10 Skincare Products That Benefit From Being In The Fridge

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If you've been keeping up with the latest beauty trends, chances are you've already heard about the skincare fridge. These handy-dandy little appliances are a miniature version of your ordinary kitchen refrigerator, but instead of keeping your dairy and produce cool, these are designed to extend the life and improve the performance of your skincare products. Most skincare fridges are compact enough to be placed in your bedroom or bathroom so that you can store your refrigeration-friendly products alongside your other beauty supplies, and not next to the milk and cheese in the kitchen fridge.

Indeed, a skincare fridge can be an efficient and convenient way to maximize the effectiveness of your products. "Generally, but not always, refrigerating products will help extend their shelf life," Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells Allure. "Moreover, the cooling sensation on the skin from applying a refrigerated product may help calm itch and give a more soothing effect than a room-temperature product."

But before you shove your entire makeup case in the fridge, there are some things you need to know. Not all beauty products need to be refrigerated. In fact, some products can be damaged by refrigeration. Knowing what to store and what not to store in your skincare fridge is critical if you want to get in on this surging beauty trend.

Why temperature matters

You might have heard a good deal about the benefits of refrigerating your beauty products, but you may not be quite clear about how or why it works. Storing your beauty products at cold temperatures depends largely on the products' specific ingredients and the speed at which those ingredients tend to break down. Some ingredients, such as vitamin C, are "unstable" and can degrade when exposed to heat (per Skincare.com). This is why products containing active (and unstable) ingredients generally fare best in cool, dark environments, such as the skincare fridge.

Bacterial growth is another critical consideration. Unfortunately, as Forbes notes, beauty products can be the perfect breeding ground for microbial growth. After all, no matter how meticulously clean you may keep your space and how impeccable your hygiene is, the body is its own microbiome, proliferating with healthy and not-so-healthy microorganisms.

And whether you use your fingers, an applicator, a brush, or a sponge, you're almost inevitably going to introduce some kind of bacteria into your product container. Temperature and humidity, though, will have an impact on whether those bacteria proliferate and at what speed. Generally, the lower the temperature, the more time it takes for compounds to degrade or for bacteria to reach harmful levels (per Michigan State University).

Face toners and mists

Face toners and mists are perfect for your skincare fridge. Keeping your toner or face mist in the refrigerator is going to maximize its effectiveness and feel heavenly for those with irritated or inflamed skin. Cooling the product will increase the soothing effect, reducing inflammation, redness, and irritation (per Patchology).

In fact, the benefits of the cold are so significant that ice facials are increasingly becoming a frontline defense for calming unhappy skin. According to Healthline, for instance, "ice facials," which include the use of ice compresses and refrigerated products, will decrease eye puffiness, improve skin tone, and decrease acne breakouts.

And that's not the only benefit. A cool toner or mist can be an ideal pick-me-up at the start of the day. Esthetician to the stars, Taylor Worden, recommends spritzing your face with a fresh-from-the-fridge mist each morning to help you feel alert and energized and to give your skin a radiant glow (per CNN). Best of all, a cool spritz can be gloriously refreshing on hot, humid summer days when both you and your skin need a little extra TLC.

Sheet masks

Sheet masks are another product that works best straight from the fridge. "Any skincare product that claims to be soothing, cooling, or anti-inflammatory is going to be even more so when stored in a refrigerator," board-certified dermatologist Hadley King tells Real Simple.

The coolness of the mask will feel delicious, like cold compress therapy but with the added benefit of purifying the skin! All this can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of cold temperatures. Cold exposure numbs and draws blood away from the affected area by constricting the blood vessels. This, in turn, reduces inflammation and swelling, which is why doctors recommend ice, not heat, in the first 48 hours following an injury (per Johns Hopkins Medicine).

The delicate skin of your face deserves that same gentle care because of all that it endures in the course of a day. From exposure to wind and sun to the ordinary stressors of daily life, your skin pays the price. A cold sheet mask can be the perfect way to pay it back.

Vitamin C serums

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a fan-favorite ingredient for skincare products, particularly skin repairing and anti-aging serums. And it's not difficult to understand why. "Vitamin C has several important functions within the body — including proper immune system function, tissue healing, collagen formation, maintenance of bones and cartilage, and optimal absorption of iron," registered dietitian nutritionist Emily Achey tells MindBodyGreen. It is also a "powerful antioxidant," which means that it can aid in the fight against the fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging caused by oxidative stress.

