Ever looked at the ice cubes chilling in your freezer and thought, “Hey, these could be my skin’s new BFFs?” Sounds crazy, right? But guess what? Those frosty little squares (or spheres) have become the superstars of skincare!
More specifically, ice facials have become the superstars of skincare, earning applause from glowing celebrities like Bella Hadid, Beyonce, Kate Moss, and Jennifer Aniston to your next-door neighbor.
And before you write them off as another fleeting fad, remember ice massage combines age-old beauty, wisdom, and cutting-edge science.
Because when ice meets skin, it sets off a fascinating interaction of thermodynamics and skin biology. This gives your complexion a serious wake-up call, leaving it bright, tight, and toned with benefits that range from reducing inflammation and pores to combatting wrinkles and acne.
However, it’s not about just dragging an ice cube across your face.
An ice facial takes that idea to a whole new level. So, settle in with your coziest blanket, and prepare for a deep dive into the decade’s coolest (pun intended) beauty trend.
We’ll unravel the science behind ice facials, explore their extensive benefits, provide a detailed step-by-step guide on performing them at home, and share essential dos and don’ts of this skincare routine.
Ready to get your chill on? Let’s go.
What are ice facials?
So, what’s the real scoop on facial icing? Also known as cryo facials, this treatment works wonders on everything from irritated or inflamed skin to enlarged pores and chronic acne.
The best part? You can do it right from your home! Wrap a piece of ice in a soft cloth (more on why that’s important later!) and gently glide it across your skin.
And if you believe this is just another beauty trend of the 21st century, well, think again!
The beauty benefits of ice have existed since the days of ancient Egypt and Greece.
Cleopatra, the legendary beauty queen of Egypt, had an unwavering belief in the beauty benefits of cold. So much so she had it shipped down from towering mountains and stored in secret underground hideaways just for her skincare routine. This was rumored to be the additional magic alongside whole milk behind her breathtaking beauty that sunk ships and dynasties.
So, ice massages are more than just the latest fad. They represent a unique combination of simplicity, innovation, and age-old beauty wisdom that’s stood the test of time. And you will soon see why!
Pro-tip: Combine Cleo’s secret weapons by freezing milk and using it for facial massage to get all the benefits of lactic acid with an icy touch!
The chilled marvel: Benefits of ice facials
Ice massages are not merely a soothing treatment; they offer significant skincare advantages. Let’s take a look.
Reduces puffiness and swelling
Ice massage is known to help reduce puffiness and swelling. The magic happens when the cold ice meets your warm skin, causing blood vessels to constrict, which can reduce swelling — a total win if you’re dealing with issues like puffy eyes.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises using a cold compress to deflate those under-eye bags — bonus points if you use them while sitting up, as this allows the fluid to drain away more quickly.
Soothes redness and inflammation
Facial icing can also help soothe redness and inflammation from factors like sun damage, acne, or skin conditions like dermatitis. Icing helps reduce blood flow to the affected area, alleviating these symptoms.
It’s like treating your entire face to a cold compress!
Improves blood circulation
At this point, you may be thinking, “Doesn’t cold reduce blood flow?” Yes, it does.
However, the sudden cold exposure on your skin first triggers your body to compensate by sending a surge of warm blood to the affected area to restore its normal temperature.
This ‘icy shock’ enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin, resulting in a healthier and more glowing complexion.
Minimizes pores and tightens the skin
Who needs filters when you’ve got an ice cube? The cold temperature naturally tightens the skin, temporarily enhancing its firmness and refining facial contours, making them appear more toned.
Furthermore, this chilly touch also temporarily reduces the size of your pores and the appearance of fine lines, leading to a smoother and more refined skin texture.
As a result, cryo facials make an excellent preparatory step before applying makeup, contributing to a flawless finish.
Ice facials offer multiple benefits to tackle acne. They kick off their magic by constricting blood vessels, which lessens inflammation and swelling, thereby reducing the size and redness of existing acne.
Moreover, the cold sensation can numb the skin, offering relief from the pain that comes with severe acne cysts or nodules.
The chilly temperatures also put the brakes on overactive sebaceous glands, decreasing oil production — a leading cause of clogged pores and acne.
Ice’s skin-tightening and pore-minimizing effects help clear out trapped dirt and impurities, leading to fewer blockages and acne flare-ups.
However, it’s important to remember that they may not address the underlying causes of acne, so they should be used as a supplement, not a substitute, for a comprehensive acne treatment regimen.
How to perform ice facials at home
Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to doing an ice facial at home:
Cleanse: To begin, cleanse your face and remove all makeup.
Ice prep: Wrap a few ice cubes in a soft cloth.
Massage: Follow these steps:
- Start by gently massaging your forehead with the wrapped ice in a circular motion.
- Move towards your temples, then glide down your cheeks, focusing on blemishes or under-eye bags.
- Continue down the nose, working on the chin and along the jawline.
- For more delicate areas like the lips and around the eyes, limit the ice contact to a few seconds at a time. The entire process should take about 5-10 minutes.
