What is Cold Cream?

What is Cold Cream?

Many women grew up watching their mothers and grandmothers apply cold cream nightly while boasting the benefits it provided their skin. But until recently, cold cream seemed to be a product of the past rather than a classic skincare staple. Its modern resurgence, however, has left many of us wondering, what is cold cream used for and does it actually work? It turns out our matriarchs may have been onto something after all!

Simply put, cold cream is an emulsification of water in oil [1] that is cool to the touch when applied to the skin. But it is important to note the order of those words to understand what makes this product different from others. The distinction of water in oil is significant to the composition of the cold cream formula as oil in water products tend to disappear or quickly absorb into the skin when applied. Cold cream, on the other hand, generally consists of four main ingredients including water, oil, an emulsifier, and a thickening agent, with the amount of water and oil being in approximately equal proportions. This allows the cream to penetrate the outer layer of skin, however, it cannot be absorbed as deeply into your skin as water-basedproducts. Because of the high concentrations of mineral oils and waxes, such as beeswax [2] or ceresin, the cream tends to sit on your face more like a face mask than a face moisturizer.

While our Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts stress that skincare products are either A. hydrating with water or B. moisturizing with lipids, Cold Cream offers both skincare benefits in one unique product! The water mentioned above does the work of hydrating skin while the oils act as a moisturizer, sealing in the hydration.

Kelly Viavattine, one of our Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts and our very own celebrity esthetician, shares some of her favorite cold cream benefits below.

Cold Cream Benefits

The benefits of cold cream are quite simple. By design, cold cream is meant to topically moisturize the skin, so anyone looking to boost the hydration of their skin can benefit from using this product. However, those with particularly sensitive skin or dry, itchy skin will benefit the most from using it daily to improve the texture and appearance of their complexion. These effects are likely the result of the cold cream’s ability to help restore the skin’s effectiveness as a natural barrier to the environment, something that is lost when your skin is too dry.

Uses of Cold Cream

Despite their intended design as facial moisturizers, cold creams are actually very versatile and can be used in a number of different ways. First, one of its most popular uses is as a makeup remover. The thick oils are able to gently melt makeup and dirt away, allowing it to be removed with minimal damage, rubbing or scrubbing. Similarly, some find it effective as a primer for cosmetic foundations as it smooths the skin and allows makeup to be applied more evenly across the face. Since it removes makeup without water, Kelly says it even is a great product to take camping or on road trips where you may be away from your bathroom sink or shower!

Lastly, cold creams can also be effective as a lip balm, body lotion, or even a shaving cream. Using a cold cream on your lips helps lock in vital moisture and provide hydration throughout the day to the sensitive skin on the lips. Likewise, applying a moisturizing cold cream to your body delivers the same intense hydration that the cream is designed to provide to your face but to your arms, legs, back, and hands.

Cold Cream Products

Though the word cream is in the name, cold cream products actually come in two popular forms: cleansers and moisturizers. A cold cream face cleanser is designed to replace your normal daily face wash by treating and cleaning your skin all at the same time. Cleansers are the skincare products that most often double as a makeup remover if you so choose. Comparatively, cold cream moisturizers are meant to be massaged into your skin to keep it hydrated throughout the day.

Regardless of the product you choose or how you decide to implement it into your skincare routine, cold creams are a powerful option when you need an intense boost of hydration for your skin. Whether you suffer from chronic dry skin or just need some extra moisture during the harsh winter months, cold creams can help you revitalize the appearance and texture of your skin – even if it’s not on your face. According to Kelly, most skin types can benefit from this product, but acne-prone skin might not be the best fit.

For more products designed to bring hydration to your skin, check out our DermalQuench collection!


  1. https://patents.google.com/patent/US5525344A/en
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jps.3030430213

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