It’s been a while since we last caught up with Amanda Schuler, founder of Toronto-based skin care brand Kungfu Apothecary. Inspired by the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Kungfu Apothecary uses gemstone facial rollers and gua sha tools, a specially designed eye wand, a facial cupping set, and balancing Yin and Yang facial oils to help you play out centuries-old Chinese beauty rituals.
After finding much success with her original seven-step skincare collection which has been featured in publications like Forbes, Marie Claire and Refinery29, Schuler recently added three new products to the Kungfu regime that make up the Cloud Collection.
Using stainless steel and anti-microbial copper, Schuler crafted two cloud-shaped gua sha tools that can be used to massage the new Dew Cloud Allover Oil into the skin and improve lymphatic drainage throughout the entire body. They aren’t the only giftable items from Kungfu – the brand’s Ritual Set and gua sha pouch created in collaboration with designer Agness Baddoo are also worthy of sugarplum dreams.
Luckily, the Kungfu Apothecary 20-20 sale is available to shop until midnight on Sunday, Dec. 13. With every purchase, customers receive 20 per cent off and Kungfu donates 20 per cent of its profits to the Loveland Foundation, an organization that brings opportunity and healing to communities of colour, especially to Black women and girls.
STYLE Canada readers can also receive 20 per cent off their orders using discount code STYLECANADA at checkout. Schuler is offering free local pick up to Toronto residents until Tuesday, Dec. 22 as well, making last-minute gift shopping uber convenient.
Just in time for Christmas, STYLE Canada‘s Digital Editor Anastasia Barbuzzi got to (virtually) sit back down with Schuler to learn about her new product offerings, TCM’s best-kept secrets, why full-body massage is key to activating your lymphatic system and eliminating pain, and so much more.
Scroll to read the exclusive interview below.
AB: In our last interview, you talked about how the lymphatic system drives toxins out of the body. Can you explain how?
AS: The lymphatic system can be thought of as our drainage system that helps move waste from the body. We have lymphatic capillaries all over the body and thousands of lymph nodes that congregate in the armpits, groin, neck and knees. The lymphatic system needs movement to activate, so deep breathing, movement of the body and gua sha massage act like pumps that activate the lymphatic network.
AB: Your gua sha tool is handy for increasing lymphatic drainage, and now, you’ve added two beautiful cloud designs to your collection. What inspired their shapes?
AS: The new Cloud Gua Sha were designed to be beautiful but most importantly, to be efficacious on the body and face. We designed this tool with a triple wave. One the body, the different undulating patterns help irrigate the tissue, liberating stagnated pathways to unlock fresh tissue and movement. This is especially useful in the upper leg area for those who are looking for a smoother appearance on the front and back of their legs.
For the face, the triple wave is extremely helpful; the largest wave is designed to hug the jawline contour and underneath the chin to target sagging, the smaller wave hugs the cheekbone contour, and the mini wave gently massages the area between the eyes, otherwise known as the 11 lines. Gentle lifting brings a real sense of calm to this area with the added benefit of lifting the actual eye tissue.
AB: You also mentioned in our last interview that plant oils carry a Yin or a Yang vibration. Is there something significant about the materials you chose for the Cloud Gua Sha tools?
AS: Yes. In TCM, metal gua shas are common and many practitioners carry a leather satchel with a wide variety of metal gua shas for different uses on the body. It’s quite fascinating. I was excited to bring a simplified version to the market because although stone gua shas have become popular, metal gua shas have not and the metals have great qualities.
The stainless steel we use is medical grade, easy to clean, stunning to look at, and feels great in the hand. The copper is naturally anti-microbial and has a more beveled edge which allows for deeper fascia release in the body. It’s important to note that the strokes on the face must always be light in pressure while the strokes on the body can be more akin to a traditional Chinese stroke, depending on your personal sensitivity. We like to remind people to start slowly and build up over time because even a few strokes on the leg will have an effect.
AB: Your Yin and Yang facial oils provide just the right amount of slip for a gua sha, but now, you’ve added an all-over serum to the mix. Can you tell me more about the Dew Cloud Allover Oil?
AS: Yin and Yang are incredible organic botanical compositions designed for the face. The Yin with more relaxing qualities and the Yang with more warming qualities. Both of them are perfect for bringing serious moisture and slip to the face, neck and décolletage.
I created the Dew Cloud Allover Oil because slip is so important in one’s gua sha practice. We needed an accessibly priced oil that you could apply liberally and that would work for body and the face too. The Dew Cloud Allover Oil is so simple that it’s just pure fractionated coconut oil. It’s an oil that is non-greasy and absorbs so easily into the skin that it almost has a matte finish. It is clear and has virtually no scent which makes its an ideal choice for slathering everywhere, especially right now when we all tend to get dry skin. It comes in a large bottle with a pump dispenser so it’s easy to apply.
SHOP IT: Kungfu Apothecary, $49
AB: How does the new Cloud Collection work synergistically?
AS: The Dew Cloud Allover Oil and either of the Cloud Gua Shas are a great combination. For example, if you are doing a leg gua sha treatment after your shower, you would apply the Dew Cloud Allover Oil to your legs liberally, sit down on your carpet or a stool, and begin massaging from your heel upwards on the calf. Then you would move to the shin, up past the knee to the upper leg, then the back of the leg. You can do each stroke about five to 10 times, then proceed to the other leg. You’ll notice little ‘speed bumps’ along the way, which are actually cellulite or stagnation that you are moving with the gua sha, and that’s a good thing!