Your bathroom is the most likely place that you keep the majority of your skin care products. It's logical. So, why shouldn’t you keep your products in your hot, steamy bathroom? Unfortunately, this isn’t the optimal place to keep them for a variety of reasons. Think about all that goes on in your bathroom, even the cleanest still has bacteria. The steam from your shower actually makes it worse, making your bathroom an oasis for this bacteria to multiply and grow…probably not what you want all over your face.
Where should your skin care products be stored? The Refrigerator!
Vitamin C and retinoids are heat and light sensitive, meaning they break down and oxidize faster if stored in places with lots of light or heat. This is why most vitamin C and retinoid serums are packaged into dark bottles. To ensure longer product life, these should definitely be stored in the fridge. It won’t just make them last longer, but it’ll keep them effective for longer, and without a weird smell.
Anything that has live-active cultures should definitely go in the fridge. And, if you bought it in a store, it probably was already stored in a fridge (this is a good indication, that’s where it should stay). Skin care that is probiotic or with “live cultures,” have bacteria living in them—helpful bacteria, not steamy bathroom bacteria. To keep this “good” bacteria healthy, you need to keep it in its optimal ecosystem. Hence, the fridge.
Similarly, anything with 100% natural ingredients or natural or organic ingredients as the first ingredient should probably be kept in the fridge. Chances are, if you bought this product, it will still have some preservatives, but likely less and therefore a shorter shelf life. So it’s better to keep this in the fridge to help it last as long as you can.
Water based toners, mists, and sheet masks don’t have to be stored in the fridge, but if you’re keeping your other skin care in there, then why not. The cooling effect of these products can feel great on the skin. It can also help with de-puffing and soothing irritation.
Not just skin care needs to go into the fridge. Nail polishes are better stored in the fridge because they are more likely to separate if they’re stored out in the open. Perfumes can lose or change smell if they’re left out in the open, due to molecule break down. And lipsticks will straight up melt if they’re left out in the heat. Ever left a lipstick in a car on a summer day? Yup, you know what we’re talking about.
If you’re storing products in the fridge, make sure that they’re sealed properly and if possible, keep them away from food. The last thing you want is that refrigerator smell getting into your products. You also want to make sure you’re protecting your products from excess moisture. If you’re not going out and buying a cosmetics fridge just for your skin care (cosmetic fridges are better at regulating temperature since they’re small, and have no food), consider keeping your skin care in sealed plastic bags.
What else should you watch out for?
No product should be stored in direct sunlight. And it’s always better to keep them in cool dry places. Not only that, you also probably don’t want extreme heat or cold for any of your products (not all fridges are created equal). You definitely don’t want to be putting your products in the freezer, and likewise, they shouldn’t be sitting right next to your heater in the dead of winter. This can cause active ingredients to break down. When in doubt, most products are tested by cosmetic manufacturers according to specific climate regulations by the World Health Organization and so products bought locally should last well enough at room temperature.
Heat rises, so if you do insist on keeping your skin care in your bathroom, a low drawer or under your sink (if it’s dry down there), is better than on the top shelf of your cabinet where more heat will get to.
The Bottom LineWe’re not advocating going out right now and buying a cosmetics fridge (though it’s not the worst idea - most cost less than $50). But when you’re paying hard earned dollars for your skin care, you want it to last as long as possible.