Refa Active Review: Massage Roller for Face and Body

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Face and body roller massagers seem to be the trend nowadays, but one of the most popular ones is the Refa Active. This is a handheld massager, with two rollers and an easy-to-grip handle. Refa has a few models of massagers, but the Refa Active is also made specifically for athletes, and has some unique features of its own. Of course, non-athletic people like me can also use all the features too, because it's claimed to have aesthetic effects, beyond the health benefits. In fact, I'm told that some people may also see a slimming effect with consistent use of the massager!

Refa Active: A fully-featured massager for face and body

I've blogged about massage rollers before (and have looked at the science behind facial massage too), so these don't need an introduction, but out of the ones I've tried, the Refa ones are the best. My mum consistently steals my Refas from under me (my Refa Carat, which I've Instagrammed here previously, is now permanently located on her dresser table), and out of all the massagers she's tried, this is still one of her favourites.

Refa Active Face Body Massager
Refa Active: Made with athletes in mind, but anyone can use it too

I know roller massagers like this one can look a bit confusing, so let's take a look at the features of the Refa Active, what makes it different from other massagers, and some of my favourite things to do with the Refa Active!

Refa Active Massager Body Face Close Up
Refa Active Rollers: The hexadron-shaped head gives a good grip for massage

One of the things I really like about the Refa Active is how effective the rollers are. The hexadron-shaped head really grab onto the skin without much effort, and really give a very good "massage" effect, and for those who like to drain their lymph nodes with this product, this will give a good, firm pressure, without being too hard. Not all rollers are created equal - some rollers don't really have enough "grip" - so this is good because and it pulls up the right amount of skin for massaging without causing any pain.

Below, you can look at the Refa Active working on my arm. You can really see the rollers pulling up and massaging the skin.

Refa Active Massager Demo
Refa Active: A demonstration on my arm, with the muscle and skin being pulled up into the rollers

Another nice thing that I like is the fact that when the Refa Active is used, it generates microcurrents, which according to the company are supposed to aid with muscle recovery, and improve skin texture and appearance. It doesn't need a charger or a wire like most massagers do. So you don't have to worry too much about a wire getting in your way when you're using it, because there are two small solar panels built into the roller, so as you use the product, it generates its own microcurrent with no additional input! This is supposed to help in the massaging process, particularly for athletes.

Below, you can see two small rectangular panels above the roller heads - these are the solar panels. The lack of any wires, batteries, or charging stations also means that as far as massage rollers go, this is fairly travel-friendly, since all you do is throw the massager itself in your bag. It is a bit on the heavy side, since it feels pretty substantial, but at 240g in weight, it's not so bad that you can't toss it in a check-in. There is also a travel pouch inside the box too, for easier safekeeping.

Refa Active Roller Massager Body Face
Refa Active: Two small solar panels generate microcurrent, without the need for chargers, wires or batteries

Another unique feature which I really like about the Refa Active is the way the space between the roller heads can expand to accommodate bigger surface when you're massaging. There is a silicone band in the handle of the product that makes it flexible, and it can accommodate a gap of up to 40mm, from a normal "resting position" of 12.6mm. This makes it really can be used all over the body and face - it can massage your jawline, it can massage your arms, legs, and other parts of your body, and still get a good grip on all these different parts, as the flexible handle creates space between the rollers to accommodate the larger areas. It's really great as a multi-purpose roller.

Below, check out the Refa Active expanding to massage my arm! You normally see my arm doing swatches of makeup - well this is the same arm, with the Refa Active "expanding" to accommodate the width of my arm. Cool right?

Refa Active Massager Body Face Demo
Refa Active: Look at how the rollers accommodate the width of my arm!

Lastly, the Refa Active is also waterproof, so you can use it in the shower or bath, and the hexadron-shaped rollers still provide a good grip. Do let the roller dry out and drain properly before using it again though!

