A Routine for Self Care
It’s officially the first week of Summer and I’ve been itching to share my new nightly ritual for the season that includes two pieces from Yina’s re-launched skincare collection. I adored a number of items from their original collection, first having experienced their Lucent mist & oil duo courtesy of Boxwalla’s summer 2019 beauty box, and later others including their cleanser, sheet masks and decolletage balm all of which were kept for the brand re-launch.
Yina was incredibly generous to gift me the Summer ritual set that I’m sharing today and as fate would have it their Clarify Botanical Serum was actually the one item I most wanted to try from the new collection as it sounded like the best fit for my combination skin. I also discovered that Clarify is actually an upgraded version of their Lucent oil which I deeply loved, so my interest for Clarify and past love of Lucent collided in an interesting way. Alongside the oil they also sent over their Bian Stone Gua Sha which is this incredible and large-sized tool designed for both body and facial massage.
YINA (formerly known as 5YINA) was founded by Ervina Wu and Angela Chau, both certified practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM is one of the oldest practices of preventative medicine and healing treatments, that seeks to restore balance between the body and the elements. Specific to the individual’s needs, treatments include herbal remedies, acupuncture, cupping, massage and movement. Yina was founded as a vision to share wellness rituals inspired by Chinese medicine. Their formulas integrate the ancient wisdom of TCM and modern science to create a skincare line that is efficacious, intelligently formulated, and beautiful to use.
YINA BIAN STONE BODY GUA SHA
I thought I’d touch on the Bian Stone Gua Sha ($50) first as I feel it’s the cornerstone of this ritual, and really the cornerstone of the Yina collection as it can be used with most products in their line.
While gua sha is quite hot and popular with contemporary facial skincare, it’s actually an old full-body massage practice rooted in Chinese medicine. The stones used for gua sha massage are flat with curved edges and rounded points, designed for both scraping the skin and massaging in circular pressure points.
The scraping action in gua sha is what’s key in this practice: this form of massage reduces stagnation and promotes circulation and blood flow, promotes lymphatic drainage, and works to break up fascia under the skin. In facial skincare cosmetic results are a large factor in why many are flocking to this practice, as it helps to drain excess fluids along the jaw and cheek bones, boosting a lifted and more contoured look. For me, I care more about the health benefits of gua sha, but if I can achieve a more snatched jawline as a result of gua sha I certainly won’t complain!
I acquired my first gua sha stone in 2019 and I’ve watched plenty of tutorials, but I’m still a novice and not at all qualified to demonstrate gua sha for you all, so I will defer to Renee from Gothamista’s YouTube tutorials here and here as these have been shared by Yina and are the methods I’ve been incorporating into my body care with the Bian Stone. Her tutorials are relaxed and easy for beginners to follow, and her body gua sha tutorial even features the Bian Stone so it’s full of information on how to get the most out it.
How I Use It
When performed properly, gua sha can produce petechiae (miniscule broken blood vessels) so I do gua sha every few nights allowing my skin a chance to heal in between.
- FACE: I undertake my gua sha ritual after a nightly shower, after I’ve applied skincare. Following along Gothamista’s Facial Gua Sha tutorial that I linked above, I begin my whole-body gua sha starting with the face, using the bian stone as my massage tool and the Clarify Botanical Serum as my oil of choice. Oils are crucial to the massage, as the stone cannot perform safely nor properly without an oil to create slip. You can use any oil of choice whether you’re doing facial or body gua sha, but I have been loving Clarify as my chosen oil as the bian stone works to activate the Chinese herbs it contains, resulting in a more efficacious massage.
- BODY: When my facial massage is complete, I move on to the body massage and employ some of the techniques as demonstrated in this second Gothamista tutorial. Yina actually offers an incredible Recovery Body Treatment balm designed to work with the bian stone, but as I don’t have it in my arsenal I’ve been opting for Live Botanical’s Moon Cycle Balm, discovered through a limited edition Boxwalla offering. I have a handful of body oils that I could use as well, but I opt for Moon Cycle because its consistency creates this really luscious and silky slip for the stone to work with. While the stone works to activate circulation (literally your body will feel lit up!) I love that Moon Cycle works to calm my mind and the atmosphere around me. It’s a paradoxical pair, but they work like a dream team.
