One Brand Doesn’t Mean Better Results
“A big misconception is that if you use one brand, you’ll have better results,” says Pamela Marshall, clinical aesthetician and co-founder of Mortar & Milk. “Sometimes this is true, but because cosmetics don't pass the stratum corneum [the outermost layer of skin which retains moisture], efficacy of just one brand is limited. Clinical grade skincare is preferred, but don’t feel you shouldn't venture out to other brands. If you find a cleanser you love, and it’s not from your main brand, you should still go for it. What you’re using doesn’t matter providing it suits your skin. The most important thing is to keep it simple to protect barrier function: one cleanser, one serum, hydration and protection.”
Ingredients Are Designed Work Together
“Mixing and matching can cause you to double up on ingredients,” adds Dr Sophie Shotter, skincare specialist. “Within a single skincare line, products are designed to work together for best results, whereas combining different brands could mean you end up with two products that do the same thing. It is easy to counteract this - you just need a basic understanding of ingredients. For instance, avoid two products that both contain retinoids, or AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid. It’s also worth noting that tretinoin, retinol and retinoate are all forms of retinoid, so even if the wording looks different on the ingredients list, there could be an overload of vitamin A in your regime. If you follow these rules, it’s okay to pick and mix.”
Science-Based Formulas Are Crucial
“With so many different skin types and needs, it’s rarely feasible to use just one brand,” explains Pamela. “While it’s crucial to do your research, there’s so much ‘brand-speak’ out there it’s difficult to know what is fact or just what the brand wants you to know. Stick with scientifically backed formulas where possible, and be your own advocate. At the end of the day, you identify the products that work for your skin type through process of elimination – if it works for you, assemble each one into your routine and stick to it.”
Regimes Need Switching Up
Expert's agree that your routine should change throughout your life, anyway: "While you don’t need a product overhaul, adding in different things to tailor to your age and skin’s needs is vital," adds Dr Sophie. For instance, in your 20s, complexions require a thorough cleanse and sometimes extra hydration with hyaluronic acid, while in your 30s you might want to add in a vitamin C for further protection and to prevent early signs of ageing. The moral of the story: one skincare range won’t always cater for our ever-changing needs. You have to adapt and switch things up accordingly.
Acne Is The Exception To The Rule
“While there’s nothing wrong with mixing and matching, it’s important to remember some skin conditions do require a strict regime,” shares Dr Sophie. “For example, those with acne or inflammatory issues may find one line made up of the same ingredient will tackle breakouts better. If it’s keeping your skin clear, balanced and healthy, that’s all that really matters. If you suffer with these conditions, and you’re seeing results with a set series of products then continue with it. Look to ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid for acne, too. It’s also worth remembering that if you’re set a certain regime by an expert, or advised to stick to one line, you should avoid cherry picking your products.”
Expert Advice Is Available
“No one range will always be the best at everything, so if you’re finding it confusing or suffering with a severe skin condition, seek out the help of an expert,” says Dr Sophie. “They will be able to tell you definitively what you do and don’t need and where in your regime you should be using certain products. I recommend using a service like Harley, too. It’s an online consultation platform where skincare experts give you straightforward advice and ensure you’re using all the right products in the right order. It’s also a great way of knowing you’re not missing out on anything ingredient-wise.”
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