Do Frozen Cucumbers *Actually* De-Puff Your Face? We Got an Esthetician’s Take on the Popular TikTok Trend

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Digital Art by Sofia Kraushaar

Over the past year TikTok has become the ultimate source for all things beauty. And the latest skincare hack that’s trending on the platform involves something we can easily find hidden in our kitchens: a frozen cucumber (well, at least a room-temperature one that can be tossed in the freezer.)

But before you stock up on cukes at your local farmer’s market, here’s everything you need to know about the skincare craze. Weighing in with her expertise is Jessica Houston, vice president of operations and lead esthetician at BEAUTYBEEZ with her take on whether or not the viral trend is worth trying out at home.

What is the trend all about?

The “frozen cucumber hack” is fairly simple. It involves popping a cucumber in the freezer, cutting off one end and working the flat surface of the fruit across your face in circular motions. It’s like a homemade ice roller or Gua Sha. Similar to when you use those facial tools, this hack promises to de-puff and hydrate your face, deflate under-eye circles and reduce inflamed acne.

It rose to popularity after TikToker @alexaraeloebel was seen icing her face with the fruit in multiple videos. Since then, even more users like @emmafreece and @faith_kiger have hopped on the trend and the hashtags #frozencucumber and #frozencucumberhack have a combined 25 million views and counting on the platform.

Sounds cool, but does it work?

“Actually, yes! The cucumber, paired with it being frozen, can really help hydrate and tone the skin,” says Houston. “The appearance of the skin becomes smooth, plumped and hydrated,” she adds.

Seriously, aside from cucumbers being a great addition to your salads and beverages, they have a host of skincare benefits as well. According to Houston, here are four key things the fruit (regardless of whether it’s frozen or not) can do for your skin:

  • It can reduce swelling and puffiness. Cucumbers contain vitamin C and folic acid, which fight against any swelling and inflation. Freezing them heightens this benefit.
  • It can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The key components of the fruit (like vitamin K) stimulate cell growth and improve elasticity in the skin.
  • It can soothe irritated or acne-prone skin. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, studies show that cucumbers can nourish and calm any irritated areas (i.e., sunburns).
  • It can boost hydration. “Cucumber is filled with lots of water that naturally hydrates dry skin,” explains Houston. And she’s not kidding, the fruit is made up of 95 percent water. Talk about a moisture booster.

Got it. How often should you do this trend?

Many videos show users doing the cucumber hack daily. However, Houston recommends that you cut it down to just two to three times a week. “Too much of anything will sensitize your skin,” she explains. And while we’re talking best practices, she has another tip: “You should only keep the frozen cucumber on your face and moving for no more than 5 to 10 minutes every time.”

“Make sure that you’re paying close attention to how your skin reacts and note any changes because this hack may not work for everyone” cautions Houston. “If you start to experience more breakouts or have an adverse reaction, such as abnormally dry skin or any allergic reactions, I recommend stopping altogether.”

Can all skin types participate in this hack?

Yes, cucumbers are generally safe across the board. However, Houston suggests that people with cystic acne and sensitive skin sit this one out. “This trend could create more problems—especially during an active break or heightened sensitive state,” she adds. And regardless of your skin type, you should always do a patch test along the inside of your wrist. If you don’t feel any irritation or have a reaction, then you’re welcome to continue trying this trend.

The next time you’re looking to give yourself an at-home face massage, consider the humble cucumber in your fridge to get the job done. It definitely gets our stamp of approval.

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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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