Table of Contents
Can You Use Two Serums at Once?
What a world we live in now as we have a plethora of skincare products easily available for us. Great examples of these are The Ordinary line and Inkey list that released a wide range of products depending on your needs at an affordable price.
While this is great for us ladies as we have more options, it can also be overwhelming, especially with all the claims that adding another serum to your current routine will help you with that K-beauty skin you have always wanted. But is it safe to use two serums at once?
Serums are made of very small molecules that are quickly absorbed by the skin, making them one of the best products to layer — unlike other types of moisturizers that only sit on your face and stick. So if you have been thinking if you can use two or multiple serums at once, then this article is definitely for you as we will not just answer the question but you will also learn how to mix and layer face serums, how many serums you can mix at once, how many serums are too many, and what are the active ingredients to look for to address your skin concerns.
Can You Mix 2 Serums?
The answer is yes! Three is the magic number of how many serums you can use per routine. So mixing 2 serums is safe as long as the type of serum and active ingredients in the product complement each other.
Another thing to note when using two or three serums is to make sure each product will address different skin concerns or else it will just be redundant. So it’s better to know the type of serums available in the market and check which is the right one for you. Remember to limit your choice to two or three serums on your skincare routine.
Types of Serums
With all the serums available in the market, it might be confusing what is the best skincare product to add to your skincare routine. Our tip is to first know which type of serum is available out there that is suitable to your skin type and skin concern, then choose a maximum of three different serums.
This is used for the prevention of signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. Some serums can also help lessen the appearance of deep wrinkles. Dermatologists suggest using this kind of serum in your 30s.
This one is designed to target hyperpigmentation and reduce discoloration. If what you want to achieve is an even tone and to fade dark spots often caused by pimple scars or sun damage, then this is the kind of serum that you need to add to your skincare routine.
Another thing to note about this serum is that is often marketed as a whitening serum on the Asian market since skin whitening is a big business in Asia as most Asian standards of beauty are having pale white skin.
Safe to use daily and needed by all skin types, this one provides hydration and an extra boost of moisture to your skin. This is a must for people with dry skin that can’t be treated with normal moisturizer.
These are most commonly used as a chemical exfoliant that can remove dead skin cells on the surface or go on a deeper level up to your demis to clear clog pores of blackheads, oil, and sebum. This is preferred by people who find a physical exfoliant too harsh for their skin.
Since this serum provides gentle exfoliation that reveals healthier skin and clear pores, it is best for ladies who have dull and acne-prone skin. One thing to note about the exfoliating serum is that you should make sure that you layer it with hydrating serums or use thicker creams and face oils as these serums can be drying.
Firming serums are mostly confused with anti-aging serums. Though they are both great for mature skin, firming serums are specifically made for sagging skin. As we age, the collagen in our body decreases, which lessens the elasticity of our skin. But sagging skin can also be caused by other factors such as genetics, sun exposure, smoking, and extreme weight loss. Firming serums aim to tighten skin by promoting collagen reproduction.
If you are a green tea drinker, chances are, you already know what an antioxidant is.
Antioxidant serums fight the formation of free radicals in our skin which can lead to oxidative stress that can result in a lot of problems such as dull skin, wrinkling, and breakouts. This serum is a good skincare product to add if you are always exposed to environmental factors that create free radicals such as pollution and ultraviolet rays.
Active Ingredients in Serums and Their Use
If you are still having a hard time choosing which serum you can layer because of how many serums to choose from, we have created a list of common ingredients that you can check on the label of your product and what will be their effects on your skin.
You might be surprised that one active ingredient can already address multiple concerns and you may not need separate products to treat your skin problems. But if you feel like you still need to use more than one serum, then I highly suggest that you also read the article on what ingredients can’t be mixed since some potent ingredients might cancel out each other’s effect — or worse, they can counteract and cause irritation to your skin.
Let’s start with the most basic yet effective antioxidant. A Vitamin C serum is one of the most hardworking products out there as it protects, repairs, and enhances the appearance of dull skin by fighting off the root cause, which is oxidative stress from free radicals.
Vitamin C serums come in many concentrations, but it is best to look for those with 10-20% concentration and labeled as L-ascorbic acid as it is the most effective form of Vitamin C for beauty products.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is popularly used in anti-aging serums as it provides moisture that prevents the loss of elasticity of the skin. Usually, products with this ingredient are used for gentle massage as it also has healing properties and can improve circulation of the blood to your face, hence fighting dullness.
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3, which is one of the most essential B vitamins needed by our body for cellular processes. As part of a skincare ingredient, it’s very versatile as it provides hydration to our skin. It is even more moisturizing than petroleum jelly.