My favorite part of using the bian stone is the rippled side that replicates the small curves of knuckles – it feels INCREDIBLE to scrape upwards on the thighs with this side of the stone, working to release fascia and anything else that feels stiff and stagnating in this area. This is where I experience poor circulation, so I take care to devote time to gua sha my legs.
If you don’t own a gua sha tool, feel free to use a spoon, or your fingers! And if you don’t own any designated body oils/balms/butters, you can really use any plain oil like jojoba or coconut that should be available at your local grocery store. Feel free and inspired to make do with what you have so you can reap the benefits of this incredible form of massage.
Read Yina’s blog post on gua sha: Gua Sha – The Original Self Care Practice
Yina’s Body Gua Sha tool is made of authentic and natural bian stone.
YINA CLARIFY BOTANICAL SERUM
An upgraded version of their previous Lucent Summer Oil, CLARIFY Botanical Serum ($75) is Yina’s answer in best supporting oily, combination and acne-prone skin types. Clarify contains a base of carrier seed oils (perilla, camellia, safflower, tamanu) infused with their proprietary Chinese medicinal herbal plant complex to help minimize pores, balance sebum production, reduce + prevent break outs, and promote clear skin.
CLARIFY’s consistency is lustrously light and silky, nourishing without being heavy, and it’s scented in herbaceous earthy vetiver.
Ginseng and Lotus are the star herbs in this oil-based formula. Ginseng is highly valued in Chinese medicine, delivering powerful antioxidant properties that work to fight free radicals that cause damage and lead to a host of diseases. In skincare, antioxidants deliver the same topical benefits, fighting against oxidation that can contribute to skin damage, photo-aging and uneven skin tone. Ginseng’s antioxidant properties also work to balance sebum production. Lotus is prized for its rejuvenating properties, boosting elasticity and collagen production for a more firmed, bright and youthful appearance. Like ginseng, lotus also delivers antioxidant and free-radical fighting benefits.
Whether I’m using it in my regular skincare routine or if I’m using it for facial gua sha, I always sandwich this oil between hydrators and moisturizers. I begin with a facial mist and while my skin is damp I apply ~two drops of CLARIFY, carefully patting it in before moving on to my regular moisturizer. Sometimes I add in a hydrating serum before I apply Clarify, depending on if I feel I need it that day. Summer’s in Louisiana are incredibly humid and hot which tends to liquify skincare and makeup, so the more layers I add, the more shiny I’ll get. At night, if I’m doing gua sha, I will apply my first skincare steps + Clarify, do the massage, and then finish with moisturizer.
Clarify’s Full Ingredients:
Perilla frutescens (Perilla Seed) Oil*, Camellia oleifera (Camellia Seed) Oil*, Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower Seed) Oil*, Panax quinquefolius (American Ginseng) Extract, Ophiopogon japonicus (Dragon’s Beard Tuber) Extract, Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra Berries) Extract*, Scutellaria baicalensis (Skullcap) Extract, Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Licorice Root) Extract, Astaxanthin Extract, Nelumbo nucifera (Lotus Leaf) Extract, Laminaria digitata (Algae) Extract, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu Seed) Oil*, Jasminum grandiflorum (Blooming Jasmine) Extract, Citrus aurantium (Petitgrain sur Fleurs) Oil*, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Nelumbo nucifera (White Lotus) Extract, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) Oil*, Vetiveria zizanioides (Vetiver) Oil*, Citrus aurantium (Neroli) Flower Oil, Kunzea ambigua (White Cloud) Oil+, Linalool**, Limonene**, Benzyl Benzoate**, Geraniol**, Eugenol**.
^ EcoCert compliant
**Naturally occurring in essential oils
Do you practice gua sha or instill any self-care practices in your daily/nightly routines? Whether it’s masking and down time, a magnesium bath or doing a deep stretch, self-care practices are calibrating and a great way to mentally and physically reset. As I mentioned before, you don’t need special tools and products to do this kind of self-care. Your hands – or even a spoon! – are enough to work with to get things flowing. Active meditation or sitting in a quiet space are also options. Work with what you have and see how it makes you feel! Designated tools and products for massage are just a great way to elevate your routine.
Other Yina products that I enjoy include their Bioadaptive Cleanser, newly upgraded Divine Bio-Cellulose Sheet Masks, and Décolletage Treatment Balm. What are your Yina favorites? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Yina was recently featured in Harper’s Bazaar! Read the article here.