Skincare Ingredients you Should Never Mix

a woman applying serum on her face

Skincare ingredients not to mix

A skincare routine is something that everyone plans according to their skin demands. When you change some of the products in your skincare routine after following them for years it is very uncertain and confusing which mix well with other products or layer well with other products. 

You need to go through some trial-and-error while trying a new product combination, that is, which is complementing the other one. So for your help, we are providing a list of ingredients that never goes along well so you must avoid their mixing.

1. Oil And Water

As you know oil repels water, and whenever we try to mix an oil-based product with that of a water-based product they never mix together and form a layer of water over your skin that prevents water from being absorbed. If you are using both such products in your skincare routine then use water-based products first and then use oil-based products. So water-based products also show effectiveness over your skin. But to be on the safe side you should always use serums and water-based products together.

2. Vitamin C And AHAs And BHAs

Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids such as salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids should never be mixed together in their application. Vitamin C is an unstable acid, so there would be fluctuations in your pH balance as you perform their layering together, and then there is nothing they can provide to your skin.

3. AHAs And BHAs And Retinol

When AHAs and BHAs are mixed together they can only bless you with dry, irritated, and unhealthy skin. As retinol is used to effectively exfoliate your skin, so do the AHAs and BHAs. So it will be a disaster together as both of them are great exfoliants. So it is better to use AHAs and BHAs with some trusted moisturizing ingredients and SPF.

4. Niacinamide And AHAs And BHAs

When AHAs and BHAs used together with niacinamide they do nothing to your skin except the redness. As niacinamide can raise the pH level of acids to 3-4 having its own pH at about 5-7, which cancels out one another. When both these are used separately they can help your skin with its acne, texture, and signs of ageing. 

5. Copper peptides and vitamin C

Copper peptides are becoming very popular in skin care due to their ability to energize skin renewal. Just make sure you don't mix them with vitamin C as they can oxidize Vitamin C and reduce its antioxidant effect. To achieve the maximum benefits of each ingredient, You can split their use between your morning and evening routine or you can use them on alternating days.


Retinol is generally considered to be good for the skin. It is a powerful ingredient that can provide numerous benefits, such as promoting collagen production, increasing cell turnover, and improving skin texture and tone. Retinol has been shown to be effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, making it a popular choice among those looking to improve their skin's overall health and appearance.


A type of vitamin B3 is called niacinamide. Although it serves a variety of purposes, it is mostly recognized for its skin-specific anti-aging properties. Because niacinamide is an active form of vitamin B3 in your body, skin cells can absorb and use it. The body can make nicotinic acid, the alternative form of vitamin B3 when it is required, but it is not found in the food. Niacinamide is a different name for nicotinic acid.

Retinol + Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid and retinol should not be combined because, when taken in high doses, both ingredients have the potential to be potent and skin-irritating. Combining them may also change their pH levels, which might impact how effective they are. Salicylic acid and retinol can be used in the same skincare regimen, but only if they are applied at distinct times or in different products. 

What skincare ingredients should be mixed?

The following skincare ingredients should be mixed:

  • Vitamin C and Vitamin E
  • Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide
  • Retinol and Peptides
  • AHA/BHA and Hydrating ingredients

Take Away

What most skincare specialists advise is to use any potentially irritating product individually for at least two-three weeks and then wait for the product's reaction. If any such product when used on its own causes any skin irritation then you must avoid using it immediately or with any other potentially irritating ingredients. Even a most safe and ubiquitous ingredient like niacinamide can also be allergic to someone and irritate them. Also, it is very necessary to give your skin the much-needed rest it seeks from you which helps it greatly in rejuvenating naturally.

Also, if there are chances of you having any sort of persistent skin irritation or dryness then you must be visiting some professional and trusted dermatologist to seek a well-tested and research-backed treatment. You should also use a mild and gentle cleanser for your skin in parallel with your skin-type moisturizer.


What not to use with retinol?

You should never use AHAs and BHAs with retinol.

Where should I avoid retinol on my face?

You should avoid near eyes, mouth, and nose. As it is highly acidic in nature it can cause problems when applied to the opening of our face.

What pairs best with vitamin C?

Vitamin C pairs well with Vitamin E, Ferulic acid, Vitamin B, and Hyaluronic acid.


5 skincare ingredients that should always be paired together. By Healthline, Sept 13, 2022.

The Do’s and Dont’s of mixing skincare ingredients. By InStyle, Aug 21, 2022.

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