skip to content

Picky Guide: Best Skincare Ingredient Combinations

Ever wonder which ingredients bring out the best in each another? Well, we did some digging and found a few scientifically-backed ingredient combinations worth talking about! Read till the end for the top power ingredient combinations you should know about.


Some ingredients have enough charm to make a perfect pair with more than just one! And retinol has much to offer any ingredient couple. Retinol accelerates the skin cells turnover rate, helps with sun damage, boosts collagen production, reduces pigmentation, and more. Makes sense that so many want to be in an ingredient combination with this one.

Retinol + Hyaluronic Acid= Less irritation, more hydration!

Retinol is big on slowing the aging process, but sadly can create a bit of irritation for some. That’s why hyaluronic acid is perfect for this pair, providing the moisture and hydration the skin needs to alleviate that possible irritation!

Retinol + Niacinamide= Counteract that dehydration

As we said before, retinol is not for the light of heart. It can damage the skin barrier and increase transepidermal water loss. Cue niacinamide sweeping retinol off their feet with a stabilized skin barrier function. Reducing the amount of water loss and counteracting any dehydrating effects.

Retinol + Vitamin C= Improved collagen synthesis

Both vitamin C and retinol increase collagen synthesis in different ways. Vitamin C works to increase density of dermal papillae in aged skin, increasing the integrity of the extracellular matrix in the skin. Retinol increases fibroblast growth and collagen synthesis. Combined, they create an unstoppable force in the formation of collagen synthesis! But warning, this combo is not for the faint of heart (or sensitive skin) and can create some irritation!

Retinol + Salicylic Acid= Fight off that acne

Retinol promotes collagen synthesis while salicylic acid digs deep to unclog those pores. Meaning that together they are a formidable duo against and improve acne! But we warned, if you have sensitive skin this combo could bring out some irritation!


Niacinamide is a multifaceted ingredient with a lot to offer. With anti-aging agents, pore care, skin barrier protection, moisturizing, and acne-fighting properties, niacinamide is strong enough on its own. But there are many suitors that hope to make a golden pair with this ingredient!

Niacinamide + N-acetyl Glucosamine= Bye bye hyperpigmentation!

N-acetyle glucosamine is an amino sugar that helps niacinamide in the battle against pigmentation. Alone, niacinamide is good at fighting it off, but pair these two together and they’re unbeatable. Both inhibit tyrosinase and decreases melanin production, helping to reduce hyperpigmentation, pore size, and skin texture! They fight pigmentation in different ways, making them a match made in heaven.

Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid= Shrink those pores

What is niacinamide great at? Reducing pore size and slowing down overactive sebum production! Salicylic acid takes this up a notch by digging deep into those pores and basically spring cleaning all that junk and dirt. These two really complete each other when it comes to reducing size and cleaning out pores.

Vitamin C

Another strong, independent ingredient. Vitamin C fights off free radicals, increases collagen production, helps fade hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and more! They already have so much to offer on their own, but luckily there are some ingredients that can further enhance vitamin C’s strengths! Here are some vitamin C ingredient combinations.

Vitamin C + Centella Asiatica= Boost that collagen

Centella asiatica, also known as cica, is great for wound healing thanks to its antioxidant properties. But did you know centella asiatica can also level up vitamin C’s benefits too? Yes, these two make each other better and stronger! Centella asiatica helps vitamin C with collagen production leading to accelerated improvement in addition to wound healing effects!

Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid=Anti-aging, free radical support, and much more

Okay, we’re going to suggest a ‘throuple’ for this group. With a strong antioxidant combo to fight off free radicals, help improve signs of aging and photodamage, these three together are a dynamic triple threat. Not only that, but they also bring about serious synergy.

In this combination, Vitamin C’s effectiveness and longevity is promoted. Additionally Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is regenerated by Vitamin C, making it more able to protect from free radicals. Throw ferulic acid into the mix and you unlock enhanced anti-aging benefits as well!

Ceramides + Cholesterol + Free Fatty Acids=Keeping that skin shielded and glowing

Another ‘throuple’ worth checking out. Ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids are great in a moisturizer, but only when they’re all together do they reach their full potential, improving skin barrier functions and skin hydration!

However, these are lipids, and if only one or two are used together it could actually bring more harm than good to your skin barrier (delaying repair). This is why keeping these three together is essential! But, ceramide is the dominant one in this match, so always make sure to give it the larger proportion.

Green Tea + Caffeine= Protect from skin damage

A fun and effective pair for fighting off free radicals and protecting that skin from harmful environmental damage! These two are an antioxidant power couple. Green tea contains polyphenols which has photoprotective effects. Caffeine mirrors this property, and when used together, studies have shown they prevent free radical production and UVB-induced skin cancers! Psst, they’re also really good for fighting acne.

As with all new products and routines, always do a patch test first before using these ingredient combinations on your skin. Treat this as a general guideline for exploring how you can amp up your skincare routine. Start by using these ingredients in small amounts and lesser frequencies. Go full speed only when you’re sure that your skin has taken to the new routine, and don’t be afraid to stop completely if you are experience less than stellar results from the ingredient experiment!

Want to know the easiest way to find products with these ingredient combinations? Go to the Picky app and in the Mega Search Filter put in the ingredients you want included in your product search! Make sure to check out our Instagram and blog for more skincare science content.

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *