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Pairing Skincare Ingredients with Retinol

Pairing Skincare Ingredients with Retinol

Retinol has been a hot commodity on the skincare scene for years now, but have you ever wondered if you’re mixing it with the wrong products? We all love to mix a cocktail (margarita please!), but it’s very important to consider the ingredients we blend together on our face, especially when it comes to retinol. We’re here to tell you what you can and can’t use with retinol to be gentle with your skin and get that glow!

What is retinol?

Let’s take it back to basics. As a derivative of vitamin A, retinol is a powerful ingredient that promotes skin cell turnover and collagen production. It helps to lessen the appearance of acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and an uneven skin texture. Basically, it’s the holy grail, ask any skincare fanatic.

While it supports cell turnover, retinol also gently exfoliates, helping decongest pores and control oil production. It should always be applied at night, and in the beginning, less is more. Pure retinol can be intense if applied too generously to begin with, leaving the skin feeling dry, irritated, sensitive and even lead to peeling and redness. So, start by applying it once a week and gradually build up to 3 times weekly.

If you haven’t already guessed, we’re huge fans of retinol, heck, we even made our own! If you’re new here, meet our Encapsulated Retinol - similar to most retinols, but smarter. If the word encapsulated has you confused, don’t fret. All this means is that the retinol is surrounded in a protective layer that keeps all the components active until they arrive at the deeper levels of your skin to limit irritation. Always start with Level 1 and work your way up when your skin is happy.

Ingredients you can use with retinol


Skin care junkies rejoice when we tell them, yes, you can use niacinamide with retinol. Fortunately, they are safe to pair together and actually have heaps of benefits when combined. Using niacinamide with retinol helps to form a protective barrier on your skin and lessens dryness and irritation, meaning you’ll enjoy more benefits of retinol with fewer drawbacks.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid and retinol are a dynamic duo. Hyaluronic acid soothes the skin, provides a hydration hit and prevents any possible irritation from the retinol without getting in the way of its hard work. If your skin is a little on the drier side, this is the combo for you.

If you’re looking to ward off any dryness and get a real bang for your buck, reach for our best seller, our Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum contains both hyaluronic acid (who knew!?!) AND niacinamide, so it’s perfect to use alongside retinol.


Okay, so not strictly an ingredient itself but hear us out. 365 days a year, come rain, hail or shine, SPF is a non-negotiable. Using your beloved retinol can cause your skin to be more sensitive when exposed to sun, increasing your risk of developing sunburn, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Make sure to only apply your Retinol Serum of a night time though! Keep your gorgeous face safe and lather on our Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen at the end of your morning skincare routine, every day!

What not to use with retinol

To get the most out of your retinol and give your skin the best chance at glowing, there’s a few ingredients we need to tread carefully with.

Vitamin C

We LOVE vitamin C. Whether it’s orange juice in a mimosa or in a juicy face serum. However, there’s often confusion surrounding whether you can use vitamin C with retinol. The answer is yes, but, and the “but” is important, make sure you separate the two products. They are both active ingredients so using them at the same time can sometimes lead to irritation. Apply retinol as a part of your nighttime skincare routine and vitamin C as a part of your morning ritual. Our Pomegranate Brightening Serum in particular is sure to brighten your mornings.

Lactic Acid

Ok so, acids and retinol are part-time frenemies. What we mean is, if you have sensitive or dry skin, lactic acid and retinol is not a winning combo for you. Using lactic acid too frequently with retinol can damage your skin’s moisture barrier, leading to dryness, irritation and redness. So if you want to use lactic acid with retinol, just make sure you use it sparingly and on alternative days to your retinol. Our Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum is a great place to start, as it contains 24K gold and jojoba oil which have healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Salicylic Acid

Adult acne is never fun and if you’ve been through the trenches with it, you know you want results, and you want them yesterday. Salicylic acid and retinol are both fantastic for clearing up acne, but if you’re asking, “can I use salicylic acid with retinol?”, there’s some important guidelines. The combination of ingredients can be harsh and drying on the skin. To keep your skin happy and healthy, be sure to only use retinol every third night, and apply your salicylic acid in the morning. If your skin becomes irritated, slow down on one of these products until it subsides.


Embarking on a new skincare routine with powerful ingredients doesn’t have to be daunting, especially now that you know what you can and what not to use with retinol. Cheers to smoother, clearer, firmer skin! If you still have any questions, chat to one of our skin experts today.