Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Face Rollers: Jade roller vs. Micro 3d Roller

About three years ago I either read or watched an interview/conversation with supreme makeup artist Mary Greenwell. I don't remember any of the other details, but one of the items she's mention caught my eye: a face jade roller. I've been a facial massage enthusiast long before Lisa Eldridge showed all of us how it's done, and was intrigued by the idea of a different massage type with a cold tool (the one Lisa had demonstrated in her video was ridiculously overpriced at £181.00 and was not going to happen). I did some reading and it looked like rolling one's face with a jade tool was quite popular among makeup artists and skin care professionals. You could find jade rollers on Amazon for under $10, but for some reason I was worried they might not be the real thing, especially since Amazon reviews were quite mixed, some mentioning that the tool arrived disassembled or broken and you had to put it back together yourself. The one Ms. Greenwell recommended came from one of the luxury UK beauty stores (CultBeauty? I can't even remember, but they do sell a jade roller identical to mine for  £22 ), so I decided to get it from this reliable source. I picked the option of a double roller that had a second smaller stone to use around the eyes and waited for delivery.

My posh jade roller came packed in a plastic bag, and you guessed it, disassembled (and made in China, of course). It wasn't a big deal to pop the two rolling stones into the metal clamps, but for the price one would think it'd be fancier. Whatever. I had a face and eye jade roller ready to go and started using it the next morning. It was nice. I didn't keep it in the fridge or freezer (searching for skincare stuff among the ice cream pints before I had my first cup of tea isn't the best idea ever), but it was cold enough to be invigorating and the whole process felt good.

Starting with the smaller stone and the eye area before moving to the rest of the face rolling the jade from the center outward; it gives the skin a sense of purpose first thing in the morning and wakes me up just enough to continue with my skincare routine. One of the main goals of this massage is depuffing. I can't say much about it, since mornings typically find me far more cranky than puffy (I rarely drink alcohol and my salt consumption is way below average). However, on bad allergy days the cool rolling sensation is very welcome and helps me feel better. In general I'd say that it's the pleasant ritual that makes face rolling a constant in my morning primping. It's a quick step that wakes me up. As for the claim that face rollers are a tool for sculpting and firming (not to mention the horrid anti-aging thing), all I can say is that defying gravity is a bit much to ask even if the jade (is it really jade? I'd think it's jadeite) was Elphaba green.

A cheaper roller from Amazon (some of them come in really nice packaging) would have served the same purpose, but I'm not complaining too much. I use this tool every day and take it with me when traveling.

The metal implement, Micro 3D,  you see here was sent to me randomly over two years ago with some other Korean odds and ends (I'm beyond grateful and delighted about all PR packages, but things that arrive here unannounced are sometimes harder to incorporate into regular use). It's taken me forever to start testing it since here weren't any details in English about usage and benefits except one sentence on the box claiming "Face lift, promote skin tightening, body shaping". The brand, Secret Key, is Korean but the product is made in China. There's a solar panel on the back of the roller but I'm not sure why and how it works. The metal balls roll reasonably well as it is (they're tight but there's no need to use force). Besides, my dressing room doesn't offer much solar activity.

The Micro 3D roller is meant to be used on the face as well as on other body parts according the illustrations on the back of the box: chest, arms, waist. The idea that it's marketed as a body firming and sculpting tool is both funny and insulting. I joked above about "defying gravity", but claiming that a massage tool dissolves fat (I saw it online on yesstyle.com) and "helps calf muscles look less distinguished" (huh????) is kind of offensive. It's not a pilates class. I had no intention of using the roller my body anyway, as I'd rather keep facial tools to the face. The massage is nice once you get used to the weird sensation of the balls rolling in all directions (that's the 3D part). I can't really use it much around the eyes, only from the chin upwards in both directions and on my forehead. It does feel extra pleasant on the back of my neck, but that's not really skincare. There's a video on the site showing the roller in action as "How to Get a Slimmer V-Shape Face". They recommend using it with the brand's steam cream, but as far as I could tell there wasn't a plastic surgeon around to actually rearrange one's face into the promised angular shape.

You're supposed to use the Micro 3D roller for 20 minutes on each area. That's beyond my patience limit for something this shady (or silly. Take your pick). The face rolling part is decent but less effective than quick and dirty job of the jade roller. It's also bulky and far less travel bag friendly, so needless to say that the roller lives in a drawer. Like everything one uses on the face, both tools require good cleaning. I wash the jade very gently with a facial cleaner and also disinfects it with alcohol wipes (I also use them on the 3D roller). All the cleaning give the metal axis of the jade roller little rust specks that I remove periodically with a dry scrubbing pad. I guess that eventually I'll need to replace it. I'll go with amazon next time.


  1. Funny, but I was thinking you were going to write about the roller with small needles when I read 3D. They are very popular and I'd like to try it but I know no one who has any experience with it. It is supposed to cause small damage ones skin which is then supposed to stimulate the production of collagen. Anyhow, at my age (I'm 53) I don't expect any miracles but I'm still curious about the needle roller.

  2. Very interesting to read your experience. The 3D roller, with the wheels spinning in various directions, sounds rather funny! I've had a rose quartz roller for a year or so now (identical to your jade one, except, well, it's rose quartz--and it came assembled, mercifully) that I've used a couple of times. I do have puffy undereyes most mornings (allergies, genes, etc) and the roller was pleasant for that, though I'm not sure it did anything noticeable...and then I forgot about it. Later, I bought a Nuface, which is all the face-rolling/rubbing/zapping I'm willing to do in the morning (and that exceeds my patience most days). Maybe I'll pop the quartz roller in the freezer this summer and see if it gets more use that way.

  3. I sometimes wonder what I'm missing out on by not massaging or rolling my face. Would I look younger if I did one or the other? Or do they only work in conjunction with plastic surgery?

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