They say you can tell a lot about a person by their eyes. And these days, that worries me.
For starters, although I sometimes forget I’m not 25, my eyes don’t—they remember each and every one of their 33 years, and have some pesky fine lines to prove it. There’s a little extra damage thanks to a history of fake-bake tans (forgive me—I went to prom in 2002) and one Legitimate Wrinkle that I blame on a super-stressful “Game of Thrones” finale (I call him Jean-Luc—he’s actually kind of charming once you get to know him). As for the puffy dark circles, I suspect those have something to do with my 10-month-old daughter, who has endless amounts of energy despite napping once every other week.
I do what I can. I get the occasional facial, moisturize on the regular, mask on the weekends, and recently bought a very expensive “miracle broth” lotion from a very expensive-looking French woman. That said, there’s plenty of room for improvement—which is how I ended up with a jade roller.
What Is a Jade Roller?
The latest gadget to hit Instagram #selfcare vanities, jade rollers are hand-held facial massagers crafted from their namesake gemstones. Although the origin story is hazy, according to Internet beauty lore, women in China have been using them since ancient times to promote circulation, increase lymphatic drainage, and stimulate anti-inflammatory properties in the skin. More recently, celebrity makeup artists began name-dropping jade rollers a couple of years ago, citing the tiny tools as the secret behind bright, youthful eyes (see also: Botox). Fast-forward to 2018, and they’re on the beauty VIP list.
These days, you can buy a jade roller pretty much anywhere with a decent assortment of skincare products. Big-box stores sell versions for under $10, while higher-end department stores stock models that run close to $75; I chose a mid-priced $25 roller with impressive online reviews. Made from natural jade, it promised to “help reduce fine lines, minimize pores, and tighten the skin” as well as “assist the lymphatic system by helping drain lymphatic fluids and toxins.”
Putting the Jade Roller to the Test
I’ll try anything once—especially for $25—so I was excited to put it to the test. The instructions recommend using it in the morning and evening for up to 10 minutes per session, which is a little longer that I usually devote to skincare (as in, 9 minutes longer). But in the name of science—and Jean-Luc—I resolved to commit to the routine for a week.
First things first: I washed my face and applied my usual eye serum and moisturizer (some say jade rollers massage these in deeper so your skin soaks up the benefits). Then I got to rolling. Starting at my neck, I rolled upward and outward as recommended using gentle pressure. Allegedly, this motion best stimulates circulation and toxin removal, but toxins or no toxins, common sense dictates that you never want to pull down the skin on your face—especially in your mid-30s.
Although 10 minutes was a bit of a stretch, I immediately bonded with my new jade roller—as it turns out, my face has been begging for a massage. My skin didn’t look any different after one session, but my entire face felt refreshed and relaxed. Even my forehead and eyebrows—which are always conspiring to furrow—took it easy for the morning.
About halfway through the week, I began popping the roller in the fridge, as many advanced beauty buffs advise. The idea is that the cool stone will better treat puffiness, similar to how ice reduces swelling. While I can’t say that I noticed any immediate difference, it did feel amazing, especially in the morning, and my jade roller earned a permanent spot next to the orange juice.
By the end of the week, I had to admit what I had begun to suspect: the aesthetic difference was minimal. I did notice a slightly more even skin tone immediately after rolling, but that didn’t seem to last into the day. My eyes may have appeared a little less puffy, but an extra hour of sleep probably would have done a better job. Jean-Luc was not impressed.
To confirm, I asked my boyfriend the question that every man dreads: “Do you notice anything different about me?” He panicked, took a long scan of my face, and told me my hair looked great. Was it a bad answer? No. But it wasn’t a great endorsement for my jade roller, either.
Despite the time commitment, I enjoyed jade rolling—so much so that I only missed one session, which is more than I can say for every other step of my haphazard skincare routine!