The Ultimate Guide to Layering & Mixing Skincare Ingredients

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Layering is a phrase that has been used in the skincare industry for a long time!

Layering is the process of applying many layers of skincare products in a specified order. However, it can also refer to using the same thing several times. 

Acids are excellent elements for achieving quick and efficient effects. There are so many different kinds of acids on the market that choosing the best one for you can be a daunting task.

Here are the how-to's what-of to's layering and mixing!

Skin ingredients combinations that work well together 

Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid and/or Vitamin E: 

When deciding to buy Vitamin C serum, look for the one that includes ferulic acid and/or vitamin E to maximize its effects. Vitamin C is beneficial in the treatment of skin dullness,pigmentation, and tanning. It’s very unstable, which is where these two other components, both potent antioxidants like vitamin C, come in.

Vitamin E and ferulic acid serum help to stabilize vitamin C and keep it from deteriorating. Plus, when it comes to delivering those beneficial antioxidant properties, all three operate together.

Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C:

In this tumultuous ingredient market, this is the greatest couple to root for. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that helps your skin retain moisture by tying moisture from the air and your skincare products together. This acid has the ability to store many times its weight in water, making it an excellent moisturizer. Skin that is well hydrated has a plump and energetic appearance. Benefits of using Vitamin C serum is that it brightens your skin while also promoting the production of elastin and collagen. It also protects the skin from the harmful UV rays that our skin is exposed to on a daily basis. 

Peptides + Retinol:

You get the retinol’s collagen-building properties, but when combined with peptide it enhances skin firmness. Furthermore, many peptide creams contain emollients, which are moisturizing chemicals that can help mitigate the unpleasant side effects that frequently accompany retinol use. Apply the retinol first (a pea-sized amount), then the peptide cream on top or look for a retinol and peptide serum for reaping benefits of both products by applying one.

Niacinamide + Retinol:

Exploring active ingredients can be difficult if you have sensitive skin. However, there is a combination that may work for you: retinol and niacinamide may be the perfect complement to start incorporating into your daily routine. By reducing oil production, retinol helps to calm aggravation-induced acne. However, using retinol alone can be too drying for people with sensitive skin. This is where niacinamide enters the picture. Niacinamide is a very stable active that can assist in reducing the aggravating effects of retinol. Without a doubt, niacinamide is a top pick ingredient: it clears up skin congestion while also ensuring hydration. They’re also better than acne’s rivals since they prevent dirt and debris from forming, which means your pores don’t have a chance to clog up.Retinol should be used only once or twice a week, in a separate routine from niacinamide  

Hyaluronic Acid + Niacinamide:

Your skin will be moisturized and healed by the combination of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide serum, leaving it clear and radiant. Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B3. Its anti-inflammatory qualities help to minimize pores, cure and rebuild the skin's protective layer, remove pigmentation and dark spots, and regulate oil production.

Apparently, our bodies already contain hyaluronic acid. It stimulates collagen and makes the skin more elastic, but as we age, our bodies produce less of it. Therefore incorporating hyaluronic acid-containing topical treatments in your skincare routine will be fantastic for your skin. 

Retinol + Ceramide Moisturizer: 

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that works wonders in the fight against aging. It has a high rate of cell turnover, which means it can help your skin repair itself more quickly. While our skin does this naturally, as we become older, the cycle slows down. With this potent activity, skin damage inversion is also possible. Retinol has the disadvantage of being drying to the skin. As a result, it’s vital to use it in conjunction with a moisturizer to prevent water loss. 

Skin ingredients combinations to avoid

Benzoyl peroxide + Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone lightens skin to erase dark spots and scars, whilst benzoyl peroxide is a spot treatment for acne and pimples. When the two substances are combined, they can cause a bleaching effect, which may leave marks on your skin. By avoiding the use of these two substances together, you can avoid unwanted skin reactions.

Vitamin C + Retinol

Retinol and vitamin C, taken separately, assist to brighten the complexion, erase dark spots, and delay the effects of aging. However, combining them will not double the shine; instead, it may cause skin irritation and redness. It’s recommended to include vitamin C in your morning routine and retinol in your evening routine.

