The ingredients you definitely shouldn’t use together

Monday, 23 April 2018

Serums, potions, lotions – we understand better than most that they are super fun to experiment with. Then there’s face masks – carbonated, clay, sheet – on top of the new wave of water-based, souped-up toners that promise to prep and pamper your skin within an inch of its life. It’s all glamorous, and all fabulous.

But at some point, something starts eating at you.

Which ingredients can't mix

Likely to happen after you’ve added yet another step to your already 25min-long routine, it will occur to you that these products, all made by different brands, might not actually…you, know…work when together? Full-scale crisis. But not for long. Read our guide to which ingredients just don’t gel below, and venture forth into the beauty aisle with confidence.

Two physical exfoliants 

Almost everyone could stand to be a bit gentler on their skin. That’s why when you’re in a facialist’s chair, you’ll notice that they are touching your face softly, and why everyone and their grandma says to apply eye cream with your ring finger (the weakest, and therefore lightest, of the bunch). We know this. It’s simple.

But when it comes to our twice-weekly exfoliation, we tend to get a little carried away, forgetting everything we know about the skin’s sensitivity. We’ll happily rub off an apricot-kernal exfoliator with a rough face towel, ’cause it’s just more effective, right? Nope. Not true. Too much exfoliation can irritate your skin, and both your face cloth and your favourite exfoliator will do the trick on their own. Don’t combine them, hun.

AHA’s, BHA’s, and retinoids

There’s been a long-standing myth in the beauty industry that says direct acids like alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid will render retinoids ineffective if they’re in the same routine. But this hasn’t actually been substantiated. That said, these are still not ideal bedmates for anyone with sensitive skin, or those new to skin resurfacing. You can still use all your favourites, just make sure to apply them on alternating days. Monday is for your acid, Tuesday is for retinoids, and so on. Curious about AHA’s? Read this super informative piece from Skin Renewal.

Oils or balms with serums

As the editors at Charlotte’s Book have pointed out, there’s of course the possibility that combining some ingredients can leave your skin under- rather than overwhelmed. With the case of oil or balm cleansers, the residue left after a warm wash makes it difficult for products you apply after to have any real effect. Try using an oil cleanser only when you’ve applied a lot of makeup in the day, or to remove stubborn waterproof mascara. Apply moisturiser as usual, but give your (expensive) serums a skip – unless you follow your oil cleanser with a foaming one in a double-cleanse. On other days, give a milky cleanser a go, and follow-up with your usual skin treats.

Now that you know what goes where, check out this post on how to layer your products. If you have any questions about your routine that you want answered, send them through to us to pass on to our experts at Skin Renewal.

The post was brought to you by Skin Renewal.

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  1. Carey Wertheim

    Very interesting and good to know

    1 week ago •

  1. Fana_kw Karani-wookey

    Thank you for this article. I tend to be a bit rough with the exfoliation.It’s true more is not always best.

    4 weeks ago •

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