Skincare Ingredients: To Mix or Not to Mix?

The ingredients used in Korean skincare have some fantastic properties that can truly transform your skin. Ranging from acids and actives to natural ingredients like propolis and snail mucin, there’s truly a wide variety to choose from. But for most of us, using just one product is never enough. With all the amazing formulations available out there, it’s nearly impossible to not want to have them all at once.

If you’re following a skincare routine that has multiple steps (which we highly recommend), you’re definitely going to end up layering products on top of each other, inevitably causing them to combine. This stands especially true if you’re following a Korean skincare routine. Some ingredients truly get together like peas in a pod, sometimes working as a team to further enhance each other’s capabilities. In such scenarios, these products may end up working far better as a combination than they did solo. On the flip side, some products just can’t get along with each other, which might just spell trouble for your skin. To stay on the safer side, it’s better to let these ingredients play alone. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a chemist to figure it all out. We’ve put together a list of some popular skin care ingredients along with all the details you’ll need to figure out what to mix them with and what to avoid. All the products mentioned in the article can be found on Maccaron. 

Don’t Mix

  1. Retinol and AHA/BHA

Retinol or Vitamin A is a popular anti-aging ingredient that promotes fast cell turnover. This translates to a marked reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, giving skin a brighter and smoother complexion overall. Hydroxy acids like AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliants that melt away dead skin cells, hence smoothening out the skin and giving it a brightening effect. On the surface, it may seem like retinol and hydroxy acids will get along well together since they both have a similar effect on the skin.

However, it is important to remember that too much exfoliation can actually have a negative effect on the skin by drying it out and irritating it. For this reason, it’s best to avoid mixing products that contain retinol and any hydroxy acid. In some cases, a product formulated with both these ingredients may offer great results. These may be safe to use as they are formulated by professionals. If you want to use retinol and AHAs/BHAs together, you can opt for such a product or use them alternatively. For example, if you’re using retinol on one night, you can use a hydroxy acid the next night. When it comes to hydroxy acids, the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid 100ml is a popular pick. It contains an AHA called glycolic acid which helps to refine the skin’s texture.

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2. Vitamin C and Retinol

Products that contain Vitamin C act as antioxidants for the skin by fighting skin damage caused by environmental causes and the sun. Vitamin C is also popularly used for its amazing ability to lighten spots, marks, and other pigmentation as well as boosting antiaging efforts.

The reason why it’s best to not mix Vitamin C and retinol is that they both flourish at different pH levels. While Vitamin C has a lower pH level of around 3.5, retinol performs best at a pH level between 5.5–6. Layering or combining them may cause irritation to your skin, especially if your skin is slightly sensitive.

Considering the amazing benefits that both the ingredients offer, we understand that you wouldn’t want to let go of either of them. Don’t worry, you can still incorporate both these ingredients into your routine. You can use your Vitamin C product in the morning and stick to using retinol at night.

One of the best Vitamin C serums available in the market is the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drops 35ml which you can find on Maccaron.

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3. Oil and Water

This one’s probably a given but it’s definitely easy to mess up, considering the variety of products available in both these variants. But the basic truth is that oils and waters don’t get along well. Oil has a tendency to repel water, forming a film over your skin which will prevent any water-based product that you apply over it from being absorbed by your skin. You can work your way around this by first cleansing your face with an oil followed by a water-based cleanser. Proceed by applying your water-based products first and applying your oilbased product last to seal it all in. This way you’ll get the benefits of all the products you use while preventing moisture from escaping thanks to the oil barrier. The Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil 150g is a great choice for a cleansing oil.

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You Can Mix

  1. AHA and BHA

These two hydroxy acids are already heroes on their own but can make a much more powerful team when paired. With the brightening properties of AHA and BHA’s ability to penetrate your pores, mixing AHA and BHA can give fabulous results!

As is the case with any product, it’s best to do a patch test when you try a combination like this one to ensure that it doesn’t irritate your skin. Also, try using products that contain a lower percentage of hydroxy acids. Or, you could just play it safe with a product that already contains both! You can try the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner 150ml.

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2. Hyaluronic Acid and Everything

Be it retinol, AHA, BHA, niacinamide, or even Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid gets along with pretty much everyone. This potent humectant not only mixes well with even the most volatile ingredients (we’re looking at you, retinol!), but it even enhances their benefits by hydrating the skin and hence preventing the dryness and irritation some ingredients may cause. You can easily layer hyaluronic acid with other products without worrying about a bad reaction.

If you’re looking for a great product that contains hyaluronic acid, you can try the It’s Skin Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Serum 40ml

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3. Vitamin E and Vitamin C

Vitamin E is a popularly used lipid-soluble ingredient that can be found in all kinds of skincare products ranging from lip balms to eye creams and everything in between. Rich in antioxidants, it works wonderfully at healing skin and protecting it from the environment. Although Vitamin E gets along great with pretty much everything, it performs extremely well in combination with Vitamin C. By combining both these vitamins, your skin will get a double dose of antioxidants which will work even more effectively at fighting free radicals and fading pigmentation.

You can go ahead and incorporate a great Vitamin E product along with Vitamin C in your skincare routine. We recommend the It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VE Effector Serum 30ml which will give your skin a great dose of Vitamin E goodness.

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With all these facts in your arsenal, you can now safely get started with using some great skincare combinations on your skin while effectively avoiding the bad duos. You can find all the products that you’ll need on Maccaron.

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