As great as the benefits of vitamin C can be for your skin's health and appearance, though, improper storage can negate them all. As we've discussed, vitamin C tends to be especially vulnerable to temperature variations and does much better in cold, constant temperatures. What this all means, ultimately, is that refrigeration can help extend the life and increase the efficacy of your vitamin C serums. This is particularly true if you live in a hot and humid environment.

Face rollers

Face rollers are huge right now — and with good reason. Face rollers work their magic in myriad ways, from increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation, puffiness, and stress (per the Cleveland Clinic).

"The lymphatic system is your body's way of getting rid of toxins and unwanted bacteria in the body," dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal explains to the Cleveland Clinic. "So by rolling in a certain direction, you can improve the lymphatic flow and drainage of the face." And, on top of all this, face rollers simply feel fantastic. But you multiply the benefits when the roller is icy cold. It's a bracing, brightening pick-me-up.

Cold face rollers can also be ideal for use over a sheet mask or to enhance the distribution and absorption of your favorite skincare products (per WebMD). Your face will feel firmer and more sculpted, and your complexion will look clearer and more refreshed. And as an added bonus, the stress-relieving effects of cold face rolling will reduce your cortisol levels, as explained by WebMD, which has been shown to accelerate the aging process.

Products containing antioxidants

Many beauty products, especially those touted as "anti-aging," contain antioxidant ingredients, such as vitamins C and E (per Paula's Choice). Other popular antioxidants include retinol and resveratrol. As the name suggests, antioxidants get their age-defying reputation from their capacity to "fight" free radicals in the body. 

"Free radicals are missing an electron from their outer shell," registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino explains to the Cleveland Clinic. "That makes them unstable, so they go and steal an electron from the molecules in your skin cells, or from your blood cells, or from wherever they can. That causes damage to surrounding cells." This can cause oxidative stress, and the skin is often among the first and most obvious areas where it manifests.

Antioxidants, as the name suggests, help to restore a more healthy balance, neutralizing free radicals and thus slowing or preventing the damage they cause. However, as we've seen, antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are sensitive to heat, light, and humidity. That means proper storage is essential if you want to maximize their longevity and effectiveness — and a cool, dark place like the fridge is a great place to start.

Most organic, vegan, or natural products

If you have a penchant for organic or vegan products, there's a good chance they would benefit from refrigeration. That's because most natural products like these contain few (if any) chemical preservatives (per WebMD).

That means they're likely to degrade pretty quickly. Using a natural beauty product after its expiration date can be bad for your skin. "In some cases, bacteria may begin to form, resulting in rashes, breakouts or infections," dermatologist Alpana Mohta tells HuffPost. Similarly, your natural products will deteriorate much more quickly than products containing preservatives, meaning they're likely to develop discoloration, odor, or a change in texture and consistency.

That's why refrigerating your organic skincare products may be helpful in extending the shelf life — but it's not a total guarantee, of course. "If the product doesn't contain preservatives, it won't have a very long shelf life regardless," master aesthetician Paula Provenzano explains to Bustle. "Unless it is recommended by the manufacturer, refrigeration is not a guarantee of a longer shelf life." However, throwing your organic products in the fridge won't hurt and is a better option as opposed to a humid bathroom counter. 

Aloe vera

Aloe vera-based products are great for the skin. They can soothe sunburn, calm irritations, and aid in wound healing. But the shelf-life of aloe vera is quite limited — especially raw aloe vera — which is why these products in gel and juice form should be kept in a cool place to extend their life (via AloeCure).

Cooling your aloe vera-based products won't just make them last longer, though. Refrigeration will also amplify their therapeutic benefits. Aloe vera, after all, is often used to soothe irritated skin and, in particular, to ease the pain and inflammation of sunburn. As we've discussed, the cold is a natural analgesic, meaning that it will help to numb the area, which will only increase aloe vera's natural skin-soothing properties.

And, as we've also seen, cold exposure causes the blood vessels to constrict, drawing blood away from the target area (per the Mayo Clinic). This helps to reduce inflammation and irritation, allowing sunburnt and wounded skin to be soothingly cooled from the inside out.

