5 Skincare Products You Shouldn’t Combine

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In the world of 10-step routines and medicine cabinets stocked with dozens of skincare products filling our Instagram feeds, our nightly regimes have never been more in depth. AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, retinol, acids, oils—by the time we go to bed every night, we’re layers deep in our never-ending quest for great skin.

But unfortunately, mindlessly slathering on products won’t always give us the results we’re looking for—some combinations of popular skincare ingredients can do more harm than good by potentially causing breakouts, dryness, and other irritations.

Before you add a new product to your routine, make sure it won’t have a negative reaction with another one of the products you use. And before you play scientist and mix powerful ingredients, be aware of these product combinations to avoid and know how you should use them instead:


Meet the expert
Dr. Rachel Maiman, MD
Dr. Maiman focuses on cosmetic and general dermatology.


Vitamin C + Retinol

The ingredients in each of these have different purposes (vitamin C’s pH level is lower), which can work against each other and cause irritations. Dr. Rachel Maiman, a board-certified dermatologist, explained that because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it’s best used in the mornings, while retinol, being photosensitive, is best used at night. That way, retinol can work overtime while you sleep, and vitamin C can give you antioxidant protection when you wake up.

Hyper Skin

Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum

This vitamin C serum actually targets hyperpigmentation and is perfect for anyone who wants an overall brighter, clearer appearance to their skin or has acne scars or melasma.

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Shani Darden Skincare

Retinol Reform

This serum expertly combines other ingredients with retinol for the perfect concoction that doesn’t leave your skin irritated or dry—just smooth, supple, and hydrated.

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Vitamin C + AHAs/BHAs

Although vitamin C is labeled as a vitamin, it still is technically an acid (L-ascorbic), and combining two acidic ingredients can lead to irritations like peeling and dryness. It can also cause vitamin C’s low pH to be altered, leading to redness and inflammation.

A good rule of thumb is to use acids like AHAs/BHAs at night since they can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn if used in the morning. Again, using vitamin C in the morning can give added benefits to the skin.


Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Our editor said this is the one skincare splurge she’ll repurchase over and over, thanks to its ability to brighten, moisturize, and clear her skin.

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Glycolic Acid Resurfacing Gel 10%

This leave-on AHA treatment improves your skin’s texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines, pores, uneven skin tone, and more (and the price doesn’t hurt too).

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Retinol + AHAs

Adding retinol after acidic skincare can increase dryness and lead to extra irritation. If retinol is a part of your everyday routine, skip out on it on days you use AHAs. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have both in your routine. Dr. Maiman recommended applying your AHA in the morning and retinol at night, but you should always proceed with caution and take it slow. “I always advise starting with only one, and once you are stable after a few weeks, consider adding the other.” Start by using your retinol once a week, and slowly increase your frequency. Then, add the AHA slowly as well. This also depends on what type of AHA you’re using, according to Dr. Maiman. Using a cleanser with a bit of glycolic acid vs. a 20 percent AHA/BHA treatment is very different; a cleanser is much more easily tolerated, while a high-potency AHA should only be used once or twice a week.


Resurfacing Retinol Serum

This drugstore retinol proves that achieving good skin doesn’t have to be expensive.

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Good Molecules

Overnight Exfoliating Treatment

For fans of an intense peel without all the irritation (and the price tag), this treatment combines glycolic and lactic acid, salicylic acid, and hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid for the perfect mix of exfoliating without overdrying.

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Benzoyl Peroxide/ Salicylic Acid  + Retinol

Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the biggest acne-fighting ingredient on the over-the-counter market, usually found in cleansers and spot treatments. Using benzoyl peroxide with retinol can lead to them deactivating each other’s potency. On the other hand, salicylic acid and retinol can cause dryness and flaking. Instead, use these acne products in the morning or on opposite nights that you use retinol.

Paula’s Choice

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

This salicylic acid toner has the hearts of many, including our editors, due to its ability to go deeper than scrubs and finally clear out your pores once and for all.

