#1 Stick to Water-based Products
If you are not sure what your skincare contains, then it is best not to store it in the fridge – unless directed by the product usage.
According to the lecturers of Diploma in Perfumery and Cosmetic Science at the School of Chemical and Life Sciences in Singapore Polytechnic, most water-based skincare can be stored in the refrigerator. These can include lotions, serums, toners and moisturisers.
Oil-based liquid skincare formulas might turn cloudy, so avoid storing skincare products like most face serums, which have both water and oil components.
Lau Min-Tsek, managing director of Little Pharmaceutical Suppliers, and pharmacist and director at The Skin Pharmacy explains: “Storing such skincare in the fridge can cause the water and oil elements to separate. When that happens, there is a chance that the formula would not return its original state, and thus, your skincare product is ruined.”
Also, items like clay masks tend to harden when refrigerated, adds SK-II trainer, Cindy Cheong.
#2 Good for Easily Irritated Skin
If your skin tends to get red or itchy, apply refrigerated skincare products as the cool sensation can help calm inflamed skin, says Teri Tay, education manager of Dermalogica Singapore.
#3 Cooler Doesn’t Mean Better
The stability and efficiency of skincare products are tested by cosmetic manufacturers according to climate conditions stated by the World Health Organisation.
This means that products bought locally will be able to perform at their best in room temperature – unless otherwise stated.
#4 Effect on Product Freshness
Storing skincare products at low temperature helps slow down bacteria growth and can prevent product degradation, explain the Perfumery and Cosmetic Science lecturers from Singapore Polytechnic.
If you are using preservative-free skincare, refrigerating them can prevent bacteria from multiplying, adds Dr. Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic.
It is best to follow the expiry date printed on all cosmetic products, though ingredients like vitamin C could be better protected against oxidation in the fridge, says Teri.
#5 Longer Shelf Life
Water-based skincare products can be chilled in the fridge at around 4 degree Celsius to extend the product life span, say the Perfumery and Cosmetic Science lecturers from Singapore Polytechnic.
#6 Fridge Size Matters
As fridges come in all shapes and sizes, the temperature can range from 2 to 10 degree C in different parts of the non-freezer compartment, and this temperature unpredictability can affect the same skincare products differently, says Min-Tsek.
If you are keen to chill your skincare, look for a smaller refrigerator to reduce the probability of irregular temperature.
#7 Keep Away from Food Items
For skincare products that are suitable to be chilled, the golden rule is to keep them in a separate mini fridge just for cosmetics.
If you must store your skincare products in the fridge together with food items, keep skincare in airtight containers in different compartments to prevent cross contamination of bacteria, explains Min-Tsek.
Cindy suggests that you can also store them in zip-lock bags.
#8 Hard to Apply
Skincare lotions and creams stored at lower temperature tend to thicken, making it harder to spread the product over skin, explain the Perfumery and Cosmetic Science lecturers from Singapore Polytechnic.
#9 Reduced Micocirculation
Chilled skincare products can help tighten pores temporarily. However, the low temperature may also constrict capillaries and slow down microcirculation, says Teri.
#10 The Golden Rule
Skincare products are best kept away from sunlight in cool, dry areas, says Adeline Wee, Estee Lauder's assistant PR manager.
If the product can be kept in room temperature, you do not need to keep it in the fridge unless otherwise stated, adds Min-Tsek.