What ingredients should not be combined in cosmetics?

What cosmetics can be combined Beauty

It has already been mentioned many times that when caring for your facial skin, you need to understand the needs of your skin, as well as carefully approach the choice of cosmetics. But for effective care, you also need to know the characteristics of the ingredients contained in the products you will use. And here we will talk about the incompatibility of certain ingredients.

Incompatibility of cosmetics

Incompatibility can be of two types: the first - when the ingredients mutually enhance each other, the second - when they either suppress or neutralize each other. With both the first and second options, the effectiveness of care will be lost.

In one case, the functional properties of the ingredients are reduced or simply changed, in another, adverse reactions on the skin may occur.

There are not many ingredients that are incompatible with each other. Let's look at some of them, namely those that are most often found in cosmetics and are often used by consumers.


This is one of the forms of vitamin A. Its effectiveness has been repeatedly proven. Retinol stimulates collagen synthesis at the cellular level. Retinol itself is often found in cosmetics, as well as retinol esters, retinaldehyde and others...

Incompatibility of cosmetics

What ingredients should you not combine retinol with?

This is vitamin C. Each of them creates its own pH on the skin. The effect of vitamin C is most active at a pH value of 3,5. If you apply retinol to the skin, the pH will increase to 6, therefore, you should not apply vitamin C after that, both the first and second will be ineffective, and in combination they will increase skin sensitivity. Retinol and vitamin C have powerful anti-aging benefits and are strong on the skin, and when used together they can lead to irritation and redness.

Cosmetics containing these active ingredients are best used in courses. If using products on the same day, it is better to apply a product with vitamin C first, as it has a lower pH than retinol, such as serum. Then after some time, about an hour, when your skin has absorbed the vitamin C serum and returned to its pH, apply a retinol product.

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Retinol and Vitamin B3 (niacinamide). Niacinamide hydrates and brightens. This active substance helps get rid of age spots and is also effective in improving skin microrelief.

To avoid irritation, apply a product with vitamin B3 1,5 - 2 hours after retinol.

Incompatibility of cosmetics

Retinol and Acids (AHA, BHA)

If retinol and acids are applied to the skin at the same time, this will cause skin hypersensitivity, dryness and irritation. It is also more effective to use them in courses - in the fall - acids, in the winter - retinol. Or, at least this way - in the evening - retinol with moisturizing, the next morning - weakly acidic care with the obligatory use of SPF.

Retinol oxidizes in the sun, so it is necessary to use sunscreen. AHA acids exfoliate the stratum corneum of the skin, and this also increases the risk of burns and pigmentation.

Retinol and Peptides. Retinol works in an acidic environment, and peptides lose their properties in this environment, therefore, there is no point in talking about any combination of such agents. This means use the products at different times.

Retinol and Benzoyl Peroxide. Retinol stimulates cellular renewal and normalizes the functioning of the sebaceous glands. Benzoyl peroxide has an anti-inflammatory effect. Both components are very powerful, and combining them in simultaneous care can cause side effects.

After using retinol, moisturizers are recommended.

Retinol combines well with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, squalane, oils, tocopherol (vitamin E) and acts more gently. Hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin and neutralizes the aggressiveness of retinol.

All of these ingredients strengthen the skin's protective barrier and prevent or reduce irritation that retinol can cause. You should not use retinol every day, as severe irritation may occur. It should be applied in such a way as to allow the skin to adapt. Apply two to three times a week at first, preferably at night, gradually increase the frequency of application to once a day.

What cosmetics can and cannot be combined: incompatible ingredients

Vitamin C

It is a powerful antioxidant and stimulator of collagen synthesis, has a lightening effect (eliminates freckles and post-acne spots). This vitamin can be in a stable or unstable form.

The compatibility of vitamin C with other active substances depends on its form. Unstable vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is not compatible with other actives, as it oxidizes quickly. Stable vitamin C comes in many varieties that work well with other actives.

Vitamin C and lyslots in cosmetics

When using products with vitamin C, avoid the simultaneous use of salicylic and glycolic acids, as the combined action of these components can cause severe drying of the skin and even the occurrence of rosacea.

