To be frank, the skin care industry would not be what it is today without Korean beauty traditions, product innovations, and industry leaders. K-beauty is known for being ahead of the curve with cutting-edge formulas and techniques; in fact, the popular practice we’re talking about today started as a K-beauty routine staple but has gained popularity worldwide over the years. 

While you may be familiar with this technique for its de-puffing benefits, there’s another worthy reason to adopt this practice: It may also serve as your new, all-natural makeup primer. Here, the K-beauty technique we’re loving and why experts echo its skin benefits. 

Why skin icing is A+ for makeup prep. 

If you want an extra-smooth makeup application, you may look to a primer to prep the skin for foundation, contour, powder, and whatever else you choose to layer on. If your end goal is to keep your makeup in place or add a certain finish (think dewy versus matte), then primers are certainly the way to go. 

However, if you’re simply using a primer to even your skin tone, then skin icing may be an alternative method to consider (or serve as a pre-primer step for those who want to go the extra mile). 

Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, M.D., tells mbg that facial icing can lead to reduced puffiness and inflammation, temporary brightening of dark circles, and an overall more even complexion. A lovely base for makeup, no?

Vasyukevich also explains the science behind this method: “One of the reasons ice has such a positive effect on the skin is because cold objects help drain unwanted excess fluid buildup from the lymphatic system,” he says. Think of it like a cold plunge for your face—it de-puffs swollen areas and constricts blood vessels, which can help dial down discoloration.

Other forms of facial massage, including gua sha, can have a similar effect when it comes to de-puffing. These tools are especially helpful when incorporated into a regular, long-term practice, but you can think of facial icing as a momentary reward. To reiterate: Gua sha and facial icing methods shouldn’t be categorized as one or the other but rather different methods with different results. 

When it comes to makeup prep and momentary benefits, however, a chilled facial tool (or even straight-up ice) takes the cake. Below, find a quick how-to. 

How to (safely) ice your face. 

Here’s the thing: Rubbing an ice cube directly on the skin, especially in the same place repeatedly, isn’t the best idea. These cubes can shock the skin and actually cause more redness, which is what you’re likely trying to avoid during makeup prep. 

Instead, try wrapping an ice cube in a paper towel or using a chilled facial tool. This could mean popping your favorite face roller in the freezer or investing in ice globes, which are specifically designed for this technique. We’ve done extensive research to nail down the very best ice globes, so check out this list of top picks for facial icing tools, if you’re ready to invest in this daily habit. 

Once you have your chilled tool, be it a wrapped cube or an ice globe, you’re all set. Here, a few different ways to use it beyond makeup prep: 

As you can tell, there are plenty of ways to use a chilled tool in your beauty routine. If nothing else, this will serve as a wonderful pre-makeup practice that may even end up replacing your primer (not to mention, the cool touch feels oh-so-good).

Countless K-beauty techniques have gained popularity in different cultures around the world, facial icing included. If you want to prep your skin for makeup, either before primer or as a replacement, this method is for you. Just be sure to wrap your ice cube in a paper towel, or better yet, invest in a set of ice globes designed for this purpose. No matter which method you choose, the chilled temperature will serve you well.