This five-minute beauty tool lives in your freezer and is the red carpet facialist's secret weapon. Victoria Woodhall tries the Cryoball
On hot summer days, who doesn't want to just stick their head in a bag of frozen peas. Hygiene aside, it's actually not a bad idea in order dial down the redness and puffiness that comes with overheating – as any menopausal woman will tell you.
Heatwave face is far cry from that ‘sucked in’ glow you get after a brisk winter walk in the freezing cold. A frosty tramp around North London, where I live, or the seafront in Bournemouth where I escape, gives speedier results than many a pricey cream or facial claiming to lift sculpt, Polyfill or plump. The cold brings a glow and uncovers angles in your face that haven’t been seen in weeks.
Surely someone has bottled this by now? Step forward facialist Teresa Tarmey, famous for her celebrity ice facials. Around Met Ball time you won’t see her for dust as she has queues of leading ladies (Poppy Delevingne and Sienna Miller to name two) to attend to with her secret weapon – the Cryoball. It's a kind of portable Jack Frost, a surgical steel ball filled with liquid that lives in a little bag in the freezer. You roll over your face for a couple of minutes – no special technique required – and it makes you look as lean as if you’ve just climbed the North Face of the Eiger (but without the beard).
“You can literally lift the cheekbones,” says Teresa. “I use it for every red carpet facial, which gets my clients hooked.”
The Cryoball is no longer confined to her treatment room, now it's available to buy.
"I initially intended for it to be used before big events or to save stressed or problematic skin, but it’s so effective, I actually use it every morning, to depuff and destress skin," she explains. It's about the size of an apple and its preferred habitat is below minus 8°C, swaddled in its special cloth bag, safe from your rogue peas and escaped breadcrumbs. Teresa even has a freezer near her bed so she can reach for hers first thing.
You apply a serum to clean skin – hyaluronic acid is good and Teresa’s Cryoball Cryo-Therapy Kit, £169 comes with this as well as a lactic acid toner and mask for the full red carpet effect – and glide the ball in any direction, put on your makeup and head out. I did one side of my face and immediately saw the difference in tightness and glow.
It works in two ways. Firstly, the extreme cold constricts the blood vessels and makes everything tighter – in the same way as when you go out into the cold, the rings on your fingers rings start to feel loose. Then there’s the lymphatic drainage element of the rolling, which also depuffs. “Puffiness is usually caused by tiredness or lack of sleep or diet such as carbohydrates and sugar,” explains Teresa. “For me, sugar is the devil, which is why alcohol makes you puffy. It’s great post-flight too”.
There’s also something incredibly nourishing about the microcirculation effect that all cryotherapy (the use of extreme cold for healing) creates. We often forget how much our skin suffers when we're stressed; the body diverts blood flow to the muscles because it thinks we need to flee, and our skin receives less oxygen and nutrients.
I was an early adopter of the Cryoball and am happy to report that it's served me well for a multitude of seasonal skin stressors. I used it in the summer heatwave when my face seemed to melt and droop like candle wax and my eyes were puffy with hayfever. I’ve turned to it as a pick-me-up after a bad night’s sleep – I put on eye patches by Intraceuticals and Teresa’s hyaluronic acid serum and sit rolling away for five minutes.
Now, in party season, it’s come into its own once more as my skin is under siege from late nights, alcohol and the Lindt chocolate advent calendar. When Teresa first told me that she used the ball to give her confidence, I didn’t understand what she meant until after the third night out in a row this week and looking decidedly wan, it gave me just that bit extra oomph when I had to present at a major event.
And if nothing else, I won’t have to leave the sofa on Boxing Day. I can just mess my hair up a bit, do five minutes on the Cryoball and no one will notice the difference.
Buy the Teresa Tarmey Cryotherapy Kit £169. It includes a Cryoball, Lactic Acid Toner, Hyaluronic Acid Gel, and a reusable silicone mask for optional use with the gel.