The 13 Best Cold Creams, According to Dermatologists

Our best overall pick is Pond's Cold Cream Makeup Remover

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woman applying cold cream

 KNSY / Picture Press / Getty Images

A go-to for beauty devotees born before the 1980s, cold cream is an OG in the world of skincare. Traditionally, it was a mixture of mineral oil, petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly), and beeswax. However, today's iterations can be made with a range of other skin-friendly ingredients, like plant oils and antioxidants.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our best overall pick is the dermatologist-approved Pond's Cold Cream Makeup Remover, which not only effectively removes makeup, but also hydrates even the most sensitive skin. For a more splurge-worthy pick, consider Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck Chest SPF 25, a youth-boosting cold cream that not only plumps skin but also targets everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dark spots and contains a protective SPF.

"Cold cream formulations vary, but they usually contain larger oil-to-water ratios, which gives it the smooth and creamy texture," says dermatologist Hysem Eldik, MD

Meet the Expert

  • Hysem Eldik, MD, is a dermatologist at Marmur Medical in New York. Specializing in both general and cosmetic dermatology, he offers everything from eczema and acne treatments to chemical peels and fillers.
  • Rachel Nazarian, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist practicing at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.

The purpose of cold cream depends on who you talk to, but according to Eldik, most people use it "as a moisturizing makeup remover that doesn't harshly strip the skin."

Ahead, find the best cold creams for when you need ultra-moisture.

Best Overall: Pond's Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser

4.8
Pond's Cold Cream Makeup Remover

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Effective makeup remover

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don't Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Who else recommends it? Pop Sugar, Cosmopolitan, and Style Craze all chose the Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser.

What do buyers say? 10,900+ Walmart reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Often imitated, never duplicated, Pond's Cold Cream is a true classic. "This is my absolute favorite," says dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, noting that the gentle yet effective formula is a great option for sensitive complexions. "It leaves the skin soft, doesn't strip its natural hydrators, and does a phenomenal job removing makeup."

This iconic product earned a 4.8 out of 5 overall score from our home tester, who liked the affordable price point and how effortlessly it removed every last smidgen of makeup. "The primary makeup-grabbing ingredient is mineral oil," Nazarian explains, "and it wipes away easily with a damp cloth."

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, beeswax | Size: 3.5–9.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Testers Say

“One of the best things about this cream—other than its miraculous youth-enhancing effects—is its smell. The scent is so fresh and so clean.” —Jen Hubley Luckwaldt, Product Tester

Best Budget: Nivea Crème

Nivea Crème Cold Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Generous amount

  • Rich moisturization

What We Don't Like
  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Nivea Crème is another tried-and-true product with a budget-friendly price tag. Though it's not recommended for makeup removal, the super-rich concoction can be used from head to toe when your skin craves moisture. You didn't hear it from us, but some people say it's a dupe of Crème de la Mer on account of the mineral oil-petrolatum base.

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, petrolatum | Size: 13.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Melting Balm

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Melting Balm

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Gentle formula

  • Leaves skin soft

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains paraffin

  • Contains PEGs

Neutrogena makes a great cold cream-esque cleansing balm. Instead of mineral oil and petroleum jelly, it calls on coconut oil and carnauba wax to gently melt away makeup without drying out the skin, while vitamin E soothes and softens.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, carnauba wax, vitamin E | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck Chest SPF 25

Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck Chest SPF 25

Amazon

What We Like
  • Treats and prevents

  • Noticeable results

  • Contains SPF

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

This splurge-worthy cream is an anti-aging workhorse. The kicker is plasma in the form of DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), which targets everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dark spots and loss of elasticity. It also offers SPF 25 protection from the sun's rays, plus an antioxidant shield from free radical damage. So, even though this cold cream has a higher price point, we think it’s worth it. 

