Will Freezing Temperatures Ruin Makeup? Can You Thaw It Out and Use It?

Makeup palette with makeup brush. Makeup background
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Whenever you buy a new makeup product, the packaging always says, “Store in a cool, dry space”. What if you don’t store it properly? Or maybe you ordered some makeup and it was left outside overnight in the freezing cold because you missed the delivery notification?

Will freezing temperatures ruin makeup?

Whether you live in a hot or freezing place, your makeup might get ruined by extreme temperatures, depending on the type of makeup In general, water-based makeup may be damaged, and oil-emulsion makeup will be ruined. Powders should be ok.

We’ll explain all this below.


Can Makeup Freeze?

Any product that has water in it will freeze, at least partially. That includes products such as powder foundation, concealer, mascara, liquid eyeliner, brow gel, and others. 

Some people even put their foundations in the freezer as a beauty hack, but it usually does more harm than good.

Either the packaging might burst open, or the product will never be the same again because the ingredients have separated. 

Makeup products that are oil-based, like cream blushes and contours, probably won’t freeze. Oil does change consistency when it gets too cold, but it doesn’t change its state as water does.

And of course, powder products like setting powder and dip powder nails are totally safe in the cold as they do not change at all. 

Products with water in them will freeze. Products with oil may separate. Products that are just powder won’t freeze.

Products with water in them will freeze. Products with oil may separate. Products that are just powder won’t freeze.

What Happens When Your Makeup Freezes?

Water goes through a physical change when it freezes. The molecules slow down, form a lattice, and take up more space than liquid water.

That’s why one of the problems you can face by leaving your makeup in the cold is the package bursting, rendering the product unusable. 

Many makeup products are emulsions, a combination of things that normally cannot mix, for example, oil and water. If the water in such products freezes and the other ingredient like oil doesn’t, the elements will get separated and will very likely never combine again.

Thus, the freezing of makeup can cause the formula to never be the same again, even when the water has melted, no matter how hard you shake the product.

Another problem is that the cold can denature enzymes. Enzymes, which are proteins, alter their chemical structures when they freeze.

Freezing can also mess up the preservative system of your product. The preservatives of the product can move around in the product. The under-preserved areas of the product will have bacterial growth, which cuts down your product’s shelf life and could lead to other issues like bacterial infections.

How Does the Cold Affect Different Makeup Products?

The cold affects different makeup products since they all have different ingredients. Here are a few products and the effects freezing might have on them:


Foundation is one of the most important makeup products. It’s literally the foundation of your makeup! So, naturally, it’s one of the makeup products you want to take care of. As mentioned above, some people do leave their foundation in the fridge in order to extend its shelf life.

But this tip can ruin your foundation and change its texture. This will change the way it sits on your face and how it blends. 

Frozen foundation can become thicker and chunkier, and your face can look very textured after application. Obviously, this is the exact opposite of what you’d want from a foundation, so avoid leaving this makeup product in cold areas. 

So what can you do if your foundation has frozen?

You might still be able to use it, but that depends on how long it was left frozen, how cold it is, and what ingredients are in your foundation. 

The first step is to defrost your foundation. Make sure you do that slowly and surely and don’t warm it up quickly. Heating it up very quickly can ruin your foundation even more. Just leave it out in a room temperature area and let it sit until it has completely defrosted. After it has thawed completely, open the container and check the consistency. 

If it looks normal or even if it has been slightly altered, you can try to use it (but maybe not right before a big date…). Otherwise, if the consistency doesn’t seem right, it’s, unfortunately, time to say goodbye to your foundation.


Apart from the chemical changes your mascara might go through after freezing, it also undergoes a change in consistency. Mascara can thicken after leaving it in the cold for too long. It can get clumpy after three or four months, but freezing might speed up this process. 

The differences in texture and consistency might be noticeable. If you think it’s fine to use, you may continue to do so, but if you think it’s too thick and clumpy, you should toss it away.


Putting lipstick in the freezer is a good way to kill the germs on your product. Most lipsticks can get a little thicker because the waxes are getting firmer and feel like they’re dragging on your skin. 

When a product gets too cold, it can feel too stiff and like they’re pulling on your lip. There’s an easy fix to this: just hold the lipstick to your lip for a few moments. Your body’s temperature will warm it up, after which the lipstick should apply normally.

How to Store Your Makeup

To avoid all of these problems in the first place, try to stay on top of your deliveries, and store your makeup as well as you can.

To avoid all of these problems in the first place, try to stay on top of your deliveries, and store your makeup as well as you can.

Let’s go over the wrong ways to store your makeup first. Don’t store your makeup in the bathroom. The steam and heat from a hot shower can make your products heat up. 

We’ve seen how cosmetics and makeup products are adversely affected by cold temperatures, but they can also lose their value by overheating. Don’t leave your makeup in the car, either. Your car can get much hotter or colder than the weather outside. 

So, where should you store your makeup? As written on the labels, store in a cool, dry place. Keep your cosmetics in places like your dresser, your vanity table, or any other place that is at room temperature.

A cute little makeup box can also protect your products from sunlight exposure, and it looks good!


Finding the right makeup for you can be a time-consuming thing, not to mention expensive. Avoid wasting your favorite products due to the cold, heat, or sunlight.

Most products also get tested for extreme temperatures before being ready for sale. This helps them withstand the transportation process.

By taking good care of your makeup, it will last longer and your dollar will go further before that makeup expires.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).