No longer the sole reserve of your grandmother’s bathroom cabinet, cold cream is making a comeback. Here’s why beauty director Shannon Peter is campaigning for its return.
When it comes to skincare products, cold cream is an old-school as they come.
In fact, nothing reminds me of my grandma quite like the smell of Boots Traditional Skin Care Cream. As a child, I’d covertly slink off into her bedroom just to dunk my tiny fingers into the oddly chilly, unctuous cream and slather it all over my grazed knees and flushed cheeks. If the finger-shaped holes that dotted the pot didn’t give away my crime, the thick swipes of this heavyweight lotion smothered over my body certainly did.
While cold cream was all the rage among older generations, I’d hazard a guess that it hasn’t ever entered your own skincare routine, right? Well, get ready for that to change because cold cream is making a serious comeback. And I, for one, am very much here for it.
What’s fueling the resurgence? Well, one brand in particular is doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to reigniting the cool factor of cold cream, and that’s The Seated Queen. This monochrome and minimalist brand wants to pull cold cream out of the beauty archives, and make it relevant once more to modern day consumers.
“I think cold cream has always retained its aura of old school glamour, but over the decades it receded to the back of the beauty cabinet. Nowadays it is rarely seen outside Parisian pharmacies,” explains co-founder, Libby Banks. “I think its simplicity was out of step with the move towards more involved skincare routines, and some older formulations rely on heavy waxes and mineral oils.” Both things modern day beauty consumers have learned to avoid.
So, with a few tweaks to the traditional formulations and the addition of an undeniably chic brand aesthetic, The Seated Queen has managed to make cold cream feel ridiculously modern once more. And my skin and I just can’t get enough of it.
Not sure what cold cream is? Or struggling to understand how it would fit into your skincare routine? Let me explain…
What is cold cream?
Cold cream is a decadently rich and super thick face cream, usually built on a base of waxes and oils. Most commonly used as a cleanser (although, some people used it as a very heavy moisturiser), think of it like a cleansing lotion / balm hybrid that is characteristically cool-to-the-touch.
It’s likely you’ll have heard of the iconic Ponds Cold Cream, first launched in the early 20th century, but its origins actually stretch back much farther. “It has been around a long time,” explains Banks. “Cold cream was first made by a Greek physician called Galien in the second century using a mixture of beeswax and rosewater, and his formulation was prized for its soothing and protective properties.”
How do you use cold cream?
Cold cream is inherently multifunctional, brilliant if you’ve grown tired of jam-packed shelfie culture, or are simply looking for something to streamline your routine.
First, you can use cold cream as a cleanser. Simply scoop out a thumb-sized dollop and massage into the skin, before rinsing off with warm water and a muslin cloth. Buttery and rich, it’s brilliant at melting down make-up and SPF, but also works wonders on nourishing particularly dry skin. It’s been an excellent aid in healing my mask-induced eczema.
You can also use cold cream as an intensive face mask by pasting on a thin layer over the entire face and leaving it to do its thing for an hour or two, or even overnight. “Apply after cleansing but not drying the skin (leaving it damp helps keep pores open) and it will soak in within a couple of minutes,” recommends Banks. “Once it is applied on your face, it absorbs on your skin like a sheer moisturiser and keep your pillowcase clear.” Once a week is all it needs; anything more than that and you might find it a bit overwhelming for your skin.
And finally, you can use the cream as a massage aid. Simply apply a small dollop over the face, before carrying out your preferred facial massage moves.
What are the benefits of cold cream?
Firstly, cold cream offers the total antithesis of long winded and overly complicated routines. Decidedly unfussy, you can use it as a cleanser, a mask or even to give skin enough slip to perform a rigorous facial massage routine.
Besides that, cold creams tend to come formulated with plenty of nourishing ingredients, ideal for anyone with particularly dry skin. “What appealed to us is the cold cream’s in-built versatility, so we decided to rethink the formulation with a contemporary vegan version using the nourishing ingredients like cold-pressed organic argan kernel, borage seed and rosehip oils, with the scent of organic essential oils to help prepare the body and mind for sleep,” Banks adds.
Yes, it sounds incredible, but after putting it through its paces over the last week, my supple, soft skin and I can confirm it performs incredibly well too. Not only does it have the mind-melting power of a pillow mist, but it has the skin plumping power of a facial and the glow-inducing power of 300 green juices, too.
And while I shan’t be transporting my entire skincare routine back to the second century, this is one old school product that I can see myself using again and again for years to come.
The Seated Queen Cold Cream, £39
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