Is it okay to mix our skin care products?

mixing skin care products

More often than not, I get comments from readers about mixing their skin care products and I wonder if it’s a good thing.   However, after reading The Japanese Skincare Revolution by Chizu Saeki and talking to Susan of True Beauty, it seems that some mixing may not be a bad idea.  Here, I’ll chart out some of my thoughts on this topic.

Mixing exfoliating scrub with facial cleanser
Japanese skincare guru Chizu Saeki suggested that we can mix our exfoliating scrub with our facial cleanser and lukewarm water if we find the scrubbing grains too abrasive for our skin.  I think this is feasible as diluting the exfoliating scrub only makes it less grainy and shouldn’t reduce its efficacy.  In fact, I’ve heeded this suggestion before and the exfoliating scrub still works well and is in fact, more gentle for my skin.

Mixing moisturizing cream with a drop of water
This came up in my discussion with Susan because I mentioned that her products are too precious to be used on my neck and I prefer to keep them for my face.  So she suggested that after applying the cream on my face, I can add a drop of water to whatever is left and apply that mixture to my neck.  I was slightly hesistant about this suggestion but I’ve been following it anyway but using a tiny squirt of Evian mineral water instead and I do find it easier to apply the cream on my neck when it’s slightly diluted.  In addition, I thought that a little water shouldn’t change the efficacy of the cream.  Plus, water is often said to be a carrier of skin care ingredients too and we are often encouraged to apply moisturizer on damp skin to seal in the moisture.  As long as the mixture is applied immediately, there also should not be any issues of bacteria contamination.

mixing cream with water

Mixing moisturizer with foundation
This one comes up a lot in the comments and many do this out of convenience or because they do not want to layer their products.   It actually seems to make sense but the two products really work quite differently.  Most moisturizers works to penetrate the upper layer of our epidermis but foundation is  supposed to stay on top of the skin.  Hence, mixing the two could potentially clog our pores especially since the two products could have overlapping ingredients, and is thus particularly unsuitable for those who are proned to breakout.  So, it’s best not to mix the two products but layer them according to sequence or to choose a tinted moisturizer.

Mixing moisturizer with sunscreen
Okay, I’m definitely against mixing your sunscreen with your moisturizer as we don’t want to compromise the performance of the active ingredient in your sunscreens by diluting it.  You may also have to use more sunscreen in order to get the same amount of protection and end up with a greasier complexion or worst, clogged pores.  In addition, ingredients in your moisturizer may conflict with that in your sunscreen when they’re mixed together and render your sunscreen useless.  Hence, if you want a more moisturizing sunscreen, try getting a moisturizer with SPF instead.

Mixing foundation with sunscreen
It looks like many ladies do this all the time and some of them even say that it’s perfectly fine.  However, I’m not very enthusiastic about this combination because mixing your sunscreen with anything could disrupt its photostability.   So I think it’s a no-no for me and the reasons are similar to why you shouldn’t mix your moisturizer with your sunscreen.  Perhaps the foundation would be more compatible with a physical/mineral sunblock as both are supposed to sit on top of our skin.  But if you’re wearing a chemical sunscreen, the active ingredients are supposed to penetrate into your skin and work differently.  It’s really best to wear your sunscreen first before slathering on your foundation or you can choose to use a tinted sunscreen.

Overall thoughts
In general, I’m not keen on the idea of mixing your skin care products except with water.   Even so, you want to be careful that you’re not diluting away the efficacy of the active ingredients.  And like the article Don’t Mix and Match Skin Care Products highlighted, a hotch-potch of product application may lead to long term damage as products and brands may not work synergistically together and this could even lead to some form of “chemical warfare” or “ingredient warfare”.


  1. AtelierGal says:

    I do mix my moisturizer with foundation sometimes, more often with a highlighter *grins*

    I have no idea I can mix cleanser with exfoliator, not I won’t need to cleanse so much ?

  2. Sherry says:

    my way of mix skin care product is using different brand of cleanser, moisturiser, toner.

  3. ayn says:

    very well said ? i don’t think that mixing your skincare is a good idea at all except for the exfoliating one… i like that idea and definitely will try it ?

    i have the same idea with Sherry in mixing my skincare ?

  4. Jo says:

    I personally think that mixing different skincare brands if you use organic skincare is not as big an issue, like i use mountain rose herbs’s hydrosol as toner, but i use pai’s moisturiser, it works really well. I use MV sunscreen but i dun use any other of their products.

    I think mixing skincare brand is only an issue for those skincare products loaded with chemicals or if you mix organic/natural skincare with those synthetic ones..

    what is your view on this?

