Aesthetics have never been purely about the latest technology. In fact, some of the most tried-and-tested tools outlast electronic advancements. Throughout the centuries, beauty routines have always relied on the help of a device (or two!) to enhance one’s physical appearance, and — until recently — none of them were battery powered.
From ridding the body of toxins through manual exfoliation to boosting the lymphatic system with massage, our ancestors seemingly knew that when the body feels good, it looks good. So, while we could go on and on about the benefits of microcurrent gadgets and the advantages of state-of-the-art electrotherapeutic wands (they’re great, too!), it’s important to note there are ancient-inspired and new-age devices that don’t require charging.
With a focus on the basic principles of beauty that go back millennia, we’ve rounded up the best beauty tools that both the tech-savvy and tech-averse will love.
1. Body Plane
Inspired by the bathing rituals of Greco-Roman gladiators who would lather their bodies in oil and remove it with a scraping device as a means of exfoliation, the Esker Body Plane is a take on the ancient 'strigil' — a tool that was was used to cleanse and exfoliate. Easy to use and chic in its design, the ergonomic device is made from premium teak wood (note: it can handle water well) and sterling silver-plated stainless steel that is antibacterial to prevent breakouts and inflammation. “The plane has a semi-sharp edge that you drag along damp, oiled skin to gently lift off dirt and dead skin cells without irritating or damaging your skin's moisture barrier,” explains Shannon Davenport, the founder of Esker Beauty.
A great tool for the summer months when sweat and increased SPF usage are the norm and for colder weather when the skin is dry and flaky, the Body Plane helps remove the buildup that a body scrub or dry brush might not get. “It's particularly good for thicker skin, like arms and legs, and is great for ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris,” Davenport shares. “It's super invigorating and stimulates your lymphatic system.” It’s recommended for use once a week to keep the skin healthy and pairs well with the scent-sational Esker Firming Body Oil.
2. Gua Sha
While it may be enjoying a renaissance, the gua sha has long been known for its ability to relieve puffiness and improve lymphatic circulation — and the benefits extend to the face and body. Applying the same principles as the face, gliding the gua sha towards the heart with slight pressure on freshly oiled skin (we recommend Bathing Culture’s Outer Being Face & Body Oil) reveals smoother, brighter, and more sculpted limbs. Oh, and it soothes sore muscles and releases tension, too.
The Alder New York Black Obsidian Gua Sha is an elegant addition to any nightstand (for those who want a massage before bed) and is optimal for travelers thanks to its compact size. You can read our in-depth look at the benefits of the gua sha and how to use here, but you’ll see and feel results after just a few minutes of use each day.
Before we talk about ‘blasting’ anything, let’s first talk about fascia. The fascia is the layer of connective tissue that covers the muscles, bones, and organs and can knot up to limit movement. The current research on fascia is limited, but there is no denying the anecdotal evidence touting the benefits of tending to it.
Perhaps the most modern tool on the list, fitness guru Ashley Black’s famous (or, perhaps, infamous) FasciaBlaster™ targets the muscles for a myofascial release that increases circulation, lessens joint pain, and decreases muscle pain. You won't physically be ‘blasting’ anything, rather you’re giving the body a deep massage with the claw-like modules. Bruising in the targeted area is common at the beginning, but it lessens with regular use. Devoted fans report a lessening of cellulite and fat in the regions it’s used on, and it is recommended to be used up to five times a week for one to five minutes in conjunction with the brand’s BlasterOil and AfterBlaster Cream.
4. Kansa Wand
Though it has only recently migrated west, kansa (‘kansa’ is the Sanskrit term for ‘bronze’) wands predate the gua sha and jade roller. Originating from India, the kansa wand has been a staple in Ayurvedic practices as it stimulates facial muscles, relieves the appearance of inflammation, and eases the up tension for a more relaxed complexion. “Ancient Ayurveda has texts on procedures such as nose jobs, so it’s little wonder that these older tools are making a comeback,” says Shrankhla Holecek, founder of UMA Oils. “There is a lot of knowledge-based premise there.” The brand's Kansa Wand is special because “copper’s small molecules — when mixed with water — are heavily detoxifying to the body helping improve the body's natural electromagnetic functions,” she shares. This supports immune pathways and the body’s natural conductive behavior.
While the UMA Kansa Wand is specifically designed for the face and neck, the wand can be found in a variety of sizes and be used all over the body. “It is advised to be used on the marma (Ayurvedic medicine categorizes this as an energy center in the body) points, which is where the nerve and muscle meet,” Holecek explains. Pair with the UMA Absolute Anti Aging Face Oil to keep the wand from dragging the skin, while maximizing the detoxifying benefits.
5. Foam Body Roller
Massages have been hailed in every culture for several millennia because they ease tension in the body — aiding blood flow, relaxing muscles, and inducing rest, which we all know helps the body, skin, and mind restore itself. While it might not be as experiential as a trip to the spa, a foam roller can help you ease muscles daily from the comfort of your own home.
Akin to a FasciaBlaster™, foam rollers offer an intense massage that can soothe knotted spots and activate the fascia. You might’ve seen them at your gym, but they are not just for athletes — the benefits are universal. Alleviating the tension in any muscle group you target while helping increase the range of motion in joints, rollers relieve inflammation and, in some cases, reduce the appearance of cellulite.
When choosing a foam body roller, note the size, firmness, and texture. Smaller sizes can target more specific areas (think: calves and flanks), while a larger roller is best for the back and thighs. A softer roller is good for those just starting out while firmer options provide a deeper rub. Most foam rollers, like ones from Gaiam, come in a smooth surface that is great for beginners, while those with a grooved texture can benefit those with a more active lifestyle.
Beauty tools don’t need to be the highest-powered electronics on the market to deliver serious results for the face and body. Proving that everything old is new again, some of the most popular skincare devices actually date back centuries. In addition to soothing muscles, boosting circulation, and improving contour, the ritual of taking a few minutes each day to use these devices is a de-stressing mechanism in and of itself that might be just what the doctor ordered.
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.
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