Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
These days it's almost impossible to scroll through TikTok without coming across a DIY skincare hack. The app's beauty enthusiasts have proven that there are so many smart tips and shortcuts, like how to minimise dark under-eye circles and get rid of blackheads. But it's hard to ignore the enormous obsession with skin icing.
TikTok recently caused ice globes to go viral, swiftly followed by the frozen cucumber facial — both of which are said to reduce inflammation, bring down spots and alleviate puffy skin with a cooling, soothing effect. This week it's all about the DIY lipstick roller, which TikTokers around the globe are making at home.
What is TikTok's homemade ice roller hack?
It's difficult to tell who dreamed up the lipstick ice roller hack, simply because so many people have jumped on the bandwagon, but a handful of TikTokers have gone viral for their take on the skincare trend. Emilie Karlsen's video has garnered 3.1 million likes and counting, and shows her cleaning out the remnants of an old lipstick, filling the empty bullet with water and popping it in the freezer. When completely frozen, Emilie rolls the 'lipstick' underneath her eyes for a soothing effect.
What are the skin benefits of TikTok's homemade ice roller hack?
"There is a lack of research behind the benefits of cooling," says Dr Ana, aesthetic doctor at Kat & Co, "but applying a cool compress or cold tool to the skin has many well-known benefits. It constricts the blood vessels, which improves the appearance of redness and inflammation. It also tightens the skin temporarily, which alleviates puffiness (around the eyes especially) and swelling." Inflammatory acne, rosacea, cysts and ingrown hairs can particularly benefit from these soothing effects, Dr Ana continues.
The big question: is this hygienic? "Cleanliness is key as with most skincare treatments, otherwise the risk of introducing an infection to already inflamed areas can lead to significant worsening of your condition," says Dr Ana. "I would suggest using cooled down skincare products or a smooth and gentle ice roller as these are easy to clean in between uses rather than makeup items or food products." If you decide to do so anyway, Dr Ana says that it should be one-time use only. "Reusing or refreezing food or makeup products is a bad idea as you will run the risk of bacterial growth in between use."
How do you make TikTok's homemade ice roller?
You might be thinking, But that's a waste of good lipstick! However it seems most TikTokers are using products they've had for a very long time and are most likely expired. I recently ran out of my favourite VIEVE lipstick so I decided to repurpose the bullet. Full disclosure: it was a handful. I had no idea what to use to scrape out the remaining product so I opted for a cuticle pusher, which seemed to work to remove the bulk of it. I moved on to cotton buds (six of them) plus soap and water, but it was impossible to clean the bullet completely. Eventually I gave up.
I've already extolled the virtues of frozen cucumber when it comes to skin so I decided to improvise. I snapped off a stalk from my aloe vera plant, which is meant to have moisturising, anti-inflammatory benefits, and chopped it up really small. I didn't think it through, though, as the bullet is equally tiny. Improvising again, I stuck the aloe chunks in a blender with some filtered water to aid freezing and used a tiny spoon to decant the mixture into the bullet. Heads up: if you haven't used raw aloe juice before, it has a pungent smell – almost like raw onions. Still, all the best skincare in my routine has a potent whiff, like salicylic acid and retinol, so I persisted.
After three hours the frothy mixture was frozen but I had to let the lipstick thaw for around five minutes in order to twist up the bullet. As you can see, it's not exactly #shelfie-worthy but I decided to roll with it.
Does TikTok's homemade ice roller actually work?
Surprisingly yes, but don't expect your skin to be transformed. The cool aloe brought down some slight puffiness around my eyes, lips and nose and it felt incredible. I question why we spend hundreds on 'relaxing' facials when skin icing is as good as any soothing treatment I've had in the past. Dr Ana recommends wrapping your frozen tool of choice in a protective layer such as gauze or cotton to prevent ice burns on the skin. "Keep the cold compress mobile across your skin as prolonged exposure can lead to ice burns," she warns.
For eye bags and circles, it's a great addition alongside a vitamin C eye cream, which can potentially brighten skin over time. The skin under my eyes also felt tighter and more supple thanks to the hydration.
Lastly, when it comes to the odd monster spot, it's beneficial for bringing down swelling and redness, but won't do much alone. I'd recommend teaming your ice roller with a brilliant spot treatment, such as Typology's Targeted Blemish Serum 2% Salicylic Acid + 1% Zinc, £19.90, or Scientia's Pure Clarity Targeted Blemish Paste, £16.
If I had the patience, I'd definitely use a lipstick ice roller again. That said, I'd suggest following the skin expert's advice and making it from scratch, rather than refreezing. Bacteria is never good for your skin.
Dr Ana has the last word. "If you suffer from redness, acne or persistent inflammation, I would suggest seeing a skin practitioner for an assessment of the underlying cause as there are many effective treatments to treat these concerns," she advises.
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