Beauty fridges: a cool new solution or just another gimmick?

Cold storage for your cosmetics: one woman's must-have is another person's madness discovers Aarti Jhurani

Beautigloo’s Beauty Box evenly diffuses a set temperature. Courtesy Beautigloo
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Everything on Instagram looks beautiful – and this can make you want things you probably don't need.

Case in point: a recent hashtag explosion to hit social media has been #beautyfridge. Scrolling through the highly filtered photographs of on-trend, pastel-hued or ­marbled-finish mini fridges curated with carefully ­colour-coded jars, potions, mists and aesthetically pleasing pink and jade tools, makes me really want to purchase one. Because even though I might not own Drunk Elephant's entire product line, or a face mist that costs as much as a month's groceries, I still invest in and enjoy caring for my skin.

But is a beauty fridge ­actually necessary? Sure, it's cute, makes for a great Instagram post and gives you quick access to all your skincare products in one place, but are they worth the money? I went snooping on the world wide web (as you do), and found some users on forums calling beauty fridges a waste of plastic, ­environmentally unfriendly and an unnecessary waste of electricity, saying that they add to carbon emissions. Others assert that products aren't normally meant to be stored in a fridge since they come with added preservatives, and as long as they are stored in a cool, dark place, they will work just fine.

The experts weigh in

However, as temperatures soar to 40°C and higher in the UAE, cooled products sound quite appealing. "Cold masks and creams assist with the de-­puffing of the eye and face area by reducing inflammation and tightening the skin," says Nicole Arnoldussen, founder of Starskin products, which are available at Sephora ­Middle East.

Dr Roula Amer, a consultant dermatologist at American Hospital Dubai, also weighs in. "Water-based products, such as lotions, creams, gels and some masks, benefit from being refrigerated. Also, some ingredients in beauty products, such as vitamin C, can be protected from oxidation when they are refrigerated," she ­explains. "Placing SPF ­products in the fridge is also recommended, as this prolongs their life."

Arnoldussen says that fridges are especially useful "for products that use clean, natural or organic ingredients, as keeping the products in a dark, cool place prolongs quality and efficiency". But she does warn against storing oil-based formulas in fridges. "The oils might solidify or separate from any water that is present in the formula," she says. Dr Amer also advises against exposing clay masks to colder temperatures as it hardens them.

The Beautigloo® Refrigerated Beauty Box
The Beautigloo® Refrigerated Beauty Box

While beauty fridges are aesthetically pleasing, they do beg the question: why not just have a dedicated space for beauty products in your regular refrigerator? "It's not ideal storing your precious serums and face masks in the same place you store your dinner leftovers," says Angelina Wu, content manager at Nudie Glow, an online skincare and K-beauty store that also stocks mini fridges. Clara Lizier, co-founder and chief executive of French company Beautigloo, which makes refrigerated beauty boxes, seconds Wu's opinion. "A regular fridge is not the ideal place to store cosmetics. There is a risk of cross-contamination with food bacteria, the cold temperature can deteriorate cosmetics [beauty fridges are set at about 10°C, while kitchen fridges are generally set at under 4°C] and it is placed in the kitchen [as in, far away from where you put on your make-up]."

Upping the beauty fridge game

The more of an online trend fridges become, the more complex they become, too. Nudie Glow's fridge offers dual solutions, with separate compartments to cool and heat your products. Meanwhile, Beautigloo is taking cosmetics cold storage to the next level: its Beauty Box evenly diffuses a homogeneous temperature of 10°C, which is adjustable. It has an electric thermostat and a touch screen that allows you to see the time and temperature, an adjustable layout so you can store your skincare products accordingly and it's completely silent.

I am 100 per cent a skincare junkie. I have been storing my products in a fridge for the past six to seven years, so this concept isn't new to me.

With an increasing number of people spending big bucks on skincare, it is no surprise they are also investing in storage solutions to keep ingredients potent and effective. Samreen Samad from Mumbai, who is the content editor for make-up brand Bollyglow, says: "I am 100 per cent a skincare junkie. I have been storing my products in a fridge for the past six to seven years, so this concept isn't new to me."

In addition to the usual suspects that are the mainstays of many a beauty fridge – jade roller, eye creams, mists – Samad also stores her foundation in the dedicated space to prevent Mumbai's hot and humid weather from spoiling it.  

Diane Taha, a ­Palestinian- American social media manager from Orlando, says "she is obsessed with skincare and anti-ageing", and uses her beauty fridge to store potions for her evening skincare ­routine, including her "jade roller, eye cream, Erno Laszlo Firmarine night cream, serum and ­Laneige lip sleeping mask".

Both Taha and Samad tell me they enjoy having that ­exclusive space near their dressing table for their skincare regimes and have never regretted the decision to use beauty fridges for their products.

Diane Taha's beauty fridge. Courtesy Diane Taha
Diane Taha's beauty fridge. Courtesy Diane Taha

The trend seems to be catching on globally, with the majority of #beautyfridge posts geo-tagged to the US, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. There is now a sizeable number of ­companies offering fridges – Cooluli seems to be one of the most popular brands, followed by The Cosmetics Fridge, Nudie Glow, Beauty Fridge and Frigidaire.

With customers becoming more environmentally aware, companies have to keep up. In terms of electricity consumption, Beautigloo says its box uses five times less than a ­regular mini fridge. Susan Tran, founder of The ­Cosmetics Fridge, explains that its unit is energy-efficient, and the cost of having one plugged in and switched on at all times is no more than $17 (Dh62) annually. The most common size typically ­available is six litres, though a few brands, such as The ­Cosmetics Fridge, offer a ­larger variant.

Should you want to order one for yourself in the UAE, sadly, the options are quite limited. While only offers a Cooluli mini fridge (not the beauty variant), has a few options starting from $45 that come with the added cost of shipping and customs duties. For those with a Shop & Ship account, it may be easier to secure the products, as most companies we checked with currently do not offer delivery to the UAE. However, ­Beautigloo's very fancy Beauty Box will be ­available to order into the UAE by the end of the year, but will set you back an eye-watering €300 (Dh1,237).

Personally, as a skincare junkie, it is an investment I would consider making, but I think it's far from an essential. Sometimes, when it comes to social media trends, it's good to have cold feet.