What do chilled cucumber slices, cold metal spoons, and creamy bird droppings have in common?
They’re all well-acclaimed, natural remedies for dark circles and puffy eyes, of course.
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Wait, what? People are smearing feces on their face for a fresher, younger-looking complexion?
As cringey as it sounds, you bet. The ancient Japanese treatment is called Uguisu No Fun, which directly translates to “nightingale poop” (the English connotation of “no fun” is just coincidence). Known colloquially as the Geisha facial, this fecal-matter medicine is hailed for its ability to smoothen and brighten the skin. And while geishas have been practicing with this potion for centuries, only recently have modern-day socialites jumped on the bird-poop bandwagon.
Take Victoria Beckham, for instance – the Spice Girl and her hubby apparently swear by the nightingale-feces facial. You can purchase the paste on Amazon to apply the poop mask at home. (Skittish about the smell? The product is “sterilized and purified to remove musky odor.”)
Okay, don’t worry, I digress! Much like ingesting insects, there are some practices you couldn’t pay me to do because of the yuck factor, and Uguisu No Fun is one of them. But, let’s face it, especially during the harsh winter months, I long for smooth and supple skin like everyone else. But when I’m swollen and sleep deprived, you won’t find me slicing cucumbers or thawing frozen spoons, either. Those “quick fixes” actually require a smidge of patience.
Introducing the Esarora ice roller, the latest skincare invention that’s quickly become an internet sensation. This handheld product requires no poop or preparation. It comes ready to roll away your wrinkles, smooth your skin, and massage your facial muscles, or so the marketing material says. Even Jimmy Fallon is a fan, apparently, although it’s hard to tell whether it’s the roller he’s enjoying or the model fondling his face.
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There’s just one step to using the roller and that’s to stick the head in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (or overnight) so that it’s cold enough to work its magic. Then, you attach the head to the handle, glide the gadget over your swollen face and, voilà, say goodbye to puffiness and hello to healthier skin.
Per the Amazon listing, the ice roller boasts these benefits: “Shrink pores, relieve pain, skin tightening, skin calming, enhance lymph circulation, skin smoothing.” The product is designed, primarily, to be used on your face but also claims to be an all-in-one-solution for stiffness and soreness in the arms, legs, and neck.
Sure, the advertising is smooth and silky (like your skin is supposed to be), but for under $20 on Amazon, can this compact cryotherapy with nearly 12,000 5-star reviews really cure your complexion? I decided to dig a little deeper.
First, the science, because I’m always one to approach new trends with a healthy dose of skepticism. According to dermatologists and estheticians alike, ice rolling does have some real merit, at least in the short term. “Cold rollers have some great short-term effects for the skin when it comes to reducing redness, puffiness, and increasing circulation,” explains Melissa Urban, a licensed esthetician and executive at SkinForYou. “The motion of rolling is also very mentally soothing after applying your serum or even over your sheet mask,” she says.
And how best to use the roller to achieve those glowing results? “Remember to always roll in an upward/outward direction or against gravity. This helps give the face a more ‘lifted’ look,” Urban advises.
Of course, like any tool or ointment you’d apply to your delicate dermis, there are a few caveats to consider with the roller. “First, be sure to avoid rolling it over any open wounds or cuts,” warns Cheryl Rosen, M.D., Director of Dermatology at Bow Tied Life. “Also, be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause discomfort or pain. Finally, make sure to avoid rolling it over areas that are already cold, such as the nose or lips,” Rosen says.
Sounds simple enough, right? I had to try this magic wand myself, I resolved. So I cast my skepticism aside and, this time, dug in a little more deeply (into my skin, that is).
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I ordered the roller on a Wednesday and it arrived Thursday, noon-ish, despite a heavy snowstorm that turned the streets to slush (major props to the Amazon Prime drivers). Upon tearing open the package, I was surprised at how small and lightweight the roller actually was – I don’t have the patience for products that are clumsy and clunky – and how seamlessly the head detached from the handle. Since I was already bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the day (or, at least, my several cups of coffee helped me fake it), I slipped the head into the freezer until the next groggy morning.
Friday daybreak arrived and the conditions were just right for my personal experiment. The shrill death-squeal of my alarm had jolted me awake prematurely, sprouting dark circles the size of saucers. My whole body felt swollen from dehydration amid the arid air. Like a slightly rabid raccoon gearing up for its snacktime prowl, I stumbled into the kitchen with my morning mission: first brew the coffee, then brighten my complexion.
I reached into the freezer. The roller head was so compact that I’d almost lost it in the gaping, chocolate-sprinkled abyss — but wait, there it was, having slipped into a crevice behind my frozen waffles. Re-assembling the roller was straightforward, even in my half-asleep stupor, and then I double-fisted the roller with my coffee mug as I made my way to the couch. Hot and cold therapy, the yin and the yang: a consummate self-care contrast.
Then I commenced one of the most magical self-massages I’d ever had the pleasure of receiving.
I’d always heard that cold therapy boosts “happy hormones” in your brain with surges of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, but it was usually in the context of ice-water plunges or intensely cold showers. And as someone who thrives in the hot, humid summer but goes into hibernation when the temperature falls below freezing, I was never going to put cold-water therapy to the test.
But the Esarora ice roller? This little brand of handheld happiness is the next-best thing.
Did the ice roller help me feel more awake and alert? Yes, definitely. Did it improve circulation throughout my body? In my subjective opinion, yes. Did it decrease the appearance of puffiness and wrinkles? Yeah, probably, but I didn’t stage a formal before-and-after to know for sure.
The point is, the ice roller massage made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so much that I didn’t care what I looked like on the outside. Within five minutes of rolling, I actually felt good all over, and that’s saying a lot before I’ve finished my morning coffee on an otherwise dreary day.
Whether you’re perplexed by your puffiness or wrinkles, or you want to melt away your muscle tension, or you need some ice for your skin inflammation, this product has something for everyone. Because no matter who you are, or whatever rabid creature you look like in the morning, you can’t put a price on happiness — but if you could, it would be more than $18.99.
Feeling a bit more splurgy? See below for some fancier favorites!
Cryo Sculpting Roller
Claims To Fame: Soothes sensitive skin, de-puffs under eyes, lifts facial contours.
Real Review: “Love this tool for after a facial or even when you’ve just woken up and your face is still puffy! Relaxing and stays cold for a very long time.”
SHOP ON STACKED SKINCARE – $75
Cryo Skin Icing Dual-Ended Roller
Claims To Fame: Increases micro-circulation and collagen production, constricts pores, extracts impurities, slows oil production.
Real Review: “This is the only thing that’s tempered the bags under my eyes. I suffer from migraines and will use it to relieve pain, as well. I swear there’s something to this thing. It physically lifts my face and defines my cheekbones better than any other product.”
Vanity Planet Professional Facial Ice Roller
Claims To Fame: Improves blood circulation, de-puffs and reduces swelling, soothes redness and irritation, brightens under-eye circles, tightens jawline, minimizes appearance of pores.
Real Review: “I love this because I use the cold for my under-eye bags and I see a change from using this. I had very dark bags, and now you can’t even tell I had no sleep.”
Have you reaped the benefits of an ice roller? Which one is your favorite? Roll your comments into the space below!
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