The hot new beauty trend? Cold cream!

The hot new beauty trend? Cold cream! It was your grandma’s dressing table staple. Now it’s back — and more desirable than ever

  • The Seated Queen chose a cold cream as its first product launch in 2020 
  • Co-founder Josephine Banks, recommends it for skin prone to dehydration
  • Victoria Woodhall gives verdict on a selection of cold creams on sale in the UK 

Who doesn’t have a memory of cold cream? That cool-to-the-touch waxy cleanser would signify the end of the day for our mothers or grandmothers, when the make-up would come off and the hairnet would go on.

And once again, cold creams are having a moment. Though we have more time to spend on a skincare routine in lockdown, we don’t want the complexity of dozens of lotions — nor the expense.

The simple oil, beeswax and rosewater emulsion was first concocted by Greek physician Galen nearly 2,000 years ago, and popularised by Pond’s in 1914.

Screen sirens such as Gina Lollobrigida, Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman made it glamorous. Though you can still buy the Pond’s original Cold Cream (£5.99,, there are plenty of more modern formulas to choose from.

Victoria Woodhall gives verdict on a selection of cold creams on sale in the UK – including Kate Somerville Cold Cream (pictured)

New British beauty brand The Seated Queen chose a cold cream as its first product launch in 2020. Why? ‘We felt there was a mismatch between the complex routines often advocated by skincare brands and what we were realistically able to do in our own evening routines,’ says its co-founder, skin massage therapist Josephine Banks.

‘In the midst of a pandemic, this feels more relevant than ever — we need to look after ourselves.’ She’s right, there is something decadent about the ceremony of sitting down and wiping away the day with an undemanding cream that helps lock in moisture. ‘What’s great about cold cream is it can be used whether you have blemish-prone or dry skin, and all skin types are prone to dehydration,’ adds Josephine.

Here are eight tried and tested…


Kate Somerville Cold Cream, £41,

What is it? A deeply moisturising cleanser and make-up remover which, unlike the Pond’s original, has no mineral oil, so is lighter and less greasy. Jasmine and daisy flower extracts lend it a classic scent.

What’s it like? With the help of a warm flannel, it swiped all my waterproof mascara and sun cream off and left my skin nicely supple. It’s a modern and luxe — but relatively pricey — upgrade on a classic. 4/5


Avene Cold Cream, now £7.33,

Victoria said Avene Cold Cream (pictured) feels quite oily, making it good for very dry skin 

What is it? A protective moisturiser for very dry, sensitive skin with a mineral oil, water and beeswax formula.

What’s it like? Although not designed as a cleanser, it works very well as one, but lacks that classic ‘cold’ sensation. As a moisturiser it feels quite oily, making it good for very dry skin. Being slightly fragranced keeps it one step above utilitarian, but sensitive skins should carry out a patch test first. 2/5


Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow, £45 for 100ml, cult

Victoria said Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow (pictured) is a rescue balm for dry patches

What is it? This brand is all about movie-star glow, and while the damask rose-scented balm isn’t your traditional waxy cold cream, you can bet the greats of Hollywood would use it today.

What’s it like? The pink gel cream feels like an indulgence — it’s not just a cleanser but a night mask, with nourishing ingredients such as vitamins A, C and E. It also works as a rescue balm for dry patches, such as on elbows. 4/5


The Seated Queen Cold Cream, £39,

Victoria said a thin veil of The Seated Queen Cold Cream (pictured) was plenty to get every scrap of dirt out of her pores

What is it? This is a cool cleanser, mask and night cream with cold-pressed plant oils and calming essential oils.

What’s it like? With its modern scent and natural ingredients, I wanted to slather so much of this on, but a thin veil was plenty to get every scrap of dirt out of my pores. Used as an occasional night cream (it’s very rich) it’s a treat, and I enjoyed following the 60-second facial tension release video the brand suggests. It makes a brilliant lip balm, too. 5/5


Prai Platinum Cold Creme Cleanser, £20,

Victoria said Prai Platinum Cold Creme Cleanser (pictured) can be used morning and night, but the fragrance was too strong for her 

What is it? A rich whipped cleanser for dry skin with mineral oil and synthetic beeswax. Not for use around the eyes.

What’s it like? The lighter texture means dry skins can use this morning and night. For me, the fragrance was too strong. It can be an irritant so I needed a separate eye make-up remover.2/5


Wo Daily Base Comfort Balm, £30 for 28 doses,

Victoria said Wo Daily Base Comfort Balm (pictured) is a great make-up base, but traditionalists may miss the cool feeling 

What is it? A space-age cleanser, make-up remover, moisturiser, eye cream and skin essence that comes in a single-dose recyclable pod.

It combines the classic cold cream fare of oils and wax (from rice bran) with performance ingredients such as hyaluronic acid for plumping and Korean herb oil and raspberry plant stem cells to fight inflammation.

What’s it like? One hygienic peel-back pod was enough to cleanse and moisturise morning and evening. It felt silky smooth, is mildly scented and made a great make-up base. Traditionalists may miss the cool feeling.4/5


Lush Ultrabland Cleanser, £9,

Victoria said Lush Ultrabland Cleanser (pictured) is an effective emollient, good for dry winter skin 

What is it? A cleanser for dry and sensitive skin, with almond oil, rosewater, beeswax and honey. Massage into skin and over eye make-up and remove with a warm, damp cloth.

What’s it like? You can smell the beeswax, which makes this cream very thick. It’s an effective emollient, so good for dry winter skin.

It’s also available in a vegan version called Ultraplant, which uses sunflower wax instead of beeswax and costs £12.50. 3/5


Embryolisse Laboratories Lait-Creme Concentre, £8.66,

Victoria said sensitive skin may react to the fragrance of Embryolisse Laboratories Lait-Creme Concentre (pictured) 

What is it? One of these cult French tubes sells every 20 seconds in the UK.

It’s popular with make-up artists for its multiple functions as cleanser, make-up remover, moisturiser, mask and primer.

It contains liquid paraffin, beeswax, shea butter and aloe vera.

What’s it like? The runny texture makes it so versatile, but I found it just as rich as a traditional cold cream, and it sank in rather than sat on the skin.

It lived up to most of its claims — although I disagree that it’s suitable for all skin types, because sensitive skins may react to the fragrance.3/5

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