Skincare Cocktailing: Do’s & Don’ts

Beauty Hack boosters DIY Mixing Skincare skincarecocktailing

Can I mix my skincare?

Not the booze-filled parties where “pink ladies” hawk over-priced and underperforming skincare. Skincare cocktailing is the mixing of complimentary skincare to enhance the performance or customize for your skin’s individual needs.  

The rules of layering and desire to maximize our investment have perpetuated a fear of mixing skincare – the fear is real and pervasive. The truth is that when your skincare underperforms, the reason is unlikely due to misapplication. More likely, it’s your skincare, not you. The brave-hearted are taking up skincare mixology to supercharge, personalize, and streamline their skincare routine.

Why Risk It?

Why not, when the rewards far outweigh the risks. The orchestration of multiple active ingredients exponentially outperforms a single ingredient – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  One-note skincare, coined in countless Beautypedia reviews, lack that orchestration producing underwhelming results. Skin magic returns to the realm of possibilities with the combination of several lower priced, one-notes or with another underwhelming product.

As unique and dynamic as snowflakes, everyone’s skin has individual demands.  When met, you will notice immediate and continued improvements to your complexion. Skin cocktailing improves the odds and speed of success with the introduction of additional active ingredients.  K-Beauty fatigued, few of us are eager to dedicate 2 or more hours per day to our skincare routine. Mixing complimentary skincare enables a more prescription approach while reducing the number of steps in your beauty routine.  

Cocktailing 101

Prepare yourself for success and failure when it comes to any skincare experimentation or DIY.  In either case, you have learned more about what works for your skin. This beauty hack requires no blender, all you need is your existing skincare, some courage, and a little know-how. 

  1. Stick To Mixing Skincare Not Ingredients. Chemical form, pH, solubility, potency, and inactive ingredients are a few reasons to avoid experimentation with the latest Dr. Oz craze.   If you are chasing a specific ingredient, try a lower-priced and very “ordinary” skincare product – wink, wink.
  2. No Rescuing Garbage Skincare – None. No mixology can transform any inferior, stale, or damaging ingredient in skincare. Return it or toss it, full stop.
  3. Never Buy Skincare for the Sole Purpose of Skin Cocktailing.  Reserve your investments for well-balanced skincare.  Instead, head to your skincare graveyard, review ingredients, check expiration dates, and look for the most suitable candidate.  
  4. Never Mix Entire Bottles, Even After Successful Cocktails. Without going neck-deep into chemistry, some ingredients can enhance performance, but don’t live together nicely.
  5. Save Experimentation for Least Sensitive Areas. The skin surrounding our eyes, neck and chest tend to be more sensitive than other areas of our face.  
  6. Oil and Water Never Mix, without an Emulsifier. Unless you intend to take up skincare formulation, only mix kindred skincare.  If the product is oil-free, stick with other oil-free products.  For emulsions, a mixture of oil(s) and water, the opportunities are endless.
  7. Avoid Disaster Combinations. The advice on mixing skincare ingredients varies WIDELY – just google it.  From a chemical and efficacy standpoint, it’s best to avoid mixing:
    • Niacinamide + Ascorbic Acid
    • Niacinamide + AHAs/BHAs
    • Retinols + AHAs/BHAs
    • Retinol + Ascorbic Acid
    • Face Oils + Oil-Free
    • Cleansing Oils + Cleansers
    • Cleansers + AHAs/BHAs

    Mixology Super Combinations

    The synergy of combined skincare Ingredients is well founded, both clinically and with personal testimonies.    Every Vitamin, Peptide, Antioxidant, Amino Acid, AHA/BHA, Botanical Extract or Humectant has one or more pairings that boosts performance.  Some of my favorite combinations include:

    As with these and countless other pairings, you can compound and expedite skin improvements while tailoring ingredients for your skins dynamic needs.  

    Intrigued, Yet Unconvinced?

    Beautyhack or wack?

    If you desire a little more guidance in skincare cocktailing, consider a skincare booster, specifically designed for DIY. 

    Many "beauty hacks" are well-intended, but do your skin more harm than good. For unbiased information on additional power pairings, see INCIdecoder.  



    As always, feel free to share your comments or contact me directly with any questions.  

    Cheers to better skin!

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