With many skincare treatments on the market today – from the best LED face masks to rigorous 18-step routines – plunging your face into a bowl of ice cold water might not seem as advanced. But putting ice on your face is incredibly beneficial and comes highly recommended by doctors and models like Kate Moss and Bella Hadid.
Whether it’s for your face or to speed up workout recovery, cold water therapy has become increasingly popular over the years. Athletes, celebrities and health experts have championed immersing yourself in ice cold water to reduce muscle soreness, help the immune system and improve your mood (see everything you need to know about ice baths for more information).
In the beauty industry, face icing has been dubbed the best skin secret ever so I decided to give it a try. I’m fairly low maintenance when it comes to my skin. I always remove my make-up before bed, clean my face with a good face wash and use the TheraFace Pro a couple times a week to give my skin some TLC. But about a month ago, I started to notice more spots and redness on my face than normal.
After seeing a few ice water face dipping videos pop up on my Instagram, I wanted to see if face icing would actually make a difference to my skin. After three weeks of submerging my face in freezing cold water every morning, I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve found for my skin and mood. Here’s what happened when I iced my face every day for three weeks.
What is face icing and what does it do?
Depending on your method of choice, face icing involves submerging your face into ice in cold water for a short period of time. Other methods include putting a face roller, gua sha or eye mask in the freezer and applying it to the face in specific motions.
Why would you want to put your face in cold water, I hear you ask. According to doctors and dermatologists, icing your skin has been found to reduce redness and inflammation, tighten the skin, eliminate puffiness, ease acne and give a healthy glow. While the results aren’t permanent, icing your face does deliver instant results and it’s easy (and cheap!) to do.
Face icing can be done by anyone, although experts suggest that it shouldn’t be done for more than 15 minutes using cold facial tools. Those with thin, sensitive or eczema-prone skin and people who have recently undergone cosmetic surgeries or peels should avoid face icing. It’s also important to wrap your ice cube or cold tool in something protective like gauze or a cloth so you don’t burn or irritate your skin.
Face icing: experience
For my face icing experience, I decided to leave the fancy skincare tools to the professionals. While I don’t have a face roller or gua sha, what I do have is a big bowl and an always-full ice tray in my freezer. This is one thing I love about face icing, as it’s so accessible and easy to do.
As soon as I got up in the morning, I headed downstairs, filled a bowl with a tray of ice cubes before pouring cold water over it. I let it sit for a minute before I dunked my face three times in the water, making sure to cover my entire face. I stayed in the cold water for 10-15 seconds at a time before coming up for a breath. Afterwards, I’d dry my face with a kitchen paper towel before jumping in the shower and cleaning my face with a sensitive face wash and applying the best moisturiser.
As someone who absolutely hates being cold, the first week of face icing was filled with a lot of dread. Looking into a bowl of watery ice cubes and feeling the residual heat of my bed on my pyjamas wasn’t the best feeling in the world and when starting off, I could only last three seconds at a time.
After persevering for a few days, I found that slowing down the process rather than quickly dunking my face in was a lot easier to manage. Slowly lowering my face into the ice water meant I lasted in the water for longer and surprisingly, I found that the first dunk was the easiest, and the third was the worse!
Three weeks later: the results
I decided to try face icing because my skin was looking red and spotty. But within a couple of days, my skin had completely cleared up. Spots that were hidden under the surface had disappeared and any redness subsided quickly.
Face icing is said to improve circulation and I definitely noticed a difference in how my skin looked and felt. After having a quick ice water dip, my face looked glowy and felt silky smooth. Puffiness, particularly around the eyes, also reduced and my skin felt much tighter than before.
As someone who can be late to rise when working from home, I wanted to try face icing to see if it woke me up and made me feel more alert after a night’s sleep. Every time I iced my face (even those days that I really didn’t want to) I felt so awake and alive afterwards. On days I was in a rush, I made time to have a quick dip and my morning grogginess immediately went away. It might sound strange but I found dunking my face in ice water quite relaxing. Having my face in a cold bowl with nothing but my thoughts to calm me down definitely showed me that I can get past my brain screaming at me to get away from the cold!
After three weeks, I’ve seen and felt a noticeable and remarkable difference in my skin and mood. It’s a simple, cheap and effective treatment that I definitely plan on continuing. For more skincare advice, take a look at the four-day skin cycling trend.