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Ingredients You Should Never Mix on Your Skin

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

You don't need to be a skincare enthusiast to know that oils should be applied after water-based products, but what are the less obvious combinations you should avoid? We compiled a helpful ingredient cocktail blacklist so you can continue your routine without worry!

skincare, white woman in the sunshine, radiant skin, eyes closed

So, what's a Skincare no-go?

1. Too Many Actives at Once

Piling on products with the same key ingredients can only go two ways. On one hand, you end up wasting your time and money on products that virtually do the same thing. A good example are those 2 niacinamide bottles that might be sitting on your shelf - did you really need both?

On the other hand, you risk some serious irritation occurring. If you end up using two acidic products at the same time, your skin will likely dry out from their harshness, which could snowball into a lot of other skin concerns. If you must use different acids, we recommend swapping them every other day in your night routine.

2. Salicylic Acid and Retinol: Dry, Dry, Dry...

Mixing retinol with types of acids (AHA, BHA) can lead to irritation. While they do work in different ways - with retinol promoting cell turnover, and salicylic acid exfoliating the epidermis -, they have very similar results. Both types of products will seek to bring new skin cells to the surface of your face. If you mix them, you will burn away too many cells at once, which leaves you very prone to sun damage.

(Not using SPF is a skincare sin in the first place. For help with this, we have dedicated a separate article here.)

3. Retinol (or Retinoid) and Vitamin C: Bad Compatibility

Studies show that in its active form (ascorbic acid), Vitamin C should have a pH no higher than 3.5 to properly be absorbed into and give your skin results. Retinoids and retinol can have a pH that's over 20 times higher than that! Mixing them together will unfortunately diminish the efficacy of both these products. What's more, they might not make a good pairing because the former is soluble in oil, while Vitamin C dissolves in water; this can greatly affect their ability to break your skin barrier and get to work from the inside. They are both great products that should, however, not meet on your face.

4. Niacinamide and Acids: Not Great, Not Terrible

We won't bore you with the details, but niacinamide will convert to niacin if it hits low pH levels. Niacin is known to make your face flush, and we think a reddened face isn't the best result you might be looking for. While there are some skin serums on the market that do combine acids and niacinamide, we see the point in why some people would rather avoid it. Moreover, homemade skincare cocktails that result from 1 acidic product and 1 niacinamide-based product are bound to be less stable than 1 single dermatologically approved bottle containing both. All in all, it's better to be safe than sorry, right?

Sample Bottle of Serum
Serum to the Rescue

How to fix irritated skin?

We're glad you came onto this article! Although prevention is better than treatment, everyone makes mistakes at times. If you caught yourself mixing these up, we encourage you to take a break from acidic products and focus on building back your healthy skin. Obviously, you should consult with your dermatologist if any concerning effects have already shown up!

If you're looking to protect your skin, we highly recommend a complex that will replenish what's lost and soothe your face. Our Superior Complexion Antioxidant Serum is an organic formula that promotes good moisture levels and protects cells from further damage. With it, however, you get the added benefits of a luxurious, silky gliding over the face, and a scent that will calm you down and make you forget about any past concern. We've formulated our serum to meet your life in the middle, through excellent high-quality vegan ingredients and an experience that will amp up any routine. The ingredients used are great for aiding the skin barrier, giving it a healthier appearance.

Because we know how tiring it can be to find the perfect product, we are letting you in on a secret: you can get 10% off by joining our newsletter!


We hope this article has been useful to you! We recommend having this list on hand the next time you decide on adding something to your skincare routine. Let us know if you've saved it to your phone and, if you have any more questions, we look forward to seeing you over on Instagram @jierrabeauty. Here's to great skin!

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