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10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Foaming Wash

It’s the benzoyl peroxide cleanser superstar Madison Beer swears by for keeping her skin clear—and it’s only $10.

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Do use: AHAs/BHAs/Retinol + Sunscreens

While all of us should be using an SPF of 30 or higher every day, acids and acne products can make skin even more sensitive to the sun. Make sure that you use sunscreen after your moisturizer instead of before to avoid diluting the SPF. 

Black Girl Sunscreen

Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

This moisturizing sunscreen will never cause a white cast, even on the deepest of skin tones.

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Unseen Sunscreen

This is an Everygirl team favorite sunscreen that actually gets us excited to apply sunscreen every single day.

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The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products


How To Recreate Iconic Princess Diana Fashion Moments

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Getty Images

There were a lot of great style icons throughout the 20th century, but arguably the greatest was the people’s princess herself, Lady Diana Spencer (but if you’re asking us, it isn’t worth arguing; it’s a cold, hard fact).

Princess Diana has a legacy that goes far beyond her sense of style, but today is a lesson in royal fashion done right (and way ahead of its time, no less). Just about everything Diana put on her body was something that could be worn now and be considered a style slam dunk. Cowboy boots, bike shorts, denim on denim—it’s like she’d taken a glimpse at what the trends of 2021 would be and dressed so we could look back and see exactly how we should style each of them to pure perfection.

Fashion is full circle, and Diana’s best looks are ones that can (and damn it, should be) replicated now. Before Meghan and Kate, there was Diana—and she walked so they could run.


Source: Anwar Hussein / WireImage

Princess Diana might as well have invented bike shorts herself, and she nailed model-off-duty before model-off-duty was even a thing. Diana’s slightly mismatched, effortless bike short moment is one that you’re probably already wearing—but if you’re not, here’s your sign that you should start ASAP.

sweatshirt / hoops / bag / bike shorts / sneakers / socks 



Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images

Perhaps the most recognizable of Diana’s looks, this is one you take a glimpse at and wonder how on Earth someone could be that cool. The oversized blazer and sweatshirt combo is perfection in itself, but topped off with a baseball hat and cowboy boots? We’ll put it in the running for the most iconic moment of all time.

blazer / sweatshirt / hat / hoops / jeans / boots



Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images

Diana had a knack for nailing a casual-but-elevated workwear moment, and this one is simple but made interesting with her use of accessories. Throw on a white button-up and a pair of trousers, then follow Diana’s lead with oval sunglasses, gold hoops, and a pair of loafers.

button-up / hoops / sunglasses / trousers / belt / loafers



Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images

Diana loved a blazer more than just about anyone, and the styling of this one is genius because of its use of color. With a blazer in a bright pop of color and a matching sweater underneath, the outfit allows the color to do the talking in a look that is otherwise quite basic at its core. 

blazer / sweater / bag / trousers / loafers



Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images

If you were to combine all of 2021’s top trends in one look, it truly would be this. Denim on denim, a bomber jacket, and cowboy boots are three pieces you wouldn’t think to combine, but Diana did it in a way that couldn’t possibly be cooler. It’s out-of-the-box, effortless, and dare we say, just about perfect. Imagine heading out of the house on a fall day in this number.

jumpsuit / hoops / bomber jacket / belt / boots



Source: Tom Wargacki / WireImage

It’s hard to decide which was better: Diana’s casual, off-duty looks or her more workwear-centered ones, but this one gives a strong argument for the latter.

With all neutral shades and a monochrome moment, this look gives a feminine take on business casual. To perfect it, think about colors in pairs: the cream top and pants, the brown belt and loafers—they work with each other to make the look feel simple, sophisticated, and not too busy, despite all the layering.

blazer / sweater / sunglasses / tote / belt / trousers / loafers



Source: Kent Gavin / Getty Images

In a mom jean moment for the books, Diana wore a black pair with a light pink button-up to give a little more interest to the eye than a pair of blue jeans and white button-up would. As always, her accessories make the look, with a croc belt (something Diana turned to constantly), gold earrings, and an understated pair of loafers.

shirt / hoops / jeans / belt / loafers



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