The first time I read about skin care fridges, it was in an Asian beauty forum discussion about best practices for storing temperature-sensitive products. At the time, one of the more popular products was a vitamin C serum that was prone to oxidization if not stored correctly. And so for most skin care enthusiasts, application involved the tedious process of retrieving the serum from the kitchen fridge, applying in the bathroom, and then returning to the kitchen to store the product before temperatures rose enough to damage it. One individual posited that a mini-fridge placed in the bathroom or an adjacent bedroom for storage of said serum would make the completion of nighttime routines so much easier.
Back then, there weren’t a lot of options to choose from, and they were a little harder to come by. If you wanted a fridge small enough to fit on a bathroom counter or vanity, you had to look to portable cooling systems like the vintage Coca Cola fridges. Nowadays, skin care fridges are available in a variety of finishes and colors from a number of brands and in a range of prices.
Think of skin care fridges as “skincaretainment” — skin care that delights by offering a fun experience that goes beyond following daily routines.
Skin care fridges are by no means a necessity, but they can be useful for storing certain items. Think of them as what one of my favorite beauty bloggers once referred to as “skincaretainment”—skin care that delights consumers by offering a fun experience that goes beyond following daily AM and PM routines. Skincaretainment is animal print sheet masks, fruit-shaped product containers, sensationalized ingredients, and so on. Products in this category might not be particularly effective but offer sensory delight and an engaging journey through the discovery of one’s skin.
So what do you store in a skin care fridge?
In the summer, I like to stick my sheet masks in the freezer for about an hour before I use them, as the usual level of coolness afforded by a cotton sheet steeped in essence doesn’t quite offer enough relief when the temps soar. If I had a mini-fridge, the first thing I’d pop in it would be sheet masks. That way I wouldn’t have to make multiple trips to the fridge every time I wanted a mask, and also so I wouldn’t worry about the packet rubbing up against food items and residue like raw meat drippings.
Face Roller Tools
While I might not store an ice roller in a skin care fridge because it doesn’t offer the sub-zero level chill recommended for this tool, I’d store other face massagers like 3D rollers in there. The cooling factor would be a beneficial add-on to the inflammation-busting massage you’d get from a roller tool. And the cold can serve as a much-needed jolt in the mornings, perking you up into a state of wakefulness in preparation to greet the day.
Temperature and Light-Sensitive Products
As I stated earlier, some vitamin C serums can be a bit volatile, needing to be stored away from sunlight and warmer conditions. The cooler climate of a skin care fridge also staves off oxidization, which means that the serum has a longer shelf life. Products with active ingredients (e.g. retinol, benzoyl peroxide) can degrade over time when exposed to heat and light, rendering them ultimately inactive. The benefit of extended longevity applies to beauty products in general, which makes sense if you think about it. Stored in a beauty fridge, your products would sit in a cold, dark place most of the time, only emerging for a few minutes for application, compared to constant subjection to the changing temperature of whichever room they’re stored in, whether due to external or internal climate conditions.
Following the same logic for storing sheet masks in the fridge, misting can become an even more refreshing experience when your favorite one is plucked from the chilly depths of your skin care fridge and applied to overheated skin. This is definitely a step-up from a regular spritz from the room-temperature mist that’s been rolling round in your desk drawer. Make ample use of the opportunity for regular beauty fridge access that comes with working from home, to take advantage of a cooling mist now and then. Give your skin a hydration break every time you get up to refill your glass of water, then return to your work tasks feeling invigorated.
For Everything Else …
All things considered, not everything should be stored in a fridge. Storing products with a room temperature recommendation in a fridge could be counterintuitive, possibly changing their texture and rendering them harmful or nonfunctional. With product formulations, you don’t want to mess around too much, especially if you don’t have the sort of scientific know-how that could help you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Before you start to migrate all your products from their current designated spot and into a skin care fridge, read the labels. Sometimes, if I’m not clear about the guidelines for a specific product, I like to reach out to the brand to ask for their recommendations. With skin care, inquisitiveness is a good thing.