Mixing and Matching Facial Serums

This post is all about “Serum Cocktails” as I like to call them. I don’t cook… but I do like mixing up some serum combinations in my bathroom.

When it comes to serums there are some that I like to apply as close to my skin as possible (like my retinol, L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C serums or my AHAs/BHA). But for many of my other serums I like to make a serum cocktail where I mix together a drop of a couple different serums and then apply them all at once.

This not only saves me some time in my routine but it also usually ensures I have enough product to go down my neck and chest and use the left over on my hands.

The specific combo that I use depends on how my skin is feeling but it always includes some form of hydration (either through a specific hydrating serum, or another serum that has a fair amount of hydrating ingredients).
I usually combine two serums, but I will go up to 3.
This is my usual order in the morning:
  1. Wash face
  2. Apply Vitamin C serum (let it absorb while I do my hair or eat breakfast)
  3. Sometimes I will apply an AHA or BHA
  4. Mix and apply serum cocktail
  5. Apply eye serum/cream
  6. Moisturizer (ONLY if my skin needs it, it often doesn’t)
  7. SPF
This is my usual order at night:
  1.  Wash face
  2. Apply retinol
  3. Apply serum cocktail
  4. Apply eye serum/cream
  5. Apply moisturizer + resveratrol (which is a thicker gel serum so I mix it with my moisturizer and not my liquid serums)
  6. Top with facial oil

The serums below all have a liquid consistency and mix well with other serums.

Hydrating Serums

These serums offer temporary plumping of the skin and make your skin look bright and healthy. Unlike the other categories, these will offer more immediate results (like, within one or two uses I can see my skin responding). But once you stop using them, the results go away. In other words, they don’t transform your skin long term, but they can help your skin hold on to moisture and make it less dull and dehydrated. For me, these serums get rid of dehydration lines and serve as a nice compliment to other serums.

  • One of my first and favorite hydrating serums. This is thicker than water, but not as thick as the Tula. It spreads beautifully and offers amazing hydration. My only issue is that I go through it SO quickly.
  • This has a more watery texture than the JSS Hydrate Serum. It also hydrates through a different mechanism (beta-glucans) than the Hydrate Serum. I find that I prefer the JSS Hydrate serum because it has a slightly thicker texture and makes my skin feel plumper.
  • I just started testing this and so far I like it.
[For the other categories,  I will put a ~ symbol next to the serums that I find are hydrating enough to not need to include a separate hydrating serum.]

Antioxidant Blends

If I use these, I will use them in AM to get AOX protection throughout the day. At night, my antioxidant of choice is SkinCeuticals Resveratrol (which is a thicker gel  that I don’t mix with other serums). These give my skin extra protection against all of the environmental factors (pollution, sun exposure) and internal factors (stress, sweets, alcohol) that can lead to free radicals and oxidative stress (which basically translate to making your skin look older).

  • I love this blend of antioxidants. It is a light thin, opaque liquid that absorbs nicely
  • If you use the code TALESOFSKINCARE (which is a code from my friend Sari @talesofskincare on IG) you can save 20%
  • This has a lot of humectants as well, so I don’t usually need to add an additional hydrating serum. This is a somewhat thicker gooey liquid that has a nice ingredient list and is a bigger bottle, so although the price is high initially, it is actually a pretty affordable price per ounce.


This is similar to the Hydrating Serum category in that the effects are more immediate than long term. This is sort of a “specialty” category, if you will. I will use this serum more strategically rather than consistently (although there is no reason why you couldn’t use this every day).

  • This is a really lovely serum. It is hydrating with glycerin and other humectants high up on the INCI, and it definitely helps to calm redness in my skin–especially redness from breakouts. I also love to use this after a day in the sun.


  • I just started using this product, so I can’t speak to the effects yet (other than to say that it hasn’t broken me out). This is a thicker liquid consistency (similar to the Prescriptives) and is very hydrating. In fact, if I use a moisturizer on top of this, I get pretty shiny by midday. I like to use this more at night because it does seem to make me a little oily.

Improve/Brighten Skin Tone

  • I started using this in June and a month later I am really in love with how my skin tone looks SO even and less splotchy — and I contribute that to this product! There is only one other product that I own that I can’t use in the same routine as this or I will get red flushed skin for about an hour (that is the Tarte Knockout Treatment… the concentrations of AHA and BHA and other ingredients just doesn’t interact well with this product). This has an almost water-like consistency so it helps to mix it with another product to make the application a little easier. Niacinamide is a great multi-tasking product that helps to tackle a number of things: appearance of pores, it can regulate sebum production, improve barrier function in the long run, and brighten skin tone (it is most effective at a concentration of 3% or more).
  • This is packed with brightening ingredients to help tackle pigmentation and skin tone. I HATE the dropper. It is hard to press and generally sucks, but I put up with it because I like the product. Note that you get 1 oz with this, and only .7 oz with the Niacinamide. Since you only use a couple drops, this bottle has lasted me a long time (as in, over 7 months).

Combos I’ve been using lately:

  • A+F (calms and hydrates)
  • D+G (extra AOX protection, firming, and hydrating)
  • B+H+I (hydrating, brightening, and reduces redness)
  • C+D (AOX and hydration)