It's impossible to tally the number of articles over the years that have espoused the benefits of the beauty products and practices our moms and grandmas swore by, but let's be real: How much of that advice do you actually follow in your day-to-day routine? After all, emerging science and rapid innovations means more elegant and efficient products than ever before. But when we started noticing a skin-care comeback straight out of the early 20th century, we started to wonder if we'd been missing out on one of the most gentle, versatile skin-care products to have stood the test of time.
We're talking about cold creams, the onetime vanity must-have that's back on our radar in a big way, thanks to brands like Lush, Ole Henriksen, and Kate Somerville (whose latest take on the classic officially made converts out of us). But what exactly is a cold cream, and why is it worth adding to your lineup over any of the other numerous cleansers on the market?
To start, it's a cream-based cleanser — supposedly so named because it's cool to the touch — that is, according to Jessica Wu, an LA-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at USC, "ideal for dry or sensitive skin, including the rosacea-prone." That's because the oil-rich formulas are able to melt off makeup and dirt and oil buildup without stripping the skin, like other foaming cleansers and bar soaps tend to do.
What's more, many formulations can work double-time as a moisturizer in a pinch to spot-treat dry, flaky skin. And unlike the cold creams used 80 years ago, these newer versions have a lighter, almost whipped consistency, feel less greasy, and can be spiked with botanicals ingredients and nourishing extracts where heavily perfumed scents and borax used to be.
And one additional reason why you should add this bathroom-sink stalwart to your decidedly modern routine: Cold creams are incredibly gentle, and even work to remove waterproof mascara with minimal irritation. Indeed, we were blown away by the latest crop of makeup-melting formulations, which also have a few extra tricks up their sleeves. Ahead, Wu's tips for giving this worthwhile throwback a go. Turns out that Grandma might have been wrong all along.