Pat dry: Pat your face dry and apply a moisturizer. And voila, you are done!
Pro-tip: A cryo facial is not always about plain water. Use skin-friendly ingredients like green tea, cucumber juice, rose water, and aloe vera gel to help soothe the complexion, reduce inflammation, and provide an extra boost.
What about dunking your face in a bowl of ice water?
Picture this — it’s early morning, and you’re in the company of Hollywood’s A-listers like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Aniston, and Jessica Alba. And what’s everyone doing? They’re all plunging their faces into bowls brimming with icy cold water.
This famous “ice water facial” diminishes puffiness, brightens skin tone, minimizes pores, and softens fine lines. It’s also a surefire way to soothe anxiety, thanks to the ‘mammalian dive reflex,’ a survival instinct that slows your heart rate to conserve oxygen when your face hits the cold water, providing a calming, soothing effect.
Recent research suggests mood-boosting effects, possibly from dopamine (natural feel-good chemicals) rush. According to The European Journal of Applied Physiology, dunking your body in cold water increases dopamine concentrations by 250 percent!
But remember, this isn’t exactly the same as an ice facial. The latter is a more controlled practice that doesn’t expose your skin to direct contact with ice (more on why that’s unsafe below) and is more beginner-friendly.
While generally safe, a cold water dunk can be uncomfortable and may worsen conditions like rosacea or severe acne. So proceed with caution, especially if you’re a beginner.
Ice facial tools: The best devices for elevating your routine
Ready to make your ice massage experience a bit frostier? These tools and gadgets can elevate your facial, making your skincare routine more effective and enjoyable.
Globes of chill: Facial ice globes
Looking for a no-mess, easy-to-handle ice facial? Ice globes are your go-to. These are handheld glass devices filled with a cooling liquid. They are chilled in the freezer to prepare them for use. Once frozen, you roll the globes over your face for an evenly distributed, ultra-cool treatment.
- FRAÎCHEUR Ice Globes: These beautiful, high-quality globes are filled with an anti-freeze solution, providing a long-lasting cold treatment.
- Aceology Ice Globe Facial Massager: These attractive globes not only soothe the skin but also stimulate blood circulation and oxygenate the skin.
- Magic Globes for Redness Soothing, Sinus Relief and Headache Relief: These magic globes promise to soothe redness, relieve sinuses, and alleviate headaches.
- Elera Facial Ice Globe: This pair of ice globes are a solid choice for fighting puffiness, shrinking pores, and firming skin.
- Circadia by Dr. Pugliese CryoClear Globes: These high-end ice globes stimulate blood circulation and oxygenate the skin to make it appear more youthful.
The ice queen: Facial ice rollers
Ice rollers have a cooling metal or gel head that you freeze before use. Once frozen, you roll it over your face, reaping all the benefits of a cryo facial with an added touch of spa-like luxury.
They offer similar benefits to ice globes but with more control over the applied pressure. Plus, ice rollers are available in various sizes and shapes to target different areas of the face.
The top facial ice rollers (click to purchase):
- ESARORA Ice Roller: A budget-friendly, no-nonsense ice roller that offers all the benefits of skin icing without the hefty price tag.
- Kitsch Ice Roller: A stainless steel head ice roller with an ergonomic handle that makes soothing your skin a nearly effortless task.
- The Skinny Confidential Hot Mess Ice Roller: This one’s pricy but is made of aluminum, which gets cold quickly and maintains its temperature longer than most other ice rollers.
- Stacked Skincare Cryo Sculpting Roller: Designed by an aesthetician to soothe sensitive skin, reduce itching and fight inflammation, this cryo roller also results in a visibly tighter complexion and smoother under-eye area.
- Finishing Touch Flawless Ice Roller: An ice roller with a soft gel head that freezes within 15 minutes to help reduce puffiness, redness, and irritation, ideal for dealing with inflammation.
- Vanity Planet Revive Professional Facial Ice Roller: A detachable stainless steel head ice roller that stays cold for two hours out of the freezer.
The mystic’s choice: Jade rollers
The jade roller is your frosty friend for those who love a blend of skincare and spirituality. When stored in the fridge, the cold jade stone works similarly to an ice cube, offering a soothing sensation, improved circulation, boosted lymphatic drainage, and possibly, a touch of jade’s reputed healing energy.
The top facial rollers (click to purchase):
- Mount Lai De-Puffing Jade Roller: This compact jade roller is designed to help reduce puffiness and sculpt the face.
- GingerChi Anti-Aging Jade Roller: A simple, double-sided roller that promotes circulation and soothes the nervous system.
- REM Spring Jade Roller and Gua Sha: A dual-purpose tool that comes with a Gua Sha board for additional benefits.
- Skin Gym Vibrating Lift & Contour Beauty Tool: Combines high-frequency vibrations with a premium jade head to stimulate skin and give it an extra glow.
