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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