Aside from its moisturizing benefits, this vitamin is anti-inflammatory, thus it can calm irritation and be good for people who have skin that is sensitive. Moreover, niacinamide is proven to lighten skin, that’s why you can see this in a lot of k-beauty products.
AHA stands for Alpha-Hydroxy Acid. AHA is a water-soluble acid that aids in the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, allowing new, more evenly pigmented skin cells to grow in their place. AHA can also lock in moisture that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can make your skin sensitive to the sun so make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen if you will be using AHA.
AHAs are derived from milk or different plant sources and they may be labeled as the following type of AHAs
- Glycolic Acid
- Lactic Acid
- Tartaric Acid
- Citric Acid
- Malic Acid
- Mandelic Acid
BHA or Beta-Hydroxy Acid is also a chemical exfoliant. But unlike AHA, this type of hydroxy acid is oil soluble. BHA can unclog your pores by going to the deeper layers of your skin up to your hair follicles to dry out superfluous oils. BHAs are best if your skin type is oily.
If you’re looking to lessen rosacea-related redness, BHAs might be the way to go. But BHA is generally used to treat acne and UV damage. Here are the types of BHA that are often found in beauty products.
- Salicylic Acid
- Benzoyl Peroxide
Polyhydroxy Acid is tagged as the new-gen AHA. It is very similar to AHA but is milder and less irritating, which makes it safe to use for most skin types. PHA is slowly becoming a well-loved ingredient in serums and it may be named listed in the ingredients in the following forms:
- Lactobionic Acid
Acids in our skincare ingredients are usually exfoliants, but that is not the case for hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is known for its moisturizing effect and is mostly used in a lightweight serum as it can bind to 1000 times its weight in water. Sounds magical right?
But what’s really great about this ingredient is that it is the key component in your skin structure that gives its hydrated and plum look. There are also some studies that say hyaluronic acid helps heal wounds.
Considered one of the most underrated and less known acids. Ferulic acid is a plant-based antioxidant often found in bran, rice, and apple seeds. It is currently gaining interest as it can fight free radicals yet increase the potency and efficacy of antioxidants such as Vitamin C & E. We can safely say that this acid is a great wingman for other antioxidants.
Retinol is part of Vitamin A derivatives called retinoids. Retinol is known to fight acne and is usually part of an anti-aging skincare routine. This ingredient works by helping to speed up cell turnover keeping your pores clean, lessening acne breakouts and improving texture, reducing wrinkles, and brightening the skin.
Though retinol can work wonders for your skin, this is one of those ingredients that also has a bad rep. Retinol in high concentrations should be used with caution, especially for people with sensitive skin. Retinol serum is usually used with products or ingredients that can give moisture to the skin.
Important note: if ever you want to use serums with retinol, it is best to consult a board-certified dermatologist so that you can be properly guided in using this.
Another part of Vitamin A derivative retinol, retinyl palmitate is the gentler cousin of retinol. They both have the same effect but retinyl palmitate is gentler, thus making it a great introduction to retinoids.
Which Serums Can Be Layered?
Layering serums is simple as long as you follow the rule of which can or cannot be mixed together. It is best to layer serums that can complement each other.
After that, you can layer serums based on their consistency. Those with the lightest texture should be applied first so that they can be properly absorbed by your skin. If you put serum with a thicker consistency first before the lighter serums, it can hinder the absorption of the lighter texture products as it can build a barrier that makes it harder for the lighter serum to penetrate.
Can I Use Two Different Serums For Day and Night?
If you have too many serums, this is actually the best method to use them so the answer is yes! This way you can use serums that may have a counter-reaction with each other but are great on their own.
Serums Best to Use at Day Time
For your morning routine, it is best to use those types that are quickly absorbed by your skin. Hyaluronic acid serums are usually best used in the morning as it is a good moisturizer. Applying serums that do not cause sensitivity to the sun or mixing the hyaluronic acid serum with an antioxidant serum is great practice. And be sure to use sunscreen to fully protect your skin from the sun.
Serums Best to Use at Night Time
Nighttime is where you can use almost any type of serum but it is best to use this time for your spot treatments. It is also the best time to use the exfoliant types as you can use a thick moisturizer as your occlusive so you can bring back the moisture that your skin needs.
There is definitely an appeal to use more than one serum at once. While this is relatively safe, it is best to limit your layering to three as too many serums may cause more harm than good.
Another important thing you need to note is to check which potent ingredients can be used together at once or you can use one serum in the morning and a different one at night to ensure that the potent ingredients will not counteract each other. And as always, check with a board-certified dermatologist before layering serums if you have hypersensitive skin.
We hope this article has given you insightful details on using multiple serums at once.
Chrizelle is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication from De La Salle University. She recently dropped out of law school to pursue her passion for writing. Now, she is a full-time writer hoping to inspire and change lives through her thoughts and her words.