  5. Jyoan says:

    I don’t agree with mixing most of the things as well. The only thing that I would do is using the plain water face mist, such as Avene and Evian, to dilute the viscous, unspreadable moisturizers. Since water doesn’t really do anything to the product, and is often an excellant carrier.

  6. raelynn says:

    hmmm, but i would feel more comfortable spritzing water lightly on the face before applying the moisturizer instead of mixing it directly in though… but strangely i have no qualms about mixing moisturizer with mineral foundation, because mineral liquid foundation is essentially a moisturizing cream base tinted with mineral foundation.

  7. flym says:

    I thought at first you were going to write about using different brands of products in skincare regiment : )

    I do agree sunscreen has a specific function and that shouldn’t be comprised by ‘diluting’ it with other stuff. I have tried mixing in MMU powder though, and got a really nice finish. But only on occasions when I don’t need lotsa sun protection.

  8. Blovet Beauty says:

    hmm very interesting suggestion on mixing water with moisturiser. In theory, it might be diluting away all the goodness but I atually think people with more sensitive skin types might be able to use heavier creams that they bought using this method..

  9. sesame says:

    Yes, you can try and see if you like using cleanser with exfoliator. It’s quite useful. Actually, come to think of it, Murad has an item like that and it’s great.

  10. sesame says:

    Ah, as in using different brands in your skincare routine? I think that’s fine.

  11. sesame says:

    You might like the exfoliating cleanser…it’s not bad especially if your exfoliating scrub is quite fine.

  12. sesame says:

    Ah, you have a great point about mixing brands but keeping it within the natural/organic family. Yes, that’s definitely advisable and it’s not always necessary to use from the same brand unless the range is formulated to work synergistically.

  13. sesame says:

    I used to spritz the fact mist before applying my moisturizer and I remember the pentration was good and it was hydrating. I have stopped doing so though…maybe I should resume.

  14. sesame says:

    I know what you mean…that was what I used to do. Actually, there is no need to mix with water but in this case, the advice was given cos I was being stingy about the cream on my neck. Haha… Mixing moisturizer with foundation is especially not advisable for those with problematic skin but if yours is okay and you’ve been doing so without issues, then it should be fine.

  15. sesame says:

    I’ve not tried mixing MMU powder before but I think because it has lesser ingredients, it’s probably less of an issue.

  16. sesame says:

    Yes, I was thinking along the same line. It’s a bit silly to dilute the moisturizer but if for some reasons, the moisturizer is too rich or thick, then this might help with the application.

  17. Raelynn says:

    I wonder if richer and thicker moisturizers can be used on their own if you take probably two pea size worth of product and rub your palms together to “melt and warm” the product before applying to the skin would help in penetration…

  18. sesame says:

    The warming in the palms of our hands is a good idea. Definitely help with penetration if we go by the La Mer school! ? It’s always good to use these creams on their own without adding anything more but if someone bought one that is too much for the skin, perhaps adding one drop of water can help in thinning out and aiding the application. Anyway, I always find it a bit more difficult to apply creams to my neck (more resistance); I really prefer to use oil on that area.

  19. peapot says:

    Hi Sesame,

    Digress alittle. What do you think of the recent Zell placenta collagen pill? Any good you think?

  20. Ci says:


    I have a question though, will mixing mineral powder foundation with a physical sunscreen affect the sunscreen performance?

    I am asking this because most sunscreen when applied, leaves a white cast on our face and adding mineral powder foundation will solve the problem, not to mention it can also double up as a tinted sunscreen all in one.

  21. Ci says:

    Altough I should have ask this first before getting to the adding mineral powder foundation to physical sunscren part, but another question I would like to ask is do we still need to apply moisturiser when we will be applying a heavy physical sunscreen eg. Badger Face and Body SPF 30?

    OR another way to phrase it is…

    Can a physical sunscreen of SPF 30 double up as a moisturiser and sunscreen after clensing and toning is done?

    Thanks alot!=D

  22. sesame says:

    I was thinking about it too after seeing the ad. I really don’t know cos I’ve not checked the product at all. But my stand about ingesting collagen is that you have to keep taking them for the effects to sustain. This is something I can’t do because I tend to get tired or the product after awhile or forget.

  23. sesame says:

    I think mixing mineral powder foundation with a physical sunblock maybe okay because a physical sunblock sits on top of our skin. In addition, the ingredients in the mineral powder foundation are quite simple (mine only has three or four ingredients) and seems quite compatible with the sunblock. The best is not to mix of course but if need be, this could be an exception.

