How to Make Your Own Cold Cream

Cold creams aren't just for grandmas and French women

Woman using moisturising cream
andresr / Getty Images

I love Pond's Cold Cream, which I've written about a lot here (I even include it in my list of Best Cleansers). My grandmother always used it and cold cream is a huge staple in the average Frenchwoman's beauty routine. It's perfect for combination or dry skin and it's super simple to use: you put it on and wipe it off. No water necessary.

But Pond's is not exactly natural or organic. It's also $14 a tub at my local drugstore.

So imagine my excitement when I found out there are recipes so you can make your own cold cream. I got this recipe from a retired stage actress who used to use it to remove her makeup after performances. She tells me she likes to make her own cold cream because she's really into organic skincare and she's broke.

First Off, What is Cold Cream?

Cold cream works as a pretty decent makeup remover. The shortening in this recipe acts as a barrier on the skin, trapping in moisture. 

According to Wikipedia, cold cream has been around since at least second century Greece, when a physician named Galen created it. In France, where cold cream remains popular, it's known as cérat de Galien or "Galen's Wax."

The Ingredients

There are only a few ingredients in cold cream: jojoba oil, vegetable shortening, and an essential oil. 

  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil. Jojoba is a great base for homemade facial, skin and massage blends because it has a great shelf life, does not turn rancid like other oils and is a great moisturizer.
  • 8 tablespoons of vegetable shortening (think Crisco). Vegetable shortening is made from soybean or cottonseed oils, which are OK for the skin, unlike lard which is made from animal fat, which is gross on the skin. I prefer to use an organic shortening that I buy from Amazon
  • Several drops of your favorite essential oil. I like lavender oil because it's super gentle on skin (buy from Amazon). Other good options include: lemon balm, calendula, cardamom, Roman chamomile, eucalyptus, lemongrass, neroli. Read more about essential oils and your skin type. Skip the essential oil if you have sensitive skin. 

    The Recipe

    For this, you'll need a saucepan, a whisk and a glass with a cap which will be your container. 

    1. Warm the oil and shortening in a saucepan over low heat until completely melted. A double boiler is best, but I don't use one because I don't have one. 
    2. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
    3. Add several drops of the essential oil.
    4. Whisk until mixture thickens.
    5. Pour mixture into a glass with a cap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

    You can use this cold cream on your face, neck, and chest. It should last at least 6 months, perhaps longer. My friend likes to use hers cold, so she refrigerates it, but you don't have to.

    How to Use it

    The traditional method is to apply a thick layer of cold cream over the face, let it sit for a minute and then wipe off with a cotton pad. Repeat until the pad is clean of dirt and makeup. I've read other women on the Internet swear by a washcloth method: apply a thick layer, leave it on for a minute and then remove with a warm washcloth. Massage the face with the washcloth, which acts as a natural exfoliant. See Why Washcloths May Be Your Best Exfoliating Trick Yet.

    Cold cream works best on combination or dry skin. Skip it if you have oily skin. Cold cream can feel greasy.

    Also, check out:

    • 18 Ingenious Beauty Uses for Average Kitchen Items
    • DIY Skincare: 25 Amazing Face Mask Recipes
    • How To Do The Basic At-Home Facial