ROKer Question Answered. Beauty products- To mix or not to mix?

My dear friend and ROKer, “cookiemonster” posted a great question concerning the application of multiple beauty products from various brands. The coockiemonster asked:

“What do you think about the fact that most companies tell you strictly NOT to use their products together with other competitors products and thereby indirectly prohibit you from combine your favourites? Do you think there is something to it, or is it just an exploiting way for the companies to keep you from buying their competitors products? Could it be that different products contain different chemicals and substances that should not be mixed with others and therefore can actually matter if you use lets say a facial cleanser from one company and then a cream from another?”

This is something I myself wondered about for the longest time. I remember reading skin-tips from magazines when I was younger, recommending sticking to one line, and one line only. I’ve come to realize this is rather unintelligent advice, as most lines do not contain a full regiment of products containing all the major active ingredients for your particular skin concern, be it fine lines and wrinkles, acne, or dehydration. The most important in my book (and also in most dermatologists books) are retinol, AHA’s, and antioxidants (vit.E,A,C,reservatrol etc.)

As you might have noticed, I tend to use and recommend different products from different brands, based on their efficacy and ingredient list, this is also what most dermatologists do.

According to dermatologist Dr. Neil Schultz, it is not the different products per se that may cause problems, he even states there is no limit to the amount of active agents you may use, as long as you use them correctly. Rather it is the cross-reaction of the agents of products layered on top of each other, and the vehicle in which those agents are transported that matter.

Some ingredients do not work together, such as Retinol, AHA’s, and vitamin C, which should therefore be applied separately. So in this regard, using products from the same brand might be beneficial, but never by all means necessary! One must just take retinol, AHA’s, and vitamin C into consideration as agents that should not be combined at the same time, but at intervals. If you stick to this simple rule, it doesn’t matter which line you choose to buy them from. Another point to reflect on is the vehicle of your product when applying various products together, such as serums, lotions and creams.

According to Dr. Neil Schultz, the lighter/ less oil-containing agent goes on first, like lotions and watery products, and you add the heavier ones, like a cream last. This ensures the proper absorption of the active ingredients in your creams and serums.

I’ll try to give you a visual: Imagine pouring a light fluid into a heavy fluid. The watery fluid will then sit on top of the oilier fluid, and form a layer there. This is what happens in our skin as well.

If you apply a heavy cream first, the lighter serum will not be able to penetrate down to your deeper skin layers, and will therefore not give you the effect you bought it for. On the other hand, if you apply the lighter agent first and the heavy cream afterwards, the cream will still be able to penetrate the lighter lotion and exert its effect on your skin.

As a rule of thumb the light occlusive agents found in skincare are: silicones, jojoba oil, and niacinamide. While the heavy occlusive’s are: petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, and sheabutter.

There are of course positives of using products from the same line, such as:

  1. Vehicles are used to work together in the products, and you need not worry about when to add one or the other.
  2. Order of product application is easy and followed as instructed by the line without considering cross-reactions of agents.
  3. Timing becomes straightforward, as there is no need to wait excessively between product applications.

I have yet to find one brand, which offers all the active ingredients I love, and so I choose to add favorites from different lines as I discover them. I have had no problems doing this so far, and with the support of the dermatological community on this, I feel we are all safe to choose the products we feel work the best on our skin, without having to succumb to pressure- to- buy from cosmetic companies.

I hope this helps cookiemonster!

And to all my ROKers, do not hesitate to ask a question if you have one! Easiest way to do so is by commenting on my blog posts.

Have a splendid evening, lovelies!

- Rolah