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I tried the viral ice sculpting trend taking over TikTok — here's what a dermatologist had to say about it

Using ice to sculpt the face is the latest beauty trend to take over the internet, so we talked to an expert to get her take.

Screenshot of viral tiktok videos using ice sculpting tools. Selfie of writer Samantha Vecchiarelli using ice on her cheeks
I tried the viral ice sculpting trend taking over TikTok. Photos via TikTok users @emmarie_lane and @sydney-mcdonald, Samantha Vecchiarelli.

In Canada, we're no strangers to snow and ice. However, recent viral videos suggest that you might want to consider incorporating ice into an unexpected part of your day: your beauty routine.

Quick Overview

In a video posted by TikTok user Emmarie Whitaker, who goes by @emmamarie_lane, ice might be the secret to a more sculpted, lifted look.

Whitaker was inspired by a clip originally posted by TikTok user Sydney McDonald, who can be seen using ice to contour her cheeks, giving her a more lifted, sculpted look. When Whitaker recreates the video to try it out for herself, she, too, uses ice to attempt the facial-sculpting trend.

Trying the trend: Using ice to lift and sculpt

Curious to see whether or not this trend really works, I decided to give it a try too. I don’t have an ice tool like the ones the TikTokers used, but if you’re looking to invest in one, this Ice Face Roller Silicone Mold Holder from Amazon is a great option.

This ice face roller rings in at just $14.

$14 at Amazon

For the purpose of testing out this trend, I simply used a frozen ice cube to contour my cheeks. Here are some before photos of my face featuring no face makeup (mascara only).

Before using ice on skin (Samantha Vecchiarelli)
Before using ice on skin (Samantha Vecchiarelli)

Here are some images of me applying the ice to my skin, rubbing it back and forth to contour my cheeks.

Hot Tip: Wrap the ice cube in a small towel or tissue so you can hold and apply it.

Here are the immediate results right after applying the ice to my skin:

After photos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)
After photos (Samantha Vecchiarelli)

I noticed immediate results after applying the ice to contour my cheeks. My face appeared less puffy and my cheeks had a natural flush and contour after rubbing the ice cube for a few minutes. Although my skin felt instantly refreshed, the ice was pretty messy to apply as the water dripped down my face.

Unfortunately, the results didn't last long. I noticed that the natural contour the ice cube gave me disappeared pretty quickly, so my skin didn't look as lifted as it did when first applied.

An expert weighs in

We spoke with Dr. Geeta Yadav, board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology, to discuss the growing ice beauty trend in more depth.

When it comes to whether or not using ice to lift and sculpt actually works, the results are mixed. Yadav claims “it will work for certain skin types, though the results are temporary.”

So, how come the results seemed so drastic in the viral TikTok video? According to Yadav, “cold temperatures, especially something as extreme as applying ice directly to the skin, causes blood vessels to constrict, while the massaging action helps drain puffiness,” which can result in a firmer, lifted look.

And when it comes to who would benefit most from this trend, Yadav has some thoughts.

“This will really work best on younger skin with a lot of elasticity," she says. “You might see minor improvement when doing this on mature skin, but very lax skin will not 'snap back' to the same degree and won't offer a dramatic result.”

Final verdict

If you’re looking to test the trend out for yourself, Yadav recommends trying the following:

“Instead of using ice, which will be uncomfortable and messy, I'd recommend using a stone facial roller or face globes that have been stored in the freezer for a few hours before use," she claims.

"You can do this on clean skin or skin that has been prepped with a brightening serum. Work from the center of the face towards the hairline, using repetitive motions to stimulate lymphatic drainage.”

For instance, this Gupgi Jade Massage Roller Facial Tool is an affordable stone facial roller you can use to test the trend at home. These Beauty Ice Roller Globes are also the ideal cold skin massage tool to get the look.

This jade facial massager offers similar results as ice without all the mess.

$17 at Walmart

These Beauty Ice Roller Globes are another alternative to using ice to massage facial muscles. 

$13 at Walmart

Overall, I would say that this beauty trend is hit or miss. Although you get immediate results, they don't seem to last. If you're looking to try the trend yourself (mess-free), try using a facial massage tool that utilizes this element of cold therapy in order to keep skin feeling lifted, sculpted, and less puffy.

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