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Combining vitamin C with acids can cause irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin, since acids plus the acidic form of vitamin C will create an aggressive effect, so it is better to use these components at different times of the day or take a course of acids first, then a course of vitamin C products.

Vitamin C and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Compatibility depends on the stability of vitamin C. Stable forms together with niacinamide should be used with caution (in low concentrations - up to 5%). It is better to use the unstable (acidic) form and niacinamide in courses, or at different times of the day.

Vitamin C and peptides

The unstable form of vitamin C, like retinol, can neutralize the effect of peptides, so there is no point in combining them one after another. Stable vitamin C goes well with peptides.

Acids and their compatibility in cosmetics

We already know why AHA acids are attractive in cosmetics. AHAs are water-soluble acids that work on the surface of the skin. The most commonly used are fruit acids, lactic, mandelic, glycolic and others. These components provide cleansing, exfoliate dead skin particles, promote epidermis renewal, brighten, removing hyperpigmentation and freckles, and smooth out the texture.

BHA acids are fat soluble. This is salicylic acid, which deeply cleanses pores, prevents them from clogging, brightens the skin and has an antimicrobial effect.

Both types of acids complement each other perfectly and are often found together.

Peptides and AHAs

This combination will not cause side effects such as irritation, it is simply useless. Peptides do not work in an acidic environment. Therefore, sometimes we get disappointed when we use an expensive peptide product incorrectly.

Niacinamide or vitamin B3 is one of those ingredients that is suitable for all skin types. Vitamin B3 brightens the skin and prevents the appearance of pigmentation, stimulates collagen production, increases skin firmness and elasticity.

Niacinamide is incompatible with acidic environments. When used together with acids, skin irritation and redness may occur. However, cosmetics manufacturers use this combination for oily and problem skin.

What cosmetics can be combined

Niacinamide and Vitamin C

It is also not recommended to use cosmetics with niacinamide together with vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. The effectiveness of both ingredients is neutralized, and niacin may also be formed, which will cause skin irritation.

Ascorbic acid works best at low pH, while niacinamide works best at neutral or higher pH. It is better to alternate these products (with niacinamide and vitamin C) every other day, especially if your skin is sensitive.

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The great thing about niacinamide is that it can be used regularly. Niacinamide enhances collagen production. Using it in combination with hyaluronic acid, you can achieve the best results. The skin will become more elastic, wrinkles will disappear. In other words, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid can be used simultaneously.

Niacinamide should not be combined with oils, paraffin and silicones. Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin, heavy oily structures, dense silicone and wax will prevent penetration.

Niacinamide and peptides

This is a good combination, they can be used simultaneously.

Other examples of unsuccessful combinations in cosmetics:

  • Acids and alcohol. Alcohol is an aggressive component, and in combination with acids it will destroy the protective layer of the skin, so irritation is possible.
  • SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and acids. Lauryl sulfate is used for foaming in foams and gels for washing. After washing with such products, you should not apply lotion containing acids.
  • AHA acids and essential oils. Unlucky couple. Acid can enhance or weaken the effect.

In one composition, components such as paraffin, wax, silicone and peptides are an unfriendly company. Peptides are designed to penetrate deeply into the skin, and substances with a dense texture will not allow them to penetrate, so peptides in this composition are ineffective.

  • Scrub and acids. After scrubbing, it is better not to use acids; it can increase skin sensitivity or even irritation and peeling.
  • Serums/masks/peptides and cream. Use serums and fabric masks at the beginning of care, then you can apply cream. Serums have a light texture, so they penetrate the skin more easily. If you apply the cream first, its fatty base will prevent the penetration of serum, as well as hyaluronic acid and peptides.
  • Titanium dioxide/zinc oxide and natural oils. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used in sunscreens, but do not use oils before applying them; protection will be reduced.

If your cosmetic product contains incompatible components, you don’t have to worry, but only if these products were purchased from manufacturers who value their impeccable reputation and you completely trust them. All well-known manufacturers stabilize product formulas, so safety and effectiveness are guaranteed.

However, when choosing cosmetic products, always follow these recommendations and use sunscreen during the day.