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If you ask your mother or grandmother about their go-to beauty product from back in the day, chances are you'll hear the words cold cream. It’s a mixture of water and oil and sometimes thickeners and beeswax are added to the formula, explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. “It’s a multi-use moisturizer which functions as a cleanser as well,” she says.
Beyond moisturizer and makeup remover, cold creams can also be used as primers and moisturizing masks, notes board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. “They can also be used as lip moisturizers, body moisturizers, or shaving cream,” she says.
That said, Dr. Shuting Hu, cosmetic scientist and founder of Acaderma, says that cold cream should be used primarily as a makeup remover. “Even though it’s great for ‘locking’ water into the skin due to the high mineral oil content, it shouldn’t be solely used as a moisturizer since it can cause dryness in the long run,” she says. To use a cold cream as a makeup remover, apply it in a thick layer to your skin, rub it in, then wipe it off to remove dirt, oil, and makeup.
Ready to add cold cream to your skincare routine? Here are our picks of the best cold creams to cleanse, remove makeup, and soften the skin.
Best Overall: Pond's Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser
This cold cream is beloved by just about everyone who uses it, and for good reason. It removes dirt and even the most stubborn makeup (we’re looking at you, waterproof mascara) while moisturizing your skin at the same time so your face never feels tight or dry. The formula is so gentle it can be used even by sensitive skin types. Reviewers rave about how soft their skin feels and how radiant their complexions look after using this product.
Best Splurge: Eve Lom Cleansing Balm
This isn’t your mama’s cold cream, that’s for sure. This ultra-luxurious product exfoliates and deeply cleanses to blast through waterproof makeup (and dirt and excess oil). It’s jam-packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients including clove oil to keep breakouts at bay, eucalyptus oil to refresh, hops oil to tone, Egyptian chamomile oil to soothe, and cocoa butter to nourish. Bonus: This cold cream comes with a muslin cloth, which provides gentle exfoliation.
Best Classic: Nivea Crème
We call this the OG cold cream. Everyone knows this one, thanks to its iconic blue packaging and standout formula that has stood the test of time. It’s formulated especially for those with very dry skin and has a super-rich texture that provides major hydration. And although the cream inside the blue tin is marketed as a moisturizer, you can actually also use it as a cleanser to remove dirt, excess oil, and makeup from the surface of your skin. (In fact, Redditors proclaim that this product can be used as everything from makeup remover to hand cream to a hair mask.)
Best for Sensitive Skin: Avène Cold Cream
If you have sensitive skin, then you know how essential it is to use products that are gentle. This extra-nourishing cold cream moisturizer fits the bill. It’s formulated with beeswax and Avene’s superstar thermal spring water to calm inflammation and soften your skin. Reviewers rave that it deeply moisturizes the skin without ever leaving it looking greasy.
Best for Oily Skin: Queen Helene Triple Whipped Professional Cleansing Cream
Oily skin can get in on the cold cream fun with this product that is suitable for all skin types. This whipped cold cream banishes dirt, oil, and makeup, leaving your complexion soft and refreshed. Simply remove with a warm washcloth (which provides gentle manual exfoliation, a must for oily skin) and you’re good to go.
Best Natural: Weleda Deep Moisture Facial Balm
For a natural fix, turn your attention to this cold cream. It’s formulated with sweet almond oil to gently moisturize and protect skin and beeswax, which creates a barrier layer to prevent moisture loss. This cold cream is certified natural by NaTrue (a European organization) and is free of chemical preservatives, fragrances, and petrochemicals. This is the perfect cold cream to use when you’ll be outdoors and need a little extra protection.
Best Makeup Remover: Ole Henriksen Wonderfeel Double Cleanser
This modern take on a cold cream excels at removing every last trace of makeup, including long-wear and waterproof formulas. But it doesn’t sacrifice your skin’s moisture to get the job done. Instead, it’s chock full of hydrating ingredients, like chamomile flower extract and a variety of oils, so you can be assured your complexion will feel oh-so-soft after taking off your makeup.
Best Balm: Pond’s Cold Cream Cleansing Balm
Do you want to add cold cream to your beauty routine but prefer the texture of a balm over a thick lotion? Then this one’s for you. Pond’s superstar cold cream is in balm form to cleanse and remove makeup. The balm-to-oil formula has a silky texture that moisturizes skin as it gets rid of dirt, grime, and all types of makeup. Skin will look radiant and feel soft when you use this cold cream cleansing balm.
Best Drugstore: Jergens All-Purpose Cream Face Moisturizer
This drugstore cold cream is a true multipurpose product. Not only can it be used to cleanse and take off your makeup at the end of the day, but it can also be used as a makeup primer or overnight moisturizer. The formula is thick and rich, making it ideal for dry or very dry skin. You’ll be amazed at how soft and smooth your complexion feels after swiping this one on.
Best Budget: Noxzema Classic Clean Original Deep Cleansing Cream
You don’t have to break the bank to find an effective cleansing cold cream. This bargain pick does the job really well without setting back your budget. It penetrates deep into pores to get rid of dirt, oil, and makeup. Plus, eucalyptus, soybean, and linseed oil in the formula ensure your skin feels fresh and soft post-cleanse.