Listen up, all you maximalist faithful... One size doesn’t necessarily fit all in the world of skincare! 

When it comes to playing mixologist with your topical products, there’s no room for the guessing game! That’s why we’ve concocted a foolproof, rule-of-thumb guide to the beauty laws that you should abide by (including the combinations to steer clear of), whatever your skin type. Get clued-up with the science lessons that they didn’t teach you in school, and learn your way around the active ingredients that were practically made for one another – as well as those that are best given a seriously wide berth...


Layering products can be a recipe for your best skin yet – after all, you’re quite literally locking in vitamins and supercharged antioxidants to enhance their benefits. However, it can also be a breeding ground for disaster. Coincidentally, the biggest culprit in terms of its ability to completely sabotage one’s skincare efforts, is also one of the most effective when used correctly: The Vitamin A-derivative, retinol.

While it’s an absolute powerhouse for sloughing off dead skin cells and brightening the complexion, such powers mean that this ingredient simultaneously acts as a peeling agent – ergo, any other exfoliating ingredients are Out. Of. The. Question. Acids like Hydroxy, Glycol and Lactic should be avoided at all costs for risk of causing excessive dryness and damaging the skin’s delicate protective barrier; it’s even been suggested that said products aren’t to be used within the same 24 hours… In short, it’s a big no-no! Instead, mix up those more ‘abrasive’ products on different days of the week, and favour retinoids for evening use only.

Of course, if you’re going hard and heavy with your retinol, then an SPF 30 or greater is absolutely paramount. Because of the ingredient’s exfoliating nature, your skin will be at its most sensitive after use, and far more prone to the negative effects of complex and broad spectrum UV radiation.

Vitamin C is another foe of retinol. Working optimally at a low pH of less than 3.5 – whereas retinol thrives at 5.5-6 pH – the benefits of the two are completely redundant when used in tandem, which also goes for Alpha Hydroxy Acids that by nature alter and destabilise the skin’s pH. For optimal efficacy, Vitamin C is best utilised in the morning as a protective barrier against the inevitable barrage of daily pollutants, followed by an SPF. This can, in fact, work to undo the effects of photo damage – so it’s what you might call a complete no-brainer!

On the flip side of what not to mix, Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid step forward as a collagen-boosting and free radical-fighting cocktail when teamed with Vitamin C. Ferulic Acid also creates a unique delivery system when partnered with retinol. While Vitamins A, C and E work together to defend against free radicals – smoothing fine lines, increasing moisture, reducing the appearance of scars and uneven skin pigmentations respectively – plant-based, antioxidant Ferulic Acid paves the way for a deeper penetration of your chosen retinoid, whilst also reducing the effects of environmental aggressors.

Layer up, smart! And, remember: More isn't always more...

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+ Combination complexions are no match for this beauty trio from Aēsop