A well-edited Instagram image holds a curious kind of power. The artful arrangement of products in a flatlay or aesthetically pleasing-ly standing, can influence our decisions, inform our purchases and inspire moments of reflection.
Late last year, when the Skin-Care Mini Fridge (aka SCMF) first started making the odd appearance on my feed, I searched my soul and found the answer to that final question: No. No, I do not NEED it.
But the popularity of the Skin-Care Mini Fridge grew — and the amount of alluringly-styled Instagram shots of said fridges doubled, then tripled — I’m proud to say through, I stood strong with my decision to skip out on the SCMF. I mean, I do have certain beauty products that I keep in my regular-sized fridge, mostly perishable items, like certain refreshing sprays and a few food-grade face masks. I’d been known to occasionally store my jade roller in there, too, because a cool crystal to the face just feels so good, especially in the mornings.
Google searches for “skin-care fridge” have skyrocketed in recent months, and entire companies dedicated to manufacturing these mini fridges have popped up seemingly overnight (Mint Fridge, The Beauty Fridge, Cosmetics Fridge). But experts say aesthetic appeal — the cool factor, if you will — is pretty much the only reason to indulge in the trend.
“You do not need to keep skin-care products in the fridge. Keeping them in the fridge does not make them more effective,” Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, a dermatologist with Icecreamwala Dermatology in San Francisco, tells Fashionista. She notes that refrigerating certain ingredients — retinol, benzoyl peroxide — may slightly extend their shelf life, but the amount of extra use you’d get out of the chilled product would be negligible.
“When a company creates a product and brings it to market, they should have already performed stability testing and exposed the formulation to multiple adverse temperature and light conditions over at least a three month period of time so the consumer can feel confident there won’t be any issues,” explains celebrity aesthetician Angela Caglia, who also produces her own line of products.
Science-minded skin-care lovers may rebut, “Aren’t vitamin C products notoriously unstable, though?” To which Caglia counters, “In terms of vitamin C serum efficacy issues, the real culprit has been exposure to air, or oxidization, and not as much temperature.” What’s more, serums and oils can actually solidify in the fridge, rendering them ineffective.
Chilled products are not without their dermatological charms, though. Dr. Icecreamwala herself stores face masks and aloe-based moisturizers in her fridge, “because it does feel indulgent and soothing to the skin when products are applied cold.” There’s even evidence to suggest that cold skin care helps decrease swelling and redness more quickly than that of the room temp variety.
“When it comes to treating puffiness, you can’t beat it,” Caglia agrees. “I always recommend that my clients store their eye creams, certain masks and rose quartz beauty tools in the fridge.”
The real question, then, is whether your Regular Refrigerator (RR) is worthy of housing such precious products. (Crystals! Aloe! Eye masks!) It’s one that every beauty enthusiast must answer alone — but here, based on my own experience, are some prompts to point you in the right direction.
Are you an influencer? Sure, go ahead, get a dedicated Skin-Care Mini Fridge; it makes for great content. There are options at every size, style and price point.
Do you want to be an influencer? If you can figure out how to make your SCMF look glamorous in photos — which, trust me, is not as easy as you think — go for it. You just might make the Explore page.
Will you try to photograph it at all? For those with a few empty shelves in the fridge and no influential aspirations, I gently suggest skipping the SCMF and stashing your beauty products in the butter compartment.
Do you share your Regular Refrigerator with roommates? There is something worse than being the roommate who aggressively labels their oat milk, and that’s being the roommate who takes up sacred refrigerator space with sheet masks. For the sake of your roomie relationships, invest in a SCMF instead.
Do you have the counter space? Yes, it’s a “mini” fridge, but even the smallest models require a surprising amount of real estate — especially in a shoebox apartment. It may be more efficient to stick with your RR.
Do you have access to a conveniently placed outlet? In my colleague’s case, their SCMF didn’t fit on their bathroom countertop, and the only available outlet was next to the toilet. Then, it might not feel as chic as anticipated, squatting down next to the porcelain bowl to retrieve an optimally-chilled eye cream.
Eventually, after months of SCMF “research”, I decided to stick with my choice of storing my products in my Regular Refrigerator. There’s more space, it’s easier to organize and I’m not sidetracked by the urge to snap a #shelfie every time I reach for my jade roller. (Although I have to say: My butter compartment’s never looked better.)
No matter how much beauty ads promise, there really is no such thing as a magical cure-all that’ll make you look like a woman who always drinks enough water and clocks eight hours of sleep each night. Even if you are that woman (secrets, please?), dark circles can still be hereditary.
