Is the skincare “mini-fridge” worth it?

  • April 28, 2019
  • Posted by Pedro Catalá

It’s not a totally straightforward answer, but I’m inclined to say no. Skincare products are designed to be stored at room temperature. However, before they launch new products, reputable manufacturers undertake several tests in skincare fridges to assess the stability of the new product. One of the tests is to leave a sample in a fridge (4C) and observe the behaviour, changes of colour, precipitation of ingredients and a range of other variations over 3 to 6 months.

These tests are not compulsory. So, some brands (who will remain nameless!) rush to launch new products in this skincare fridges; most likely because they’re pushed by their marketing and sales departments who have targets to hit. As a result, nobody knows how the product will survive at low temperatures.

Testing the samples before launch at low temperatures establishes how the final product will react during transportation (especially during cold months) and also while stocked in large unheated warehouses.

There is some method in this not-so–madness beauty fridge frenzy. While it poses a stress to most of your skincare stash, there are some products which might be preserved longer, but only those which contain the following ingredients:

  • Vitamin A and derivates (retinols)
  • Vitamin B (Bniacin, Bpanthenol, B6 pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)

Nevertheless, when stored at a cold temperature, some surfactants or products containing a high dose of alcohol can roil so you can spot suspending particles and sometimes even small residues at the bottom of the bottle.

And, there’s more…in some emulsions, especially water in oil emulsions (rich ones), cold temperatures break the emulsionand you will see part of the water floating on top of the oily phase. But, it doesn’t end there as products rich in oils and even balms are also noticeably affected and can solidify.

The fact is that fluctuation of temperatures alter the rheology of products. In other words, it changes the shape and form of some of your favourite skincare ingredients. Low temperatures also affect the solubility of natural gums and essential oils.

The impact on your skin is another critical reason to avoid this craze. Applying cold masks or spritzing your favourite mist stored in these fridges negatively effects the skin’s health and small capillaries. While many users praise the cooling, refreshing and even de-puffing effect, in reality the stress on your skin outweighs this sensorial experience.

And, last, but definitely not least, if you’re finding it hard to resist this eye-catching “insta” movement, it’s crucial to be quick once you’ve used your product as you’ll need to put it back into the fridge straightaway. Leaving it outside at room temperature for over 5 minutes can cause further stress to its properties.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with these skincare fridges in the comments below!

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