Cool Off (& Get Glowing) With These Ice-Cold Products

A Victoria’s Secret model I interviewed once told me that she runs an ice cube across her face every night before she goes to bed to keep her skin firm and tight. I’m all for a dedicated skin-care routine, but at the time this seemed a little intense. Fast-forward to today: As the summer temps continue to flirt with the 90s, icing my face sounds like a fabulous idea — whether it’s actually good for my skin or not.

It turns out my Angel friend was onto something — and she's not the only one. Cryotherapy (from the Greek words "cryo," meaning cold, and "therapy," meaning cure) treatments have been used in medicine since the 17th century to help heal tissue damage and preserve the skin — and more recently, in the name of beauty. Anita Sun — medical esthetician, and CEO and cofounder of Dermovia, known for the Lace Your Face treatment — says ice can help tighten pores, combat wrinkles, calm, tone, and prep the skin for makeup application.

Who knew the beauty magic that lies in our ice trays? But these days, you can actually save the cubes for your cold brew. Because there are plenty of inventive, new products on the market that utilize the power of ice. Here, we round up everything from ice rollers to serum cubes. Plus, we added some products that work even better when they’re cold, and others that are jam-packed with cooling ingredients to soothe your skin after a day in the sun. These are sure to keep you cool for the rest of the summer.
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Ice rollers have been popular in parts of Asia and Europe for a while, but are just getting attention in the States. The simple, handheld device, filled with water and gel, is used to quell inflammation following in-office laser treatments and injectables, but is becoming popular after professional facials and for at-home use as well.

Just roll it across your face after you finish your skin-care routine and it will not only cool you down, but Sun says it can temporarily “freeze” the signs of aging, delay wrinkle formation, and make blemishes less noticeable. "Ice reduces redness of pimples by diminishing swollen tissue and broken capillaries," she says. "It can immediately calm irritated skin by slowing inflammation, can help to reduce the production of excess oil and acne-causing bacteria, and improves a variety of skin conditions such as itching and psoriasis."

As you may have guessed, summer's the best time to ice your skin. "When skin is exposed to heat and UV rays over a prolonged duration, it will become red, swollen, and irritated," says Sun. "Icing the skin can provide instant relief. Not only will it alleviate the heat and swelling, but it will also slightly numb the pain and soothe irritation."
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Remember that random beauty tip about using frozen spoons to get rid of bags under your eyes? Well, consider this baby ice roller a spoon on steroids. Facialist Carrie Lindsey from Shen Beauty is a fan. "I love the eye roller, in particular because blood pools around the eyes and causes dark circles," she says. "So stimulating and moving this blood lightly from inner corner to outer corner [with the ice roller] will lessen them within minutes."
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Meet the ice roller's more fragile cousin: the ice globe. “Ice globes offer benefits similar to the rolling devices,” says Sun. “But due to the ergonomic design, the balls are able to maneuver around the contours of the face and the eyes with more fluidity.”

Lindsey appreciates a roller, but she swears by these glass balls and uses them on all her clients at the end of facials. “The technique I use with the globes is semi-lymphatic,” she says. “I roll from the center of the face out, beginning on the forehead and moving down to the jawline. I typically use them post-serum and moisturizer, but pre-sunscreen as I don't want the pores to close around the sunscreen."

Just make sure you handle these with care: "They are glass and break very easily," cautions Lindsey. "I clean them with a diluted, antibacterial alcohol product after each use.” You can keep them in the freezer between uses.
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"Ice assists product delivery into the skin," says Sun. "It helps to restore a healthy skin matrix by reducing swelling and inflammation, thus allowing products to penetrate deeper into the pores."

With this in mind, Mila Moursi created Cryo Serum, which we like to call a "serum-sicle." To apply, take one cube from your freezer and pop it into the provided gauze pouch, and then simply rub it all over your face, neck, and décolletage, until it melts into your skin, for a regenerating and hydrating treat. "Cryo serums are great for constricting the blood vessels of the face, which [makes] the skin appear tighter and significantly less red," says Lindsey.
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Ice reduces inflammation and swelling, as many of us have learned from an unlucky fall or twist of the ankle. It's also an effective undereye treatment: "Ice reduces puffiness under the eye 'pouches' by reducing swelling, and helps to minimize dark circles by constricting blood vessels. Since the skin around the eyes is thinner, underlying blood vessels may show through as purplish-blue markings," says Sun.

She recommends looking for products that combine active ingredients with cooling ones, as that will yield maximum skin-care benefits. These Peter Thomas Roth eye cubes not only contain cooling ingredients like green tea, cucumber, and aloe, but also ultra-moisturizing hyaluronic acid. Check and check.
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These cooling undereye patches are not icy, but they have the same wake-you-up effect as their frozen friends — without the drippiness. “[Cooling] ingredients do not lower the temperature of the body or skin, as ice does,” explains Sun. “But many people find the sensation to be uplifting and invigorating. As a result, cooling ingredients are used in skin-care products that are designed to refresh, revitalize, and enliven the skin.” And after only 10 minutes, that is just what these bad boys will do to your eye area.
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If you prefer a few drops of a gel over a melty cube or adhesive patch, this cooling aloe and yeast extract formula are like the ice bucket challenge for tired eyes. If you're in need of some serious de-puffing (a late night beach bonfire, perhaps?), it's so light that you can even leave it on all day — but if you're out the door in the morning just five to ten minutes will do.
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While dermatologist Neil Sadick, MD, uses icing devices to help reduce post-procedure swelling, he also utilizes a custom soothing mask with active ingredients including panthenol, allantoin, and aloe to help deal with the redness and irritation. Since you can't get your hands (er, face) on that unless you stop by his New York City office, we recommend this clear clay mask made with cooling aloe and menthol. Pretty awesome, right?

"When topically applied to the skin, menthol produces a cooling sensation by blocking the calcium current along the nerves responsible for detecting temperature, and triggers a response in nerve endings that thinks the body is cooling down," says Sun. "Cooling ingredients [can also] improve the flow of blood to the areas of the skin that [are] thinner, and cause a temporary plumping effect." Disclaimer: Menthol can cause irritation for some, so test it on your hand first.
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Lindsey may live for her ice globes, but she has another trick up her sleeve to help cool down the skin. It's pretty simple: She refrigerates her beauty products. This works especially well with cream cleansers, like the Miracle Cleanser by Aurelia; gel masks, like the SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Mask; and toners.

"Toners are great to spritz and rebalance the skin any time of the day," she says. "When chilled, they help constrict the pores and regulate oil production. In the summer, I really like January Labs Restorative Tonic Mist. Witch hazel is great for its antibacterial properties. I will also use Pai Lotus & Orange Blossom BioAffinity Skin Tonic to calm dry and sensitive skin, or its Rosemary Skin Tonic to restore skin to its normal pH balance."
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The Lace Your Face mask does not contain specific cooling ingredients and doesn't need to be frozen. But the blend of soothing chamomile, Tahitian seawater, and dew-grass extracts, plus stress-relieving squalene, can still be a deliciously cooling treatment if you keep it in the fridge, like Lindsey suggested. Another cool feature: Its lace and ear straps allow it to be worn snug and actually fit your face.

"It is stored in a foil-lined pouch that can be refrigerated for use as a cooling mask, to provide all of the benefits similar to using ice," says Sun. "Optionally, it can be worn while you roll an ice globe or ice roller over the entire face and neck for [an] added cooling effect without icing directly on the skin...for a more comfortable and [still] effective treatment."
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