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Storing Your Skincare Products. The Complete Guide

Storing your skincare products

Are you ruining your skincare products by storing them the wrong way? 

Follow our complete guide on how to store your skincare products to maximise results, avoid contamination, and help them last as long as possible!

 

How Temperature And Light Affect Your Skincare

 

Temperature and sunlight have a bigger impact on your skincare products than you might think. 

Extreme temperature and sunlight can result in the breakdown, oxidisation, curdling, or melting of formulations. If the product contains active ingredients, those actives become less effective - a good example is Vitamin C. 

This skincare superstar quickly becomes unstable in heat which reduces its potency. Let it get too hot and your vitamin C serum can’t do the job it’s truly capable of!

Typically, benzoyl peroxide and retinol based formulations can also become easily compromised if exposed to heat or light.

As sunlight can speed up the breakdown of active ingredients, keeping your stash on a window sill or leaving them in the car isn’t a good idea. 

As a general rule, the best way to store your skincare is at room temperature and out of direct sunlight - in a cabinet, drawer, or lidded box. 

 

Should You Store Skincare Products In The Fridge? 

 

We can all agree a mini-fridge stocked with skincare makes for a great Insta #shelfie. 

But is refrigeration actually necessary?

Products that benefit from refrigeration

It's not a must, but products like retinol and vitamin C serums can benefit from being refrigerated. The cooler temperature prevents active ingredients from breaking down and oxidizing so they stay effective as long as possible. 

Some benzoyl peroxide-based acne treatments require refrigeration to remain stable, so always check storage directions.

In general though, as long as a product contains preservatives, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Keeping it at room temperature, out of direct sunlight is fine.

The cooling effect of the fridge is a nice pick me up though - especially on hot summer days. You can let your moisturiser, face mist, or mask chill in the fridge for 30 - 60 minutes before applying it. 

If you’re using products to target red, angry blemishes, cooling them first can help soothe the skin instantly when applied. The benefits of an eye gel can also be boosted with an extra cooling and de-puffing effect.

What needs to be stored in the fridge?

If you’ve whipped up your own food-based DIY natural skincare treatments at home without a preservative, these definitely need to be stored in the fridge. Leave them on your bathroom counter and they’ll be mouldy and unusable in no time. 

Some organic skincare or natural skincare has a shorter shelf life and will benefit from being stored in the fridge. The formulation won’t break down as quickly which means it lasts longer.  

Skincare you shouldn’t put in the fridge

Balms and oil based products should be kept at room temperature. Extremely low temperatures can cause them to split, become cloudy and even solidify. If your cleanser or masks are clay formulas, keep them at room temperature - they will solidify in the fridge.

 

Steam Spells Bad News For Skincare

 

You’ll want to keep your beauty stash away from the effects of steam in your bathroom. 

Keeping your face cleanser in the shower to use might seem like a great time saving hack but steam can break down the active ingredients in skincare formulations.

Then there’s the issue of mould. When products aren’t sealed properly, condensation can seep and they become the ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

Plus, washing your face in a hot shower isn’t the best move for your skin. Hot water strips the skin of the natural oils it needs and the result is often dry skin and a damaged skin barrier. 

Limit the amount of steam products are exposed to by storing them in the cabinet or drawer that can be closed. Stick to cleansing your face with lukewarm water before you shower. 

 

These Habits Will Contaminate Your Products

 

Even the best skin care products can quickly become contaminated with a few bad habits. 

Not sealing the container

Tightly close containers and jars after use. A damp bathroom environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow causing contamination and potential infections, breakouts, and irritation.

Using dirty fingers

If you need to dip your fingers into a product to apply it, make sure they’re clean! Unwashed hands harbour all kinds of bacteria that can happily make themselves at home in the product. 

Make sure you clean off the pumps of your products to remove any old build up too. 

Diluting products with water

Adding water could allow potentially harmful microorganisms to contaminate the formulation. It will also reduce the product’s effectiveness. 

 

When Does Skincare Expire?

 

No matter how on point your product storage is, all skincare products eventually pass their prime. Using old products can actually be dangerous for skin if they trigger bacterial growth or infections.

How do you know exactly when a product expires?

Only some skincare products, like prescription anti-acne creams, have actual expiration dates displayed on their packaging. 

Other types of skincare products have what is known as a PAO (Period After Opening) time frame. Somewhere on the packaging you’ll see the number of months the product is good for after opening. 

For example, 12M is 12 months. 

This PAO is usually listed on the packaging the product comes in - although it can be listed somewhere on the product container, bottle, or jar itself. 

If the PAO is only listed on the package, once you throw it out it can be easy to forget. A tip here is to use a marker to indicate the date opened on the bottom or back of the product. 

If skincare products aren’t stored properly, the formulation can easily go bad or become ineffective before the recommended PAO time frame. 

How to tell if a product has gone bad

A few clues that one of your top skincare products should no longer be anywhere near your skin include:

A funny smell / change in odor since you opened it.

The texture has changed - it’s runny, separated, lumpy, etc.

Feeling grainy or streaky on your skin.

You’ve started to notice redness and irritation flare up after application.

If any of the above rings true, it’s time to say goodbye. Your skin will thank you.

We want you to get the most out of your skincare products and hope this guide helps with all things skincare storage!

 

Storing skincare infographic