If you're a self-confessed beauty lover and follow a whole heap of beauty accounts on Instagram (guilty!), chances are you’ve seen an adorable mini cosmetic fridge pop up on your feed with the hashtag #minifridgeshelfie. It’s most likely a lush pastel colour, and crammed full of sheet masks, aesthetically-pleasing skin care bottles (hello, Drunk Elephant and Tata Harper), and of course, the tactically-placed jade roller. Cute, right?
But what’s the deal - do you actually need a mini refrigerator to store beauty products? Should you be chilling some, or ALL, of your skin care products and facial tools?
If you’re anything like us, you already spent waaay too much of your pay cheque on makeup and skin care essentials, so you’re going to want to know if it’s actually worth splashing out on a mini fridge for your beauty routine.
The short answer? Probably not. While there is a LOT of hype around keeping skin care in the fridge, it “isn’t beneficial in the least” says founder of Paula’s Choice Skin Care, Paula Begoun. “In fact, it is terrible for the product because it has the reverse effect: compromising and eventually spoiling the efficacy of the formula,” she says.
Yep, that’s a firm no from Begoun when it comes to placing your pricey serums, facial oils, face mists, creams and face masks in a cosmetics fridge. While the old fridge cooler trick may work wonders for making your nail polish last longer, the same can't be said for your skin care products.
“Skin care products are vulnerable to extreme temperatures whether hot or cold, so keeping your products in a ‘beauty fridge’ will actually reduce their lifespan and stability,” adds Begoun.
“Generally, the integrity of skin care is formulated and tested to be kept consistently at room temperature,” says Sarah Hudson from Skin By Sarah Hudson. “Whilst most skin care can withstand short periods in extreme temperatures of cold or heat, this is not for prolonged periods of time. Placing skin care in the fridge/freezer could disrupt the ingredient formulation, causing the ingredient molecules to separate and the product to not work as effectively stated,” she says.
“Before placing any products in the freezer or fridge for a prolonged period, it is important to check with the manufacturer to ensure the integrity of the skin care ingredients remain the same for the shelf-life of the product,” says Hudson. “For example, key active ingredients in peptide sheet masks I prescribe (Société Rejuvenating Peptide Gel Mask) are activated by skin temperature. Whilst this mask can be pre-cooled for additional cooling effects, ultimately it is the skin temperature that activates the key ingredients and peptides in the mask.”
If you’re one of the cool kids who already has a beauty fridge, don’t try to flog it on Gumtree or eBay just yet - it isn’t all bad news. According to the experts, skin care tools like crystal facial rollers, gua sha tools and eye pads can be refrigerated as doing so can help with things like de-puffing and circulation. But just steer clear of sticking them in the freezer!
“When it comes to beauty tools, there is no need for concern, unless you’re storing the tool in a freezer,” says Begoun. “If the tool becomes that cold, it can damage (literally ‘burn’) the skin and cause inflammation. You want to avoid anything that inflames the skin at all costs because inflammation is at the root of almost every skin problem. The eye area is especially vulnerable to such damage so NEVER put a freezing cold tool or product around the eyes.”
“If you want to occasionally pop your eye cream or a mask in the refrigerator, just for a few minutes to get a quick, cool, soothing effect, that’s fine. But otherwise, long-term storage in the ‘beauty fridge’ or kitchen refrigerator isn’t recommended,” says Begoun.
If you’re worried about prolonging the shelf-life of your skin care products, simply storing your products at room temperature, in air resistant packaging, is the most effective way to keep your active ingredients stable.
“If you want to prolong the active ingredients in your skin care and the concentration of your products, after each use put the lid back on your skin care! It retains the integrity of the ingredient formulation, ensuring the shelf-life of the product. Products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients – especially vitamin C – should be stored in a cool dark place, away from direct sunlight," says Hudson.
An alternative option to storing your skin care products in your already-bought cosmetic refrigerator? “Use your ‘beauty fridge’ to chill your chardonnay instead,” says Begoun. Hello, mini bar.
If you’re curious about adding crystal face rollers to your skin care routine, check out our article on the benefits of crystal massaging.
Main image credit: @beautyfridge
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.