Cold Cream Revival : Bringing Back this Retro Beauty Basic


a black and white illustration of a jar of coldcrem
Cold Cream.

The words drum up images of 1950’s housewives in floral nightgowns, faces coated in a thin layer of white paste, hair curlers set and ready for bed. But what actually is cold cream? A moisturizer? Cleanser? Face mask? A vintage remedy for curing the common cold akin to cod liver oil? As I recently found out, it’s all of them! Except that last one. But honestly, this long-forgotten cosmetic product is so versatile, that I wouldn’t be surprised if it could do that too. 

My Cold Cream Discovery 

Not too long ago I was like you, dear reader, stumbling in the proverbial dark. In reality, I was standing in the middle of a brightly lit CVS completely overwhelmed by the skincare aisle. Bottles, tubes, and tubs of every size surrounded me, emboldened with claims of every color and stripe. They promised to tighten, tone, and, de-age my face. (Which, after a few minutes of standing there, I assumed must have something terribly wrong with it, based on the sheer ferocity with which  Estè Lauder desires to change it.) Five full minutes go by with me aimlessly wandering up and down aisle nine, picking up jars and putting them back. 

I’m a simple woman when it comes to external things and I was feeling overwhelmed. Why then did I choose to subject myself to this particular brand of torture?  1)  I needed some type of moisturizer for my face. And 2) Occasionally, I wear makeup and I needed a way to get it off my face. That’s it. I didn’t want to look younger or older or more like Natalie Portman. I told you, I’m very simple.  

I’m also very cheap.  I saw several tiny bottles which  I assumed must have been labeled in Yen but recoiled in horror when I realized that was the dollar amount. I almost walked away then and there, empty-handed. But the makeup on my face from the night before did not look cute anymore. I soldiered on. And then, way down on the bottom shelf when no one would ever accidentally look, I saw it. An unassuming and modestly priced jar of Ponds Cold Cream. Like you, dear reader, I had only the vaguest clue what cold cream actually was, but it was in the skincare aisle so I was pretty sure it wasn’t a cold remedy and for six bucks I was willing to give it a try. Plus, I knew Elizabeth warren uses Pods Moisturizer and that woman looks fantastic. I grabbed the cold cream and adjacent jar of moisturizer, cashed in my Extra Bucks, and fled. 

As you may have guessed, the contents of that little jar far exceeded my very low expectations. 

Apparently cold cream is a cleansing moisturizer. (Think co-wash, but for your face.)

Full disclosure: I hate washing my face. Judge me if you must, but I hate when my hairline gets wet if I’m not swimming or in the shower. (Shout out to all my ladies with sensory issues. You know the struggle.) The amazing thing about the cold cream cleansing method is there’s no water required, and I love it.

For the two of you still reading (Hi Mom!), here is my four-step cleansing  process:

Step 1) Cover your face with a THIN layer of cold cream. Don’t go crazy here people.

Step 2) Using tissue (cotton ball, toilet paper, etc…) wipe off the cold cream.

Step 3) Be amazed at how much makeup and gunk comes off your face, enjoy your now baby-soft skin, and say goodbye to dry facial cleaners that make you get your hair wet. 

(Repeat this process for heavy or waterproof makeup.) 


To Illustrate: The left is me before cold cream & the right is me now

A white woman with pale skin and long, straight brunette hair stares out into space looking melancholy. She is wearing a black "Nirvana" beanie hat and has dark eye make up that is running down her face leaving dirty looking trails on her cheeks
A black and white photo of a 1920's show girl sitting at a make up table. She is looks glamorous and sexy in an elegant dressing gown with fur on her shoulders. She smiles into the camera with coy confidence.


That’s all folks. I will never buy another make-up remover or face wash ever again. In the immortal words of Elizabeth Warren when asked how she looks so young well into her 70s ‘Pond’s Moisturizer every morning, every night, and never wash your face.’ So, from Elizabeth Warren to me, to you. Throw away your facewash, and embrace the cold cream revival.