Key Ingredients: Dimethylaminoethanol, titanium dioxide, niacinamide, vitamin C | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Makeup Remover: Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser and Makeup Remover

Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser and Makeup Remover

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Effective

  • Minimal ingredients

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains paraffin

This no-nonsense cream cleanser is ideal for removing foundation, mascara, and eyeliner. "Consider it a moisturizing makeup remover, rather than an irritating, drying makeup remover that contains alcohol or other inflammatory ingredients," Nazarian says.

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, petrolatum | Size: 12 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Eye Makeup Remover: Clinique Naturally Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

5
Clinique Naturally Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

Ulta

What We Like
  • Effective

  • Fragrance-free

  • Safe for contact lenses

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

This product looks and feels like a creamy lotion, but it's designed specifically to remove eye makeup. The super-emollient, fragrance-free formula effectively gets rid of every last trace of mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow without irritation. We appreciate that it's safe for contact lenses and doesn't leave you with an oily feeling.

Key Ingredients: ​​Hydrogenated polyisobutene, sesame seed oil | Size: 2.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Waterproof Makeup: Mario Badescu Cucumber Make-Up Remover Cream

Mario Badescu Cucumber Make-Up Remover Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Effective

  • Soothing

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains paraffin

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

Waterproof makeup? Mario Badescu is your guy. Following a classic cold cream formula, this buttery cleanser contains a blend of mineral oil, petrolatum, and beeswax to gently dissolve even the most stubborn, highly pigmented, long-wear products without stripping your skin. You'll also get a refreshing dose of cucumber extract to soothe and hydrate.

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, petrolatum, beeswax, cucumber extract | Size: 4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Cleanser: Eve Lom Original Balm Cleanser

Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom

What We Like
  • Award-winning product

  • Muslin cloth included

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains PEGs

Many dermatologists love this rich cleansing balm from Eve Lom, and Nazarian is also a fan. "It uses lanolin rather than mineral oil, so make sure to avoid it if you have a lanolin allergy," she says. "It also has essential oils, which give it a great fragrance and a fresh appeal."

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, beeswax | Size: 0.7–6.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Testers Say

“The genius gel-to-balm texture makes for easier (and cleaner) application.” —Victoria Hoff, Product Tester

Best Moisturizer: Honest Calm + Heal Melting Balm

Honest Calm + Heal Melting Balm

Amazon

What We Like
  • Nice consistency

  • Non-irritating

  • Long-lasting moisture

What We Don’t Like
  • High price per ounce

This balm-style moisturizer contains a medley of nourishing ingredients. We're talking allantoin to heal and protect, shea butter and plant oils to soothe and replenish the skin barrier, and hyaluronic acid to lock in hydration.

Key Ingredients: Allantoin, shea butter, plant oils, hyaluronic acid | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dry Skin: Bioderma ABCDerm Cold-Cream

Bioderma ABCDerm Cold-Cream Nourishing Face Cream

Amazon

What We Like
  • Hygienic container

  • Good for face and body

  • Long-lasting moisture

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains paraffin

  • Contains synthetic fragrance

If you're dealing with exceptionally dry skin, Bioderma is your best bet. With a back-to-basic blend of mineral oil and beeswax, this cold cream acts as a nourishing moisturizer for your face and body. The versatile formula is also gentle enough for babies and kids.

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, beeswax | Size: 1.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Hands: Avène Cold Cream

Avène Cold Cream Concentrated Hand Cream

Walgreens

What We Like
  • Repairative

  • Non-greasy formula

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains PEGs

Dermatologists including Eldik stand behind Avène Cold Cream. "It's got a great texture without the oily, shiny feel of other brands," he tells Byrdie. Though this product is technically for your hands, you can apply it on your face and anywhere else in need of reparative moisture.