    As for sunscreen doubling up as a moisturizer, yes, for some formulations where they contain sufficient emollients or oils. Actually, some of these sunscreens are really moisturizers with SPF. I have used sunscreen on its own without moisturizer and it was good, not drying. It all depends on the formulation.

  24. pf1123 says:

    Hehe…I don’t mix my skin care. But I don’t leave time in between application to let them absorb.

  25. Nat says:

    Is it okay that after toner I apply moisturizer and after 10 minutes I apply sunscreen? I only do that because my skin becomes less oily with this order ? I am curious if this decreases the effectiveness of my sunscreen ? please help me.

  26. ChrisAtSkinType says:

    hi nat, the effectiveness of your sunscreen will not diminish if you mix it with moisturizer, in fact, you’re brilliant since you’ve found a way to get past the oiliness that is commonly associated with sunscreen! if only more people would do that. I have also suggested to friends and clients that if sunscreen oiliness is a problem and is preventing from using or reapplying it, they can try mixing in a little mattifying oil control gel. works brilliantly, maybe you maight like to give it a go!

    we must have all at one point in time or other come across the situation where we like certain properties of a product and what these can do for our skin, but at the same time, the same products come with perennial issues like oiliness etc. If you have the time and the interest, try mixing there is usually little harm.

  27. sesame says:

    Ah…time is an issue in the morning rush. While I try to leave time in between application, it doesn’t always happen.

  28. sesame says:

    That’s a good way to apply your sunscreen…to wait in between application. It does not affect the effectiveness of your sunscreen although I have to point out that chemical sunscreens are better applied directly to your skin first…but that’s not always possible and not something that everyone practice.

  29. chenyze says:

    thanks! i think it’s good that you explained your rationale for not mixing certain types of products.

    hmm I don’t like the idea of warming products in hand very much though. especially if it’s quite an expensive product. i worry that during the process some of it may go into the hand and be “wasted” (because i can apply cheaper products for my hand). it’s also frustrating for things like oils because they get absorbed really fast!

  30. sesame says:

    Ah you have a good point there. Some oils do seem to disappear in the hands real quickly! With creams, it’s not so fast though…at least based on my experience. But do what you find you’re comfortable with. I find that the warming up seems to make the cream “stretch” more as I don’t need to use so much.

  31. coco says:

    i mix foundation + moisturizer + sunscreen all in one go. when there are limited times in the morning i don’t have time to wait in between sunscreen and foundation.

  32. sesame says:

    Wow, all three in one?

  33. Teff says:

    I have been a “mixer” for as long as I can remember!! LOL ?

    I often mix cleanser with exfoliator and it works for me too.

    I mix sunscreen with moisturizer at times when I dont have the time to layer them.

    I mix jojoba oil, TCA, distilled water, vitamin e oil and aloe vera gel into a spray bottle and use the concoction as my daily toner. It keeps my skin smooth and glowing.

    I use a mixture of jojoba oil & vitamin e oil as my nightly moisturizer because I sleep in an air-conditioned room and wake up to soft and hydrated skin.

  34. sesame says:

    I think it depends on personal threshold. If mixing works for you and you are fine with it, then by all means… ? I’m still hesitant about mixing sunscreen though…

  35. stina says:

    I just recently read Saeki’s Japanese Skin Care Revolution and that’s when I started being aware of skincare. I mix my Shiseido sunscreen lotion (with a runny consistency) along with my Boscia skin treatment serum and it works great. Plus you conserve both products at the same time and I’ve had great results. I also pat them into to help my skin absorb it better and then layer a light moisturizer for the day time.

  36. sesame says:

    I guess it depends on personal preference. If you find that mixing works great for you, by all means…I think mixing certain products are okay but just that with sunscreens, I have my reservations. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid.

  37. N.M. says:

    Yeah I agree plenty on all said here. And I’m quite surprised at the tips on what to mix and what not to. Your blog is really helpful I must say and….people really shouldn’t mix foundation with sunscreen. It compromises the efficiency of both products and if they want both they can simply find a good foundation with sunscreen included. That’s what I do!

  38. sesame says:

    Yes, I’m currently using a tinted sunscreen that doubles up as a foundation. Very happy with it!

  39. Ci says:

    Hi Sesame, is it wise to mix a facial oil with a serum/essence?

  40. sesame says:

    It’s okay…I’ve been doing that. You can apply the serum first and then the oil over.

  41. allie says:

    what about mixing moisturizer with bb cream? any thoughts on that? thanks so much!

  42. Sesame says:

    It depends on your skin type. If your moisturizer is water-based and you top it with a bb cream, it should be okay. But if your bb cream is moisturizing enough and you’re concerned about clogged pores, why not omit the moisturizer?

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