosmetics company ‘Able C&C.’

‘Able C&C’ owns beauty brand ‘Missha,’ which released a snail cream in June 2010.

Snail extract is believed highly potent remove scars, acne and wrinkles.

img.New Trend: Cure Acne with Snail Extract/beautyanddiets.com

The most widely produced products is to eliminate acne, scars and burn scars.

What is snail extract?

The technical name for snail slime is “Helix Aspersa Müller Glycoconjugates.” It’s described as a thick  fluid gathered by stimulating live snails. (Sounds like a job Sarah Bellum would enjoy.) Chemically speaking, snail slime is a complex mixture of proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, glycoprotein enzymes, hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, antimicrobial peptides and trace elements including copper, zinc, and iron.

The science of snail slime

There are a number of brands that claim to harness the power of snail trails. For example, there’s Bioskincare, who says their product “protects, deeply moisturizes, renews and triggers the regeneration of skin damaged by acne, injuries, overstretching, photo-aging or dermatological/medical treatments.” There are certainly plenty of references in the scientific literature. First of all, there a number of patents related to how to gather the secretion and process it for use in cosmetics. One Chilean doctor, for example, patented a procedure for gathering the secretions by agitating snails in warm water and then filtering the mucin.  Another patent, credited to a Spanish Oncologist, involves stressing the snails mechanically to induce the production of their mucin.

Will snail slime make wrinkles Es-car-go-away?

So does it really work? A quick Pubmed search reveals a variety of papers describing the effect of snail slime on cell cultures. In these studies a variety of effects where seen including the proliferation of fibroblasts, stimulation of new collagen and elastin fibers, and increased production of fibronectin proteins just to name a few.   I did find a few other studies, though, that indicate snail extract improves skin condition by increasing the dermis’ natural ability to take up and hold water. And perhaps most interesting were the studies suggesting that the slime might have topical wound healing properties. There’s enough legitimate science here to make me think that snail extract may be a beneficial ingredient.

As ridiculous as this sounds at first, snail slime may be a powerful bioactive material. and don’t bother paying top dollar trying to get it from Chile, Mexico, Europe, or anywhere else, when our local Watson’s has the whole snail extract range taken care of!

Divum’s Lingzhi Essence

Divum Menard is a popular skin care range that is often found on the glossy pages of SmartShe, Self, and Vogue.  Images of beautiful ‘normal’ Chinese woman with pearly white, taught skin always accompany the adverts, promising what all brands promise.  There may be something to this one though as Vogue and Self often feature it in their write-ups and comparison tests.

In the last few months, Divum has jumped on the Lingzhi or Reishi mushroom (take a look at my old post to learn more about the benefits of this mushroom: https://chinesebeautysteals.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=33&action=edit) bandwagon that its competitors including Yue Sai, Origins and even Lancome have just introduced.  Divum’s range may prove a cheaper, equally effective alternative to Lancome and Origins.

Included in the new line is:

DX Reishi extract Cream, DX Reishi extract Cleansing Cream, DX Ganoderma Mask, DX Reishi extract water <refreshing>, DX Ganoderma Essence <moisture->, Reishi extract Yulu DX, DX Ganoderma Cream, DX Ganoderma Essence

The line including Divum’s signature use of traditional Chinese ingredients ganoderma and ginseng basis.  The new ingredient is the Lingzhi Siberian fungus, and it  is said to activate the repairing process, clearing dead skin cells, and firming the skin.   Thus slowing down signs of aging.

With beautiful packaging, and made in Suzhou, China, Divum’s new line is likely to be an excellent local alternative to the high-end European brands also introducing Reishi mushroom lines this season



Dear Readers

I apologize for the delay in posting.  I have had troubles with accessing WordPress for some reason, even when using a VPN.  Don’t know why, but maybe I am being censored, lol.  It seems to be working again, so I will start posting regularly.  Thanks for understanding!

3 Top Facial Masks

Three new facial masks have been featured in Self magazine in China.   Here they are:

For Beloved One – White clean bio-fiber mask 3 / RMB385
The world’s first bio-fiber mask, with iontophoresis effect, while also tightening the skin. Evenly apply for three days and see bright, white, perfect skin!

DHC Platinum –  multi Mask 5 / RMB180
Each mask is full of beauty 21mL moisture and liquid of double-nano skin care ingredients which will give even skin tone, and revitalize the skin cells.
Yue Sai – Peel Mask 3mlx2x5/RMB160 restart life
Use each mask for ten minutes.  It will turn dull, rough, flawed skin to … … color clarity and bright, white uniformness! Continuous use for five days, significantly reduces black, and delicate skin smoother.




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