However, there really is some truth to the best eye creams. No, they won’t entirely get rid of that puffiness and blueish tinge or erase wrinkles overnight, but there are a handful of options with ingredients that actually do tighten, brighten, and generally make your need for concealer a little less. Since the skin under our eyes is more delicate, targeted formulations with active ingredients like retinol (or bakuchiol), vitamin C, and caffeine can pack more pick-me-up power than your average face cream or serum.
Best Overall: Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Eye Balm
It’s not just that Tata is the queen of formulating with the cleanest ingredients—it’s that she pushes the envelope so we can have clean ingredients and clinically proven skin rejuvenation in one little bottle. This eye cream is gentle on my reactive skin and highly effective in softening lines and hydrating that thin, delicate, and previously crepey skin around my eyes. —Katey Denno, celebrity makeup artist and Glamour Beauty Awards judge
Best Luxury: La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Eye Cream
I made it all through my 20s without undereye issues, but I swear the second I turned 30, the effects of a late-night Netflix binge (or God forbid, a night out) started to manifest on my face. And that’s when I decided it was time to call in the big guns. La Prairie’s Platinum Rare Cellular Eye Cream gets its muscle from a potent blend of peptides and hydrators to brighten, smooth, and tighten your skin. It’s basically Spanx for your eyes. —Lindsay Schallon, senior beauty editor
For someone who spends way too much time up late in front of a computer screen, this serum is like the equivalent of a cup of coffee for my eyes. It’s formulated with caffeine and green tea to jolt awake their appearance and minimize the look of dark circles and puffiness. Best $7 I ever spent. —Aimee Sy, contributor
Best for Puffiness: Sisley Paris Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid
After a few rotations around my eye socket with this mysteriously cold ceramic applicator, I was hooked. Like all of the products in the Black Rose Collection, this formula smells (no essential oils, just May Rose water) and feels amazing. Best of all, it depuffs, hydrates, and brightens and instantly makes me look more rested. —Robin Black, makeup artist and Glamour Beauty Awards judge
Best for Tired Eyes: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex
Since I’m still in my 20s, I usually just need moisture under my eyes, but when I need something more (like when I’m hungover) this is what I reach for. I love the classic Night Repair serum, and this eye treatment is just as effective. It has a cooling gel texture, and it instantly makes me look more awake, less puffy, and as if I could be the kind of girl who meditates and drinks green juice every day. I’ve even noticed that if I use this one consistently, my dark circles look slightly better (it’s a cream, not a miracle) thanks to the brand’s ChronoluxCB complex. —B.C.
Best for Dark Circles: It Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream
I have pretty bad dark circles (genetics, unfortunately) and have tried everything from very expensive products to drugstore brands. It wasn’t until this one that I noticed a difference—literally, after a day of using it. It’s super lightweight and makes it look as though I hit snooze just a little longer each morning. —Azadeh Valanejad, contributor
Over the years I’ve tried various eye creams, from drugstore buys to mysterious potions I’ve picked up from the Glamour beauty closet, but Dr. Barbara Sturm’s was my first foray into a luxe product line, and man, did it not disappoint. Just a slight tap of the cream every night has made the fine skin around my eyes look tighter and more youthful. The cream feels indulgent and rich on my skin, while still having a super-light, airy consistency. I don’t know what kind of voodoo magic Dr. Barbara Sturm works with, but consider me all in. —Caitlin Brody, entertainment director
Best for Fine Lines: Tatcha The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream
Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but they’re also the first place to show signs of aging. That’s why I’ve been using eye cream since I was a teenager. But as you get older, you need different formulas, especially if you wear makeup. The key is an eye cream that will help act as a barrier so concealer and foundation won’t settle into fine lines, but will also still hydrate. I’ve found that with Tatcha’s Silk Peony, which has a unique melting texture to smooth and blur the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains 30% Hadasei-3, which is the brand’s signature trio of pure Japanese superfoods, including Uji Green Tea (to detoxify), Okinawa maluku algae (to help retain moisture), and protein-rich Akita rice to nourish and go on smoothly. And as with all Tatcha products, it’s cruelty-free and formulated without sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. —Jessica Radloff, West Coast editor
Best Multitasker: Glossier Bubble Wrap Eye and Lip Plumping Cream
Wrinkles aren’t my top concern yet, so when it comes to eye cream, I’m looking for something no-fuss that hydrates, plumps, and is a great base for the gobs of concealer I need to hide my sleeping habits. Bubblewrap is the answer to my prayers; if I could bathe in it, I would. It’s a cushiony eye and lip cream that has a thin yet lush texture and is packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and avocado oil. Tapped on my undereyes, it made me look more awake, refreshed, and made my concealer glide on crease-free. While it’s a fab eye cream, I’m also obsessed with it in place of lip balm at night for full, plush lips by morning. And of course, the packaging looks perfect in my medicine cabinet. —B.C.
