Have ice and cold become the ultimate beauty boosters? From promoting radiance, firmness and blood circulation to battling puffiness, dark circles, wrinkles and even dilated pores, they tick all the boxes for a beauty must-have.
In fact, social networks are obsessed with ice, which is now attracting the attention of brands. Meanwhile, cold is the focus of new beauty and wellness retreats in Northern Europe.
Who would have believed it? A simple little cube of artificial ice – just a tiny amount of water placed in the freezer – is causing a stir on social networks. Millions of users are now turning to the powers of cold to get a glowing complexion, firmer skin, shinier hair, or to reduce wrinkles and dark circles, seizing on all imaginable techniques and variations.
And as if that wasn't enough, they're sharing ice-cold tips that combine the effects of cold with those of other super skincare ingredients like aloe vera or cucumber.
But the benefits of cold were by no means discovered in the age of social media, far from it. In ancient times, the Greeks used cold to alleviate certain pains, as did the Egyptians, and it has even been a firm part of the culture of certain Northern European countries, such as Finland, for decades.
This has essentially been about using the properties of cold to heal or relieve certain ailments, or to strengthen the immune system.
But, over time, these benefits have expanded into the beauty sector to enhance skin in many ways.
At first, it was a matter of putting creams, masks and other cosmetics in the refrigerator for a few minutes to boost their benefits, but this has now given way to the emergence of new beauty tips and tricks, as accessible as they are affordable, and which are all the rage right now.
As well as helping burn fat and eliminate toxins, cold also improves blood circulation.
These benefits are attributed, for example, to cold showers – or, more precisely, to a blast of cold water at the end of a shower – but also to exercising outdoors in the depths of winter or to cryotherapy.
In other words, techniques involving cold conditions. On top of that, cold also acts as a decongestant, making it an ideal ally in the fight against puffiness and dark circles.
Plus, by improving blood circulation, it helps to reduce dullness, lack of firmness, dilated pores and wrinkles. These many properties have propelled ice cubes to the rank of must-have beauty essentials.
Skin-icing and the powers of the ice cube
The countless virtues of cold have not escaped the attention of TikTokers, who have been quick to experiment with them, before adopting them long-term.
There are now dozens and dozens of hashtags related to these beauty hacks, totaling several hundred million views. Some tips are shared by dermatologists, who also highlight some of the limitations of using ice, especially in terms of skin sensitivity and dryness.
But, when used optimally, and in moderation, cold – whether in the form of ice cubes or beauty tools – can indeed provide a host of benefits.
On the Chinese social network, skin-icing, which simply involves applying an ice cube to the face, is the most widespread practice, and the most popular (23 million views).
But there are now many variations on this theme, such as frozen cucumber, which involves applying frozen cucumber to the face (39 million views), frozen lipstick, which is the same as skin-icing but using an empty lipstick tube (400,000 views), or the frozen beauty blender, which promises to facilitate the application of foundation (9.7 million views).
A more recent viral craze is frozen aloe vera, consisting this time of making aloe vera ice cubes to combine the effects of cold with the moisturising properties of the plant (3.2 million views).
So many ideas that have become popular go-to tricks, and which have not escaped the attention of the beauty industry.
From social media to the bathroom cabinet
While it's always possible to put cosmetics – serums, creams, masks, make-up removers and other products – in the refrigerator to enhance their properties, brands have gone even further in the last few months by offering tools directly inspired by cryotherapy, to be used at home.
This started with ice globes at the beginning of 2022, a tool that takes the form of water-filled spheres that are placed in the refrigerator or freezer and then applied to skin.
The aim is to soothe the skin and reduce dark circles and inflammation. One year after first gaining popularity, these accessories seem to have a host of fans, with no less than 60 million views on TikTok.
But, more simply, massage tools like a jade roller, a gua sha or a quartz roller can also be placed in the refrigerator to obtain the same results. And to combine the virtues of cold with other properties, brands now offer cooling masks, roll-ons and cooling-effect sticks, for an even more optimal result.
Examples include Charlotte Tilbury's Cryo Recovery Mask, the Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber mask, the Cryo-Freshening stick by Holidermie, the Cryo Anti-Puffiness roll-on from Sothys Paris, or the Akane Skincare Ice Therapy Kit.
To combine beauty and pleasure, there are now many wellness getaways that focus on the virtues of the cold, whether in Sweden, Norway, Iceland or France.
In Finland, ice swimming – or avanto ("hole in the ice" in Finnish) – is a traditional ritual known for its benefits for the skin as well as for health, and even for busting stress and generally promoting well-being.
Simply get into your swimsuit and slip into one of the country's countless lakes and rivers for a refreshing blast that will undoubtedly help you better appreciate the benefits of winter. – AFP Relaxnews