With our hot and humid weather, it’s not surprising that most of us see our skin turning into a oil production factory, which in turn lead to unwelcome breakouts that looks red and are inflamed.

And what better way to soothe your skin than with a skincare trend that’s currently popular in South Korea among celebrities?

We’re talking about the “cold compress method”, a toner-masking technique that requires the use of only two products.

Want to know more about what it’s all about and how it’ll help your skin feel better? Read on.

What is the cold compress method?

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According to Dr. Wang Chi-hsien, Director of Skin and Aesthetic Medicine from Your Lord’s Grace Hospital, our skin have naturally thick protective outer layers known as “corneal cells”.

However, for some individuals, these thick layers may not be able to absorb skincare products effectively.

This is where the cold compress method can help.

It involves using a cotton pad dampened with toner to soften the corneal layer, making it more receptive to soak up all the benefits from your skincare products.

Especially during the especially hot weather, this process can be enhanced by refrigerating the soaked cotton pads for a few minutes before applying them to your face. This helps narrow and widen blood vessels, which can reduce redness, but it also gives a cooling and soothing sensation to your skin.

How to get the cold compress method right?

Avoid using products that contains acid

Dr. Wang emphasises the importance of selecting the right toning lotion for this method. Opt for toning lotions that primarily offer moisturising and skin-tightening benefits.

It’s advisable to avoid toning lotions containing ingredients like mandelic acid or salicylic acid, as extended periods of cold compress with these ingredients can lead to skin issues such as redness and inflammation.

These acidic components might excessively irritate the skin during the process and it’s something that you wouldn’t want to experience, for sure.

Don’t leave it on for too long

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When using the cold compress method, remember not to keep it on for too long, and make sure the soaked cotton pads aren’t too cold.

Leaving it on for an extended time or using overly cold pads can lead to issues such as shrunk blood vessels, slowing the skin’s metabolism, and nutrient circulation. It’s best to keep it on for about three minutes – and no more than that.

Also, avoid freezing the cotton pads to make them colder as this can cause the toner to crystallise, leading to possible skin irritation. If you want a cooler sensation, it’s safer to just refrigerate the pads.

However, do take note that if  your skin tends to react when exposed to cold water or if you’ve felt a stinging sensation when washing your face with low temperature water, this cold compress method might not be the best choice for you.

This is because the top layer of your facial skin could be delicate and easily irritated, making it unable to handle too much rubbing or coldness.

How to do the cold compress method?

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The cold compress method is an effective way to replenish moisture to the skin, resulting in smoother and more supple skin texture.

This technique can be used to improve skin issues such as acne and redness, while helping with inflammation. Incorporating this method into your morning routine can also reduce facial puffiness (so you don’t need to look like a balloon during morning meetings).

And if you’re often outdoors, under the blazing sun, doing this technique will help provide relief to your skin, effectively calming and soothing the skin.

Here’s how to do it

Widely adopted in Korea, the cold compress method can easily become part of your skincare routine. Here’s how you can do it at home:

  1. Pour your toner or facial essence into a sealed container. You can use an empty jar that previously held face cream as well.
  2. Place folded cotton pads into the container, making sure they’re fully submerged in the toner or essence.
  3. Place the container in the refrigerator and let it chill. When you need to use it, it’ll be easily accessible.
  4. Use it as a toning pad and swipe it across your entire face or as a soothing mask over affected areas such as redness or zits.

Recommended toners for the cold compress method

Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner

The Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner, a beloved Kiehl’s classic since the 1960s, offers a soothing and refreshing experience.

Perfect for cold compress method, this toner is formulated with Calendula, a flower extract that gently relieves distressed skin, minimising redness, excess oil, and sensitivity.

Free from alcohol, this mild formula balances normal-to-oily skin, including sensitive types, promoting an even complexion and revitalised skin, making it a gentle yet effective addition to skincare routines seeking comfort and balance.

This retails for RM175 on Kiehl’s

IPSA The Time Reset Aqua W

This specialised lotion is designed to promote the development of supple and velvety skin. With consistent application, it offers the benefit of safeguarding your skin against dryness and acne concerns.

The toner contains ingredients like Aqua Presenter III, Peony Essence, along with vitamins E and C. This combination serves to strengthen, moisturise, control excess oil, and provide antioxidant benefits.

This retails for RM200.27 ($43.05) on freshbeautyco

Estee Lauder Micro Essence

Infused with the essence of Sakura Ferment, this essence lotion locks in moisture and soothes the skin while alleviating the appearance of skin irritation and redness.

The Postbiotic 12+ works together with 98.9% Bio-Active Lactobacillus Ferment to optimise the skin’s barrier and significantly boost the skin’s first line of resistance to prevent external aggressors.

By imparting hydration and a smoothing effect, it also helps to minimises the visibility of pores, giving you a radiant and fresh complexion.

This retails for RM545 at Estee Lauder counters and Sephora

FANCL Enrich+ Lotion I

For individuals grappling with concerns like dryness, fine lines, wrinkles, or diminished firmness and elasticity, FANCL offers targeted remedies.

The enrich lotion contains triple plumping formula, featuring ectoine, evening primrose extract, and adaptive collagen alpha, that helps to fill the skin with better quality collagen more quickly, leading to plumper skin.

To combat dryness and reduce friction’s impact, sweet pea flower and perilla leaf extract provides essential moisture and a protective shield to your skin.

This retails for RM125.60 ($27) on FANCL

SK-II Treatment Essence

Containing over 90% PITERA, this treatment essence is designed to promote vibrant and healthy skin. Its primary function involves maintaining your skin’s natural renewal cycle while also giving your skin a luminous and even complexion.

It also helps to stimulate cellular regeneration, effectively reversing the ageing indicators, and revitalising your skin’s texture. This essence serves to harmonise the skin’s pH levels and sebum production, ensuring balanced hydration for both oily and dry regions.

This retails for RM545 at SK-II counters and Sephora

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

Packed with rose fruit extract to tone the skin, this facial toner from Fresh is another great option to try for the cold compressed method.

Hyaluronic acid in the formula helps to minimise pores, while increasing hydration by 46% for up to six hours.  The added Angelica leaf extract, on the other hand, helps to retain moisture in your skin.

Plus, it’s also alcohol-free, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin.

This retails for RM205 (250ml) at Fresh boutiques and Sephora