Glycolic acid + salicylic acid

Exfoliating chemicals like salicylic and glycolic acid are used to improve skin texture, prevent wrinkles, and treat acne. Because both chemicals are drying, combining them can deplete your skin’s natural oils and cause irritation. Excessive exfoliating might harm the skin’s natural barrier, resulting in more problems. 

Ingredients that don’t work well together for beginners

There are various ingredients that don’t play well together and should be avoided specifically if you are a beginner to skincare actives. For instance, if you are a beginner it is always recommended to not to use Retinol, AHA,BHA with any other active except the humectants.

Two products with the same actives should always be avoided because this will increase the percentage of an active in your routine.

Make sure to always do a patch testing first before adding or layering two skincare actives into your routine.

Other skincare actives layering that needs to be avoided by beginners are:

Retinol & AHA/BHA- This causes irritation, redness and skin inflammation

Retinol & Vitamin C- To avoid the skin inflammation, irritation these actives should be used in separate routines.

Vitamin C & AHA/BHA- Both are pH-dependent to be active. Use Vitamin C in the morning routine and aha and bha serum in the night skincare routine. 

Things to know about mixing & layering skincare ingredients

Extra Exfoliation Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Using retinol and chemical exfoliants in tandem can result in peeling, irritation, and even burns. To begin, use alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic) or beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic) twice a week, but not on the same nights that you apply retinol. Lactic acid, on the other hand, is more hydrating than the others.

Don’t Excessively Use Active Ingredients

Too much of a good thing may be harmful, so avoid stacking a lot of powerful selections. People who use a glycolic acid cleanser followed by a glycolic acid lotion, for example, are “guaranteed to irritate skin Your face stings from the redness and flaking. When in doubt, just add one active-boosted ingredient. 

Skincare tips to follow while layering & mixing skin ingredients

Begin with a light source

Serums should be used first, as they are the lightest and thinnest. This is due to the fact that they perform efficiently and effectively transport active chemicals into the skin.

Include an antioxidant

Vitamin C is one of the most sought-after nutrients for all skin types. It protects your skin from the sun, boosts collagen production, and improves your complexion. Vitamin C will be destabilized if used with a moisturizer or toner that contains an alpha hydroxy acid (for example, glycolic acid serum).

Recognize when to go backwards

Pay close attention to how each product you use on your skin, especially your face, reacts. If a product irritates or reddens your skin,mix the serum with a moisturizer to dilute it to help prevent irritation.

Keep security in mind

The final and most important step in your daily regimen is applying sunscreen. Because it rests on top of your skin’s top layer, it prevents different components from accessing the skin layer if you apply it first on cleansed skin.

Take a nightcap

Using a retinoid to finish your nightly skincare routine will make you look much younger. Because retinol breaks down in the sun, it’s best used in the evening and shouldn’t be stacked or used with certain substances like salicylic acid or vitamin C. Cleanse, apply an essential moisturizer on top, and forgo exfoliating for the next two mornings if you’re using retinol.

Optimum concentration of active skin ingredients

When it comes to skin care, it’s a frequent fallacy that more is better. It would seem obvious that the more ingredient actives you apply to your skin, the better the outcomes and the faster you’ll see them. This misunderstanding can lead to a desire to seek out items with the largest amounts of potent chemicals. However, experts say that shopping for skin care based on those figures is actually harming your skin. 



Although layering skincare products can be difficult, there is no need to feel obligated to incorporate them in your skincare routine. Finding a healthy skin routine that works for you and that you will stick to is the most important factor. Have a nice time experimenting, whether that contains everything or a streamlined custom. Skin irritation might occur if you use too many items or apply them incorrectly. Consult a dermatologist who specializes in skin care if you’re uncertain. They’ll point you in the proper direction! 



Salicylic acid and retinol is a retinol and acid combination that you should avoid. The BHA is a drying substance, and combining it with retinol will cause skin irritation that is unbearable. Niacinamide with salicylic acid will function in unison to calm the skin. 


From the lowest to the highest pH, use the ingredients. If you’re using active compounds, it’s critical to understand their inexact pH values and work your way up from the lowest to the highest. 


Using defective products can lead to new skin problems. Applying serums on top of oils, for example, will not let them penetrate in the skin and resolve the concern. Alternatively, if you apply serums, lotions, and oils on top of your mineral sunscreen, the efficacy of other skincare products applied to your skin will be weakened. It’s also possible that your skin will become unprotected.