February 14, 2024
Woman with towel on head applying skin care

What Is Skin Care Cocktailing?

These days, we are becoming more aware of skin care ingredients and what they can do for our complexions. Whether it’s via social media, beauty blogs or our estheticians, information about skin care products is all around us. And with more exposure to the ingredients and their benefits for the skin, plus tutorials at our fingertips, there’s no end to the different recipes we can tweak to make our skin care work at its most optimal level. Read on to learn about the concept of skin care cocktailing and how it can shake up your routine.

What Is Skin Care Cocktailing? | How To Mix An Effective Cocktail | Cocktailing Step-By-Step | Combinations To Try | Mixing Masks | Combinations To Avoid 

What Is Skin Care Cocktailing? 

A multi-step skin care regimen is no longer thought of as high maintenance, it’s just kind of the norm these days. After all, if one effective product is good for your skin, then two or three (or more) must be better. While that is not always the case, there are a lot of ingredients that can be mixed and matched to complement each other and supercharge the effects beyond what they can achieve individually. Skin care cocktailing is a process of combining or layering products within your skin care regimen to enhance the efficacy, absorption, results (or all of the above) for healthy and glowing skin. The process is easy and customizable based on your needs.

Some ingredients bring out the best in each other and amp up their results, taking your skin care to the next level. These combinations can create an optimal skin care routine tailored to your specific needs, but cracking the code takes some work. More is not always more when it comes to ingredients, and layering too many can disturb the actives, cause irritation and defeat the whole purpose of the practice. But, in the same way a good bartender can mix up an amazing drink, the right skin care cocktail recipe can be a magical combination. 

How To Mix Yourself An Effective Skin Care Cocktail  

The key to a cocktail that works for your specific skin is to really hone in on what you’re trying to achieve. Whether you’re looking to create a brighter-looking complexion, clearer and more balanced skin or a smooth and hydrated glow, knowing your end game and working backwards is the most effective way to curate your mixology.

A skin care cocktail routine requires some knowledge on how to layer actives. It’s important to both understand which ingredients work well together and in what order they should be applied. The rule of thumb is to apply based on texture. Lightest products first and thickest last. Toner, serum, oil, moisturizer and SPF for day. 

The timing of the application is also important. Give each product enough time to soak in and dry on the skin before you apply the next one. About five minutes is a good window. A clue that you layered something on too soon could show up as pilling or separating of the product on the skin. Again, while the term “cocktailing” might conjure up the image of one big martini shaker full of different ingredients, this is more about ingredient layering rather than mixing. 

Skin Care Cocktailing Step-By-Step

Follow these easy rules to get the most out of this skin care strategy.

Step 1

Cleanse your face to make sure you are starting with fresh, clean skin. Based on your goals, you can choose a cleanser that aligns with the results you’re trying to achieve. In other words, rather than just cleansing the skin to create a nice, neutral canvas, amp things up by using a cleanser that addresses your issues, from dark spots to fine lines. 

A good tip is to find a product that complements your skin type and addresses any concerns you are struggling with. If your goal is a cocktail that will help with problem or acne-prone skin, our Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser is a good place to start. It’s both cooling and balancing and reduces the visible signs of problem skin and breakouts. Or try the Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam which effectively prevents acne breakouts and clears blocked pores. 

Follow the cleanse with an exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells and other debris on the surface of the skin that could get in the way of product absorption. An exfoliating cleanser like the Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser or the Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Cleanser will save time by doing double duty. Both will cleanse and exfoliate in one step, priming your skin to drink in the rest of the cocktail. 

Step 2 

Applying a toner and an essence can help enhance the results of your cocktailing routine. A toner completes the cleansing process by getting rid of any residue that may be left on the face. A toner can also address skin concerns, from acne to aging, and can balance out pH levels of the skin. Follow that with an essence that preps the face for the next steps in the routine, while also maximizing hydration, plumping and protecting. Skin is known to better absorb actives when it is slightly damp, so a spritz or swipe of a hydrating essence can prepare the skin to receive the next ingredients in the cocktail routine.

Our Pineapple Refining Tonique is designed to brighten, hydrate and exfoliate with gentle enzymes and acids. If you’re looking to purify the skin and improve barrier function, the Birch Water Purifying Essence is a great option.

