It’s a model and celebrity secret that has been around for decades, and it’s as easy as opening up your freezer. From beauty icons like Joan Crawford and Kate Moss comes a sneaky and affordable way to instantly depuff your face and shrink your pores. Ladies, meet the ice facial.
Turns out the practice of using ice on the face has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and ancient practices, and today, it’s used in similar ways. There are two ways to achieve the glowing effects of an ice facial. You can either soak your face in ice water for 10–12 second intervals (this is harder than it sounds) or you can simply wrap an ice cube in a tissue and gently run the cube over your face for about 10 seconds at a time.
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In an interview with Vogue UK, Kate Moss revealed that when her skin is looking less than its best, there’s one trick she always turns to. “If I’m feeling a bit puffy or tired, I fill a bowl of water with ice cubes and a bit of cucumber,” she says, sharing that filling a sink with the three ingredients also works well. Then, she dips her face in and holds it under the water for as long as she can, repeating the motion for a few minutes. “It takes all the puffiness away and brings the blood to the surface,” resulting in an instantly tighter appearance.
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Not only do ice facials make you feel instantly awake, but they also promote circulation in your skin and give it an instant glow. Studies have also found that exposure to ice water allows you to reset levels of the appetite hormone leptin, which can lead to faster fat loss in the body (an added bonus, of course).
We speak to Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic and the creative force behind the SW1 and Chai cosmeceutical line, on what she thinks of thinks of this trend. Is it likely to be a fad or is there a science to this facial trick?
“Ice therapy has been used for years to heal wounds but you can also incorporate it in your anti-ageing routine to shrink pores, decongest oily skin and help fight wrinkles” she concedes. “Cold causes the skin’s blood vessels to contract and then subsequently dilate. This improves the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, making it appear more radiant in the short-term.”
However, she warns against using ice directly from the freezer in case of cold burns “Don’t apply ice straight from the freezer, let it rest for a few minutes. And you don’t need to wrap the ice, instead hold it with kitchen towel. If your skin is sensitive, thin or you have broken capillaries, use the ice for a minute at the most”.
Dr. Low also says that while some advocates may see an immediate improvement in complexion glow, long-term benefits are unlikely with this treatment. “If you are looking glowing skin that lasts, focus on improving skin health” she advises. At SW1 Clinic in the heart of Singapore, Paragon, she treats her patients with a combination of oxygen facials that gives longer term impact for the skin, as well as retinol peels and LED photobiomodulation lights.
The right skincare is also crucial in giving you a radiant complexion. Using active ingredients in their freshest form ensures you receive maximal benefits with each application. That’s why she likes to give her patients Citrine— vials of fresh powdered vitamin C and a light serum activator for their home use. Her second favourite product is SW1’s Unicorn tears— a light essence that combines the benefits of adenosine, retinol and tranexamic acid for an all-round complexion brightening effect.
The bottom line: There is more than one way to the gates of heavenly skin. Whatever works best for you should be your ‘religion’.