At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Cold cream cleanser, sometimes simply referred to as cold cream, is a compound that cleans the face without drying out the skin. Cleaning the face involves removing excess oil, and most facial cleansers achieve this with soaps or other surfactants. Cold creams do not contain soap or soap products; their base ingredient is oil. The cleanser’s oil combines with facial oils, loosening them so they will wipe off while allowing the skin to retain its natural moisture. Most commercial cold creams are naturally hypoallergenic, nonirritating, and are appropriate for every skin type.
Facial cosmetics are often oil based. Part of the popularity of cold cream cleansers are their ability to remove makeup without drying out delicate facial skin. Most soap-based cleansers recommend the application of a moisturizer after use. Cold creams, on the other hand, clean and moisturize at the same time. Some women use cold cream their entire lives, never allowing soap to touch their faces.
Variations of cold cream cleanser have been around for thousands of years. While some of the ingredients are slightly different from the original versions, such as replacing olive oil with mineral oil to extend shelf life, the basic composition remains the same. Throughout the years, the cleanser has spawned numerous imitations and adaptations of its formula. In 1924, the popularity of cold creams inspired the invention of facial tissues as a means for removing the cleanser.
There are many recipes for making cold cream cleanser at home. Most recipes start with the basic ingredients of mineral oil, water, beeswax, and borax. Additional ingredients, such as honey, help with softening the skin, and the inclusion of fragrant oils creates a highly personalized mixture. Different ingredients can replace the base ingredients to mix up a cold cream cleanser with slightly different properties. Rosewater or distilled water can take the place of plain water, and a wide assortment of specialty oils, such as safflower oil, work as well as mineral oil.
Cold cream is a versatile product that has several other uses. A light application of the cream provides temporary sunburn relief. It gently removes temporary tattoos without irritating the skin. Its oil base works well for dissolving residual adhesive, such as from stickers or tape. The addition of a few ingredients turns cold cream into a kind of paint, for example, mixing the cleanser with cornstarch, water, and food coloring is an easy substitute for commercial face-painting products.