Let’s talk about the specific Ordinary products that you should not mix. While some combinations are dangerous, some are just inefficient. We’ll start with the dangerous combinations which mostly include multi-acids.
#1THE ORDINARY. Salicylic Acid 2% Solution + The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Although many acid products have different names, some of them can have a similar effect. Specifically, when it comes to the salicylic acid and AHA/BHA peel, these are essentially both chemical exfoliators. Salicylic acid is excellent for acne, and an AHA/BHA peel is fantastic for acne scars as well as other skin issues. However, both of these work by exfoliating the skin. Now, if someone is using both of these in a routine together without a recommendation from a dermatologist or esthetician, they should probably not be mixing these acids. Acids and chemical peels work by peeling away at the skin, and even though these are two products that seem completely different, they have a very strong impact when layered. If a patient or a client has worked up to a high level of acids, professionals can totally administer these together, but unfortunately mixing them on your own, especially if you haven’t used them on your skin before, can lead to skin irritation or light level chemical burns.
THE ORDINARY Salicylic Acid 2% Solution -$5.30
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution -$8
# 2 The Buffet + Copper Peptides & Salicylic acid
The buffet is a very popular peptide serum from the Ordinary, but there is also have the buffet + copper peptides. Copper formulas have a very high pH, and the buffet + copper has a pH between 6 and 7 which means it’s higher on the pH scale making it more basic or alkaline. Copper formulas are normally more alkaline than the human skin which is around 5.5. Thus, the buffet + copper works in a less acidic environment. On the other hand, salicylic acid or even other acids such as glycolic or lactic acid work better in low pH or more acidic environments.
Salicylic acid makes products penetrate the skin more deeply. While there are other factors involved with how well a product penetrates, in general, the lower the pH level is, the better penetration you’re going to have from an acid. Salicylic acid generally has a ph of around 3, and The Ordinary’s formula has a pH of around 3.2-4. Now, what happens if you mix an acid (i.e salicylic acid) and a base (buffet+copper peptides)? Essentially, they cancel each other out, and if you were to use both of these during your skincare routine, they’d basically cancel each other out by being together on your face. In turn, they would not be as effective.
To provide another example, there are ingredients such as retinol. Retinol works best at a pH of around 5 to 5.5, and fortunately, the skin’s natural pH is a 5 to a 5.5. So, to get the most out a retinol product, you should use it without adding something else too acidic or alkaline in your skincare routine.
In contrast, upon using an acid that needs to penetrate deeply, it will do best when your skin’s pH has already been lowered by other ingredients (i.e perhaps something in your cleanser).
So, in short, don’t use The Ordinary’s copper peptide serum and salicylic acid at the same time. Because these work best in different pH environments, you can use them at different times of the day.
The Buffet + Copper Peptides -$30.90
THE ORDINARY Salicylic Acid 2% Solution -$5.30
#3 The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% + The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
There have been some myths floating around the internet that you should not combine vitamin C and niacinamide because “vitamin C will bind to the niacinamide, turn it into niacin, and it become toxic.” However, this is not true unless there are very specific heat conditions or formulas present. And when it comes to consumer products, this won’t be the case. We’ll concede though that there might be one problem with combining the two.
The nicanamide + zinc soothes pores and helps with oil production as well as redness reduction, but when combining it with the vitamin C suspension in silicone, the texture becomes undesirable. First of all, the niacinamide + zinc serum has a tacky feeling by itself. Then, when you put it on the skin with the vitamin C and silicone suspension (which is basically ascorbic acid and silicone), it becomes very gummy and gluey. Although the combination is not toxic, this sticky sensation isn’t the best feeling on the skin.
There could be some chemical or physical bonding going on that causes this, and when you layer the vitamin C suspension and silicone over the niacinamide, the two become something that balls up and gets stuck on the fingers and face.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - $6.50
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone -$7.50
Cover photo cred: Deciem