In France, this substance is still known as cérat de Galien ('Galen's Wax'). An 1814 poem credited to "Dr. Russell" gives the following account of the benefits attributed to cold cream in that day:
Galen's cold cream was based on beeswax and water, also containing olive oil and rose petals for softness and scent, respectively. Modern cold cream has significant differences in formula, which were established centuries ago:
Cold cream now replaces the olive oil with mineral oil or other oils, which is slower to spoil. Another common ingredient in modern cold cream is borax, which is also responsible for the whiteness of cold cream. The most widely sold brand of cold cream in the United States is Pond's.
Over the centuries, new uses have been found for the product: "As a toilet requisite cold cream is used for softening and cooling the skin after sunburn, as a cleansing cream, to relieve harshness of the skin, etc".