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Bathroom shelf or fridge: Where should I keep my cosmetics?

29 Apr 2022
by Horia

Do you pay attention to where you store your cosmetics? If you love your skincare and makeup, you should not mindlessly place your products. Inappropriate storage might lead to early spoiling of certain formulas and ingredients.


When storing cosmetic products you are usually instructed to keep them at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Microbes, like bacteria and fungi, grow best in warm, humid, slightly acidic, nutrient-rich environments. Though they grow best in environments with these characteristics, they can still grow in less ideal circumstances. The growth is just slower. In other words, from the moment you open a new product and touch it with your hands or tools, the product is vulnerable to contamination.



Useful preservatives


To ensure the safety of cosmetics and the stability of the ingredients, the products contain preservatives. These preservatives prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes. Skincare products hold lots of water, oils, fats, and sometimes vitamins. The perfect environment for microbes to grow, if not for the addition of preservatives. But preservatives become less effective as time passes, especially after products have been opened and exposed to air and our touch. 



Sun and celsius


Two of the most important factors that can affect an ingredient or a product’s safety are light and temperature. Being exposed to lots of sunlight and temperature changes can cause products to break down or melt. Furthermore, sunlight and temperature changes can cause ingredients to become less effective. This is why it is always recommended to store your cosmetic products at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Unopened products you have yet to start using are recommended to store in a cool dark place. Inside the dresser cabinet or drawer would be a suitable place.


A less ideal place to keep your products is the bathroom cabinets. The temperature in the bathroom changes constantly when you shower or take a bath, due to the accumulated steam. Steam also causes condensation which can contaminate products that are not sealed properly. The water, warmth, and ingredients in the products are the perfect breeding ground for microbes to grow. 



Should I refrigerate my skincare?


What about the refrigerator? Ingredients like ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and retinol (vitamin A) might benefit from being kept at cooler temperatures. This is not a must, however. Although lower temperatures do slow down the breakdown and oxidation process of these ingredients, make sure you are aware of the fact that it might disturb or change the other components. Storing the product at a lower temperature may change its texture, cause the product to separate, or cause the product to become cloudy. Make sure you read the ingredient list and the recommended storage instructions for your product before you decide whether you want to refrigerate the product.



Mindful storage


If explicit instructions are given on the packaging, you should store your skincare products accordingly. Generally speaking, you can also stick to the rule of thumb: Keep cosmetics in a cool, dry place - protected from direct sunlight.


When you have some free time, go on an adventure and check up on your skincare collection! Are you storing everything under reasonable conditions? Are some unopened relics hiding in your cabinets? Our blog post 'When is a skincare product expired?' will help you identify skincare that is out of date. Learn about the general shelf life of different product types and how to read the expiration date on Korean cosmetics correctly.


Personally, I strive for sustainability and try to get the most out of my products. If you want to ensure that your products do not get wasted, I’d love to provide you with some tips:






Tips for conscious consumption



  • Only open a new product if you plan on using it, because otherwise you’ll unnecessarily expose it to air;

  • use dry and clean hands/applicators to apply the product;

  • write the date you opened the product with a marker to keep track of the PAO (Period after opening);

  • seal your product properly after use (close the lids and caps properly);

  • never dilute or mix products, unless it is for direct use (never store diluted or mixed products!);

  • use facial products that are about to expire on other body parts, if you won't finish them in time.




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