Beauty fridges are the new shelfie. And everyone has been obsessing over them lately — those little refrigerators packed with perfectly aligned, colorful beauty products. And just maybe you also made a quick visit to Amazon as you contemplated picking one up for yourself.
But do you really need it? Well, it depends on what you decide to throw in there.
Beauty fridges are exactly what you think they are — mini cooling compartments equipped to store your beauty products. Popularized in South Korea, people are starting to take notice of these beauty fridges, and it is all thanks to social media hashtags, such as #MiniFridge and #BeautyFridge.
“Interest in skincare products and certainly the visual display of a mini-refrigerator of nicely colored bottles in photos is probably a big part of the fascination,” says Hadley King, a New York City-based dermatologist.
But despite their name, beauty fridges are not the best for cosmetics. “With colder temperatures, makeup might not apply as well because it won’t spread,” says King. Mascara formulas thicken in the fridge, so you might not like the texture on your eyelashes after application. And when chilled, foundations may not rub and blend as well into your skin.
However, a beauty fridge could be seen as an investment for your skin — helping you get more bang for your buck out of those pricey serums and face masks you love to splurge on.
Unless specified on the package, skincare products don’t need refrigeration — but keeping them cool could provide some added benefits. “There are some formulations that have relatively short shelf lives, and for some of them, refrigeration will prevent that,” says King. Ingredients that fall under the “short shelf life” category include vitamin C, retinol, probiotics and some combinations of benzoyl. Some skincare products that are known for being “clean” or “natural” can also be refrigerated because they may lack those preservatives that could help extend their lifespan.
Need a reason to justify your sheet mask addiction? Any skincare product that claims to be soothing, cooling and anti-inflammatory might work even better with a beauty fridge, says King. “If you’re going to use soothing skincare products like a cooling face mask and an anti-itch lotion with menthol, they’re going to feel more soothing after you put them in a fridge.” That means you can go crazy with cucumber face masks, aloe face creams and even under-eye creams — the cold temperature helps constrict blood vessels, which is great for de-puffing and brightening. And it does not stop at products — storing tools, like jade rollers or metal tip cream applicators, in a mini-fridge is a great option. “These alternatives [when cold] offer the same cooling and soothing sensation and constrict blood vessels, which can decrease puffiness and redness,” says King.
Unless specified on the package, skincare products do not need refrigeration — but keeping them cool could provide some added benefits.
But let’s be clear: These are all added benefits and unnecessary to the efficiency of your products. While it might be nice for some skincare products, a beauty fridge is not recommended for makeup and is nonessential for skincare — it entirely exists just for a great Insta beauty pic.
“If you like soothing skin masks, you use them a lot, and you like the convenience of not having to walk to the kitchen, then sure, I think they’re great. But I don’t think it’s a necessity,” King says.
Instead, to use your skincare products to the fullest, make sure they are always stored in a cool, dry place and avoid letting them sit in hot and humid places such as the bathroom, suggests King. And lastly, pay attention to expiration dates for best skincare results. “When skincare products expire, their active ingredients may be less potent and therefore less effective,” says King. “Also, it is possible for yeast or bacteria to grow in outdated products, which can then cause skin irritations or even infections.”
If you are sold on the idea of having a miniature fridge to display your skincare routine, Cooluli ($50; Amazon.com) and Chefman portable mini fridge ($40; Amazon.com) are the most popular options. And if you like to travel (but still want to refrigerate your products), King suggests storing refrigerated products in travel cool packs or even in a S’well bottle to maintain the temperature.
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