Can You Mix Oil-Based And Water-Based Skincare?

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For as long as we can remember, society has had a list of unwritten rules. One of these unspoken rules is never to mix oil and water. While said as a metaphor, it has been passed down through the generations as an unofficial rule. However, with skincare products, it stands to question whether this rule still stands.


Even though skincare is an evolving industry, there are still some combinations that you want to avoid. Many combinations need to be avoided to prevent skin issues and irritations. Dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein tells InStyle, "Mixing ingredients without proper knowledge of how these ingredients work and what other ingredients they may interact with will be not only a waste of money but also time. It can also lead to frustration if less than expected results are seen (or if the skin becomes irritated)."

Before you start putting together your skincare routine, you need to do your research into which ingredients you are using and whether they should be in a routine together at all. Luckily, we've got you covered.


Is it safe to mix oil and water skincare products?

Two of the most common skincare products you will find are oil-based and water-based products. According to HHSkin, the truth is that oil and water-based products do not mix well. Oil-based products can block your water-based products from penetrating the skin. If you have both products in your routine, you want to ensure your water-based products are applied first and are fully absorbed before applying any oil-based products to the skin. More than being a bad combination for your skin, mixing oil before your water skincare products is simply a waste of products.


However, while you want to be careful about how you apply your skincare products, Luzern Labs explains that both oil and water-based products are essential for your routine. Luzern Labs states that water-based products can help hydrate your skin on a cellular level. On the other hand, oil-based products are ideal for locking in moisture and protecting the skin from exterior factors that can cause havoc.

Using both water and oil-based skincare products is an ideal way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. While you can mix them, you need to be careful about the order in which you apply them.

Other skincare combinations you want to avoid

While oil and water can coexist in the same skincare routine, there are a few other combinations you want to steer clear from. Dermstore states one of the skincare combinations you want to avoid is retinol and salicylic acid. Both of these ingredients are potent active ingredients that can help dry out acne and stop a breakout. However, when combined, the two ingredients can cause skin irritation by drying out the skin. If you happen to need to use both of these ingredients, it is best to alternate when you apply them.


Another combination you want to avoid is vitamin C with any AHAs or BHAs. Beauty Bay states that both ingredients are active acids. One general skincare rule is avoiding putting too much acid onto your skin. Apart from skin irritation, mixing these acids could end up canceling out the benefits of the acids before it has the chance to work. The same concept would happen when trying to mix vitamin C and retinol. Both of these ingredients are powerful and, when combined, could cause peeling, redness, and skin irritation.