A soothing embrace: Cooling masks
Cooling masks are designed to be stored in the fridge or freezer and applied to your face. They’re perfect for a full-face treatment and an excellent option to soothe and calm your skin.
The top cooling masks (click to purchase):
- PerfeCore Facial Mask: This gel mask reduces puffiness and relieves migraines.
- Kimkoo Gel Eye Mask: This compact cooling mask is perfect for focusing on the eye area.
- MediViz Cooling Eye Mask: This mask is known for its medical-grade cool compress.
- Medi Grade Cooling Face Mask and Cold Eye Mask: This professional grade gel-filled mask conforms to your face shape for a cooling and soothing experience.
- Conbella Face and Eye Mask: Filled with gel beads, this face mask can be used hot or old, depending on your skin’s needs.
The high-tech frost: Facial cryotherapy devices
If you love blending skincare with cutting-edge technology, an at-home cryotherapy device should be on your wish list.
These gadgets offer cold therapy combined with sonic vibrations or light therapy, bringing a multi-faceted approach to your skincare routine. Though a pricier option, they provide a professional level of treatment without stepping out of your home.
The top facial cryotherapy devices (click to purchase):
- Foreo UFO 2: This innovative device pairs cold therapy with other treatments like thermotherapy and T-sonic pulsations, all customizable through an app.
- Tripollar Stop X: This cutting-edge gadget employs radiofrequency technology and a cold setting to tighten and rejuvenate the skin.
- Therabody Theraface Pro: The cold ring featuring three temperature settings is designed to be combined with percussive facial therapy to relax muscles and reduce jaw tension.
Professional ice facials
Ready to take your skincare game to the pro level?
While you can enjoy the benefits of facial icing at home, a board-certified dermatologist or aesthetician can offer a more intense and focused treatment, perfect for special occasions when your skin needs an extra boost.
Professional facials can reach colder temperatures and ensure even cooling across your face, effectively reducing inflammation, tightening the skin, and minimizing pores.
The Fire & Ice Facial, also referred to as the “Hollywood Facial” or “Red Carpet Facial,” is the most popular ice therapy facial treatment that is loved by celebrities like Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and Lindsay Lohan.
This treatment starts with a heat-inducing mask, followed by a cooling one, which aims to boost circulation, diminish inflammation, and enhance skin texture. Initially designed by iSClinical, variations of this facial are now available at numerous upscale spas and dermatology clinics.
Cold hard facts: Are ice facials safe?
Yes, ice facials are safe! That said, taking certain precautions to fully enjoy their benefits while reducing the risk of possible side effects is always prudent.
Skin irritation: Always wrap your ice cubes in a soft cloth to create a barrier between the ice and the skin. Applying it directly can cause irritation, redness, and even frostbite in extreme cases.
Not suitable for everyone: People with sensitive skin, issues like rosacea or broken capillaries, or those recovering from facial procedures should avoid ice massages as they might exacerbate existing conditions.
Frostbite: Frostbite can occur when the skin and the tissues beneath freeze due to intense cold. Keep the skin icing short and sweet to counter any risk since prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can up the ante. A maximum of 5-10 minutes per session is the trick.
And always remember the golden rule of any skincare treatment — if you feel uncomfortable at any point, stop immediately!
Here are the most frequently asked questions about ice facials.
How does an ice facial help with skincare?
An ice facial constricts the blood vessels, reducing skin inflammation and redness. It can also help refine the appearance of pores, making them less visible. Finally, the tightening effect of cold temperatures may help to temporarily improve the skin’s texture, providing a more refreshed and radiant appearance.
Can ice facials help reduce puffiness and tighten skin?
Ice facials can help reduce puffiness by alleviating inflammation and fluid retention. They can also temporarily tighten the skin by constricting the blood vessels and stimulating circulation, resulting in a more toned and youthful appearance.
What is the best time to put ice on your face?
The ideal time for an ice facial is in the morning, as it can help to wake up the skin, reduce any puffiness, and provide a refreshed appearance for the day. However, they can also be used in the evening as part of a relaxing skincare routine or to soothe the skin after exposure to sun or environmental stressors.
What are the benefits of using a facial ice roller?
Using a facial ice roller can offer several benefits. It can help soothe inflammation, reduce redness, and ease the pain and discomfort associated with sunburns or acne. Additionally, it can promote better blood circulation and give the face a more refreshed and rejuvenated appearance.
Can ice reduce dark circles?
Yes, ice facials can benefit puffy eyes and dark circles. The cold temperature reduces swelling and stimulates blood flow, which can help alleviate these common eye-area concerns.
Can ice facials help reduce acne?
Ice facials can be a helpful addition to an existing skincare routine for managing acne and blemishes by reducing inflammation, skin pores, and excessive oil production. They can also provide a soothing effect and help alleviate discomfort or pain. However, they should not replace your acne treatment routine.
Can I apply makeup after an ice facial?
Absolutely! An ice facial can serve as an excellent makeup primer. It tightens the skin and minimizes pores, providing a smoother surface for makeup application.