Every now and then, a beauty trend comes along that floods our Instagram feeds and takes over our lives (and our faces). #BrowsOnFleek, #ThatGlowThough, #IWokeUpLikeThis—all of these have had some part to play in our obsession with sheet masks and the increased sales of Benefit Cosmetics’ (amazing) brow products. The latest addition to this mix is a hashtag that has nothing to do with an actual beauty trend, but a lot to do with how you use and consume your beauty products. Hello, #SkincareFridge, #BeautyFridge, #MiniFridgeShelfie! Will this become our new obsession? Do you need to go on Amazon and add to cart? We spoke to three three skin experts to find out.

Everything you need to know about the skincare fridge

What is a skincare or beauty fridge?

In a nutshell, a skincare or beauty fridge is a super adorable, mini version of the one home appliance we all use every day—but it’s only meant for storing your beauty products. “I think it’s a great idea to keep your skincare in the fridge, especially if you live in a tropical climate with really high humidity. Keeping skincare [products] outside, especially in the bathroom (as people often tend to do), can lead to fungal growth due to the humidity and high temperatures. I personally think it’s great to have your skincare stored in a controlled environment at a designated temperature, like a mini skincare fridge,” says celebrity skin expert Dr Harshna Bijlani, medical head, The AgeLess Clinic.

Why can’t you keep your skincare in your regular fridge?

Simply put, so that your favourite serum doesn’t end up smelling like schezwan sauce. “With a fridge that’s only meant for skincare products, there are minimal chances of contamination, as compared to a normal fridge which has all different kinds of food products. Odours from different items can easily penetrate skincare jars and tubes, and you (obviously) don’t want your skincare to smell like the food you eat. Also, because the temperature in a mini fridge is well-controlled and homogeneous throughout, it improves the shelf life of the products—helping them last longer without any alteration in its original composition,” says Dr Bijlani.

Are there any actual skincare benefits to keeping products in a fridge?

“The cold temperature helps stabilise active ingredients, and soothes and calms irritated skin. It causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels and tightens skin. I personally love putting my sheet masks in the fridge—I use them chilled and roll a cool jade roller on top for added skin comfort and lymphatic drainage. Also, exposing skin to cooler temperatures increases exfoliation and removal of dead skin cells. While storing products with active ingredients in a fridge may help stabilise the formulas, lip balms, sheet masks, jade rollers and face mists have an added cooling effect when applied straight from the fridge. Anti-ageing and under-eye creams also work better when applied cold, as they further aid to minimise pores. Store your toner or thermal spa water in the fridge to refresh tired skin, or [for a quick pick-me-up] post a hot and sweaty workout,” says Delhi-based, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Isaac Luxe, Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta.

What products should you keep inside?

“Vitamin C, retinol and antioxidants that tend to oxidise quickly will stay great in the fridge. Certain products like aloe vera, calamine or rose water are great for calming skin, but they work even better when they’re cold—the cold temperature not only soothes sunburns, but also reduces rosacea and contracts pores to give you a clearer complexion. Eye creams and eye masks help to get rid of under-eye puffiness when used cold too. We often see gel products that change to a thin, watery consistency when kept in high temperatures, so knowing the right temperature to store a particular product is very important. Handmade, naturally-derived products should especially be stored in the fridge, as they have a very short shelf life and need cooler temperatures to maintain their composition due to the lack of preservatives,” says Dr Bijlani.

Dr Mittal Gupta gives a cool DIY tip. “Make your own beauty ice cubes for a quick red carpet glow. Freeze cucumber juice, aloe vera and rose water into small ice cubes and rub them all over your face as pre-makeup skin prep for a quick glow. You can even freeze your used green tea bags (chilled metal spoons work in a pinch too) and use them for de-puffing under-eye bags.”

Can you keep makeup in a beauty fridge too?

“Makeup doesn’t need to be refrigerated as it won’t make any difference in usage. Avoid putting any oil-based products as they can freeze and clog up pores upon application,” warns Dr Mittal Gupta. “Any products that may solidify don’t belong in the fridge. Certain masks for example, should not be kept in the fridge as it may change the composition of its ingredients and reduce its efficacy. Also, frequently used products should not be stored in the fridge [since] the constant change in temperature could hamper the formulation and reduce shelf life,” adds Dr Bijlani.

“Storing your beloved makeup in the fridge is tricky territory—though it will obviously help extend the shelf life of the products, you really shouldn’t hoard and store makeup,” explains skin expert Dr Geeta Mehra Fazalbhoy, MD and founder of Skin & You clinic. “Don’t stash your eye pencils and mascaras in a fridge—they will change texture and become crumbly and break when thawed. Same goes for lipsticks; you want your favourite lip products to be soft, creamy and glide on like a dream—once thawed, a lipstick will never be the same. A cool place (ideal temperature is about 24°) is great to store your makeup. Also, remember to never store powder-based makeup in fridge. Eye shadows, blush and bronzers are dry powders and don’t catch mould or get spoilt when stored at room temperatures. Storing them in the refrigerator can actually turn them moist and spoil the formulation. Liquid makeup, such as foundations, can separate into water, oil and pigments. It’s better to have an idea about the expiry date of your products. Just store them in cool, dark places away from sunlight and you’ll be fine,” she adds.

Do you really HAVE to buy one?

Short answer, no! “If you do not want to invest in a separate mini fridge for skincare, I would say that’s okay too; just keep a designated part in your fridge for skincare products, like a small compartment on the side where you only store your skincare. Make sure all your bottles are sealed properly, or keep them in an airtight bag if you can. If you don’t want to store [your products] in the fridge, keep it in a cool corner of your home. Just please do not keep them in bathrooms—the fluctuating and humid temperatures will spoil the product before you can even hope to see the results. Instead, place them on a dresser or in a cool spot that does not receive direct sunlight,” recommends Dr Bijlani.

Also read:

What makes K-beauty a global skincare phenomenon?

Confession: My nightly skincare routine takes 17 products and 38 minutes

Have you tried Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif’s favourite skincare hack?

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