Do You Really Need A Refrigerator For...Makeup?

I was watching a Korean drama when I noticed an actress reach into a pink, polka-dotted mini-refrigerator on her vanity. What’s she doing? Maybe, it’s for snacks, I thought. Wrong. It was a fridge for the explicit purpose of storing makeup, and it’s totally a thing in Korea.
In the U.S., households usually have one refrigerator, and it usually contains food (unless you’re fancy and have a wine fridge). In Korea, a country where electronic goods abound, people have food fridges, kimchi fridges, and now, cosmetics fridges. I mean, do you really want your eye cream rubbing shoulders with the butter and Diet Coke? While you can't chill all beauty products, this trend can have its benefits.
Click to see why these are flying off the shelves on the other side of the ocean — and to decide if they're for you.
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Longer Product Shelf Lives
Cooler temperatures can help products last longer, because chemical reactions occur faster when it's warmer, causing ingredients to oxidize. This is especially true for organic or natural cosmetics, which lack preservatives and, therefore, tend to have shorter shelf lives. Makeup and moisturizers are also prone to oxidation, since they contain oils that can turn rancid.

Cosmetics are tested to hold up at room temperatures, since that’s the environment people most often use them in. That's why many products come pumped full of preservatives, which make sure they’re at full potency 'til their dying days (i.e., expiration dates). In those cases, cold storage won’t mean the fountain of youth for your potions — but it could keep them from going bad before their stated POA (period after opening) is over.

Wintech Wine & Cosmetic Refrigerator, $333.55, available at Gmarket.
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Less Bacterial Growth
A hot and steamy bathroom — a.k.a. where you keep most of your skin care — is an ideal place for bacteria to multiply. That could mean pretty gross things, especially for products that come in contact with your hands. Korean makeup fridges come with germ-killing UV lights, and refrigeration keeps remaining bacterial growth at bay. This joint effort will keep you from slathering colonies of microbes all over your face.

Cais Cosmetic Refrigerator, $207.57, available at Gmarket.
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Therapeutic Effects
Cold can feel really good, especially in the a.m., when de-puffing your face is a priority. And, after a rough night out, this ritual can be super soothing. My favorite skin-care product to chill is eye cream. That stuff is expensive, so digging into a jar of it to find that it doesn’t work like it used to is the worst. (Insert angry emoticon.) Refrigeration keeps it more stable, so it doesn’t lose potency. Plus, cold eye cream feels awesome — and so does cold facial mist.

Mini Zzang 6L Mini Cooler & Warmer, $131.52, available at Gmarket.
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Better Texture
Temperature can affect the way a product looks and feels. Extreme heat can contribute to a host of problems — melting, curdling, separating, softening, yellowing, and (ew) stinking. This is when a cosmetics fridge can be a real savior. For anyone who’s ever left makeup in the car on a hot summer day: You know what I’m talking about.

But, cold doesn’t always mean better texture. If separation or curdling is the issue, it could either be a saving grace or disaster for your makeup, depending on the ingredients. At the risk of them solidifying, don't throw these products in the fridge: wax-based formulas, face oils, silicone primers, and certain oils, like coconut and olive.

Mini Zzang, 8L Mini Cooler & Warmer, $131.52, available at Gmarket.
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