Power Players for Healthy-Looking Skin

Brittan Bates

Global Brand Storytelling

4 min read

Skincare Education

The dos, don'ts, and so-perfect-we’ve-already-done-it-for-you of skincare pairing.

Woman smiling with mouth open and hand on her left cheek

Whether you have a 3-step skincare routine or a 10-step skincare ritual, it involves mixing products—and some ingredients pair better than others. This is especially true when integrating multiple active ingredients into your ritual. Too many actives can distress your skin, leading to inflammation, redness, and irritation. The solution? Pair your ingredients thoughtfully and consider the timing.

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  • Hyaluronic acid & vitamin C: This duo complements each other exceptionally well thanks to their synergistic effects on the skin. When used together, vitamin C protects skin against environmental stressors that lead to signs of aging, while hyaluronic acid maintains skin's hydration levels. This combination boosts the individual benefits of both ingredients to deliver a brighter, more youthful complexion.
  • Salicylic acid & niacinamide: These ingredients target different yet complementary skin aspects. Niacinamide's calming and hydrating properties perfectly balance salicylic acid's exfoliating benefits, making this combination ideal for those looking to address uneven texture without irritating the skin.
  • Retinol & peptides: Each element in this pair boosts the other's effects, delivering a youthful complexion and resilient skin. Retinol's exfoliating action improves the skin's texture and tone, making it more receptive to the peptides' skin-repairing signals. This synergistic relationship boosts the skin's collagen levels more effectively and ensures a smoother, more refined appearance, ideal for anti-aging skincare formulas.
  • Vitamin C & niacinamide: These two ingredients work together to boost skin radiance and resilience. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is crucial in neutralizing environmental stressors and helps with the skin's natural regeneration process. Niacinamide not only soothes the skin but also improves its barrier function, preventing moisture loss and protecting. Together, they improve overall radiance.

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  • Vitamin C & AHAS/BHAS: When used together, these potent ingredients can lead to over-exfoliation and strip the skin of its natural oils. This can compromise the skin's barrier and result in irritation and increased sensitivity.
  • Retinol & AHAS/BHAS: When these potent ingredients are used together, they can overly stress the skin, leading to dryness, irritation, and sensitization. The reason lies in their exfoliating and visible rejuvenating activities. Overuse can strip the skin of its natural oils and compromise the skin barrier. To avoid counterproductive results, it's best to alternate their use with a skin cycling ritual.
  • Vitamin C & retinol: Both vitamin C and retinol are powerful actives that, when used together, can lead to increased skin sensitivity and visible redness. Each ingredient operates optimally at different pH levels, and their simultaneous use can destabilize each other, diminishing their effectiveness and potentially leading to irritation. To harness the full potential of both ingredients, skincare professionals recommend using vitamin C in your morning ritual for its antioxidant properties and retinol at night to support skin’s renewal process.

fresh pairings

For nighttime renewal

Prize pairing: AHAs & Polyglutamic acid

Experience the revitalizing power of Lotus AHA Gentle Resurfacing Serum—a resurfacing formula formulated with Super Lotus to gently exfoliate skin while you sleep, revealing a smoother, more radiant complexion.

AHAs help to exfoliate for a smoother texture and more even skin tone. Glycolic acid penetrates the deeper layers of the skin’s surface to help break down dead skin cells. Citric acid helps to detach dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. Meanwhile, Polyglutamic acid works to maintain moisture on the skin’s surface, helping to deliver the comfort your skin needs. It targets first signs of aging with its high molecular weight (2,000kDa) that helps retain water and visibly plump skin, smoothing the look of lines.

For anti-aging effects

Prize pairing: Niacinamide & ceramides

Tea Elixir Skin Resilience Activating Serum is an anti-aging serum that powers skin to resist and diminish signs of aging for reduced visible wrinkles, smoother texture, and increased bounce. It’s formulated with niacinamide and ceramide III—ingredients known for their synergistic benefits that prevent dehydration and strengthen the skin barrier.

Niacinamide is an essential nutrient derived from vitamin B3 that helps to support the skin’s barrier function while maintaining a healthy look. Ceramide III helps strengthen the skin's moisture barrier and prevent dehydrated skin.

For plump, dewy skin

Prize pairing: Squalane & rose water

Indulge your skin in nourishment with our Rose Deep Hydration Oil-Infused Serum. This oil-infused liquid serum delivers deep hydration for dewy skin that’s plumped with moisture. It’s formulated with squalane and rose water. Squalane was chosen specifically to help moisturize and protect while rose water helps to calm and soothe dry skin.

For overnight recovery

Prize pairing: Peptides & hyaluronic acid

Black Tea Peptide Firming Overnight Mask works overnight to target signs of aging and deliver a firmer, smoother appearance by morning.

Peptides help to promote skin’s bounce by improving its elasticity for a more lifted, sculpted look. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid attracts and maintains moisture to enhance suppleness for a plumping effect. Together, they form an ideal ingredient pair, delivering a refreshed, more youthful appearance come morning.

For improved radiance

Prize pairing: Vitamin E & Super Lotus Extract

The Lotus Youth Preserve Line & Texture Smoothing Day Cream is an essential anti-wrinkle cream designed to keep your skin youthful and radiant. This luxurious day cream harnesses the power of vitamin E and Super Lotus Extract, a combination chosen to address early signs of aging. By defending the skin against external stressors and locking in moisture, this pair preserves the skin's youthful qualities, promoting a smooth, supple complexion.

For boosted hydration

Prize pairing: Hyaluronic acid & Damask Rose Extract

The Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Moisturizer is your go-to for deeply hydrated, dewy skin that feels as good as it looks. Damask rose extract strengthens skin to lock in hydration. Hyaluronic acid hydrates on both the epidermis’s surface & deeper levels for instantly dewy skin that stays deeply hydrated.

Awaken and transform your skin with fresh

Perfecting the pairings in your skincare routine can transform your skin. Remember to introduce new products gradually and pay attention to how your skin reacts.

Author Profile
blog author Brittan Bates

Brittan Bates

Global Brand Storytelling

Written by Brittan Bates for Fresh. Brittan is an NYC-based writer, editor, and storyteller with 9 years of experience spanning digital and print journalism, copywriting, brand strategy, and more. Her work has appeared in publications such as Teen Vogue and brands including Diane von Furstenberg, abc carpet & home, FRĒDA SALVADOR, and more.