Eye cream

We already know how important it is to store antioxidant-rich products in a cool, dry, dark place. We also know it's helpful to refrigerate organic, vegan, and other "natural" products that are likely preservative-free. And that means that if your eye cream contains antioxidants or is labeled as natural, vegan, or organic (as so many are today), it will probably last longer in the refrigerator.

But that's not the only benefit of refrigerating your eye cream. The cold cream can significantly (if only temporarily) reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes by "reducing blood flow," as noted by Johns Hopkins University.

What this means is that you're likely to see better results and far more immediate ones than if you stored your eye cream at room temperature. If you're looking for a quick fix after a particularly late night, refrigerating your eye cream can be just the ticket.

Arnica treatment

No matter how blessed you may be genetically and regardless of how exacting and faithful you are about your health and beauty regimen, everyone could use a little bit of help from time to time. And if you've had a cosmetic procedure and you're looking to reduce swelling and bruising, applying Arnica fresh from the fridge is a great option.

Arnica has also been shown in scientific studies to have effects similar to known anti-inflammatories (per Frontiers in Surgery). This is why it's a remedy of choice for anyone wanting to accelerate the post-procedure healing process. There is mounting evidence that, in addition to decreasing swelling and bruising, Arnica can also help to relieve pain and "act as antibiotics," according to WebMD.

And, as we've seen, cold temperatures in and of themselves have an anti-inflammatory effect. That means the cooling sensation from storing your Arnica in the fridge may increase the therapeutic benefits during your post-procedure healing period.

Certain moisturizers

Much like serums, some moisturizers can be a great candidate for refrigeration, but it very much depends on the specific formulation. If your moisturizer is rich in antioxidants, and particularly if it contains retinol or high levels of vitamin C, then refrigeration is probably your best bet for maximizing its shelf-life and performance.

"I recommend keeping water-based or gel-based moisturizers in the fridge," esthetician Shamara Bondaroff tells People. "Products that feature a jelly-like or watery consistency do well there as it helps to preserve texture, efficacy, and consistency. They also feel like an extra cooling and soothing treat after sitting in the fridge!"

If you're using an oil moisturizer, you should consider nixing the fridge, as cold temps can cause the products to "lose consistency and even thicken," Daily Mail notes. Most gel moisturizers, for instance, are perfect for your beauty fridge. Oil-based moisturizers, on the other hand, may harden or lose their consistency, which is the opposite of what we want.

Products that shouldn't be refrigerated

While refrigeration may increase the lifespan and efficacy of beauty products, there are actually some skincare products that should never be refrigerated. Cosmetics, in general, shouldn't be refrigerated. Dermatologist Melissa Piliang tells the Cleveland Clinic, "So I would not recommend storing your makeup cold. So makeup is meant to be at room temperature or body temperature to be able to go on the skin smoothly and spread evenly. So if it's cold, it may not spread as nice. And you may have uneven skin tone from it."

And, as we've seen, products that have a high oil content and thus are likely to freeze and clump should also be kept at room temperature. And while sheet masks will benefit from a cooling sensation, clay masks? Not so much. "Cold temperatures can also affect the consistency and color of clay masks, making them unusable at times," Reid Maclellan, adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School, tells Verywell Health. We recommend checking the back label of your skincare products before tossing them in the fridge to ensure they are a good fit.

Investing in a skincare fridge

You don't have to start clearing a space beside the milk and eggs if you're ready to jump on the refrigeration bandwagon. In fact, storing your skincare products in your kitchen fridge can do more harm than good because food must be refrigerated at temperatures lower than those tolerated by most of your fridge-friendly skincare products. According to the Food and Drug Administration, kitchen refrigerators should be set at temperatures "at or below" 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep food safe and fresh.

But skincare products aren't likely to withstand these temps for long. In general, fridge-friendly beauty products will fare best at temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (per the Cleveland Clinic). This is below room temperature for most but above food-grade refrigeration. The good news, though, is that you don't have to invest in a second, full-sized fridge to get the temperatures you need for your skincare.

In fact, one of the biggest beauty trends today is the skincare fridge. These pint-sized powerhouses are perfect for your cold storage products! They'll keep your skincare products in that perfect target range and won't consume much space or energy. And because they come in various colors and styles, they'll add a bit of flair to your makeup table. When buying a fridge for your beauty products, keep an eye out for size, temperature settings, and aesthetics so you find the perfect skincare fridge for you and your skincare needs.