Do You Really Need A Skincare Fridge?
Nowadays, it seems like no skincare shelfie is complete without a shot of a mini fridge stocked with products — but is this photogenic trend actually useful? We decided to find out.
Part of the fun of skincare is showing off your products online, and a somewhat recent addition to social media skincare pics is the appearance of skincare and beauty fridges. Often painted in pretty pastel colors or sporting a retro look, these mini refrigerators can store your favorite serums, sheet masks, and moisturizers.
Of course, keeping skincare products cold isn’t a new concept (remember storing your under-eye patches in your full-size fridge?), but these mini fridges have the added benefit of being extremely portable and accessible. They can be stored in your bedroom, bathroom, or anywhere you usually apply your skincare routine.
As with most skincare trends, however, there has been some debate as to whether mini skincare fridges are actually useful or cute but largely unnecessary. To find out more, we talked to a trio of industry experts for their takes.
Do You Need a Skincare Fridge?
Overall, all three of our skincare pros agreed that skincare fridges are unnecessary. They should be thought of as a fun addition to your routine rather than an essential part of it. Most skincare products are formulated with the understanding that they will be kept at room temperature, so keeping them cold as a means of preservation isn’t all that important. “Cosmetic chemists have put a lot of time and effort into creating sophisticated preservative systems so that our products a) don’t go bad and b) remain safe for us to use,” explains Renée Rouleau, celebrity aesthetician and founder of her eponymous skincare line.
Most skincare fridges run between $30 and $150 (we’re fans of the ultra-portable Bishe Beauty Fridge), which means that they can be a bit of an investment. And then there is the environmental impact of adding yet another continuously running appliance to your home. “The skin fridge trend seems born out of the mega shelfie era, when skincare in excess and aesthetic allure was prized,” says Katrina Moreno Lewis, founder of Kura Skin. “It’s one more appliance that’s always on in your home, which is something to consider if you’re mindful of your energy footprint.”
So, Are There Any Benefits?
The benefits of storing skincare products in a mini fridge has more to do with how the product will feel when you apply it cold than anything else. “Keeping your products in a skincare fridge won’t make them more effective,” Rouleau says. “But the cool temperatures can definitely feel pleasant on the skin and may even be somewhat beneficial for conditions like redness and puffy eyes.”
Skincare fridges can also be useful for those who may not be able to store their products in temperature-controlled climates. “Heat and humidity can cause products to degrade faster, which can mess with their consistency and potency and may even speed the growth of bacteria,” Lewis explains. “That’s why you should always keep skincare at room temperature, away from radiators, and out of direct sunlight.”
While she maintains that refrigeration won’t do much to extend the shelf-life of a well-formulated product, it doesn’t hurt. “If you have a bathroom that feels perpetually steamy, transferring those to your products to another room is ideal,” she says. “And, if summers seem to melt your products, then, yes, you might want to check out a skin fridge — or just pop ‘em in the refrigerator you already have in your home!”
What Should I Put in My Skincare Fridge?
While many people stock their skincare fridges full of their entire routine, it’s important to know that not every product will take to the cold. “Some balmy products tend to firm up if they are kept in a skincare fridge, which can make them very challenging to use,” cautions Alexia Wambua, founder of Native Atlas and a practicing aesthetician of 20 years. “The same is true for any and all clay products, so I would avoid keeping those in a refrigerator.”
You’ll also want to keep your oils away from the chill. “Oil-based products and thick cream moisturizers should also stay out of your skincare fridge,” she continues. “Water and oil separate, so placing oil-based products in a cooler temperature could slightly change the formula and texture of the product.” When it comes to serums, Wambua says to consider each product individually. “It usually is case-by-case, as it depends on the formulation,” she says. “If you choose to store your serum in a skincare fridge, keep an eye on it and watch to see if any separation occurs. If it does, that serum should not be stored in the refrigerator.”
Keep Out of the Fridge:
- Clay-based products
- Some serums
- Thick moisturizers
So, what can you store in the fridge? Eye creams and patches, jade rollers, sheet masks, mists, gel moisturizers, and most hyaluronic acids can all handle it. Wambua adds that some plant-based products may benefit from the coolness of a fridge, as not all are formulated with preservatives. Keeping them in the fridge can keep them fresh.
Keep in the Fridge:
- Eye creams & patches
- Face mists
- Gel moisturizers
- Jade rollers
- Many hyaluronic acid-based products
- Sheet masks
Anything Else I Should Know?
Make sure to read the instructions provided with the mini fridge, and pay close attention to your products. If you notice a change in color, smell, or consistency, take them out of the fridge. Additionally, if you travel frequently, you’ll need to fine tune your skincare fridge approach. “If you are used to always using a skincare fridge, then your products may not travel well when they are away from the fridge,” Wambua says. “I don't recommend that you allow your products to fluctuate between temperatures a ton, so I would not store them in a fridge and then pack them in your suitcase.”
As you might expect, going from one extreme to another is not ideal for anything — skincare products included. “The fluctuation between temperatures can actually lead to instability of the product and injure its overall integrity and effectiveness,” she explains. But, if you really love the cooling effect of a fridge, Wambua offers this compromise: “If you set your skincare fridge to a temperature between 55 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit, it should reduce the severity of temperature fluctuations and prevent this from being a major issue,” she says.
Skincare fridges can be beneficial for those who live in humid areas, use products without preservatives, or want their masks or mists to feel a bit more refreshing, however, they are far from being a skincare necessity. It’s important to weigh the cost of the fridge and the possible environmental impact before buying. And, if you do decide to use one, make sure to read the instructions, set the temperature to a cool (not cold) level, and keep an eye on how your products react to their new home.
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