Choosing the best skin care products for your skin type should be the first step in perfecting your beauty routine. Once you know what works for you, you can also experiment with mixing them, as long as you pay attention to a few basic tips.

Learn some of the most important dos and don’ts for mixing skin care products, so you can avoid using ingredients that “cancel” each other out or similar ingredients that can cause dryness or redness when used together.

Do Pay Attention to Ingredients

Start analyzing your skin care products carefully and you’ll be able to mix and match them more successfully. Some products will fight each other and your skin won’t benefit from either, while others can be too effective and cause irritation. Pay close attention to all the ingredients in your cosmetics and you’ll be less likely to make a damaging mistake.

Don’t Use Vitamin C with AHAs

When you’re mixing skin care products, vitamin C and alpha hydroxy acids should never be mixed. AHAs can destabilize vitamin C, removing its power as an antioxidant. If you use them in separate products that you apply at the same time, you might also cause irritation, from redness to peeling. Make sure that you keep them separate in your skin care routine.

Don’t Mix Retinol with Acids

AHAs should also be avoided when you’re using products that contain Retinol. All vitamin A derivatives should be kept separate from acids, including lactic acid and glycolic acid. While over the counter retinoids might not cause trouble, Retinol in higher concentrations can cause redness when mixed with any acids. You should also avoid mixing it with benzoyl peroxide, since neither ingredient will be effective.

Don’t Use Benzoyl Peroxide with Vitamin C

This acne clearing ingredient doesn’t just have unwanted interactions with Retinol, you should also avoid using it at the same time or right after products with vitamin C. As long as you’re using benzoyl peroxide to get rid of acne, pay close attention to mixing skin care products. Vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide should only be used on different days, otherwise you won’t be getting the effects of either.

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Do Experiment with Products from the Same Line

Skin care products in the same line, that are designed to complete each other, are usually great for your skin. You should still be careful when it comes to ingredients that don’t work well together, but most of the time you can use products from the same line without fear of irritation or loss in efficacy.

Don’t Use Salicylic Acid with Glycolic Acid

One of the biggest mixing skin care products dont’s is using both glycolic acid and salicylic acid in your skin care regimen on the same day. If you’re using salicylic acid to fight acne, opt for a more gentle exfoliator. Combining the two almost always results in dry skin, but that can also make the sebaceous glands in the skin work overtime and you’ll end up with very oily skin.

Don’t Mix Retinol with Scrubs

Especially if you’re just starting to use them, retinoids can make your skin sensitive and even dry it out temporarily. Whether you’re using Retinol or other vitamin A derivatives, you should avoid using harsh scrubs. This means that you should avoid mixing both home made scrubs with sea salt or brown sugar and products with micro-particles with retinoids.

Do Give Them Time

When mixing skin care products, it’s important to give your skin time to really show you if the combination is working. In the absence of any side effects, try the combination for 6-8 weeks before deciding if it really works or not.

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Don’t Use Vitamin C with Retinol

Some products contain both ingredients in low concentrations, but when you’re using separate products with Retinol and vitamin C as the active ingredient, you should avoid using them on the same days, or you’ll risk dryness and irritation.

Don’t Mix a Sonic Brush with Exfoliants

When mixing skin care products, you should always be wary of going too far. Using a sonic brush means you don’t need other exfoliants. However, if you want to keep using chemical exfoliants or scrubs, give the sonic brush a rest.