Healthy Skin

I dunked my face in ice water for a week – here’s what happened

On the hunt for a cool new skincare hack to try? Enter: ice-water facials.

Ice is having a bit of a moment on social media. While most skincare experts don’t recommend directly applying ice to your face (despite what influencers on TikTok may say…), ice-water facials simply involve putting your face in a large dish of icy water.

Fans of ice-water facials include our very own beauty expert, Liz Earle, plus supermodels Bella Hadid and Kate Moss (and many more). Those who love this technique say it can give skin a new-found glow and temporarily reduce inflammation and redness. So we put it to the test.

I tried ice-water facials for a week – here’s what happened

Liz Earle Wellbeing’s Social Media Manager, Rachel Andrews, tried ice-water facials, a skincare technique loved by Liz Earle, to see what the hype is all about.

When it comes to skincare, I’ve learnt the hard way that less is often more – especially when dealing with sensitive skin. My skin just doesn’t tolerate lots of potent and active skincare ingredients, such as retinoids and vitamin C, that so many swear by to get the glow.

Instead, I’m always on the lookout for techniques, like gua sha and facial yoga, to help achieve that lit-from-within radiance that won’t irritate my complexion.

When I heard our founder, beauty guru Liz Earle, recently touting the benefits of ice-water facials to help skin glow, I was all ears and offered to be team guinea pig.

So, for one week, I plunged my face into a bowl filled with ice water every morning to test out the beauty benefits. Here’s how I got on.


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A post shared by Liz Earle MBE (@lizearleme)

How do you do it?

Facial ice baths are as simple as they sound.

Simply fill a bowl large enough to dip your face in with plenty of ice and water. You could use reusable ice packs in lieu of ice if you’re concerned about waste when doing this regularly.

Once the water is cold enough, plunge your face into the bowl and hold your breath. Most experts advise no longer than 30 seconds in total.

Keep a clean towel to the side to pat your face dry after.

What are the benefits?

The cold temperatures cause the blood vessels under your skin to constrict, which reduces puffiness, inflammation and redness. When these blood vessels return to normal, it leaves skin with a healthy and refreshed look.

It may also help to calm down any redness and swelling that comes hand-in-hand with pesky spots.

Cold water can also help to temporarily shrink the size of your pores, which may be beneficial for balancing oil production in the skin.

Aside from the beauty benefits, there’s no denying that plunging your face into a bowl of ice first thing in the morning helps to wake you up. It can also help to calm the nervous system, if you’re struggling with stress or anxiety.

Is there anyone it’s not suited to?

While this technique is suited to most skin types, if you have extremely sensitive and reactive skin or rosacea, you might want to err on the side of caution when trying it. This is because the cold temperatures may further irritate your skin.

My experience of ice-water facials

My first plunge was harder than I anticipated. But after seeing social media users puffing out their faces when heading underwater, I too found it easier to handle and hold my breath. I can’t explain why that works, but trust me – it does.

Towards the start of the week, I split up my 30-second plunge into three 10-second rounds before working up to two rounds of 15 seconds as I acclimatised.

While each daily ice dip seemed just as cold as the day before’s, I now know why it’s so popular.

Not only did it give me a refreshing start to the morning, any puffiness and redness I was experiencing was diminished (although not completely). Plus, my skin definitely had a new-found glow at the end of the 30 seconds. This lasted for a few hours.

I also noticed that each time I tried this technique, my pores were visibly smaller and my skin looked smoother. While these effects didn’t last all day, it was noticeable.

After just a week, it’s hard to tell what the long-term benefits are of daily icy plunges. That being said, my skin definitely seemed calmer after each facial as well as at the end of the seven days.

This is definitely a technique I’m going to add into my skincare routine.

I think it would be especially beneficial as a skin-prep step before a big event to give skin a boost of radiance before applying skincare and makeup.

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