How To, Skin Care, Skin Health

Does Your Beauty Routine Need to Chill? Here's What Skincare To Keep in the Fridge

by Anubha Charan
July 11, 2023

A skincare fridge is one of the coolest ways to keep your beauty products fresh, potent and free of bacteria. They add a fun touch to your daily regimen — but do they offer real skin benefits as well?

For instance, does a cooler temperature actually extend the life of your products?

Turns out, not everything benefits from a cooldown. Getting the most out of your tiny refrigerator typically comes down to knowing what skincare to keep in the fridge and what's best kept out of the cold.

Are Skincare Fridges Worth It?

Most people don't need a skincare fridge. If you live in an ultra-hot climate, a skincare fridge's icy touch can definitely stop beauty products from breaking down quickly in the heat. Otherwise, most skincare products undergo rigorous testing and certification processes to ensure they remain stable and bacteria-free at room temperature.

Still, this small investment can elevate your skincare routine. A skincare fridge is perfect for ingredients with unstable molecules, such as vitamin C, which break down much faster when exposed to sunlight and temperature variations. Plus, having a cold and humidity-controlled environment adds a layer of protection against the growth of yeast, bacteria or mold in case a heat wave or humid storm comes along.

And as anyone who's ever enjoyed a chilled sheet mask or a cold eye cream knows, applying a product straight from the fridge is just really refreshing. Cold products can also help bring down puffiness, inflammation, redness and irritation.

Will a regular fridge do the job? If you're serious about reaping the benefits, a skincare fridge does come out ahead. That's because regular fridges typically operate at 35-38°F — which is the optimal temperature to store food, not beauty products. A skincare fridge normally falls within the range of 45-60°F. Keeping your skincare too cold may make the products thicker and more difficult to spread.

If you prefer to store your skincare in a regular fridge, physically separate them from food items. Since food products have a much shorter shelf life and are more prone to germs, you want to prevent any drips or other cross-contamination. An empty butter tray or vegetable drawer can be a convenient stocking place.

What You Should Put in a Skincare Fridge

The benefits of refrigerating your beauty goodies aren't universal. Here's a master list of what parts of your routine are best served cold.

  • Products with sensitive active ingredients:Certain active ingredients, such as vitamin C and retinol, are extremely sensitive to light and heat — when exposed, they decompose more quickly and become less effective. So, tucking the Neutrogena® Rapid Tone Repair Retinol + Vitamin C Dark Spot Corrector in the dark and cool interiors of a skincare fridge can help keep it at optimum potency.
  • Probiotic-infused skincare: These "good bacteria" are as beneficial for your complexion as they are for your gut, which is why they're becoming increasingly common in skincare. However, products with live bacteria should have a home in the refrigerator.
  • Organic skincare: Products labeled as preservative-free typically require refrigeration. At normal room temperatures, there are no preservatives to stop them from breaking down or promoting the growth of germs.
  • Toners and essences: Water-based toners and essences with alcohol-free formulations are particularly vulnerable to bacteria growth. Secondly, when applied cold, a toner like the Neutrogena® Pore Refining Face Toner can be even more effective at reducing puffiness and the appearance of enlarged pores.
  • Eye creams: A chilled eye cream can constrict the blood vessels, reducing puffiness and erasing dark circles from under the eyes. Popping the Neutrogena® Healthy Skin Anti-Aging Eye Cream into the fridge would be perfect for a morning pick-me-up.
  • Oil-free moisturizers:A gel or water-based moisturizer will preserve its consistency for longer when stored at a constant temperature. It will also be more effective at bringing down inflammation and redness when cold. Try it with the Neutrogena® Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, which comes with a dose of hyaluronic acid to soothe and hydrate skin.
  • Mists:A chilled facial mist can be the ultimate slice of paradise for skin that's overheated — for example, after a workout or an afternoon in the sun. Spray on some refrigerated Neutrogena® Sun Rescue After Sun Rehydrating Spray for Sensitive Skin for instant relief.

What You Should Not Put in a Skincare Fridge

Some skincare that should never go in the fridge. Clay-based face masks top this list: They may harden and dry out faster at a cooler temperature, making them lumpy and difficult to use. Facial oils or oil-based moisturizers can separate, change consistency or even turn solid when kept in a fridge.

Skincare fridges may not be a necessity for everyone, but providing a controlled atmosphere for your products has real perks. If you know how to navigate what skincare to keep in the fridge environments, they can keep your beauty routine cool on even the hottest days.

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