I’d bet that if you paused your TV at any scene in which a leading lady in a 1950s-era show is primping herself or doing her skin-care routine, you could zoom in to see a cold cream on her vanity shelf.
If you’ve never heard of such a beauty product, I feel you. It was a staple of women’s regimens half a century ago, used to remove gobs of makeup and soften the skin. But if you take a look at a cold cream, it appears to just be a fluffy moisturizer. And then the name indicates that it’s some sort of sickness remedy, or a skin-care concoction that’s meant to lower the temperature of your complexion. But here’s the deal: A cold cream is essentially a moisturizing makeup remover.
“Cold creams are designed to remove makeup and smooth the skin,” explains Shari Sperling, DO, a board-certified dermatologist. “They are simple emulsions of water, mineral oil, and wax, and are best used for removing makeup.” Her take on the old school beauty product? “They don’t contain ingredients that are amazing for your skin, like hyaluronic acid, so just don’t expect cold cream to be a skin-care savior. Be cautious of using too much as the high concentrations of mineral oil and soap can dry out the skin,” says Dr. Sperling.
That said, they certainly can feel like a luxurious way to wash your face at night—I’d imagine it feels like you’re rocking the famous cake mask featured in Mrs. Doubtfire. You can still grab one for yourself, too, for the ultimate skin-care throwback. And guess what? You can find them at the drugstore. Keep scrolling for three cold creams to try out on your own, and be prepared to cue some Buddy Holly as you wash your face with one.
Avène Cold Cream, $20
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