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  • Writer's pictureRegina Cantú Navarro

TikTok Told Me To Dunk My Face In Ice Water

I’m still looking for a way to refresh my skin that doesn’t involve masochism.


The first two things you have to know about icing your face are ONE: it has short-term, beautiful results, and TWO: it hurts. Not one of the TikToks or beauty content creators warned me about this part.

This trend consists of getting a bowl of water, adding ice, and dunking your face for a minute or two. I had seen people do it and imagined it would be uncomfortable, but when I actually tried it, it was… humbling. My skin is quite sensitive, and I (somewhat misguidedly) felt safe because the only ingredient needed was water. I woke up every morning, and after showering, would go set a bowl with ice water — mentally preparing myself to do it.

It obviously woke me up in the morning, and really decreased my puffiness; however, I gave up after the first couple of days and opted for sticking my jade roller in the ice water and massaging my face with it. This added step to your routine is meant to tighten the skin, improve circulation, reduce the appearance of pores, and give a natural glow. It’s hard to get in that mindset when instead of a Goop-esque relaxation moment, the whole experience is like jumping into the Hudson in February.

The use of ice water for skin care purposes is a Korean practice, and it started gaining attention on TikTok — especially last year when Bella Hadid uploaded a video dunking her face in a bowl of ice cubes. It’s remained a popular concept in beauty and wellness alike (it even works for stress and anxiety!), as it has the same effects as a cold shower. According to experts, doing this can lower your heart rate and slow your racing mind down. Because of the ludicrous amount of pain involved, it naturally became a TikTok couples' challenge (but that’s a different story). Still — people swear by it, making it a permanent step of their skincare regimen and recommending it to keep the skin firm and glowy. Is ‘70s-style shock therapy worth the effort? Or is it another thing that — even though we could be influenced to try — won’t really have any beneficial effects?

After trying it for a week (even though I committed poorly to the freezing water and used way fewer ice cubes after the first time!), I will say that it does make you feel ready for the day and can slog off any last-night-bad vibes. And I have to confess something: I feel like my skin really liked it, even despite the holy terror the process involves. The rest of my skincare products, especially my moisturizer, went on super smoothly, and my redness was noticeably lower throughout the day. Still, the best and most beneficial effect for me was right after — I truly felt I was less groggy and much more fresh. But I’m still looking for a way to refresh my skin that doesn’t involve masochism. 🌀


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