[HOT ITEM]Eye shadow on ice: a fridge for cosmetics

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[HOT ITEM]Eye shadow on ice: a fridge for cosmetics

Digest this: The average man ingests over the course of his life the equivalent of one tube of lipstick, according to people who study such things. And a woman? Each puts on seven pounds of lipstick over her lifetime, according to Glamour magazine, much of which makes it down her esophagus. With this in mind, you can't help but wonder what's in those products.

An office worker in Seoul, Lee Ji-hui, said she doesn't mind the thought of swallowing a film of lipstick with every meal. "The thing that bothers me is the cosmetics I use for skin care," she said. Recently she used a pearl cream that her friend brought back from a trip to Southeast Asia, only to have a bad reaction. Now she takes extra care in choosing skin products. She insists on using nature-friendly and even edible goods, which are becoming popular with young women. Ms. Lee favors lotions with green and jasmine tea extracts for her face, and coconut butter and honey milk lotions for her body. "The first time I tried the body lotion, my mother asked me if I was baking cookies," she said.

The fad for "natural" cosmetics started when the U.K. cosmetics franchise The Body Shop introduced products containing ingredients like fruits, vegetables, honey and seaweed. According to Lee Eun-joo, a clerk at The Body Shop near Ewha Womans University, the store's "Juice It" product series, containing ingredients like tomatoes, is a longtime favorite. She warned, though, that "natural cosmetics go bad if not stored properly." The solution? Simple: Get a cosmetic-only refrigerator.

A local company, Magic Art Co., specializes in making and selling refrigerators designed to hold cosmetics. Its coolers start at 245,000 won ($190). Though the price seems like a lot to pay just to keep your makeup cool, the company said that its sales have been rising steadily.

Shaped like a fancy vanity table with an attached mirror, the wood-framed fridges are especially popular. The company said that the fridge not only extends the storage life of cosmetics, but has antibiotic effects.

Not everybody buys the makeup fridge idea, though. "I see it as just a clever bit of niche marketing," said a member of the Korean Cosmetics Industry Association, Kim Sung-su.

But Lee Ji-hui said she's a proud owner of a cosmetic cooler. "It gives me the feeling that I'm investing more in myself," she said.

by Chun Su-jin

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