Gua shas of all kinds and colours have emerged as clear global victors in the past few years, but the one fabricated with metal could surpass the former’s virtues—here’s how.
If we think about the beauty industry’s flourishment, we’re clearly living in the greatest times. From the best-of-best modernisations (think tools, ingredients, devices and formulations) to the reignition of classic Ayurvedic rituals (think oil pulling, ubtans and traditional herbs), the market has everything you can imagine (and more) to offer. It’s fair to say that we’re spoilt for choices, no matter what product we venture out to shop for. Take face sculpting tools for instance—gua shas, face rollers, wands and ice globes are having a moment; from amethyst to jade, rose quartz to black obsidian, you have a spread of crystals to choose from. However, there’s something more native, more traditional, that deserves your attention. Enter: kansa, an uber-superior metal that’s made by alloying copper and tin together, also known as ‘bronze’ or ‘bell metal’. Kavita Khosa, founder, Purearth and author, Beauty Unbottled: Timeless Ayurvedic Rituals & Recipes, shares that you can’t ever procure kansa directly, it must be handmade. Perhaps, it’s time to consider this metal for your next lymphatic drainage session.
FIRST, LET’S DECODE THE HYPE ABOUT KANSA
Khosa, who has coined the term ‘Kwansha’ and awaits her patented trademark, created a gua sha using the superior alloy (kansa) because of how highly it’s spoken about in our Ayurvedic texts. “It’s an ancient Ayurvedic healing metal that not only works on the skin surface but also works at a deeper level for our internal health,” she says. Kansa, as a metal, has been a part of Indian traditions for aeons now. In the mediaeval era, people cooked meals and consumed them in bronze utensils and cutlery to reap the sundry health benefits of the alkalising metal which means it can neutralise acids. “It gives you benefits of all the metals, with copper you will have benefits of reduced skin inflammation, zinc (that also occurs in kansa) comes with benefits of improving immunity and tin helps to reduce facial stress. Overall, they maintain the pH of the skin and eliminate any imbalance by reducing the acid content,” shares Dr Geetika Gupta Mittal, celebrity dermatologist and founder, ISAAC Luxe. For the skin particularly, kansa also boasts the ability to de-puff the skin, which makes it such a great solution for all the city girls living sedentary lifestyles.
KANSA V/S CRYSTAL GUA SHAS
ICYMI, gua sha, the crystal tool, finds its origin in the texts of traditional Chinese medicine and the term literally translates to ‘scraping off the sand’. However, the ritual has been a go-to Chinese tradition for enhanced lymphatic drainage that boosts blood circulation and energy flow, stimulates the muscles and sculpts the face over time. While the surface level benefits of gua shas made up of crystals and kansa are pretty much the same, including reduced inflammation, a toned and lifted face and decreased puffiness, according to Khosa, a kansa gua sha gets an upper hand because of its deeper level action, that you may not be able to fetch out crystals, given their fragile nature.
“While stones like jade (only in its purest form) and rose quartz are lovely for the skin, using a kansa gua sha is an entirely different experience,” states Khosa. She exemplifies her claim through her or kwansha that, by the way took about three years to come to life, “If you really want to snatch your jaw or want to remodel the face—the contours, the jaw, Purearth’s kwansha helps to do that by refining and lifting the skin, activating higher collagen production and underlying musculature because of all the stimulation it gives as you can really work with the tool at much, much deeper level than a kansa wand (as it’s round) as well as crystal.” Upon being asked about her choice of gua sha, Ayurvedic doctor Ipsita Chatterjee says, “I enjoyed using both (crystal and kansa ones) based on the concerns they target. For instance, during the summer months or bouts of acne flare-ups, a kansa one works better, while a crystal gua sha can primarily be used for smoothing wrinkles and fine lines.” She furthers, “The kansa gua sha, however, contours better and is more suitable for the Indian skin.”
BOOKMARK-WORTHY TIPS TO USE A KANSA GUA SHA
If you’re convinced to add a kansa gua sha to your cart already, here are some best practices to harness the power of the prestigious metal. “Use lymphatic drainage massage techniques and the ‘Marma Point Massage’ for best results,” recommends Chatterjee, whose go-to remedy is to combine her massage rituals with SoulTree’s Advanced Kumkumadi Youthful Radiance Face Oil for healthy, blemish-free skin. Remember, never start gliding the tool on bare skin, always apply a non-comedogenic facial oil that complements your skin type. Khosa also uses her kwansha inside her mouth, “I use it very regularly for my inner cheeks, around the jaw and teeth and massage internally as well. When I was little and ever got anxious, I would develop tummy aches (like many other kids do) and I remember that my grandmother would pick up a kansa vati or bowl and put mustard oil in it and massage it all over my bell. Since copper is a great conductor of heat, the warm bowl would instantly subside my pain,” reminiscences Khosa. “To distinguish a true kansa metal from the fake ones, tap any tool on a surface, and despite its heavy nature, it will emanate a very subtle sound, just like crystals. Perhaps, that is why it’s called bell metal,” she adds. Chatterjee apprises us that using a muslin cloth to clean the tool is the best way to care for it, and not by dunking the tool into soap water.