When it comes to zenning out in the name of beauty, nothing quite beats the feeling of getting a scalp massage in the shampoo chair. But short of convincing a friend to rub your head for tips or kidnapping your hairstylist to come live with you, the feeling has never been easy to recreate at home. That is, until now.
Enter the jade comb, the newest beauty-meets-self-care product to hit the #shelfies of the beauty elite, and our answer to the DIY scalp massage.
Nearly a year after jade rollers dominated our social feeds, the comb-shaped version of the stone has become increasingly popular. It follows the same skin-stimulating principles as its rolling counterparts, but is meant to be used on your scalp instead of your face. It will make you feel like Victorian-era royalty when you run it through your hair, and, bonus, it looks really, really cool in flat lays.
Though these beauty devices have been having a moment recently, the practice of using them has been around for much, much longer. The ancient Chinese health ritual, often referred to as “combing therapy" has been used to stimulate the scalp and induce hair growth for centuries. "Since all of the meridians in the body have either direct or indirect connections with the head, scalp and brain, stimulating the scalp can have global effects on the body’s health by regulating the meridians,” says hairstylist Naté Bova of New York City’s Warren Tricomi Salon. "Combing massages all of the acupoints of the head, which regulates excitement and inhibition in of the cerebral cortex. So regulating your body’s meridians can be good for your overall health and can be achieved by this combing technique.”
Jade isn’t the only gem that’s ingratiated itself into our hair-care routines of late. Briogeo recently released a Rose Quartz Crystal Energy Comb ($160), which is described online as a "symbol of loving energy and positivity.” Similar to jade, rose quartz is believed to have healing and energizing properties and is heralded in Eastern medicine for its powers.
But is it really worth it to spend the coins for the stone version of this scalp massage, or can you achieve the same results with the drugstore plastic comb you’ve been relying on for years? "Basically, the idea of jade came as a way to glamorize the experience,” Bova says. "There is also the belief that jade blesses everything that it touches. It is also used in crystal healing to relieve depression and expel kidney stones.” From a hair-care perspective, she notes that the green stone may have a one-up on plastic because in that it won’t leave your hair feeling static-y. But as holistic aesthetician Stefanie DeLibero of NYC's Gotham Wellness confirms, "You don’t need a specific type of comb to get general benefits of scalp stimulation: You could even use your own hands or, if you’re lucky, enlist a friend to give you a head massage."
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As someone who can’t resist trying something slightly out-there in the name of self-care (regardless of the price tag) and who has exactly zero friends who would be willing to massage my head, I decided to give myself the stone comb treatment care of Ginger Chi’s Jade Chi Comb For Head Massage Therapy ($24) and the Briogeo rose quartz version. I used the tiny teeth to rub small, gentle circles up the back of my occipital bone per the comb's directions, and then on either side of my scalp toward my ears, slowly massaging my head all over.
My immediate reaction was twofold: First, “Holy s**t this feels amazing," and then, “This must be what it’s like to comb your hair as a mermaid.” I felt like Marcia Brady, but fancy as hell, even though the teeth couldn't quite pull through my curls. While I loved the feeling of combing my hair with crystals (and taking pictures of them on my vanity for my Instagram feed), I can’t totally attest to whether or not either one of these combs stimulated my scalp or made my hair grow (it seemed like a stretch, even from a girl who once spent more than I'd like to admit on actual crystal therapy). I can confirm that both felt really, really good, though, and the act of scalp combing did give me a little bit of an energy boost. Over the course of a few days, I found myself mindlessly giving myself a mini head massage at my desk, which made me feel equal parts awake and chilled out (and also made me look a little crazy, but whatever).
Digital hair editor Jihan Forbes (pictured in the gif above) tried the combs on her tightly-curled, 3c/4a hair texture. "I would not use either of these for detangling," she says, before noting that she was still able to massage her scalp with it. "To avoid tangles, I just massage section by section in circular motions. Sectioning my hair really helps, because if I just shove it in this mass of curls, it's not going to be pretty." As for the healing benefits, she's not sure there are any beyond her scalp feeling good during and after the massage.
"If you are someone who believes that using a jade or rose quartz comb will heal what ails you, then it just might," DeLibero says.
Or, if you're someone who just wants to rub your scalp and feel like a GD queen (??), it works for that, too.
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