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If a product has been around for more than 100 years, it’s probably worth trying. If that same product has been praised by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Kylie Jenner, then it becomes even more promising. And if that product is only $5? Now that’s just a steal.
Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser is an inexpensive drugstore cleanser and moisturizer with a rich history dating back to the early 1900s. The witch hazel-based balm was originally created as a medicinal product for burns and cuts, but soon found its way into the hands of everyday women and old Hollywood beauties.
In 1846, American pharmacist Theron T. Pond invented a product he named Golden Treasure. The liquid was a “healing tea” extracted from witch hazel, which he said would strengthen skin and helped it heal from small cuts and burns. Later, the product became known as the Pond’s Extract. The extract was then added to a cream during World War II, where it’s still found today. Pond’s claims this cold cream was the first ever moisturizer to not need refrigeration.
Cold creams were once popular in skincare, but aren’t a mainstay of modern cleansers. A cold cream is an emulsion of water and fats, like oils and water. When combined, a soap-like base forms, which removes makeup and dirt. But the oils and waxes included also act as moisturizer, making skin soft after cleansing.
Shop: Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser, $4.99
According to Unilever, the company that owns Pond’s, the product was launched in 1905. Product descriptions for the cleanser across several retailers, however, date it back to 1907. In any case, the cleanser launched in the early 1900s, and quickly became a favorite of old Hollywood beauties. The dual product was reportedly used by Marilyn Monroe, according to Vogue, and was a favorite of Jackie Kennedy’s during her college years.
“She never went to bed with her makeup on. Back then, she used Pond’s cold cream,” Jackie Style author Pamela Keogh told People in 2019. “You rub it in for two minutes and then rub the excess off so it didn’t end up on the pillow.”
But the popularity hasn’t slowed in 100 years. In fact, singer Kylie Minogue reportedly caused a 120 percent spike in sales after saying the cleanser was one of her favorite skincare products back in 2010. According to 2018 sales data, it’s estimated one Pond’s Cold Cream Cleanser is sold every 15 seconds in the U.S. And a frequent buyer of the cream is Kylie Jenner.
“The makeup remover that I love is Pond’s,” Kylie Jenner told Elle in 2018, clarifying later in the interview that she was referring to the cold cream. “That’s the only thing I’ve used my whole life.”
Pond’s cold cream can be used to remove makeup or cleanse your face, or can simply be used as a moisturizer. The product is reported to reduce acne scarring due to its “mineral-based properties.” You can also leave it on for several minutes on clean skin to use as a mask.
After stumbling on the product’s incredible history — and realizing its mere $5 price tag — I ordered myself a jar to try. After one use, my skin was noticeably smoother and appeared to be more hydrated. Plus, the product was incredibly gentle, and boasts a pleasing subtle rose scent.
As a lover of beauty history, connecting with the past through a product is always exciting. Rubbing in a cream used by Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe tends to make you feel more glamorous than usual. And if a billionaire like Kylie Jenner swears by it, when she can literally afford any product ever, it’s a sign that you won’t be disappointed.
If you liked this story, check out more vintage beauty products that you can still buy today.
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