Step 3

This is where the true cocktailing begins. As mentioned, some products work well in tandem to enhance the results of each on their own. Two ingredients that play well together are salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that provides protection against acne breakouts and encourages exfoliation and the unclogging of pores. And hyaluronic acid is a skin hydrator, meaning it will nourish and moisturize dry skin. Applying the two back-to-back will allow the salicylic acid to do its job of absorbing excess oil, while the hyaluronic acid mitigates any dryness by pumping moisture back into the skin. Our Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum does the mixing for you by combining hyaluronic acid with salicylic acid from strawberries for just the right balance.

Niacinamide is another ingredient that our Product Support Team loves because it can be combined with almost anything. Also known as Vitamin B3, niacinamide visibly reduces pore size, retains hydration, supports the skin barrier and smooths uneven texture. It is commonly combined with ingredients like antioxidants (Vitamin C), glycolic acids, conventional retinol and bakuchiol. Combining Vitamin C and niacinamide can yield hydration, brightening and skin smoothing benefits. And the combo of niacinamide and bakuchiol found in our Bakuchiol + Niacinamide Moisturizer smooths the look of wrinkles, visibly firms skin, minimizes the appearance of large pores and uneven texture with no visible irritation.

If you’re looking for more pairings that target a specific issue, we’ve got you covered. 

Dehydrated Skin

Combining Birch Water Purifying Essence & Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum unites birch water, reishi mushrooms, Botanical Collagen and Botanical Hyaluronic Acid to restore hydration to the skin. Looking for more combos? You can also blend the following ingredients to combat dehydration: Glycerin, ceramides, jojoba oil, PHAs, AHAs and linoleic acid.

Blemish-prone Skin

The dynamic duo of Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum & Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Hydrator is a great combination for lightweight, clarifying moisture. Ingredients to look for: Hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, salicylic acid

Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum & Bamboo Firming Fluid. Layer SPF over top during the day to further fight the signs of aging. Ingredients to look for: Natural Retinol Alternative and Vitamin C

Happy customer, Julie, has tried this combo and said in a review on our website: “I mix the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum with Bamboo Firming Fluid and have seen amazing results in the clarity of my skin, the even skin tone and the smooth feel. My Eminence consultant gave me the idea to make a product ‘cocktail’ with this ingredient. Give it a try! You’ll be happy you did!” 

Product picks first

Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum Bamboo Firming Fluid

Product picks second

Radiant Protection SPF Fluid Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum

Body second

Mixing Masks

If you like the idea of layering or mixing ingredients to personalize your results but don’t want to commit to an entire routine, double masking might be a good option. The right mask can deliver a shot of nutrition, plus all sorts of benefits — from hydrating to brightening the look of dark spots, absorbing excess oil and minimizing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. And because they are designed to deliver higher concentrations of ingredients, masks can give your skin an instant boost, making them an easy and convenient addition to your at-home routine. If one mask is good, can doubling (or tripling) down be even better? The answer is yes! Find out more about double masking here

Combinations To Avoid

In the same way that some products enhance others, there are ingredient pairings to steer clear of. Avoid using too many chemical exfoliants, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids in your routine. These can lead to over-exfoliation of your skin and potentially damage your skin barrier. The same goes for conventional retinol since too much can cause irritation, especially on skin that has already been exposed to acids. 

SPF is a non-negotiable in any daytime routine but it is important to note that it should never be mixed with other products. Instead, it should be the last layer applied to the skin before makeup. Mixing SPF with another product can dilute the efficacy of the sunscreen, which can both defeat the purpose of using SPF and potentially cause serious sun damage. However. while we don’t recommend ever mixing your SPF with anything, if the ingredients come mixed with SPF in their formulations (like the bakuchiol and niacinamide in our Radiant Protection SPF Fluid or Vitamin C from passion fruit in our Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer) you’re all good and the skin will benefit from a treatment built right in. 

Of course, SPF should be worn daily to protect your skin, but it’s crucial to apply it the day after using retinol and acids. One more great cocktailing tip for maximum protection is layering Vitamin C alongside your SPF in the morning to protect your skin from environmental stressors. What that looks like is three to four drops of the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum on cleansed skin before applying SPF. 

Body third

Are you interested in building a skin care cocktailing routine? Visit your nearest Eminence Organics Spa Partner for advice about which ingredients you can combine to achieve the results you’re looking for!


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