Derived from Ayurveda, the Kansa wand is the next big facial tool to take over your Instagram feed.
Photo: number1411/Getty Images, Amazon
As a skin-care devotee who's obsessive about every detail of my routine (down to the order in which I apply products), I'm constantly searching for new ways to score a better complexion (and practice self-care at the same time). Recently, I've found the beauty world has turned to ancient skin-care rituals—like jade rolling and gua sha—that promise to do just that. Ayurveda's answer to these Instagrammy trends comes in the form of a Kansa wand. If you haven't heard of it yet, you definitely will be soon.
Here, the scoop on what it is and what the tool can do for your skin.
What Is a Kansa Wand?
"A Kansa wand is the Ayurvedic equivalent of a Chinese jade roller—where Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses jade as its material for massaging the face, Ayurveda uses copper and tin," says Elizabeth Trattner, a doctor of TCM and acupuncturist based in Miami, Florida.
The dome-shaped wand, made of wood and Kansa metal, is designed to be massaged into the skin with the hopes of balancing the three Ayurvedic doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—of which imbalances are thought to lead to a host of health issues in Indian culture. Iris Lami, owner and ayurvedic therapist at the Gingerhill Farm Retreat, adds that "the stimulating effect of the Kansa wand also encourages the flow of lymphatic fluid, flushing the body of toxic substances, as this buildup is one of the primary causes of imbalanced doshas, or life force energies," she says. "Imbalanced doshas can create a whole host of health complications, so it's important to maintain a regimen that includes regular detoxification practices." (More on how the doshas work and how to use them in your beauty routine here: Ayurvedic Skin-Care Tips That Still Work Today)
Skin Benefits Of Using a Kansa Wand
Even if you don't buy into the Ayurvedic benefits, recent studies show that external application of copper assists in keeping a good balance of bacteria on the skin and can increase activity in the dermis, stimulating new skin cells, Trattner explains.
Derms agree that the wand can revitalize your complexion and plump the skin. "The combination of massage and heat generated from the metal enhance blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Similar to using a jade roller, "the act of massaging the skin can also reduce swelling and aid in lymphatic drainage." Translation: Skin that looks brighter and more awake.
As with anything metal, though, allergic reactions can pop up. "The wand is typically made from copper and tin, and is therefore unsuitable for individuals with allergies to these metals," adds Lami. So if you've traditionally been sensitive to metals, you may want to patch test your Kansa wand on your arm or skip using one altogether.
How to Use the Kansa Wand
If you've jade rolled before, the mechanism behind using a Kansa wand is quite similar. Start by running the Kansa wand in small, circular movements over the forehead, along the brow bones, at the temples, and down the jawline—the places on your face that hold the most stress and are most likely to be puffy, wrinkled, or need an instant boost.
What's imperative, though is that you use the Kansa wand with a facial oil so it doesn't snag or pull skin, but rather glides across it. You can also use a few drops of essential oil for additional therapeutic effects, as long as they're blended into another carrier oil first, like jojoba or coconut oil, says Lami. "Tea tree oil, for instance, has antimicrobial properties that can help to treat acne and irritation, while lavender oil is excellent for stress reduction. Frankincense can help reduce scars and age marks, and sandalwood can improve libido." Just be sure to patch test an essential oil on the skin of your wrist before applying to your face, as you may be allergic or sensitive to certain oils.
However, it *is* possible to overuse your Kansa wand. "Regularly pulling on the skin is conducive to wrinkles, so be sure to use gentle pressure instead of pulling or dragging your skin, and to use only a few times a week," says Lami.
What Happened When I Tried the Kansa Wand
I find massages immensely relaxing and have an affinity for facial gadgets and tools (I'm obsessed with dermaplaning, for instance), so I was confident I'd love the whole self-care, meditative experience of using the Kansa wand. Bottom line: I was right.
I started by ordering a Kansa wand off of the internet, spending a mere $19 on Amazon for the right-sized wand of choice. (I snagged this one.) Out of the box, it was smooth and shiny, and glided over the skin even without any oil as soon as I received my Prime package.
After setting on a face oil as the experts recommended (I opted for my beloved Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Oil, which is laced with blue tansy to help with inflammation), I sat down in front of my desk mirror and got to massaging. Honestly, I found the experience and the circular movement to be far more meditative than I ever have with a jade roller—and more beneficial too.
Although the experts noted the benefits came more from the act of massaging the skin than the tool itself, perhaps using the Kansa wand made me use a more efficient technique. I found that the routine's movements required more concentration than the mindless working of a jade roller up and down my face and I was more diligent, thereby giving myself a more effective massage.
I can say that after a few weeks of regular use, my complexion was 100 percent brighter, firmer, and plumper without changing up a single product in my routine. I'm still all about the lastest high-tech skin-care treatments, but it turns out the acient rituals weren't too shabby either.