Baby, it’s Cold (Cream)

It’s that time of year when my thoughts turn to Skin Care.  I’mo be honest – Spring/Summer I mostly do the cleanse/sunscreen regimen and I’m OUT!  Lots of Outside Time and it’s finally time to OPEN THE WINDOWS and turn off that damn gas-forced air heat.  I know, I know – I’d be the first one howling like a 2 yr old if it goes out in February.  But there’s no denying that heating is rough AF on the skin.   So, when the Equinox swings towards the Winter Solstice and I have to close the windows, I can feel my skin saying ‘but Mommmm!  Do we HAVE to?  Can’t we just go to Puerto Vallarta or Maui until May?”  Alas, darling skin, we are Broke AF.   Also alas, we do not have a Winter Palace in Palm Springs.  So.  Let’s do what we can to stave off the itching and scratching of the Dermal Apocalypse, shall we?”

The first thing I turn to, come November, is cold cream.  I don’t know how I came to love it so much but it’s one of those little pleasures that helps get me through these insane days when it’s pitch-effin-dark at 4:45p.  Instead of curling into a ball and sleeping until mid-March, I turn my evenings into Spa.  And the first thing I do is slap some cold cream on my face.  I think it’s because, like so many women of my generation, I watched my mother and grandmother do it – and their skin was flawless!  When I think of cold cream I think of Grace Kelly (who, purportedly, never used soap on her flawless face, only cold cream).  I do NOT channel Joan Crawford (and neither should you.  Cold Cream is a luxury, not a weapon).  For my grandmother, it was Noxema, applied in strokes (my prima Sylvia used to dot it on her forhead and cheeks and the ‘dotting’ caused little clusters of melanin to appear – for YEARS she had these weird little dark patches on her face!  I was fascinated).  My mother used Pond’s. I used to use it and still have Big Love for it, mineral oil and all (I just need to make sure I follow with a quick soap wash – VERY quick – and a thorough rinse; if I get too involved with the soap I undo all the good the cold cream worked to achieve).  Recently  I’ve gone a bit more high-end because I’m Old AF, my leg still aches,  it’s DARK outside and I need to feel like I am a 1950s movie star in Beverly Hills, complete with maribou slippers and a martini, smoothing on cold cream at my oyster-colored vanity.  Paula at Beautyhabit knows I’m nuts about cold cream (and nuts, in general) , so she was kind enough to indulge me in a couple of high-end samples to try (and, btw, omg – if you have not seen their Holiday Lookbook!  O.M.G.  I want to buy everything in there!  Look at these little beauties!

Avene’.  Until I saw the line @ Beautyhabit I’d no idea it even existed!  This is an amazing line and their cold cream is great for easily irritated Winter skin (aka Musette’s).  It’s a calming, cool cream that doesn’t have that little ‘zing’ that is so often associated with cold cream – at least it is on my skin.  I went looking for some more intel on cold cream in general  (an emulsion of water in oil) and found this great HuffPost article – turns out the great dermatologist Patricia Wexler loves Avene, too!  ( is it weird that when I a friend asked me the first thing(s) I would get if I won Lotto I said ‘  a hysterectomy and a visit to Dr Wexler’?)The other Beautyhabit offering I’m using is Kensington Apothecary Fresh Lemons Cold Cream.  From the great smell and feel to the beauty of the inside of the box (omg.  I am SUCH a ‘girl’ – I can’t get rid of the box because the inside is a soft pink.  Kill. Me. Now. ) – this is a great cream.  I’m going to be honest, though: I think this cream is, for me, better as a Summer cold cream.  It’s gorgeous and effective but the citrus is just a bit bitey for my dry Winter skin.  I could see this working like a charm in July, though, when I come in from an 80F day and feel greasy and dirty but don’t want to use soap.  But omg.  Any time of the year? It smells DIVINE!  In-store, one Dr Wexler’s (and my) favorites is Weleda.  Lawdamussy, it’s been around since the Jurassic Era, and for good reason:  it’s a great all-purpose cold cream for very sensitive Winter skin  – even on the days when I feel like my face is shredding a slicker of Weleda, rinsed off in warm (almost-hot) water, will bring it back to rights.I do use other facial products in Winter, including Jojoba oil (thanks, March and thanks, Dr. Erno Laszlo) followed by a clay or African Black soap, lightly applied.  My skin does need a good, thorough cleansing from time to time, the kind that only an oil/soap combo can give.  But for those days when I just need to get the foundation out of my pores and the mascara off my lids, a good cold cream is a great way to achieve that without ripping the top 12 layers of my skin off.  I used to think I needed to avoid oils but you know what?  Dr Laszlo’s regimen (which starts with a cleansing oil) changed my thinking about that – and I was stunned at how much CLEANER my skin felt!


Btw – on my face I use cold cream as it was originally designed – it’s NOT a moisturizer (but there are cold cream body products now that are meant to stay on the skin (and I can wipe out a jar of Ponds in a nanosecond, if I feel like mah butt needs some additional moisturizing (that is some serious real estate back there 😉 ) but on my face I use it to do a moisturizing cleanse, rather than a moisturizing cream.  They are perfect for that and in this season’s drying environments, I can use all the moisture I can get!  Bring it, DermApocalypse!  I’m ready!


…and I think I have to read this: 


Do any of you use cold cream?  Where do you use it?  When?  Why?  Enquiring Minds and all that!

