This Ain't Your Grandma's Cold Cream (Because You're Gonna Make It Yourself!)

A customizable DIY cold cream based on the ancient Greek recipe.
Publish date:
April 23, 2015
cleansers, DIY, cold cream

When I think of cold cream, I think of Bingo, the dog movie from the ‘90s, and a tear comes to my eye. I also think of Pond’s original cold cream, but I never quite understood what these creams are for or what they do.

It was only recently that I discovered that the OG cold cream was developed in the first century A.D. (!!!) by an ancient Greek dude named Galen, and his original formula is still used by many. History is THE COOLEST.

Galen’s recipe involves rosewater, beeswax, and olive oil, whipped in an emulsion that takes off makeup and cleanses skin, leaving behind a soft, moist, and makeup-free visage. Because I know that olive oil’s super-high oleic acid content does not make it an ideal choice for my oily skin, so I decided to try my own acneic-skin version with castor oil, tea tree, and green tea to fight acne.

A cream or lotion is a basic emulsion of oil, water, and wax. By adding the ingredients at a hot temperature and whipping until cool, you create a uniform mixture of the water and oil with a thick, creamy texture.

You can make substitutes anywhere you wish! If you use rosewater and olive oil then you are making the original, great for dry and/or mature skin. Any hydrosol or herbal tea can be subbed in for the water; you can even use plain water. Same goes for the oil: use what you love! Olive, coconut, hemp, sweet almond, and jojoba are all great choices, and you can even use a combination or throw in a small portion of an exotic oil to add further treatment benefits.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 tsp beeswax
  • 3oz water/hydrosol/tea (I used green tea)
  • ½ tsp soy lecithin
  • 20 drops essential oil, I used tea tree

And here’s how to make it:

Set up your workspace with an electric mixer or stick blender with a big enough glass or plastic bowl to do the whipping. Have everything you need ready to go--this project moves quickly once it’s underway! It helps to uncap all of the ingredients and pre-measure them before attempting to assemble.

Measure oil and wax into a heat-safe container.

Heat tea in a glass container until almost boiling in microwave, and put it near your blending station for quick access.

Heat the oil and wax until all of the wax pellets are melted.

Start whipping the oil with the mixer, and begin pouring in the hot tea in a slow stream.

Add 20 drops of essential oil when you have added half of the tea.

Adding the rest of the tea little by little, whip the mixture until it begins to thicken.

Keep whipping until the mixture is fully cooled; it will be very thick and creamy.

Use a spatula to transfer to a clean jar.

This one is a bit difficult for the inexperienced DIYer, but it’s a really worthy project if you want full control over what you put on your skin. You can use this to take off makeup, a small drop to seal in your night routine, or as a travel-friendly OCM!

  • Have you ever used classic, store-bought cold cream?
  • Do you want to use cold cream but wish it was more oily-skin friendly?

Photos: Darnell Scott