I was 40 years old when I learned about skin care refrigerators. Like most things these days, I learned about the cute little chillers on TikTok.
A skin care fridge is a miniature refrigerator that sits on your bathroom counter or vanity and keeps beauty products like eye creams, serums and toners blissfully cool.
As a fan of moisturizers and balms, I knew I needed a mini fridge of my own. The one I purchased felt fancy: The front of the door is an LED-lighted makeup mirror, and inside are shelves that I knew would perfectly organize the products I most often reach for in my skin care routine.
When it arrived in the mail, I could hardly wait to set it up. I was not disappointed, and have spent the days since it showed up enjoying the feeling of cold night cream and facial sprays on my skin. I've often wondered how I went so long without keeping my beauty products chilled.
But it is important to note, not all skin care items belong in the fridge. Ryan Sullivan, co-founder of The Beauty Spy, is a on a mission to educate people on skin care and skin care refrigerators, and often posts videos about the subjects on TikTok.
I reached out to Sullivan to ask him to elaborate on which beauty products he recommends get stored in a personal chiller and why cooler is better where some products are concerned.
Why use a skin care fridge?
Overall, Sullivan says it's all about increasing the effectiveness of some products and giving them a longer shelf-life.
"A fridge actually allows you to get the most out of your product for the longest period of time," Sullivan told TODAY. "If you keep some products on your bathroom counter, for example, they may be exposed to the sun, left open or cross contaminated."
"The colder temperature also helps boost the effectiveness of some products," Sullivan continued. "People sometimes put skin care products in their kitchen fridge, but then who remembers to go to the fridge for their night cream?"
"You’re never going to do that," he added, "but a small mini fridge is compact and you can keep it on the counter in your bathroom and put all your stuff in it. It's a great additional way to remind yourself to use the products." Sullivan uses the compact Beauty Spy fridge.
What skin care products are best left cold?
So, which products perform best when stored in a refrigerator? Sullivan recommends stocking your mini fridge with skin care products like facial toner, eye cream, sheet masks, gels, night creams and products that contain vitamin C and SPFs. Skincare tools like jade rollers and gua sha facial stones can also be more soothing when chilled.
Sullivan suggests avoiding putting facial oils, oil-based makeups and moisturizers and clay products in a personal chiller, as cooler temperatures can cause a change in the color or consistency of these items.
Sullivan recommends removing the day's makeup with a chilled cleansing balm that cleans and hydrates.
This one is a favorite of Sullivan, and removes makeup, cleanses the skin and moisturizes all in one step.
Make without dyes or sulfates, this creamy formula is perfect for dry or sensitive skin and easily melts away makeup and dirt from the day.
This soothing pick starts solid and then melts into an oil that removes makeup and leaves skin soft and hydrated.
Sullivan says adding a chilled eye cream to your nighttime routine has big perks.
"It really gives that extra benefit, where if you're pulling it out of a drawer cabinet or it has been sitting in the sun all day, you wouldn't get that cooling reduction of puffiness and that soothing sensation," he said. "It's a nice cooling break from the day."
For non-greasy coverage that smooths under eye skin, this creamy concoction delivers.
This eye cream contains caffeine and helps "wake up" tired looking eyes, in addition to perk your under eyes are sure to get from the cold application.
Long-lasting moisture and skin brightening ingredients are key with this anti-aging eye cream.
This fragrance-free eye cream helps skin around the eyes look brighter and more youthful and provides 24 hours of moisture.
Hydrogel is intended to lock in moisture and leave skin more hydrated. Applying it cold can increase its effectiveness in reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
"This is one of my favorite products because it actually acts as a mini mask for wherever you need the extra benefit," said Sullivan. "You can really see the results: You put it on where you need a moisture boost and when you remove it, your skin is smoothed out and you really do see a reduction in bags, fine lines and wrinkles."
I keep these Pixi eye patches in my skincare fridge and put them on in the mornings when my eyes are looking a bit puffy. They work like a charm.
Charcoal provides a bit of a skin detox while these under-eye masks sooth and moisturize.
Sullivan describes ampoules as "super-charged serums" held in glass vials that can be better protected inside a fridge.
"Sometimes you have to have a separate eye and face serum but this can be used on the eye and the face," he explained of his favorite. "And, it has a really cool ingredient, an algae called snow algae that's like a super-protectant for the skin."
I like these ampoules packets because they come in small vials that are perfect for travel.
For targeted areas, Sullivan recommends chilling this stick-form ampoule.
"It's great for treating specific areas of your face," he said. "If you have crow’s feet, forehead lines or want to treat under your eyes, you can apply this ampule stick wherever you need a boost and then also apply moisturizer on top of it."
After cleansing the face, Sullivan recommends applying a chilled toner, which moisturizes the skin and refines its texture.
This toner moisturizes without feeling greasy and has a light fragrance I love.
In addition to using this Body Deli product as a toner, I use the included spray nozzle to turn it into a soothing after-sun spritz.
This toner is a moisturizing bomb containing nutrients, fatty acids and hyaluronic acid to keep skin looking supple and fresh.
Sullivan says vitamin C and products that contain it are perfect for personal chillers.
"Vitamin C is historically unstable, so keeping it in the fridge makes sure that it stays stable longer because you don't have to worry about it getting in the sun and getting oxidized," he said. "Over time, you're going to save money because you're using products longer and not throwing them out because they've lost effectiveness."
I use this toner during and after breakouts because of its skin brightening formula, which helps with acne scarring.
Mix this vitamin C powder with your favorite serum or moisturizer for an extra boost of brightness.
This vitamin C-packed booster can be used alone or mixed into moisturizer or serum.
Use this vitamin C cream in the morning to help smooth skin and prep it for the day's makeup.
While essences are a newer term in the skin care world, Sullivan says they're a great way to prep facial skin to absorb the benefits of other products.
"After you cleanse and tone, you put the essence on," Sullivan explained. "Its a smaller molecule and it's concentrated so it goes into your skin and preps the skin to absorb the rest of your skin care products."
This hydrating primer gives skin a radiant appearance and preps it for the rest of your skin care routine.
Immediate moisture, smoothness and plumpness are benefits of this essence, along with a soothing feel from putting it on cold.
"I especially love to put creams and gels into a fridge," Sullivan said. "As soon as they touch your face, you get a nice cooling benefit that tightens up your skin and allows the product to be better absorbed."
Sullivan particularly likes this option, which is a combination of both a cream and a gel.
This hydrating cream contains squalene, a moisturizing product that's making its trending debut in the skin care world.
Sunflower seed oil and hyaluronic acid make up this cream, which I love both for its easy-to-dispense pump and formula.
One of my favorite nighttime moisturizers, this Olay Regenerist cream contains a retinoid complex and vitamin B3.
"If you're going to take the time to put a sheet mask on for ten minutes," Sullivan explained, "that extra benefit of a cooling sensation is going to make you feel relaxed and prep your skin to absorb the essence, serum or ampoule that's on that particular sheet mask."
There's major veggie power packed into these beet sheet masks from Sweet Chef, which give your skin a vitamin boost with each use.
These hydrating masks soothe the skin and feel amazing after chilling in the mini fridge for a few hours.
I'm a big fan of beauty products that contain honey for its nourishing benefits, so keeping these sheet masks in my personal chiller is a no brainer.
When my skin is feeling stressed and breakouts rear their ugly heads, I love misting my skin with this cool, calming toner.
This product from INKEY List was quick to become my go-to spot treatment for acne. It's packed with succinic acid which helps reduce blemish size, control oil and unblock pores.
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