  • Tom says:

    I never have used cold cream, but with the Santa Anas blowing like f%^k right now I may have to start. I still love Laszlo. Makes my skin feel super-clean but moisturized.

    • Musette says:

      TP, I think you need something in addition to the cold cream – you can walk around your flat with your face slathered in cold cream ala Joan Crawford – but once you take it off you need to put on something extremely emollient, especially since you’re doing those peels. I’m currently using Prairie Aromatics’ Whipped Dream Cream but am also in thrall to (wait for it) Chanel’s Sublimage La Crème, which is so spendy it makes me gasp! Luckily I have a nice 5ml sample but I dunnowhatImogonnado once that is gone – this stuff makes La Mer look like Jergens!

      But…omg. It feels…..sublime.


  • Tara C says:

    I am having a terrible time finding a deeply moisturizing cream that doesn’t make my face burn. I have super sensitive skin and mostly can only use organic sesame or jojoba oil. I can tolerate La Roche-Posay creams, but they feel a bit dry, and I like an oilier feel. I bought a jar of pure shea butter but it is hard as a rock – how do people use this stuff??

    To remove my makeup I put some water and oil on a cotton pad and wipe (I only wear powder, eye makeup and lipstick, no foundation). Never tried cold cream and at this point I am afraid, as I just bought a bottle of Avène night cream and it burned. 🙁

    • Musette says:

      noooooo! I’m sorry that Avene cream burned. My sister had ‘burn-y’ skin so she concocted a whipped shea butter (combining coconut oil, shea butter and (maybe) Clary Sage EO, which you could eliminate from it. Google ‘whipped shea butter’ for a recipe. Solid shea butter is rocklike and also isn’t as emollient as a whipped version.

      You can also talk to my friend Camille @ Prairie Aromatics – all of her stuff is organic (or nearly-organic) – thinking maybe her Fresh Coconut Facial Moisturizer (pretty much coconut, jojoba and some other oils in an emulsified form) might work for you – ya nebber know!


  • Queen Cupcake says:

    I have used Pond’s cold cream for many years to take off makeup. Followed by a blend of witch hazel and a few drops of various essential oils on cotton pads, to clear the cold cream away. That Avene product looks interesting–I’ll have to check it out. For the past 3 years, I moisturize with the Classic Rose facial oil from Mountain Rose Herbs or the Geranium and Argan Oil Facial Serum in varying amounts and times of day, year ’round. Now if I could just solve the itchiness that Winter brings my scalp!

    • Musette says:

      I’ve seen your skin, albeit in pictures (but still) – it is GORGEOUS!!! And I LUH Pond’s. I think your regimen of witch hazel and EOs is a great ticket to smooth, clear skin (I do not believe that using a mineral-oil based cream for cleansing creates pimples, not if you don’t make it be the ONLY part of your cleansing ritual).

      For itchy scalp I use peppermint and cedarwood atlas EOs in a bit of jojoba – seems to work pretty well!


      • Queen Cupcake says:

        I don’t think of my skin as gorgeous, but I am usually looking at it with 5X magnification. :-0
        I will try your remedy for itchy scalp–mucho thanks! xoxoxoxoxo

  • shiva-woman says:

    I just love to read your posts. I’m an English professor, and I can “hear” you. We grade on “sense of voice” as one aspect of our rubric. That’s all very dry and boring, but your posts do make me laugh, and I hear a voice. I look forward to each one!
    Now Noxema. Ponds occasionally featured on the vanity in my mother’s day, but she rarely wore makeup and she was… shall we say, a minimalist. But Noxema was always around.
    I’m pi**** off at the reformulation and it’s not the same, but I keep going back. Your “melatonin” cluster story does not delight as the skin is being sensitized somehow and it’s causing more sun damage. Ugh. The women in my family aged well, however, and I get compliments on my skin, so I’m going to keep carrying on with the blue vat of creamy mentholated with a lot of glycolic acid wipes and creamy moisturizers.

    • Musette says:

      Shiva-Woman, thank you SO much for that lovely compliment! It really means a lot. I enjoy ‘letting my hurrs down’ on the blog, something I rarely can do in my professional life. I’m glad to know you can ‘hear’ me – and that rubric is not dry or boring at all (I majored in English, myself, so I know whereof you speak). It’s what draws us to specific writers and why now, with so much on audio, the actual ‘audio’ is so important – I just audiobooked ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ and I found myself wondering if I’d find it half as fascinating with different narrators.


  • Janet in California says:

    Not about cold cream but if you are longing for a hysterectomy look into uterine ablation. TMI but it changed my life. Best decision ever.

  • moongrrl says:

    My paternal grandmother used either Jergens (with the three faces!) or Ponds all over her face very evening, removed with a tissue, and followed up with a light coating of Night of Olay. Her skin was gorgeous! Fine-pored, clear, soft and smooth. I still have her last jar of Night of Olay, just for the smell. My preference is for Albolene, removed with a warm, wet microfiber cloth, but even then I can only use it in the depths of winter because PIMPLES. It is great for the eyelid flakies, though. Sigh. Unscented Dove soap is so unromantic in comparison.

    • Musette says:

      I’ve found that if you rinse, rinse, RINSE you can get the benefits without the zits. At least that works for me (ymmv).

      And I LOVE DOVE! xoxoxoA