Hey BFFs!

There are so many amazing active ingredients out there that do wonders for our skin. While some of them are incredible when mixed together, others can do more harm than good when combined.

To make life easier, we listed down which holy grail combinations are best for our skin and which we should completely avoid.


We always talk about the wonders of vitamin C. Commonly known as L-ascorbic acid, this powerful antioxidant lessens discoloration and hyperpigmentation and fights free radicals, offsetting damage caused by UV rays and air pollution.

Mix with: SPF

In reality, SPF should be the last step in ALL skincare routines --- nothing damages our skin more than the sun. However, SPF works even better when paired with an antioxidant like vitamin C, which only increases UV protection by fighting free radicals.

Never mix with: Retinol & Unstabilized Forms of Niacinamide

While it is a holy grail for anti-aging, retinol can also be sensitizing to the skin. Vitamin C is a potent ingredient that it just does not work well with. However, if you want to include both ingredients in your routine, it is best to use Vitamin C (to protect from environmental aggressors) in the morning and retinol (to repair the skin) at night.

Vitamin C does not pair well with unstabilized niacinamide.  A study from the 1960’s showed that these two ingredients were incompatible, but in the decades since then, formulators were able to create stabilized forms of both ingredients that work perfectly when combined. So, if you find that you have a product with both vitamin C and niacinamide, there’s no need to worry because that means that both ingredients have been stabilized to be part of the same formulation.

But if you have two separate products that contain these ingredients, it’s best to do your extra research (like searching the product’s website) to see if one is compatible with the other. 

Star Vitamin C Product: Femmue Lumiere Vital C



Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is known to brighten the skin and even discoloration. It is anti-inflammatory and controls sebum production, making it an amazing ingredient for acne-prone skin.

Mix with: Everything

Good news! Because niacinamide is anti-inflammatory, the chances of irritation are minimal. This means that it mixes well with almost every other ingredient in your skincare routine. 

Never mix with: Unstabilized forms of Vitamin C

You know the drill. Products that have both niacinamide and vitamin C are safe, but if you plan on using two separate products, we recommend checking the brand’s website in case the ingredients are not recommended to be used together.

Recommended Mask: Femmue Dream Glow Mask


AHA’s & BHA’s

AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. It is water-soluble and works to exfoliate the surface layers of the skin, making it brighter and smoother. On the other hand, BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid, which is oil-soluble. This means that they can go deeper into pores and clear out impurities, exfoliating the skin at a deeper layer.

Mix with: Ceramides & SPF

As they work to unearth newer layers of skin, AHA’s and BHA’s can actually weaken the lipids that hold them together. This is where ceramides come in. They work to restore the skin by holding cells together, lock in moisture, and help to prevent dryness and irritation. On the other hand, while new layers of skin are more sensitive to sun exposure, SPF does the job to protect it from harmful UV rays. 

Never mix with: Retinol

As mentioned earlier, retinol can be highly sensitizing to the skin. That’s why it is important to know which ingredients can’t be used with it. Using retinol with AHA’s or BHA’s would be too much for the skin to handle, as our skin would already be sensitive from the exfoliation.


Recommended AHAs: Acne Retexture Pad+ 2% Salicylic Acid USP with 5% Glycolic Acid, x60

RETINOL (Vitamin A)

If retinol can be highly sensitizing to the skin, then why do people still use it? Well, it is the most clinically studied ingredient that is known to reverse the signs of aging. It actually promotes skin cell turnover, and numerous studies have shown it to treat fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, clogged pores, and even acne. The best way to begin using a retinol without irritating your skin is to slowly introduce it into your routine.

Mix with: Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides, & SPF

Hydrating and nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides work wonders when combined with retinol. However, the most important, non-negotiable ingredient to use is an SPF the next morning. Retinol makes the skin extremely sensitive to the sun, so it is important to protect it from UV rays.

Never mix with: Vitamin C, Benzoyl Peroxide, & AHA’s and BHA’s

We mentioned earlier why vitamin c, AHA’s, and BHA’s don’t work with retinol, but why doesn’t it work with benzoyl peroxide? Well, using the two ingredients together renders them useless, as they cancel each other out. It would simply be a waste of time and money to use a retinol with benzoyl peroxide.

Star Retinol Product: 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil

That’s all for today, BFFs! Feel free to get your PERFECT PAIR actives at P1,000 OFF this February! Buy any 2 items on any of the February weekends, and get P1,000 off when you check out with the code BFFPERFECTPAIRS at DM our BFF Beauty Experts at @bff_mnl or Viber them at 0918-8-BFFMNL for assistance.



BFF Manila

Article by Andi Panaguiton

FEMMUE Lumiere Vital C

FEMMUE Dream Glow Mask 

CANE + AUSTIN Acne Retexture Pad

111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Retinol Oil 

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