How to Add Active Skincare Ingredients to Your Routine

A pH friendly cleanser, a decent moisturiser, SPF – that is all you need for a basic skincare routine. That said – if you ever watched the Golden Girls, you might remember this exchange between Dorothy and her mum Sophia.

It might not be our ambition in life to be pickled. But a true skincare nerd is like Sophia, only with actives.

If you are a skincare novice and you just started educating yourself on actives, stuff like pH and sun sensitivity might seem confusing. Wait, what goes on first? Can I slap it all on at the same time? Here is our handy guide on how to introduce actives into your routine.

  • If you never used a product with an active ingredient before (be it Retinol, vitamin C or Mandelic acid for example), start slow. We cannot stress that enough. Once every other day for at least a fortnight. Give your skin the chance to adjust to the product and then tweak the usage according to your skin needs.
  • Active ingredients go directly onto your cleansed face before any other steps in your routine.
  • Retinol is sensitive to sunlight and it might make the product less effective. It is best to apply it at night.
  • Chemical exfoliants such as Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, Beta-Hydroxy Acids, and Poly-Hydroxy Acids need to be formulated at the correct pH for them to be effective. In the case of AHAs, their pH needs to be below 4. All of our Mandelic acid products have a pH of 3.5.
  • If you have sensitive skin and/or you have never used a chemical exfoliant before, you can apply a moisturiser before you apply any acid treatment serums. This will slow down the delivery of acids.
  • You can use Mandelic acid and Retinol products together. In fact, some research suggests that this powerful combination is effective in treating sun damage. However, do wait about 15 minutes between the products.
  • We would not advise applying our Retinol and vitamin C products at the same time. The reason why is that both of these antioxidants use the same pathways to take effect in the skin. It would be best to leave a 20-minute gap between the two.
  • We all need a vitamin C product in our routines. Not only it brightens up the skin and boosts collagen production, but it also protects it against the daily environmental stressors. Our preference is to use our vitamin C in the mornings.
  • Contrary to the long-raging debate – vitamin C and Niacinamide can be used together in a routine.

Last, but not least – actives are powerful ingredients. If they are a staple in your skincare routine, it is essential to use sunscreen during the day.

Roberta Striga