Are You Storing Your Beauty Products In The Wrong Place?

Have you ever got lost in an Instagram scrolling hole on the hashtag #topshelfie

It’s an endless collection of #oddlysatisfying photos of people’s perfectly organised beauty products - and it’s both soothing and envy-inducing. 

But how and where we store our beauty loot is about more than just achieving organisational nirvana, because it can have a big impact on the long term quality of our skincare, makeup and haircare products.

Heat, light, steam and water can all affect their delicately-balanced formulas.

“Although our products look static in their containers, in reality the ingredients are constantly undergoing chemical reactions, both with each other, and the light and air they come into contact with,” explains skin scientist Dr Michele Squire.

“Higher temperatures speed up these reactions and the degradation process, resulting in products with changed texture, smell, colour and activity on the skin. Light, both natural and artificial, also contributes to this process.

“Higher temperatures and increased humidity encourage the growth of mould and bacteria and their metabolic by-products that can spoil cosmetics.”

This is why our products should always be stored in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat.

Why You Should Reconsider Storing Your Products In The Bathroom...

Most skincare products, especially active serums and sunscreen, should be stored in a place that is cold and dark, ideally around 15-25 degrees. 

But our bathrooms get hot and steamy whenever we shower or take a bath, and those warm heater lights definitely don’t make for ideal beauty-storage conditions. 

Dr Squire says storing your products outside the bathroom is particularly important if they are housed in transparent packaging, because it is easier for light and heat to penetrate. 

“And don’t forget that toilet flushing (with the lid up) can produce a plume of microbes that stay in the air and settle on surfaces for many hours after flushing,” she warned. 

But she has a great tip if you really want to keep your beauty products in your bathroom: “You could also consider dispensing a week’s worth of product into a smaller, airtight container that you keep in in the bathroom for daily use, and storing the original product elsewhere.”

Can You Store Skincare Products In The Fridge?

Refrigerating skincare products has become super popular lately, but Dr Squire says it’s better to store your products in a special skincare fridge, not your normal kitchen refrigerator. 

“I don’t recommend storing cosmetics in a normal refrigerator as it is too cold and humid, causing separation of the oil and water phases, and leading to undesirable changes in the product’s consistency and loss of their sensorial elegance,” she explained.

“They can also absorb food smells from the fridge unless stored in a sealed container. 

“You’re also less likely to use your skincare consistently, which is the secret to great skin, if you have to trek to your kitchen twice a day to retrieve your products.”

Those cute little skincare fridges, on the other hand, are perfectly designed to store all your favourite serums and face masks, particularly if you live in a hot or humid climate. 

“Skincare fridges are typically at a higher temperature (7-10C) than normal fridges (4C), so ideal for keeping products fresher for longer without over-cooling or freezing. They are also conveniently located on your bathroom bench or close by in the bedroom,” Dr Squire said.

“The lower temperature slows down the degradation processes and growth of microbes and It’s also an easy way to keep products in the dark.”

She added: “Some products, like sheet masks and mists, are lovely applied to the skin cold, so they are great candidates for fridge storage, and it’s unlikely to damage them.”

Where Is The Best Place To Store Perfume?

Light and heat are the mortal enemies of fragrance. As much as you probably want to display them in their beautiful packaging on your windowsill, it’s best to store them in a dark, cool cupboard away from direct sunlight, or in the fridge.

“Fragrances are complex compositions of hundreds of fragrance ingredients, many of which are very unstable,” Dr Squire explained.

“They definitely benefit from being stored in the fridge in a sealed container to prevent spillage and absorption of other smells.”

Quick And Easy Beauty Storage Solutions

I find the best way to store beauty products is on a shelf or in drawers in my bedroom, either in my wardrobe or a chest of drawers.

This keeps them away from light and heat, plus with the help of some handy clear plastic organisers from Howard Storage World (you can also get cheap ones from IKEA, Muji and Amazon), you can sort your products by category and ensure everything has a place.

If your collection is starting to overflow and you’re in need of some more shelves for beauty product storage, IKEA has loads of simple and cheap options. 

My favourite is this $50 mobile trolley that comes in a range of colours, plus it has wheels so you can easily move it around whenever you’d like.

Marie Kondo would be proud!