A tailor-made facial treatment is great, but unless you are a chemist, you have to be content with products available on the market. For several years, brands such as Etat Pur, The Inkey List or even Aroma-Zone have offered to buy pure actives individually, which makes it possible to combine them… Provided you know a little about it so as not to make a mistake.
But if we often hear about ingredients that should not be mixed, conversely, certain combinations of active ingredients are strongly encouraged. We then speak of synergies, that is, combinations where the interaction of two molecules produces more effects than their separate use.
We asked Cyrille Telinge, founder of the Novexpert brand, to share with us the duos of active ingredients he recommends.
Vitamin C + niacinamide for enhanced anti-dark spot action
Why mix them? “We are in a case of synergy by complementarity, which gives super effectiveness against dark spots,” says Cyrille Telinge. “Vitamin C and vitamin B3 (niacinamide) both have an action anti-stainbut act at different levels: vitamin C acts at the source to reduce melanin production, while B3 reduces its distribution to keratinocytes.”
How to combine them well? Cyrille Telinge recommends using two separate products, because vitamin C is often integrated into formulations with an acid pH in order to stabilize it, and this same acid pH tends to make niacinamide irritating. Niacinamide is then used in the morning and vitamin C in the evening (always followed by an SPF).
AHA + grains for an effective exfoliation
Why mix them? In terms of face scrub, there are two main methods: mechanical exfoliation with grains and chemical or enzymatic exfoliation via fruit acids (AHA). Most often, we choose our side: sensitive skin will prefer enzymatic scrubs (the softest) which do not need friction to work, while grains will be perfect for others. “Combining the 2 actions allows an action both in depth – the AHAs will come to separate the corneocytes that are not yet ready to fall. And on the surface, the grains remove the dead corneocytes, which results in an even more effective exfoliation”, explains the expert.
How to combine them well? If you use a product that combines the two, you leave it on to give the AHAs time to act. Then, the grains are massaged for the mechanical action. If you want to use them one after the other, you may want to use the grain scrub first to remove the cells on the surface and allow better penetration of the AHAs, or do the opposite, start with the peel which requires an exposure time then move on to mechanical scrubbing.
Vitamin C + vitamin E for optimal antioxidant effect
Why mix them? “Vitamin E is an active antioxidant, which, if we schematize, sacrifices itself to break the chain of oxidation. In doing so, it becomes unstable and therefore a little bit pro-oxidant itself. Vitamin C is capable of stabilizing vitamin E and giving it the ability to become antioxidant again (by providing it with hydrogen)”, explains our expert.
How to combine them well? Because most oxidation occurs during the day, it is recommended to use them in the morning, but they can also be used in the evening. We either opt for a formula that combines the two, or we combine them ourselves. finally, vitamin C can be used in the morning (followed by an SPF) and vitamin E in the evening.
Retinol + bakuchiol to fight the signs of aging
Why mix them? If retinol is a fabulous anti-aging active, it is also irritating. This explains why it cannot be dosed beyond a certain limit in cosmetic products and why sensitive skin will skip it. “Known for about ten years, bakuchiol seems to have the same effects without side effects”, indicates Cyrille Telinge, who however does not see it supplanting retinol, which remains the reference and trusted active ingredient. The good idea? “Combine them, to boost the effects of retinol without the risk of irritating the skin.”
How to combine them well? As retinol should always be used at night (it is photosensitizing, so should be combined with a SPF protection), you can thus use a cream dosed with 0.3% retinol in the evening and opt for a treatment with 1% bakuchiol in the morning, or use a product with a lower dose of retinol, whose formula also contains bakuchiol.
Hyaluronic acid + vitamin C to boost collagen production
Why mix them? The synergy between vitamin C and hyaluronic acid makes it possible to synthesize collagen. This happens at two levels: first, at the cell level, “where low molecular weight hyaluronic acid triggers the synthesis of collagen I and III”, says Cyrille Telinge. “And this is where the association with vitamin C takes on its full meaning, because without vitamin C, there is no collagen”.
As the skin naturally contains vitamin C, it should be able to synthesize collagen on its own, but in reality, it does not contain enough of it (because diet does not provide enough of it and habits like cigarette smoking for example, destroy it), so without an external supply of vitamin C, collagen is produced in very small quantities and is of lower quality.
How to combine them well? Again, there are products that combine the two, but you may prefer to use the active ingredients one after the other. In this case, we start with vitamin C “for reasons of penetration, because hyaluronic acid produces a film”, indicates our specialist. You can use the duo morning and evening, provided you follow with an SPF.
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