Best Soothing: Volition Beauty Helix AM/PM Eye Gel
I’m one of the people who think eye creams are kind of B.S.—a regular light moisturizer does that trick just fine for me—but I’ve recently noticed how damn puffy my area looks. Blame it on an excess of salt and not enough water, but I started using this collagen-rich gel, which I keep in the fridge, and found it actually works to depuff and hydrate. It also promises to blur fine lines, though I don’t have those yet, but I’m planning to stick with it, mainly thanks to its powerful helix complex, an organic compound rich in allantoin, collagen, elastin, and glycolic acid. —Perrie Samotin, digital director
Best Brightening: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Eye Serum
I’ve been obsessed with finding the right treatment for the dark circles under my eyes, and this is definitely the winner. This serum doesn’t have the stinging retinol sensation that a previous eye cream had, nor does it leave my skin feeling tacky. I’ve been using it for the last two months, and the difference is noticeable. I’m already dreading the day I have to replace it. —Khaliha Hawkins, producer
Best Primer: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Eye Base
My undereyes are regularly dry, and my concealer always creases no matter what, until I tried Bobbi Brown’s new Vitamin Enriched Eye Base. Its creamy shea butter formula means a pea-size amount is plenty to go around both eyes. I use my fingertips to gently pat this soothing primer into my skin before concealing my uninvited dark circles for a smooth canvas that never creases. —Talia Gutierrez, beauty assistant
I’ve been slowly replacing the skin-care products in my beauty routine with ones that are plant-based—and my latest fixation is Haoma’s Eye Cream. Rich in skin-brightening ingredients like yarrow, licorice, mulberry, and CBD, this balm has an airy, velvety texture that goes on smooth and absorbs in no time. I dab a pea-size amount under my eyes after cleansing, and it straightaway makes the purplish circles feel lighter and brighter. That, and it’s the perfect second step in my morning routine to trick my mind into instant “awake” mode. —Talia Abbas, commerce writer
I’ve always been a fan of Embryolisse’s skin-care products. They’re a staple in makeup artists’ kits. The same goes for this undereye stick. It’s multifunctional: It refreshes tired eyes, diminishes signs of fatigue (like puffiness), firms, is highly hydrating, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. It also brightens your undereye area and improves texture. Not to mention it’s incredibly cooling when you glide it on. I like to use it right before I put on makeup, during skin prep. —Carola Gonzalez, celebrity makeup artist and Glamour Beauty Awards judge
Best Eye Serum: Lancôme Advanced Génifique Yeux Light Pearl Concentrate
There’s nothing I love more than popping a jade roller in the fridge and running it under my eyes in the morning to wake up. This is the eye serum equivalent. The metal applicator is cool and refreshing as you glide it on, and the gentle but tough-acting mix of caffeine, prebiotics, and vitamin E go to work to jolt life back to your undereyes. Bonus: You can use the serum on your lashes to make them look more nourished. —L.S.
I’ve tried tons of eye creams that do literally nothing, but Belif’s eye cream doesn’t have that problem: This spin-off of its moisturizer leaves my undereyes looking smooth and way less crepey within minutes. —Sarah Morse, contributor
Best Hydrating: Hada Labo Tokyo Age Correcting Eye Cream
Hada Labo makes reliably excellent skin care, and this eye cream is no different. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid, caffeine, collagen, and light-diffusing pigments. Smooth it on and it’ll blur and diminish your dark circles while giving your delicate undereye area a noticeable boost. —Sarah Wu, beauty contributor
As it turns out, that extra glass of Gut Oggau rosé may not be the only reason your morning eyes resemble those of Bridget Jones after a bender. Pollution, poor sleep, inadequate makeup removal, and hot, dry indoor air are all among the root causes of puffiness, says Hollywood facialist Mila Moursi.
So, too, are heavy eye creams, which can overburden skin at night and lead to swelling the next day. “The skin around the eyes is so thin and fragile, but sometimes people treat it like it’s leather,” explains Moursi, who suggests applying a light, breathable, gel-based formulation in the morning with a gentle massage.
