Your refrigerator has a Top Shelf of its own, and some of your beauty products deserve to live up there in cooler climes rather than in the depths of your dopp kit. For your reading and organizing pleasure, we’ve assembled some quick tips to determine which of your staples should occupy prime real estate in your fridge.
A note before we begin: Keep in mind that while refrigerating fragrances, lipstick, nail polishes, and skincare may eke out what little time is left in a product’s lifespan, it’s by no means a foolproof, museum-caliber preservation method. With that in mind, here’s what you can cool and why:
Applying chilled eye creams and face masks will constrict blood vessels and help decrease redness and swelling (something your eye cream may already be doing but could be doing better). The same rule of thumb applies to anti-itch creams and aloe: Your skin can’t process itching, burning, and cold sensations simultaneously, so pick cold and be done with it. Also, anything organic, natural, or otherwise formulated without preservatives should go in the fridge, too. The lower temperature will help to prevent rapid expiration while slowing bacteria growth.
Be careful with serums, though. While commonly considered fair game for the fridge, some specialists insist that the cold temperatures won’t have an impact on dominant, active ingredients in serums, like retinol.
To achieve a more precise line with an eyeliner tip, some makeup artists recommend putting the liner in your fridge 10 minutes before sharpening. You can even pop it in the freezer if you're in a rush.
Refrigerating your fragrance can make it last beyond its expiration date, but the colder temperature may impact your scent. Be aware that it might not smell as strongly after being chilled for a long period of time.
While keeping nail polishes in the fridge can also make them last longer, the cold temperatures cause the polish to “phase-separate.” Phase-separation occurs when the water in nail polish separates from the other chemicals, resulting in clumpy polish. In order to return your polish to its original consistency, take it out of the fridge, shake the bottle, and wait for the polish to acclimate to room temperature. It should then spread evenly and smoothly on your nail (but it’s up to you to decide if preserving your polish for a few extra weeks is worth the hassle).
Some specialists insist that cosmetics were made for room temperature, so we can't know for sure how they will react to the cold in all cases. The most useful trick to know here is for when your lipstick melts. Stick it in the fridge door for an hour to return to its original state. Just make sure all top is on tight. Sometimes makeup smells like food, and it's fine—but when food smells like makeup, there's a problem.
Photographed by Edith Young. Who says the food in your fridge isn't also considered a face mask?