Refa Active Massager Body Face Side
Refa Active: Waterproof, so you can take it with you in the tub or shower

Now that I've shown you some of my favourite Refa Active features, let me show you some of my favourite massaging motions. The Aibi website has a lot of massage suggestions, ranging from arms to neck to tummy to legs to butt, and if you've gotten your first Refa massager and are wondering "how do I use this?", the site is perfect with diagrams and instructions. After trying a variety of massaging motions, the following ones really worked for me. Of course, your favourite massaging motion might be different, depending on what your massage pain points are.

Arm massage with the Refa Active

Above, is a simple arm massage (also what I was doing when I took the photo demonstrations above). This one is my favourite because it's easy to do, and quite intuitive for a newbie to get the hang of. It's also very effective - you really feel the squeeze in your arms. And if you spend a lot of time typing at a computer (ahem, me), then massaginging the arm really makes me more aware of how sometimes my arm muscles are a little tired although I didn't even realize it! In particular the muscles near my elbows on my inner arm really respond to the Refa Active.

Upper arm massage with the Refa Active

Of course, why stop the arm massage at your elbow? Bring it up to your shoulders and armpits too! The upper arm massage is also pretty easy to do and easy to get the hang of, and I think for those who do sports and use their upper arms (maybe if you do boxing or do weights), this is a great way to iron out any sore spots in your arms. Personally, I also like to roll the massager along the top of my shoulder, which also feels really good for someone who spends a lot of time sitting at a desk in front of a computer (yes, that's me).

Leg massage with the Refa Active

If you do runs, or dance, or otherwise do a lot of calf workouts, the Refa Active is also pretty great at massaging the legs. The lower leg is also an easy exercise for a newbie to pick up, and again, if you have sore muscles in your lower leg, the rollers can really grip them and massage them well.

Neck massage with the Refa Active - my favourite!

This one is my favourite! I do get quite a bit of neck and shoulder soreness, and this particular massage motion is really relaxing for my muscies (I guess I really do spend too much time sitting in front of a computer!). This one can be a little tricky to reach, because you have to stretch a little to reach the back of your neck, but it is really one of the best massage suggestions for me. When doing this, I also roll along my shoulder area, too, just for the extra kick.

Jaw massage with the Refa Active

Lastly, for those using the Refa Active for face, in my opinion the best place to use this is at the jawline. My mum really likes this particular use of the Refa Active, and she is convinced that it helps to firm up the skin around the area. I don't have saggy skin since I'm not quite at that age yet, but I will say that it really gives a good grip of the skin above the jaw and under the jaw.

Refa Active Face Body Massager Fitness
Refa Active: A well-designed, high quality massage roller with some unique features that make it stand out among the competition

So, would I recommend the Refa Active? If you like massage rollers and want something fuss-free and multi-purpose, this is worth checking out! It's SGD$498, which is pricey, but the massager will basically last forever, so I guess there's something to be said for the excellent made-in-Japan quality. My Refa Carat, which I've had for a year now, is basically just exactly the same as when it was new - no tarnishing or malfunctioning, and the rollers are just as smooth even though it's constantly used a few times a week (by my mum, who is a big fan), so I'm pretty confident the Refa Active will hold up just as well. As a bonus, because it has no electronic components - no chargers, batteries, or anything like that - you don't have to worry that the electronics will wear down over time, or that the battery life will get shorter eventually. I also like that you can use it for multiple parts of the body because of the flexible handle, so it also helps you get more bang for your buck. If you're into massage rollers, and want something of high quality with a well-thought through design and features, this will be a great pick. My mum has already "stolen" my Refa Active and claimed it as hers (in addition to the Refa Carat I already have), so I guess she also gives this the thumbs-up!
Recommended? Yes, if you like massagers
The Bottom Line: The Refa Active is a solid, sturdy, and fuss-free multi-purpose roller massager with lots of useful features and a well-thought through design that really grips skin for a good massage.

(Product was sent for review. This is a sponsored review. Review and opinions are my own.)


  1. hmmmm....interesting. This is something worth checking out!

  2. Now I want something like that, to bad it's so expensive. Do you a cheaper one from another brand? How is the price in japan ? Seems good for after exercise



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