I Tried Joan Crawford's Favorite Beauty Hack

While I truly have nothing against the leading ladies of today, there always seems to be something undeniably glamorous about old Hollywood starlets. Take ‘40s film star Joan Crawford for example. While she wasn’t exactly a pinup queen like Rita Hayworth, her strong talent made her a timeless beauty like no other.

But, despite her many critically acclaimed films, everyone seems to knows Crawford most from a little memoir-turned-movie called Mommie Dearest. The film's opening scene instantly drew me to Crawford’s crazy-yet-fascinating beauty regimen. And yes, all that scrubbing does seem a tad bit neurotic, but Joan was actually known for off-kilter beauty tips, such as gum chewing for a firmer jaw and splashing your face with icy cold water, presumably to tighten up her pores or something of that ilk.

Now, I've tried chilling my beauty products before, but never have I drenched my face with ice water. So, taking up the skin-icing challenge for a good seven days, here’s what happened when I put this retro hack to the test.

Day 1

Being that ice water serves as your primary ingredient, I figured it will be pretty easy to incorporate this trick into my daily routine. I usually wash my extremely temperamental face once a day, but to do this hack correctly, I was sure to up my wash amount to two times during the experiment.

You can ice your face in a variety of ways. I started, by trying to submerge my face into a small bowl of ice, but this really didn’t work well. In the end, I found the easiest method was to simply hold some ice in my hand and press it against my face.

Overall, I really enjoyed how the icy cool sensation felt against my skin, especially after cleansing with hot water. But after some time, my hands really started cramping from the frigid icy temps.

While I didn't really notice any immediately obvious benefits, I did enjoy how my cold skin easily absorbed my serums and facial oils before bed.

Day 2

Upon waking up the next day, my skin felt nice and velvety smooth. And while I’m not exactly positive it has anything to do with using ice water, it definitely beats the oily or dry sensation I usually have in the morning.

To change things up a bit today, I used freezing cold water from the sink instead of using ice cubes (those things really, really hurt). This proved to be a lot easier on my hands, and equally good on my face. Again, my complexion isn’t doing anything groundbreaking yet, but it seems to be responding just as well to the cold water as it did with the ice cubes.

Even at night when I used a hydrating facial mask, 25 splashes of icy tap water definitely got all the product off, while leaving my skin supple and smooth. Now I'm starting to see why Joan loved it so much.

Day 3

Using icy water in the morning is definitely starting to yield some benefits by day three, as it nips puffiness and dark circles right before they get out of control. But the jury is still out on any anti-aging advantages my wash may have, being that my lines and cracks don't seem to be vanishing anytime soon.

Today I tried putting on makeup to see if my favorite beauty staples would fair well on an icy face. Everything looked pretty much as it usually does, so it seems my creams and skincare products are really responding best to a "chilled" face.

Even after using a light facial peel at night, my skin still felt great. Although you'd think they'd be getting used to it by now, my hands were still cramping after the 23rd splash — but baby soft skin is totally worth that temporary aching sensation, IMO.

Day 4

Deciding to curl up with my Downton Abbey box set, day four was definitely a #nomakeup day. But willing to keep up my beauty experiment, even a foundation-free-face couldn't stop me using from icy water throughout the day.

After a couple days in, I can now say that hack is starting to making my skin a little tighter. This could easily be the result of using an anti-aging cream as well, but I'm pretty sure the icy splashes are speeding things up. At night, my results were the same. Still had smooth and firm skin, but I won’t go to say that the ice water is actually busting any fine lines and wrinkles. I’m guessing this is the kind of trick that really helps your products absorb better into the skin, rather than making any changes on its own.

Day 5

Cucumber water happens to be one of my most favorite things on the planet, so I decided to get a little creative add some to my wash. Cucumbers are great for calming and soothing inflamed skin, so I was hoping to get loads of beauty benefits from using this.

But, even after splashing on icy cucumber water 25 times, you can still see the cracks under my eyes, when wearing makeup. However, my eyes were definitely a lot puffier earlier in the morning, so I'm hoping this hack made all the difference.

And even during my usual evening facial peel, the story is really no different. However, using all that homemade cucumber ice water definitely makes me a feel a little more like a glamorous ‘40s film star.

Day 6

On the second to last day, I finally felt ready to take the full plunge and master the concept of submerging my face in a ice for a good 10 minutes. Kate Moss herself is really into "skin-icing," so if it’s good enough for a British supermodel, then it’s definitely good enough for me.

Grabbing a big bowl and filling it with ice, I decided to throw in some cucumbers inside just to see what would happen. I didn't last anywhere near 10 minutes, but the icing (even for a short period of time!) made my skin feel pretty darn awesome.

I won’t lie though: This defintiely isn’t a beauty ritual I could do every single day. Kate usually recommends wrapping ice in a cloth, so this is something I’ll have to try in the near future. But for now I’ll definitely take those chilled cucumbers (and icy water wash, of course!) over a bowl of cubes any day of the week.

Day 7

After creating my own "ice bucket challenge" yesterday, I had some leftover cucumbers in the freezer that I definitely wanted to put into use. So, after washing both day and night with my icy cold water, I placed the cold cucumbers under my eyes and around my mouth to maintain my soft, yet firm skin.

This surely didn't transform my skin, but my hydrating creams and oils really seem to dig this trick for sure.

Should You Try Skin Icing?

As my experiment came to a close, I am proud to report that I am now a skin icing believer. My creams, oils, and serums seem to work better than ever, as my usually oily day and night creams absorbed into my face fast without leaving behind the greasy residue that I usually get stuck with.

Now skin icing isn’t an anti-aging miracle, but I definitely saw some tightening benefits from trying it. When paired with the right creams, my skin felt a bit tighter than before, and this trick definitely works like a boss against puffiness.

And in comparison to drying hot water, which strips your face your face from natural oils, washing with cold water helps you avoid dry and flaking skin. But somehow, I bet Joan knew that all along.

Images: Courtney Leiva (21)