Ice is having a moment in the beauty world. All over social media, people are dunking their faces into frigid water and massaging their complexions with frozen cubes, singing the skin-firming and depuffing benefits of these practices along the way.
Though these methods may be effective, they also happen to be… messy. Enter: Ice rollers, which TikTok claims will deliver all of the same skin-loving goodness and then some. But are they legit? Keep reading to find out.
What is ice rolling?
Ice rolling combines cooling therapy with DIY facial massage. Each of these practices comes with its own individual benefits, and together, they’re a double threat. “The combination of massage and cool application will…tighten your pores, and calm the skin from minor irritations or puffiness,” says Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD.
Exposing your skin to something super cold reduces inflammation and restricts blood flow, the aftermath of which can show up on your skin in spades. “The cool temperature of the ice will restrict blood flow to the area and minimize excess fluid accumulation or swelling that presents with inflammation. This can help with inflamed acne lesions,” says Anna Guanche, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Seven Days to Sexy. “Local vasoconstriction will then send signals to the body to increase blood flow to the area to warm it up, hence improving circulation. This improved circulation can help promote and enhance the healing of the skin. It can also bring more nutrients and oxygen to the skin’s surface for a more youthful and radiant appearance.” What’s more, ice can minimize the appearance of pores and help skin-care products better penetrate the skin.
Introducing chilly temps by way of a DIY roller massage not only improves their de-puffing abilities, but also aids in boosting lymphatic drainage and easing facial tension. “There are a tremendous amount of benefits to ice rolling the face,” confirms Geneva Stockdale, a California-based esthetician and founder of OC Esthetician. “Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to, aiding in lymphatic drainage, increased circulation, and decreased inflammation to the skin.”
How to use an ice roller
While there’s technically no wrong way to ice roll, Stockdale notes that there’s one particular method that will help you maximize your benefits. “Ice-rolling outward toward your ear and then down your neck to your collarbone will help drain lymphatic fluid,” she says. “Ice-rolling in this motion is the most beneficial, so keep it in mind next time you reach for your ice roller.” As far as when to ice roll goes, it’s really up to you—but know that it’ll give you a great boost of energy and some solid depuffing first thing in the morning (… a time when most of us could benefit from both).
One more important thing to note: Be sure to only ice roll on clean skin. I once used mine on an un-washed face and wound up with a rash, so do yourself a favor and learn from my mistake.
What happened when I ice rolled my face for a week
To see if ice rollers truly live up to the TikTok hype, I committed to testing out the practice for 15 minutes every day for a full week.
Each use came along with a nice cooling effect and satisfying tightness in my skin, but the most notable difference the tool made was in helping to decrease puffiness. My face tends to get bloated, and I can confirm that I looked much more sculpted immediately after each 15-minute session. However, the results were fairly short-lived and mostly disappeared after a few hours. I also noticed that my skin was smoother for the first half of the experiment, but by the time it was over my texture was more or less back to normal.
Though regular ice rolling didn’t quite give me the instant facelift that TikTok promised it would, it did force me to set aside time every day to slow down, relax, and treat myself to 15 full minutes of self care—which, in itself, is reason enough to keep it in my routine.
If you’ve already got a jade roller in your arsenal, you can pop it in the freezer to try the practice out for yourself, or shop one of our favorite ice rollers below.
LATME, Ice Roller for Face — $10.00
With nearly 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and a $10 price point, adding this ice roller to your cart should be a no brainer. It’s got a detachable design that makes it easy to pop in the fridge or freezer and even easier to clean (which, yes, you should absolutely be doing regularly). As one reviewer puts it, “I bought this as I wanted something ice cold to put on my face, [and] I was not disappointed. Not only does it help my skin and my pores it helps with lymphatic and circulation. It also helps my anxiety as it is now got me in a routine where I can relax while using this.”
The Skinny Confidential x Skin and Senses, Hot Mess Ice Roller — $69.00
This fancy ice roller is the one all the TikTok girlies swear by, and there’s a reason it’s so much more expensive than the others. Not only does it have a nice, hefty handle, but the aluminum material on the head gets cold super fast and stays that way, so you don’t have to worry about the tool losing its chill before you’re done with your facial.
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