If you buy a Whirlpool washer, get a Whirlpool dryer. They just seem to go together. But does the same thing apply to skincare brands? Is it better to stick with just one brand? Maybe, but not necessarily. Some brands give you a fairly explicit regimen that you can follow. Step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So simple. So perfect. Only problem is, everyone’s needs and budget are different.
If you wish, you can mix and match brands, but here are a few things to consider.
- Mixing brands can cause some redundancy (your skin can take only so much retinol!), while at the same time may also cause omissions (for example, too many products that stimulate, and not enough products that calm your skin).
- Varying consistencies (viscosities) can affect absorption. So if you’re not following a regimen, one product may limit or block the absorption of another. The general rule of thumb is this: Apply products from thinnest to thickest—meaning, use lightweight toners and lotions before applying serums and creams.
- Apply prescription products before cosmeceutical products. If you’re using Retin-A and Lifeline Night Recovery Moisture Complex, apply the prescription-strength Retin A first.
- If you have difficulty tolerating products that may be irritating, you may be tempted to either abandon using the product(s) or getting a reduced strength. Both, of course, will reduce the effectiveness and result. It’s better to add a product that calms and soothes the skin such as Night Recovery Moisture Complex.
- Be careful not to use ingredients that neutralize each other. Stem cell skin care products (like Lifeline Stem Cell Skin Care) can complement any skincare line because the key ingredient—growth factors from human stem cells—don’t compete with other active ingredients.
- Varying pHs can cause certain ingredients to neutralize each other. Retinoic acid, L-ascorbic acid (a form of Vitamin C) and glycolic acid are all acidic, so they complement each other. But if they’re mixed with ingredients with a higher, more alkaline, pH, they will be neutralized, and may be ineffective. Conversely, their weaker cousins (like retinol) shouldn’t be used with acidic ingredients. If you’re using retinol (like in over-the-counter ROC products), use stabilized non-acidic vitamin C.
- Apply sunscreen as your final step. SPF30 sunscreens are intended to be barriers. So not only are they effective at keeping out UV rays, they limit the penetration or absorption of everything else—including active ingredients. Absorption and penetration is key to the effectiveness of cosmeceuticals.
If you have questions about your regimen, speak with a trusted aesthetician or skincare professional.