Pond’s Cold Cream, No Wrinkles & Mineral Oil Myths

Lately I’ve been testing a lot of mascaras, and mostly mascaras of the waterproof variety. I have very oily skin, and for some reason non-waterproof mascara just melts off my skin.  The racoon eyes look does not work for me, so waterproof it is. I have several favourites, number one being Clinique Lash Power Mascara, which is a tubing mascara. It removes easily with gentle rubbing and warm water but does not melt or wear off. I have been playing with some other mascaras and have to say, I’m loving them as well. Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara (quickly becoming a favourite) adds a little more oomph to my lashes and is nice for an evening look. For a drugstore option, I’ve been test driving L’Oreal Telescopic Waterproof mascara, which does what it says – provides long fluttery lashes without clumping or thickness. What I want from mascara is to enhance my lashes, make them darker and a bit longer, which helps to open the eyes and, believe it or not, add a youthful look. That is what long black eyelashes do. What doesn’t do this? Thick, clumpy fake looking lashes. Ugh, this is a pet peeve of mine and when I see it, I want to pin that woman down and wipe that crap off. And, as we age, that clumpy painted lady look only ages us more. Do. Not. Want.

I digress.

all you are to me is dead skin

Since I’ve been testing waterproof mascaras that, not surprisingly, do not come off with water, I needed remover for them. In the past I have used and loved Lancome Bi-Facil eye make up remover, and the little Almay eye make up remover pads to get rid of the stubborn stuff. A couple weeks ago I was looking for my Bi-Facil and could not find it, but happened upon a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser (yes, my make up drawers and cupboards are like an archive….). I thought “Hm, this stuff is oil-based, and we need oil to remove waterproof mascara, yes?”. So I scooped a wee bit of Pond’s and, I can here the audible gasps already, rubbed it all over each eye. I have NEVER seen mascara disappear so quickly, and with absolutely no eye irritation. At all. I then took a little cotton pad (the kind you use for removing make up, applying toner or removing nail polish) and wiped my eyes. I washed my face with Dove and my Clarisonic Mia (review to come – brace yourselves for the awesomeness) and went to bed.

It’s been around a steamy hot 30 degrees Celsius here for the past few weeks, or raining, meaning it was a great time to test out these waterproof mascaras. It also seemed like a neat idea to see what would happen if I used Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser on my eyes every night when I washed my face. Because we ALL wash our faces every night before bed, right? Right. So what happened? My entire eye and orbital area got softer and smoother with less noticeable lines, that’s what happened. I started noticing it a few days ago and that is the only switch I’ve done in my eye routine that would explain such a dramatic change. I have experienced zero eye irritation – and I have sensitive eyes. I can’t wear any Chanel eyeliners (I know, c’est tragique, non?) and I have a long list of stuff that makes me feel like I need to take a water hose to my eyes. Pond’s Cold Cream actually soothes my eyes, and I rub that stuff all over, massaging it into my lashes. I can open my eyes while doing this, people. I cannot do this with Bi-Facil, it burns. Now, I can’t speak to contact lens wearers, as that is a whole other thing.

Readers, I can hear you from here, “Mineral oil?? Are you kidding me? That stuff causes cancer, blocks pores, causes acne, and suffocates skin so it can’t breathe! You might as well put motor oil on your skin!”. Sigh. Such hysteria, and so not true on every level. True, mineral oil is not for everybody, and I have not had success washing my whole face with Pond’s, as it just too rich for my skin. But then again, many cosmetic items, natural, organic or synthetic, are not right for every skin type. Let’s talk, shall we?

In the book The New Ideal in Skin Health Dr. Carl Thornfeldt talks extensively about mineral oil, and how it pertains to the health of our skin. He also debunks some common myths associated with the ingredient.


One of the most widely used ingredients for moisturizers is the first controversial ingredient we will cover.  Petrolatum (also known as petroleum jelly and white petroleum) and mineral oil have been much maligned from “natural” based cosmetics companies, internet consumer sites and other environmental groups.  These sources erroneously claim that petrolatum and mineral oil are terrible ingredients because they come from crude oil (petroleum) which causes harm to the skin by forming an occlusive oil film, thereby “suffocating” it.  Unfortunately for these sources, this claim defies known human biology. In the body oxygen is transported to the skin by the blood supply, and then diffuses into the epidermal cells – oxygen is not absorbed directly from the air.  Herbal mucilages have been used for wound healing to soothe, protect and heal damaged or abnormal skin for centuries.  These mucilages naturally mimic the occlusive activity of petrolatum and mineral oil.  However, the “suffocating” claim is never used to dissuade use of those types of products.

Mineral oil reduces TEWL (transepidermal water loss) by 40%, is equally as occlusive as coconut oil and more occlusive than linoleic acid, yet it does not induce acne.  Mineral oil and petrolatum provide inhibition of excessive inflammatory activity superior to 1% hydrocortisone is treating soap induced contact irritant dermatitis conducted by this author.  It has also been documented these ingredients have anticarcinogenic and mild antibacterial effects.

The Beauty Brains does a great job at debunking the Top 5 Myths About Mineral Oil:

1. Mineral oil is contaminated with carcinogens. While it’s true that some petroleum derivatives contain carcinogenic materials (like some polycyclic aromatic compounds) the mineral oil that is used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry is highly refined and purified. It’s purity is even regulated by the US FDA and other international regulatory agencies. There is absolutely no evidence that cosmetic grade mineral oil causes cancer. And there has been plenty of testing done to ensure that fact. We could find no published reports in any of the dermatological or medical journals indicating a link between mineral oil and any forms of cancer.

