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Do You Need to Refrigerate Your Skincare?

If you’ve been on social media for the past couple of years, you’re likely familiar with skincare fridges. Skincare fridges have been a mainstay in Korean beauty for years, and the fascination with them is growing worldwide. While some skin experts are jumping on the chill train, many others aren’t as convinced.

So do you need to keep your skincare in the fridge? Read on to find out.

Benefits of Refrigerating Your Skincare

There aren’t a ton of proven benefits to keeping your skincare in the fridge—which makes sense considering most products are formulated to be shelf stable. But storing some products in the cold can boost their longevity or just make them feel better when applying (which is an important benefit in and of itself).

It can reduce puffiness and inflammation.

The best benefit to keeping specific skincare in the fridge is that the cooled product (picture a jade roller or hydrating facial mist) can have a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. This is great if you wake up puffy, suffer from skin conditions like rosacea, need a cool down after a day in the sun, or just want a refreshing pick-me-up.

It can preserve active ingredients.

The shelf life of active ingredients, such as vitamin C, or products packaged in individual ampoules can increase when appropriately stored in a dark, cool climate like a fridge. This also works for skincare products containing live bacteria and probiotics. Just like certain oral probiotics should be kept in the refrigerator, the effectiveness of probiotic skincare products can benefit from the chill environment.  

It can decrease bacteria growth.

Most skincare products are formulated with preservatives that ensure the formula is safe and stable. However, some natural products formulated with natural extracts and without preservatives must be stored at low temperatures to prevent bacteria growth. If a product needs to be refrigerated, it will usually say so on the label.

It enhances product experience.

Some products, such as your favorite under-eye patches, feel better and more soothing at a cooler temperature. You don’t need to keep them chill, but the cold temp can enhance the product experience.

Before storing all your products in a skin fridge, there are some dos and don’ts to know first.

Skincare You Can (and Should) Refrigerate

For the record, you don’t need to keep any skincare products in the fridge unless a brand recommends it. But some products can be safely refrigerated. However, read your product labels before putting anything in your beauty fridge.

  • Sheet Masks. Pop your soothing sheet masks in a skincare fridge for a cooling effect. The thermal spring water in Avène’s Soothing Sheet Mask becomes even more calming when stored in the fridge.
  • Face Rollers. If you have a facial roller or gua sha, we recommend chilling them in the fridge to increase their de-puffing, lymphatic drainage, and circulation benefits. Some skin tools – like the Osmosis Beauty Cool Skin Tool – are even designed to be stored in the fridge for a long-lasting cooling effect.
  • Face Mists. Water-based facial mists are one of the best products to store in a skin fridge because they’re so hydrating. The DERMA E Hydrating Mist is already cooling. Keep it in your skincare fridge and ingredients like rose water, coconut water, hyaluronic acid, green tea, and aloe vera become even more refreshing.
  • Hydrating Serums or Essences. Want to make your hydrating serum more refreshing? Consider storing it in a skincare fridge. Water-based ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid get a cooling sensation when stored at these chill temps. It won’t necessarily prolong the formula, but it is a great way to revive thirsty skin.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is one active ingredient that can benefit from a skin fridge’s chill, stable environment. While vitamin C is a brilliant skin-brightener and antioxidant, it’s extremely unstable and can oxidize when exposed to oxygen and light. You can prolong its shelf-life by storing water-based vitamin C products, such as serum, in the fridge.
  • Eye Treatments. Keeping your eye masks and eye creams in the fridge will boost their de-puffing abilities, so you see more immediate results. This works for any water-based formula and is especially great for eye creams with a metal rollerball applicator (since metal conducts cold, you’ll get more of those de-puffing benefits).

Skincare You Shouldn’t Keep in the Fridge

You don’t want to store all your skincare in the fridge, as this temperature change can negatively influence the effectiveness, consistency, or formula of certain products. Here are some things you shouldn’t store in your skin fridge:

  • Clay Products. Products with clay – like a detoxifying face mask – shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator as the clay will harden up at those cold temperatures, making it impossible to use.
  • Facial Oils. Oils prefer to be stored at room temperature. Placing facial oils in a cold environment like the fridge can harden their consistency or alter their color and effectiveness.
  • Products with High Oil, Wax, or Silicone Content. Storing skincare products that contain high amounts of oil, wax, or silicone in the fridge will negatively alter the formula’s texture and consistency, so they won’t be as effective or easy to use. In most cases, the cold temperatures will solidify the formula or cause it to separate.
  • Sunscreen formulations are delicate and designed to be shelf-stable and withstand high temperatures (like when you spend all day at the beach). Keeping them at room temperature is ideal.
  • Formulas with Unique Consistencies. For skincare products that have a unique consistency (whipped, foamy, etc.), it’s best to store them at room temp to avoid altering their texture and consistency.

Skincare Fridge vs. Kitchen Fridge

According to Cleveland Clinic, a kitchen refrigerator temperature ranges between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, which might be too cold for most skincare products. The climate in a skin fridge is less extreme, ranging between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

So if you want to try chilling some of your skincare, go with a designated skincare fridge.