this thing's incredible

The Mini-Fridge That Keeps My Beauty Products at an Optimal 46 Degrees

All of my beauty goodies kept cool — but not frozen. Photo: Alison Freer.

I once read (in Vogue? Mademoiselle?) that keeping your beauty products in the fridge would prevent them from separating and going bad, so I dutifully stuck every serum and cream I had in there. For a while, I would go downstairs every morning to retrieve my face moisturizer from the butter compartment in the fridge — until I realized that all of my beauty products vaguely smelled like food. I quickly headed over to Amazon and snagged myself a tiny $40 mini-fridge to separate my topicals and ingestibles.

The Cooluli mini-fridge runs almost silently, uses about as much power as a 50-watt light bulb, and fits in very small spaces — I’ve got mine tucked next to the towels in my bathroom cabinet. Because it isn’t technically a fridge at all (it doesn’t have a compressor or use Freon), it’s perfect for skin care, which you want to keep cool but not frozen. You know how, depending on where you put your cup of yogurt in the fridge, it can come out with shards of ice inside? Imagine that with Good Genes.

While my household fridge runs between 33 and 38 degrees, the Cooluli mini-fridge keeps things in the 46- to 50-degree range. (The Amazon page says it cools things down 45 degrees from ambient temperature, but I just stuck a meat thermometer in there.) David A. Colbert, creator of the Colbert MD product line and head of the NYDG Wellness Center, told me: “Beauty products all have a shelf life that lower temperatures will prolong, but lotions and creams have a lot of water, and can freeze closer to 32 degrees. Forty-six degrees is perfect.”

These days, I keep my retinoids and vitamin C products in the Cooluli, as they can tend to oxidize and turn brown if not kept in a continuously cool, dark place. (If you’re still keeping expensive beauty products in your intermittently hot and steamy bathroom, stop.) My masks are more refreshing; my creams creamier. It also looks like Allure editor-in-chief Michelle Lee and I share a brain. The one thing to note is that perfumes should not go in the fridge (the cold can actually damage them), but most other skin-care products benefit. Now that I’m no longer sticking everything in the Frigidaire, I don’t have to wait for my lotions to defrost — and my face doesn’t smell like Land O’Lakes anymore, either.

Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer

More highly rated mini-fridges

Danby DAR026A1BDD-3 Designer Compact All Refrigerator

In our guide to the best-reviewed mini-refrigerators on Amazon, one reviewer had this to say about the Danby: “We bought this fridge as an emergency replacement when our full-size fridge kicked the bucket at a very inconvenient time. We weren’t expecting much, we just desperately needed something to keep food cold. We have a full-size stand-up freezer, so the size of the freezer in this unit was not a factor. The fridge arrived in perfect condition, is super quiet, and keeps food cold. I love the smaller space because it means vegetables don’t get lost in the bottom of the fridge, making it much easier to remember that they need to be used. The freezer is big enough to hold maybe three ice trays or two frozen pizzas. We found this fridge to be so useful that we bought another one for our mini-kitchen in our basement, and plan on buying a third for our main kitchen to have the capacity that we used to have in our old fridge.”

Chefman Portable Compact Personal Fridge, 4 Liter Capacity

Another highly rated mini-fridge: “Impressed and pleased so far. This little monster has kept a can of refrigerated Diet Coke at the same temp as a can of Diet Coke from my big fridge, the same temp for 36 hours and counting. Impressive! I need it to keep my pet’s and my meds refrigerated over the holiday weeks while traveling. No wobble. Stable footing. Does not skid on the counter. So far seems sturdy and even has metal hinges on the door and a ‘no nail breakage’ slot to carry it around! Cool (literally!).”

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This Mini-Fridge Keeps My Products at an Optimal 46 Degrees