The Cool Reason You Should Keep Your Sunscreen in the Kitchen This Summer

updated Jun 9, 2021
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Someone holding a bottle of sunscreen in the kitchen.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

It’s that time of year! While you really should be wearing sunscreen every day of the year (even when it’s cloudy!), it’s extra important these days, when you’re outside, under the hot summer sun.

Before you reach for that half-used bottle from last summer, check the expiration date! Like most cosmetics, sunscreen has a shelf life. The FDA mandates that sunscreen manufacturers ensure their products’ effectiveness for three years, which means you can only trust your SPF to be good for about that long.

Once you’ve got that covered, we’ve got one cool tip to make sure you get the most out of your sunscreen: Put it in the fridge just before you’re planning to use it! The chilly lotion will feel super refreshing when you apply it on a hot day.

While it’s best to regularly store sunscreen at room temp (a nice 77 degrees is considered ideal), placing it the fridge or even inside an icy cooler with your beach drinks for an hour or two before you apply it can give it a refreshing zing when you slather it on.

A few things to keep in mind: First, be strategic about where in the fridge you store your sunscreen for those couple of hours. It’s better to tuck it away in the fridge’s crisper door rather than the back of a shelf, where it might be too cold. Second, just remember to bring the sunscreen with you and keep it in the shade (you should be reapplying as the day goes on!), rather than leaving it in the fridge for days!

Extremely warm environments (like a car baking in the sun) can make sunscreen less effective — or even totally ineffective. Also, as with any creamy product, temperature changes may affect the homogeneity of your sunscreen. You can also invest in a trendy skincare fridge, which may give you better control of the temperature (not to mention save room in your actual refrigerator or prevent young kids from getting their hands on it). And be sure to read the back of your sunscreen bottle to check the manufacturer’s directions. Either way, avoid storing sunscreen — or any skincare product — anyplace hot and humid! Happy summer!

Have you tried this summer sunscreen tip? Let us know in the comments below!