The Complete Dos and Don’ts of Storing your Beauty Products in the Refrigerator

You’ll always find three things in my fridge: Dijon mustard, champagne and an arsenal of face masks. It all started one particularly hot summer when my pores felt clogged from my eternally sweaty brow and in a last-ditch effort to keep my pore-refining face mask from literally melting off my face, I stuck my head in my fridge. As I stood there, face chilling, I had a lightbulb moment, “Face masks, fridge, face masks, fridge…” I’m by no means the first to encounter this skin-saving beauty hack, but I’ve loyally chilled my masks ever since, and recently I’ve started to wonder, is there more I should be chilling?

I spoke to Bill Baker, founder of Consonant Skincare, to learn the ins and outs of storing your beauty products in the refrigerator.

Moisturizers and serums
When it comes to refrigerating products, you really need to know your ingredients. Baker advises that “products that contain only oils and butters, and products that contain water but no preservative should be refrigerated to extend their shelf life.” Lesson one: always read your labels. Lesson two: even if you’re storing products in the fridge, check in on them every couple months to ensure bacteria or mould isn’t growing (gross but important). And, as Baker notes, be aware that even those products made with a high concentration of oils and butters (which should be refrigerated) “may change texture when refrigerated, and may be more difficult to apply.”

Eye creams and masks
For puffy eyes and blotchy red skin, a cool face mask or eye cream can work wonders (read: perfect for early mornings after late nights). The cooling effect helps to constrict blood vessels, reducing puffy under-eye bags and calming inflammation. And while using cold creams hasn’t been proven to have long term effects, the short term benefits (especially during the dog days of summer) are worth making a little room next to your kale.

Before you start unpacking your makeup bag and vanity mirror in the kitchen, know this: makeup should not be stored in the fridge. In fact, it’s best stored at room temperature. But, if you’ve ever had a lipstick or balm melt on you in your purse, pop it in the fridge to let it solidify again, and before sharpening an eye pencil, let it cool in the fridge for ten minutes. You’ll get a nice, precise tip from sharpening a cool pencil.

As refreshing as a cool spritz of perfume on a summer’s day might seem, give the fridge a pass and store your perfumes at room temperature. Cold temperatures are just as bad as excess heat and sun exposure when it comes to storing fragrances. And honestly, why store stylish perfume bottles in the fridge when you can display them?

Nail polish
Nail polish, like perfumes, are in the Goldilocks camp of “Not too hot, not too cold.” If polish becomes too hot, the ingredients separate; too cold and the viscosity of the polish will increase, making it clumpy and difficult to apply. If you’re set on prolonging the life of your polish by storing it in the fridge, be prepared to let it “thaw” and reach room temperature before getting a nice even coat on application.

The bottom line is simple: refrigerate face masks and eye creams if you like how it feels, but know where to draw the line. “There are really no skin benefits associated with chilled products.” says Baker, “While they may be refreshing during the dog days of summer, they likely don’t impart any additional therapeutic benefits.”

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