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A Guide to the Skincare Ingredients You Shouldn't Mix

When choosing new skincare products, it’s imperative to know which ones will mix and layer well together. Based on your skin type, it might be tricky to figure out which products complement each other and work best together. You might go through some trial-and-error and see some flaking, dryness, skin damage or just overall not great results! So lets dive in and chat about ingredients that don't work well together in simply language!

Oil and Water

First up is the most obvious combination we all know don't mix: oil and water. Oil repels water, so if you try to layer a water-based product over an oil-based product, like a balm, a film will be left on your skin that will prevent the water from absorbing. If your opting for some oils at night for example, the best advice is to layer the oily product over the water-based one. (Water based goes first!) But overall, stick to using water-based products and serums together.

Retinol and Vitamin C

Retinol should not be used with Vitamin C, because they’re both active ingredients! Retinol helps build collagen but it also creates skin cell turnover, so using it with an acid like Vitamin C can cause more irritation. (This is when you may start to see too much flakey skin!) Instead, use retinol at night and Vitamin C during the day. Vitamin C is a great protector from free radicals so as a general rule we always recommend to use it as a morning product! Retinol tends to work better with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and SPF.

Vitamin C and AHAs and BHAs

AHAs and BHAs, such as glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids should never be used with Vitamin C. Instead when using this product we often like to recommend the Skintuitive Multi B serum or Anesi Epigenesse. Vitamin B's skincare benefits makes a long list, from hydrating skin and reducing inflammation to regulating sebum production and brightening a lacklustre complexion. Its a great product to add to your routine if you have acne or outbreak issues or if your going through a time of stress in your life! Vitamin C is an acid too, and is unstable, so using it with the above mentioned acids will throw off the pH balance.

AHAs and BHAs and Retinol

Retinol combined with these acids is not recommended! Using these at the same time may leave your skin dry and irritated, since the main job of AHAs and BHAs is to exfoliate, which retinol already effectively does.

It’s better to mix AHAs and BHAs with moisturizing ingredients and SPF.


Sunscreen should be worn every single day but should never be mixed with makeup.

When wearing both, layer on the sunscreen first separately and wait before applying other products so they have properly absorbed. You could also consider a tinted SPF or SPF BB cream as a replacement for your makeup base.

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