Warning: You’re ruining your skincare if you’re storing it like this

‘Hot’ topic alert: Storing your beloved beauty haul in the refrigerator may be counterproductive and actually minimise your moisturiser’s benefits; find out why!



Like fashion fads, beauty trends can be confoundedly contradictory. To wit: Take the “cool” hack of stashing your skincare swag in the fridge, which has become something of a “hot” favourite among my beauty buddies.

Well, I hate to be the one throwing cold water on this craze, but here’s the icy truth: Sometimes cold isn’t cool.

Let’s break it down, starting from the most salient point – and takes notes, please – water-based serums and salves lend themselves readily to refrigeration; on the flip side, do not chill oil-based ointments (unless explicitly directed to do so by your derm doctor, of course.)

Here’s why. “Storing such skincare in the fridge can cause the water and oil elements to separate,” notes Lau Min-Tsek, managing director of Little Pharmaceutical Suppliers, and pharmacist and director at The Skin Pharmacy. “When that happens, there is a chance that the formula would not return its original state, and thus, your skincare product is ruined.” Translation: Think of well, creamy creams as being akin to edible emulsions like mayonnaise, which tend to come apart when temperatures dip.

And while we’re talking food, another useful culinary comparison would be good ol’ peanut butter. Like that beloved sandwich spread, most oil- and clay-based creams will congeal into rock-solid clumps when stashed in the fridge – not the most palatable prospect when it comes to slapping it onto your face.


Still insist on chilling your creams? Then be scrupulous about keeping your food and face products apart, and in airtight containers or resealable bags at that – we wouldn’t want cross-contamination of any sort.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. Experts also suggest splashing out on a dedicated bar fridge for your boudoir. “The temperature can range from two to 10 degrees celsius in different parts of the non-freezer compartment, and this unpredictability can affect the same skincare products differently,” warns Min-Tsek. “[The solution is to ] look for a smaller refrigerator to reduce the probability of irregular temperature.”

If all of these cumbersome caveats make the endeavour sound like well, a cold piece of work, know that there are a number of positives, too – chief of which are the temporary tightening of pores and reduction in redness.

You may be aware that facial ruddiness (“erythema” in derm-speak) is due to the dilation of pores and blood vessels on the skin’s surface. To dial back the blotchiness and calm your complexion, you’ll need to shrink said vessels and pores, which is where cool cosmetics come in – a spritz or two of a cold toner is almost as good as sipping on an icy margarita, especially when it’s hot as blazes outside.

Bottom-line: Save your fridge for storage of water-based products only (no oils, please!); otherwise, your best bet is to simply squirrel away your skincare in a dark drawer away from the sun. Easy enough, right? Cheers to being cool, calm, and collected!