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What is the face icing TikTok trend and should we all be doing it?

  • Face icing is the new skincare treatment all over social media

  • Aestheticians to the celebrity set have been trying out cold therapy treatments for decades

  • But you can also easily try it out at home with household objects such as teaspoons and ice cubes

  • Read on to find out everything you need to know about face icing and its benefits

Face icing has a number of skincare benefits, including reducing swelling. (Getty Images)
Face icing has a number of skincare benefits, including reducing swelling. (Getty Images)

You’ve probably heard of icing your muscles, or maybe even cold water therapy, but what about face icing – the new skincare trend taking TikTok by storm?

Despite the face icing hashtag racking up over 20 million views, ice facial treatment is far from anything new, it's been used in spas and skincare treatments for several years. But an influx of celebrities trying out the cold has given new life to the method.

A-list names like Bella Hadid, Kate Moss and Irina Shayk all perk up their skin with a touch of frost in the morning, following in the footsteps of other famous faces such as Marilyn Monroe, who was known for her refreshing facial ice baths, and original supermodel Linda Evangelista, who would de-puff her eyes by rubbing ice under them in the 1990s.

Young woman getting a face icing massage
You can use a number of tools at home or with professionals to try face icing. (Getty Images)

Also known as an ice facial, the cryotherapy treatment in which vaporised nitrogen is used to cool the skin, has been introduced into a number of spa treatments in recent years for various different purposes, from destroying fat cells (CoolSculpting) to getting rid of spider veins (through Cryo 6, a new method of sclerotherapy).

But you needn’t have expensive spas and aestheticians on speed dial, you can get in on the cold action at home with anything that holds sub-zero temperatures well; from frozen aloe vera and ice cubes to frosty teaspoons and face rollers.

Here’s everything you need to know about face icing, and how you can do it from home.

What is face icing?

Simply put, face icing is when the facial skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a period of time, usually a few minutes.

A number of tools can be used to achieve the cold temperature, from using frozen ice cubes, to specific instruments to be kept in the freezer.

Cold rose quartz roller for face icing massage lies in ice cubes, top view. Anti aging and lifting skin care.
A number of face icing tools can be kept in the freezer at home. (Getty Images)

The instruments, or ice cubes, are gently massaged across the face several times in a repetitive motion to achieve maximum results, and you can even freeze aloe vera or coffee for an additional soothing or stimulating effect.

What are the benefits of face icing?

Face icing is said to have a number of skincare benefits, top of which is reduction of swelling and puffiness, but it can help with a variety of other ailments from soothing redness to blemish control.

When cold temperatures are applied to the skin, it restricts blood flow and helps to drain excess fluids from the lymphatic system, which soothes and tightens the skin, and is why face icing can be so helpful in reducing puffiness and swelling.

Elsewhere, face icing can ease pain by temporarily reducing nerve activity, ease acne – in particular inflamed pustular breakouts by reducing inflammation – and boost the skin’s circulation, resulting in a healthy ‘glow’.

a young woman holding ice cubes under her eyes on a gray background
Using ice cubes or ice therapy under the eyes can reduce puffiness. (Getty Images)

Other anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of ice can speed up functional recovery by promoting soft tissue healing, reduce signs of ageing, such as wrinkles, and reduce oiliness, but these claims haven’t been clinically proven.

More than anything, a combination of cold temperatures and gentle massage is certainly a refreshing wake-up call in the mornings.

Are there any potential side effects of face icing?

As with any skincare treatment, if not done properly, face icing can have some damaging side effects. It can leave skin feeling dry or dehydrated, and could cause reactions to cold temperatures in those with sensitive skin, or rosacea-prone skin and cold urticaria.

However, most of these issues occur through the mis-use of nitrogen in cryotherapy, and it's worth noting that there is little chance of causing ice burns at home with run-of-the-mill ice cubes.

facial ice stick massage. Hot face masseur. Girl at salon with doctor hands.
Tools (or ice cubes) should be gently massaged across the face in a continuous movement. (Getty Images)

That being said, following our tips for face icing will make sure you get the most out of the treatment, without some of the nasty side effects.

How to ice your face

Whether you’re using ice or have found yourself a face icing tool to keep in the freezer, it's important to start with a clean face, and tools.

Advocates of face icing then suggest rolling four or five ice cubes in a soft cotton cloth and gently massaging your face with circular motions for a minute or two, keeping the ice moving so you don't hold it on one space for too long.

A number of tools are also available in roller or globe format, that can be kept cool in the freezer and gently massaged over the skin in the same, circular motion. But make sure to keep them clean and wash them after every use.

Follow up with your usual skincare routine and moisturiser.

Best ice rollers and face icing tools

Botanics Ice Rollers | £12 at Boots

£12 at Boots

Contour Cube Mini | £18 at Beauty Bay

£18 at Beauty Bay

Pack your bags face globe | £10 (Was £15) at Tarte Cosmetics

£10 £15 at Tarte Cosmetics

001 Skincare London Cryopress | £58 (Was £78) at Debenhams

£58 £78 at Debenhams

Genius Lift Ultra-Firming Cryotherapy Set | £145 (£45 with subscription) at Beauty Pie

£145 at Beauty Pie

Nurse Jamie Mini Super-Cryo Massaging Orb | £14 at Cult Beauty

£14 at Cult Beauty

Revolution Skincare Milky Night-Time Ice Globes | £15 at Lookfantastic

£15 at Lookfantastic

Watch: 10 best beauty buys for £10 or under