You just got your hands on that high-end moisturizer you’ve been eyeing for weeks. You eagerly apply it to your face, excited to see the transformation it promises. But as time goes on, you notice that the once-creamy formula has become runny and separated. You’re now left with a product that not only smells bad but is also ineffective. What went wrong, you ask? The culprit is likely improper storage.
Storing your beauty items seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook the impact it can have on the efficacy of your routine. Factors like heat, sunlight, and air exposure, which are often present in common storage places like bathrooms, can all accelerate the breakdown of the formula and render it less potent or even unusable before its actual expiration date. Considering this, it’s high time to start being more mindful of where you store your skincare products to ensure their formulas remain at their peak potency. Ahead, I’ll share some valuable tips that will help you keep your skincare fresh and effective until they run out.
Keep the products away from sunlight and heat sources
If your storage place usually gets warm, you could be unknowingly sabotaging the potency of those active-but-fragile ingredients like retinol and vitamin C. These actives, among others, are heat-sensitive and can quickly degrade when exposed to long-term heat. Ideally, it’s best to keep your skincare at a temperature range of 50-70°F (10-21°C) to prevent formula oxidation. Also, avoid leaving your products in your car on a hot day while you’re out and about, as just one hour can have a real impact on the lifespan and stability of the formula.
Another factor that you really don’t want to underestimate is the sunlight. Sun exposure is a major culprit in degrading skincare formulas, especially when it comes to products containing antioxidants and natural extracts. Do your best to store your skincare in a dark place where light can’t reach, like in a drawer in your room or on a shelf in your closet.
Also, don’t leave the products open or exposed to direct light for too long, and be mindful of their expiration dates. The shelf life of skincare products is about 30 months, but once you open them, they can last anywhere from 3 to 12 months. Keep track of when you opened your products and toss them out if they start to change consistency, color, or smell, even if they haven’t reached their expiration date yet.
Store them in the fridge if necessary
While this isn’t necessary most of the time, some products are better to be kept in a fridge, mainly during summer. For example, natural formulas that lack preservatives tend to have an extended shelf life when stored in a refrigerator. The same goes for a vitamin C serum or retinoids. Moreover, keeping an eye cream, face mask, or facial mist in the fridge gives them a refreshing and cooling effect.
However, there’s also a chance that the product can lose some of its properties if exposed to freezing temperatures. The key is to keep your skincare in a temperature-controlled environment that is not too hot or too cold and avoid leaving them in places like the garage or a drafty windowsill during the winter months.
A mini fridge like Cooluli can come in really handy. It’s ideal for storing your beauty essentials (it can fit a whole 6-step routine) and keeping them cool and fresh for the next use. It’s small enough to fit on your bathroom counter, adds a pop of color to your skincare vanity countertop, and it’s 100% environmentally friendly.
Use airtight containers and amber bottles
Did you know that when a product is exposed to air—even for a short time—the active ingredients can break down and oxidize? This is why products that come in jars, which require you to dip your fingers in and give bacteria a chance to invade the formula, tend to degrade faster than those in airtight bottles or pump dispensers.
For optimal storage, you should have all your creams and lotions in airtight containers and serums in amber bottles, which are UV-resistant and safeguard the formula from degradation.
The type of closure used on a container also has a role in protecting cosmetics from in-use microbial contamination. According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, pump-top closures provide the best protection for lotions. If you still prefer jars, be sure to use a clean spatula or scoop to avoid introducing bacteria into the product.
If your go-to skincare product doesn’t come in an airtight pump dispenser, don’t throw in the towel just yet. You can easily transfer it to an airtight container to give it a fighting chance against early degradation and make it last longer. There are plenty of airless pump jars and bottles available on Amazon that will do the trick, like these.
Is it ok to store skincare products in the bathroom?
Most would say to avoid keeping your skincare in the bathroom, and for fair reason. The steam from the shower and humid air isn’t the best condition to store your products, and this can be particularly problematic if you leave a jar of face cream on the sink counter while enjoying a hot tub. Obviously, you don’t want to end up with a bottle of lotion that’s more watery than creamy, but you don’t want to be running down to your basement every time you need to moisturize (unless that’s your thing), either.
The takeaway? It’s perfectly fine to keep your skincare products in the bathroom as long as you create a perfect environment to protect them. Most brands create products with the idea that people use them at room temperature and also to withstand short-term temperature fluctuations, such as those that occur during a hot shower.
Still, you should do your best to ensure proper room ventilation and not allow steam to accumulate in the bathroom. Consider investing in a shelf and placing it as far as possible from the shower or other heating sources, or better, stash your products in an airtight storage box. Also, close the lids tightly after use to avoid moisture from getting into the product—water and humidity can cause bacterial growth, mold, and mildew, which can speed up formula degradation.
On the flip side, if you’re talking about months of storage before opening or days between use, keeping your products in the bathroom might be pushing it. If you don’t use a product daily or plan to use it months after purchase, better store it in other places, like in your room.
Keep your skincare products safe and sound by being mindful of their storage conditions. For starters, store them in a cool, dry, and dark place. Opt for airtight containers and use pump-top closures for lotions. Avoid leaving products in the car, and keep them away from windows and direct sunlight. Use clean scoops or spatulas for jarred products, and don’t keep your products for more than 3-4 months in the bathroom.