Before I sat down to write this article I had a bit of a pre-game scroll on Insta and the first thing Zuckerberg served me was a video of Bella Hadid dunking her face into a bowl of ice water. This proves two things: the first is that the Instagram algorithm is now actually inside my brain, and the second is that cryotherapy—or cold therapy—has definitely hit the mainstream.
Five years ago, I would’ve filed the video in the “weird celeb things” pile, but this is one trend that I’ve fallen for—hard. I blame Melanie Grant, the celebrity facialist, skin expert and Founder of Melanie Grant Skin Health and SkincareEdit.com. I once saw a video of her passing ice cubes over her face to freshen the face, and since I’d do anything she tells me to in the vain hope of having skin like hers, I was IN. In our interview, Melanie tells me she’s been a devotee of using ice at home for longer than she can remember. “It’s simple, effective, free and a great way to awaken a dull, tired or lacklustre complexion, plus it works a treat if you’ve been travelling or have had too much salt or one too many glasses or wine the night before,” she says.
The immediate payoff is perhaps what appeals to people like me who are innately impatient and love a fast result. It’s also why it’s a technique that’s been used backstage at fashion shows for years and why skin angels like Melanie are such fans. “The benefits are immediate—from a brighter, more energised complexion and a sculpted face and jawline, to a lessening of inflammation that would normally present as redness, heat, swelling or even itching,” she says.
Melanie uses both ice sculpting and ice plunging. The former, which is what lured me in to begin with, uses cubes of semi-melted ice (because you want slip and not tearing or sticking) glided over the eye contour, jawline and cheeks for 1-2 minutes. Ice plunging on the other hand, is, well, exactly what it says on the box: submerging your face in a bowl of cold, clean water filled with ice at 10 second intervals for a minute. Melanie calls this her “cure all around the world” and says she also does it to feet and ankles post flight to bring down any swelling.