On a Roll

Handheld facial rollers inspired by centuries-old beauty practices put an extra spa spin onto daily skincare routines.

With increased demand for self-care beauty items, beauty manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to enable consumers to recreate a spa experience at home. Inspired by multistep beauty regimens from South Korea, U.S. companies like NuFace have developed electronic devices for consumers using spa technology. However, a growing number of consumers prefer simplicity and economy. It’s no wonder face rollers, crafted from everything from semi-precious rocks to specialized metals, are having a moment.

“Facial rollers revitalize sagging facial muscles and give skin extra tone, color and evenness,” says Bella Schneider, founder of LaBelle Day Spas & Salons in the Bay Area. She created the “Bella” Issimo Roller for her customers wanting to extend their spa experience at home or on the go. Her roller is made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic resin with good chemical resistance, which can be easily cleaned and sterilized.

Bella Schneider La Belle Day Spa

Schneider and Jade Roller Beauty founder Leila Carter both agree that rollers gently stimulate the skin’s blood circulation when rolled in upward motions on the face and décolleté, allowing oxygen to the surface. The benefits include helping to relax fine lines, stimulate the lymphatic system, depuff eye bags and reduce inflammation. Schneider adds that using a facial roller in the morning separates the adhesion of muscles and the upper layer of dermis and epidermis that takes place while you sleep.

“Facial rollers revitalize sagging facial muscles and give skin extra tone, color and evenness.”

–Bella Schneider, founder, LaBelle Day Spas & Salons

“The advantage of rollers is that they are so reasonable in price; they create an instant lifting effect and an invigorating sensation, as well as help to improve product penetration–but for a fraction of the cost of mechanical devices,” Schneider says. In addition to being travel-friendly, another benefit is that her clients notice results. “Clients can literally feel the enhanced circulation and lymphatic subcutaneous stimulation from the rolling effect that they usually have to pay much more for with mechanical professional devices. Also, the effort is minimal since they can do it in combination with other facial steps.”

amethyst roller

While the simple and affordable jade roller is now generating a lot of excitement, it has been around for centuries. For Carter, it was a persistent lesion on her forehead that led her to integrate a basic jade roller into her skincare routine. After tossing out her paraben- and sulfate-laden products and replacing them with all-natural, organic ones, she purchased a jade roller to see how it would enhance her skin. “I loved the way the jade stone felt on my skin. I started to read more about the jade roller’s history–which I traced back to Chinese society’s elite in the 7th century–and how it actually works,” she continues. “Through that, I learned about how the face’s different pressure points are linked to the meridian system in one’s body. Although other cultures in the East have used various versions of roller technology, we’re just waking up to it in the West.”

face roller

Carter was delighted with the results of her roller–until the handle broke. The mishap, however, ultimately led the Charlotte-based entrepreneur to found Jade Roller Beauty. She also got an edge on the competition by designing a sturdier handle. Even with the improvement, Carter is proud of the fact that her expanding range of devices run $20 to $30, and are not cost-prohibitive for small beauty retailers to carry.

“The way jade rollers enhance skincare product performance is by trapping them into the skin as you are stimulating the area underneath,” Carter says. “I think customers will find rollers to be a great investment, especially as they have a choice between three stones (and more in the future) to fit various skincare and emotional needs. And buying more than one won’t break the bank.”

According to Carter, jade is a calming stone and the most traditional of the three, though she has seen a boost in popularity of her rose quartz rollers for their soothing properties. The amethyst roller, meanwhile, amplifies heat within the skin and stimulates collagen production. Because of their affordability, estheticians can also use different rollers during a single facial to target specific skin issues.

Factor Five

There is a caveat among some skincare experts who say that even though there are benefits to using a face roller, they can cause skin damage, such as sagging and stretching–especially for those who are heavy-handed. To prevent such damage, advise customers to gently apply face rollers to their skin. There are also skincare products designed with face rollers in mind, such as the FactorFive Skincare line, introduced by Stanford scientists to offset the pulling and stretching that results from some rollers by using ingredients like collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin. It will be interesting to see what other new products will be rounding out the roller’s arrival as this trend gains momentum with professional users and their clients alike.

[Photo by karelnoppe, gettyimages.com; courtesy of La Belle Day Spa & Salons; courtesy of Jade Roller Beauty]