Yet the real “cure,” she continues, is one that’s also an Instagram phenomenon: eye masks. Though not intended for everyday use, they offer a “boost” to the under-eye area on especially swollen mornings, Moursi notes. The latest wave of products pack a host of depuffing, fine-line–plumping actives, from caffeine and rejuvenating rose quartz to 24-karat gold.
A pair of eye masks that de-puffs and brightens the look of eyes while diminishing the appearance of fine lines. A favorite in the Vogue office, BeautyBio’s collagen-infused gel masks—made with illuminating pearl and colloidal silver—fake the appearance of a full-night’s rest, even if life is running at a breakneck pace.
Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Flash Eye Revitalizer
A two-step eye care system that starts with an intense roll-on serum followed by hydrogel patches for immediate revitalization and radiance. Consider Chanel’s luxe firming two-step system—a roll-on serum and hydrogel patches stamped with the French house’s logo—the 2.55 of eye care.
Rose Quartz Antioxidant Eye Mask Collection use GEMCLINICAL® technology which blends the special properties of precious minerals and gemstones with proprietary skincare formulas packed with active and clean ingredients. All the products are then charged with loving, healing Reiki energy promoting a state of total relaxation and well-being. Who could say no to these pretty-in-pink eye masks that target dark circles and dryness while simultaneously opening the heart chakra with their Reiki-charged rose quartz?
A soothing eye treatment that revives the delicate skin under your eyes. Experience celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas’s sought-after touch from the comfort of your own couch with these brightening eye patches, which are the go-to among many a Hollywood starlet.
A eye mask set that will give you hydrated, de-puffed eyes without all the harsh chemicals. Free of sulfates and parabens, these all-natural eye stickers—shaped like shooting stars and infused with gold, rose flower oil, and bitter cherry extract—deliver a double-tap-worthy glow.
Once carried back from Parisian pharmacies by the trunk-full, Klorane’s petite patches, laced with anti-inflammatory cornflower, are the not-so-secret weapon of French girls (and those who aspire to be).
Nannette de Gaspé Eye Masque
Don’t let Nannette de Gaspé’s dry mask fool you: the patterned woven fabric, which slips over ears and extends across the face, may be made for Instagram, but its active blend also delivers real-life results—no filter required.
Verso Eye Reviving Mask
A moisturizing hydrogel mask with Retinol 8 that provides energy to the skin area around the eyes. Erase last night’s sins with Stockholm-based Verso’s moisturizing mask, which is formulated with a unique retinol complex to supercharge the delicate area around the eyes.
Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask
A set of powerful eye masks that hydrate, brightens the appearance of dark circles, and smooths the appearance of fine lines in as little as 15 minutes. Shiseido’s Benefiance pads pack a one-two punch: In addition to smoothing the appearance of wrinkles near the eyes, they can also target laugh lines when placed around the mouth.
Stay red-carpet-ready thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s facialist, Mila Moursi, whose bio cellulose patches are made with apple stem cells, royal jelly, and calming ginger root to naturally lift the under-eye area.
A hydrogel eye mask that brightens, revitalizes and hydrates the delicate eye area. Packed with organic aloe, cooling cucumber, and vitamin C to instantly quench dehydrated cells, 100% Pure’s verdant biodegradable mask is a green juice for the eyes.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask
An intensely concentrated eye mask to rejuvenate eyes after life’s stresses and instantly reveal a fresh, more rested, luminously youthful look. Stave off signs of aging with Estée Lauder’s celebrity-approved reparative eye treatment, a must-have for frequent travelers and evening revelers alike.
A pre-moistened eye mask that calms and soothes skin while decreasing puffiness and lightening undereye circles. Made with cold processing technology, Kat Burki’s KB5 Recovery Mask—with its anti-aging blend of smoothing silk amino acids and protective avocado oil—is the perfect treat for tired eyes.
Two sets of hydrating microcrystal eye masks, that contain approximately 900 crystals each, help visibly plump and reawaken fatigued eyes while diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The microcrystals are enriched with a super-blend of Vegetable Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, and Argireline® Peptide that dissolve deep into the skin’s surface to deliver a targeted dose of visibly restoring, plumping and youth-enhancing benefits for eyes that look well-rested and renewed. Boscia’s new vegan plumping patches—dotted with nearly 900 crystals—offer a fast fix after a long night out. Pro tip: Store them in the fridge for an instant chill upon waking.