Key Ingredients: Thermal spring water, mineral oil, beeswax | Size: 1.6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Experts Say

"A cold cream gets its rep by the cool sensation on your skin that occurs after application." Hysem Eldik, MD, Dermatologist

Best for Evening Skincare: The Seated Queen Cold Cream Cleanser

The Seated Queen Cold Cream Cleanser

Cult Beauty

What We Like
  • Multi-use product

  • Contains organic ingredients

  • No petroleum byproducts

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

The Seated Queen's hero product is an incredibly versatile cold cream you want on hand during your evening skincare routine. This multi-tasking all-star can be used as a cleansing balm, a moisturizing night cream, or a soothing overnight mask. And unlike traditional cold creams, it doesn't contain mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, or other petroleum byproducts.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, plant oils | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Multi-Tasker: Loli Beauty Date Nut Brûlée Nourishing Miracle Balm

Loli Beauty Date Nut Brûlée Nourishing Miracle Balm

Amazon

What We Like
  • Organic

  • No petroleum byproducts

  • Eco-conscious company

What We Don’t Like
  • Pricey

It might look like a jar of puréed-pea baby food, but Date Nut Brûlée is a modern, eco-conscious take on cold cream. Instead of petroleum byproducts and beeswax, the vegan-friendly formula leans on a blend of organic plant oils and sunflower seed wax. You can use it as a cleansing balm, a waterproof eye makeup remover, a head-to-toe moisturizer, a restorative mask, or even a chapped lip remedy.

Key Ingredients: Date kernel oil, olive oil, sunflower seed wax | Size: 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is the dermatologist-approved Pond's Cold Cream Makeup Remover, which not only effectively removes makeup, but also hydrates even the most sensitive skin. For a more splurge-worthy pick, consider Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck Chest SPF 25, a youth-boosting cold cream that not only plumps skin but also targets everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dark spots and contains a protective SPF.

What to Look for in a Cold Cream

Sensitive Skin-Friendly

Cold creams are, by nature, pretty gentle in terms of how they cleanse the skin and remove makeup. Still, Nazarian suggests seeking out formulas that work well with sensitive skin, as you wouldn’t want to use anything that could potentially cause irritation or inflammation. It’s also important to consider what works well for your skin—if you’re allergic to lanolin, don’t choose a formula that uses it rather than traditional mineral oil.

Non-Comedogenic Formulas

Nazarian also recommends looking for cold creams that specifically state they won’t clog your pores. Since they're typically on the thicker and heavier side, a cold cream that isn’t non-comedogenic can potentially lead to breakouts—even if your skin isn’t oily or acne-prone.

No Filler Ingredients

As you would with any skincare product, Nazarian suggests looking for formulas that don’t include sulfates or parabens, as well as synthetic fragrances and other filler ingredients. “Nearly all cold creams are meant to be a combination of oil and water as its main ingredients,” she says, so there’s no need for anything extra other than added moisturizers or ingredients with actual skin benefits.

FAQ
  • How do you apply cold cream?

    Nazarian suggests applying cold cream as follows: “Apply to the entire face evenly with a massaging motion, then use a damp washcloth to remove." She also recommends rinsing with lukewarm water afterward to remove any residue that may have been left behind.

  • When is the best time to apply cold cream?

    In terms of when to apply cold cream, Nazarian says it's best used at night. “It’s so good at removing all the dirt, grime, oil, and makeup from the day, and your skin can benefit from a gentle clean before bed each night,” she says.

  • How does cold cream remove makeup?

    Nazarian explains that cold cream is primarily an oil-in-water product with added moisturizers. “The oil clings to the makeup, dirt, and grime on your skin, and the water and moisturizers allow it to be wiped off easily with a trail of hydration left behind,” she says.

How We Researched & Tested

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and bonafide skincare nerd. For this story, she compiled the expertise of two dermatologists, who provided product recommendations and insight into formulations and the different uses for cold cream. Before making the final selections, she combed through reviews, pored over ingredient lists, and referenced several peer-reviewed articles. From the above, she has personally used Pond's, Avène, Nivea, Mario Badescu, and Clinique.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. 13 best cold creams and how to use them for soft, moisturized skin. Cosmopolitan. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/g34556084/best-cold-cream

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