Photo: Trunk Archive
Last summer, a beauty-obsessed friend suggested I stash my facial mists in the fridge for an extra burst of cool when I needed a pick-me-up. So it started out innocently enough, but as more and more of my products made their way from my medicine cabinet to my refrigerator—applying a cold eye cream just feels so good!—I started to wonder if it makes any real difference.
“First off, if you have no air conditioning in your house, it’s best to keep pretty much everything cold,” says Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Otherwise, start with the most logical products. “Aloe and after sun products are wonderful if you keep them cold,” Dr. Graff says. “If you’ve been in the sun, you want something cool and soothing to bring the temperature of your skin down.” The aforementioned mists are meant to refresh, too, so they’re going to do their job even better if they’re cold.
Eye creams and serums are actually more effective if they’re below room temperature. “Keeping them chilled means that the skin constricts, decreasing puffiness,” says Dr. Graf. And the ingredients (including many antioxidants) found in most serums, like retinols, vitamin C, hydroquinone, etc., keep extra well in the fridge. “Anything that serves a specific function is best preserved in a colder environment.”
So what can’t you refrigerate? Your night cream is better off staying put in the bathroom. “Some things have to meet your skin at room temperature to penetrate the skin and become effective, so you would have to wait for them to return to that warmer temperature before they became efficacious again, which defeats the point of chilling them in the first place,” says Dr. Graf. Fine, guess I’ll take those out tonight…