This Ancient Glow-Boosting Skin Practice Is Trending, and We Want In



Skin icing (also known as cryotherapy) is trending , and it could give your complexion a much-needed burst of radiance. Whilst we’re usually warning you about ways to weather-proof your skin when it’s cold outside, this particular type of ice-cold skincare is actually beneficial for your complexion. Did you know that ice works wonders for dull skin? Well, it can minimise pores and even reduce the inflammation caused by blemishes. We’ve noticed this skincare technique (which has long been practised throughout history) making a comeback with updates that make it even more effective. We’ve got all the info, the science behind the technique, why it’s trending now and—even better—the best ice-inspired skincare products you can buy right now.


Simply put, skin icing is when you use an ice cube to reduce under-eye or facial puffiness. It has long been a staple of skincare wisdom (we’ve all used a refrigerated spoon or cucumber slices on our eyes in the past, right?). Far from being an old wives tale, there’s actually science behind this age-old advice. When actual ice is applied to the skin, it causes blood to rise to the surface (think of that rosy glow you get after a brisk winter walk), which soothes and tightens the skin.

Ice has long been a secret to clear skin and a healthy-looking glow. Russian empress Catherine the Great was said to have applied ice cubes to her face, neck and décolletage every morning to give her skin a radiant appearance. Whilst expensive facials and complicated skincare tools have their place, sometimes the simplest tricks are classics for a reason.

Iconic Hollywood actress Joan Crawford was another high-profile fan of skin icing. She is said to have regularly submerged her face in a sink of ice water to brighten her complexion and counteract puffiness. Today, celebrity fans include Mandy Moore, who Instagrammed her Super Nova Facial with specialist Joanna Vargas. The Super Nova includes cryotherapy—to help increase circulation, oxygenation and lymphatic drainage, and also provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Vargas’s other clients include Elizabeth Moss and Dakota Johnson, who also enjoy her unique cryotherapy facials.

Kate Moss has also been vocal about her favourite “beauty secret”—the exact same practice of submerging the skin in ice water that Joan Crawford championed years before. If this trick keeps our favourite ’90s supermodels skin looking radiant, we want in.

The Benefits

You can use the ice therapy products we’re raving about below year-round, as the benefits of a cooling effect on the skin are advantageous no matter the season. Look forward to an all-around better complexion, as low temperatures used on the skin have been shown to reduce redness, minimise pores, reduce inflammation and diminish puffiness.

Subjecting the body to freezing temperatures is nothing new (think historic and more recently, athlete-approved ice baths). Amy Lawrenson, Byrdie’s editorial director, even braved the much-praised cryotherapy, where she enveloped her body in a chamber at -91º Celsius. We gave it the thumbs-up for a one-off specialist spa treatment, but thanks to the products below, you can reap the rewards in the comfort of your own home.

Even better, using a cooling skincare product on the face will help the actives absorb better. This is due to the cold temperature making the capillaries in the skin restrict, creating a “pulling” effect. Fatigued faces can look forward to a firming effect and stimulating feeling from the ice that helps eliminate toxins. After cleansing, try rubbing an ice cube in a circular motion around the face and under the eyes. This will stimulate circulation as well as give your skin a revitalising pick-me-up.

The Reinvention

This year, we’ve seen a trendy update for the humble ice cube. As if the benefits of skin icing weren’t ample enough, experts have found a way to make this technique even more effective, less messy and at-home-facial friendly. Brands like Anne Semonin and Jalue are leading the way in at-home ice therapy products. Whilst you’d think you’d have to spend big bucks to get these treatments in a salon, they’re making next-level ice facials affordable and easy to do at home. The brands’ clever products manage to harness the ancient power of facial cryotherapy—combining it with new, cutting-edge ingredients and healing herbs to add another benefit to this already popular skincare saviour.

Try it for yourself

Keep scrolling to discover the best products for at an at-home ice facial.