2. Mineral oil dries the skin and causes premature aging. Mineral oil works as a barrier between the skin and the air. It acts as an occlusive agent which prevents water from naturally leaving your body through your skin. It will not dry out your skin or cause premature aging. Quite the contrary. It will provide moisturization.

3. Mineral oil robs the skin of vitamins. Since many vitamins are oil based, people assume that mineral oil will pull them out of your skin. There is no legitimate scientific evidence that this is true. Mineral oil has no effect on the vitamin levels in your skin.

4. Mineral oil prevents absorption of collagen from collagen moisturizers. Collagen in your skin lotions and moisturizers is too big to actually penetrate your skin. Therefore, mineral oil will have no effect on whether the collagen gets absorbed or not.

5. Mineral oil causes acne. In some people, mineral oil can exacerbate acne problems. However, most people will not experience any problems.

If you want to read more about why companies would want to propegate myths about mineral oil, read this post on The Beauty Brains. Some greenwashing stuff really gets my goat, and so do claims about how “natural” always equals “better”.

So, my verdict with Pond’s Cold Cleanser for eye make up removal? Awesome and wonderful, and I shall continue using it. It’s cheap, and it makes my skin look smooth and young. It’s a jar, and I am ok with sticking my fingers into it, but I know not everyone is. I don’t buy into that “it’s not sterile if it’s in a jar” thing, and my hands are clean when I use it. You may feel differently.

Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser is available at drugstores in a couple sizes for under $10.

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Reader Comments

  1. Pia Long

    All true. And I love you for adding a smart voice into the discussion about these scare stories. Three additions: 1. I think the acne connection can’t be brushed aside. Mineral oil can be agne-causing or in the very least, make it worse. However, this is not a simple categoric scenario – it’s quite individual (a bit like with various silicones – some people get spots from some of them and some people don’t). 2. You need to be careful when using mineral oil around your eyes for two reasons a) If you wear contact lenses, the mineral oil residue inevitably left on your lashes and in your eye itself may cause damage. b) any kind of oil, cream or wax near the tear duct can be a little bit problematic and cause puffy eyes or blockages (small amounts which are rinsed off well with water should not be an issue because our tears naturally contain some oil anyway). 3. There can be a bit of a vicious circle with oil-based make-up removers and waterproof mascaras because the oil leaves residue around the eyes and on the lashes and the panda-effect encourages the use of oily products for removal, which in turn forces one to turn to waterproof cosmetics… that require oil to remove. The key is to find a routine that works for you 🙂

  2. dalybeauty

    Exactly, Pia. So much depends on the individual vs sweeping generalizations. Silicone is a zit magnet for me! The worst, but yet so many love it.

  3. Rosalind Robertson

    Ponds Cold Cream is amazing, amazing stuff. I’ve used it for ever. I’ve got huge sensitivities even to the “sensitive skin” stuff. Tip: use a small spatula to keep jars sanitary. If you talk nicely to someone at a makeup counter or at MAC they might hand some over.

  4. Janice

    Ponds has been the reason for my soft hands, I have yet to use it specifically for makeup removal but it sounds like it works very well so I’ll definitely try it. Lifecell for my face’s journey to anti-aging and Ponds for my soft skin 🙂 love it! Thank you for all of this information!

  5. Dianna Horne

    i use ponds on my hands too. i also use (the cold cream) as a moisturizer for my face and actually prefer it to the dry skin cream they sell as a moisturizer.

  6. Sarah Boxer

    I have combination skin. Oily around crease of nose and on top of nose and chin but dry everywhere else. I also have Roseasea=service redness on cheeks and nose. I rarely have a breakout. Perfect skin as a teenager but red as an adult. I absolutely love the Lady Soma Renewal Serum. I have been using Lady Soma for 3 weeks and my skin looks younger and healthier.

    Its not greasy at all!!! Its wonderful for wrinkles and moisture protection.

  7. Alise

    Pond’s cold cream will also take oil based paint/primer out of your hair in the event of an oops. (I sneezed and headbutted the wall…) It also makes your hair super-soft.

  8. blazeyadeadxo

    I am an esthetician and One woman I had in my facial bed was around 70 years old and she had almost no visible wrinkles. You could tell she was older because of the loss of elasticity in her skin but I was amazed that she had almost no fine lines or even deep lines on her face. Her face was also incredibly smooth. I asked her what she had been using and she told me Ponds cold cream ever since she was a teenager. She would use it as a cleanser and as a moisturizer for her face. I also Had a guy in my chair who had the smoothest skin I have ever felt in my life and he seconded that he uses ponds cold cream. I was also doing brows on a girl and we both started raving about ponds cold cream as an inexpensive eye makeup remover and she stated that her aunt had used ponds as a moisturizer and as a cleanser and has the most beautiful skin. She said she was 60 but looked like she was in her late 30s. I’ve been trying to find evidence of this online or any other testimonials with no luck but I’ve started a regimen of using ponds as my makeup remover, face cleanser & moisturizer. I add some Retinol at night before I apply the moisturizer and an antioxidant serum in the morning before I apply it. I have very acne prone skin and oily skin but it hasn’t made me break out or anything. It actually says on the ponds website that their products are non-comedogenic. I’ve used ponds as a eye makeup remover since I first started wearing makeup because that was the only thing that worked and I have noticed that a lot of 20 somethings my age have a lot of fine lines around their eyes and I don’t have any.

  9. CarolyneMas

    I love Ponds. I rediscovered it when I found a jar among my late aunt’s things. I use it all the time now as a moisturizer. The smell is wonderful, it takes me back to my childhood, and my skin is super soft.

  10. Jane Daly

    What a lovely story! I tend to get caught up in the latest and newest and then I use Ponds and you’re right – super soft skin.

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