Building an Essentials-Only Skincare Routine? Start With Compatible Ingredients in the Right Order

From this article learn why: 
  • Having a skincare routine is essential for maintaining healthy skin
  • Compatibility among your skincare products' ingredients is important to look for when buying skincare
  • Using too many skincare products on a daily basis can cause skincare issues such as breakouts and irritations 

The skincare world is known for talking the talk, but not necessarily walking the walk. Under-researched, trendy products come into the fold day after day, offering a proliferation of messaging and marketing, designed to confuse you from knowing what exactly about your routine is truly working for your skin.

This makes the goal of healthy skin feel inaccessible—not to mention, impossible to reliably research on your own. This is just part of the reason why forums like r/SkincareAddiction are so beloved by skincare enthusiasts; they’re educational tools so anyone can find out what works for them and stick to it. 

In fact, according to Dr. Julie Russak, M.D., FAAD., who is a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, changing or rotating your skincare products frequently can do more harm than good. 

“If you are rotating and swapping products and ingredients all the time, you aren’t giving your products the opportunity to actually work on your skin,” says Dr. Russak.

Take, for instance, a powerful antioxidant like Vitamin C, long touted as a skin savior for hyperpigmentation. Top dermatologists and scientists say it takes a minimum of three weeks to see results or benefits of applying topical Vitamin C to skin. If you’re always chasing the high of a new product, masking every day, or switching up your day and night routines willy-nilly, you may not experience consistent results. 

What are the essential products for any routine? 

Dr. Russak recommends a cleanser, antioxidant-packed serum, and moisturizer as the key hero products to your skincare routine. The cleansing step should be powerful at removing dirt, grime, and the day’s makeup without stripping skin of its natural oils. 

The serum step is essential because it packs a potent punch of highly-concentrated active ingredients, like Vitamin C, and cleansed skin acts as the perfect canvas to soak up antioxidants for maximum benefit. 

Moisturizing the skin is not only a protective measure designed to restore the skin’s barrier, but also a powerful sealant, locking in the ingredients of whatever serum you’ve applied to the skin for absorption. Moisturizers are often applied onto skin before bed, allowing active ingredients to fully absorb into the skin overnight. 

Of course, an SPF is a critical final piece of any daytime skincare routine so that you’re consistently protecting the sensitive skin around the face, neck, and eyes from sun damage, harmful UV rays, and free radicals, which are molecules in the body that are not paired with electrons, causing gradual cell damage. 

Why do the ingredients in skincare need to be compatible?

In a rush to achieve healthy, glowing skin, you’re bound to make mistakes—especially if you aren’t careful about the kinds of ingredients you’re pairing together. Ultimately, compatible skincare contains ingredients that complement each other while simultaneously supporting  your skin’s inherent functions. 

Here are key ingredients to avoid mixing together: 

  • ACIDS + EXFOLIATORS: If you are using a cleanser that contains an acid, like salicylic acid, plus an AHA/BHA exfoliator alongside it, you may be overwhelming your skin with acids. 
  • EXFOLIATORS + RETINOL: Avoid using AHA/BHAs and retinoids together, which are too harsh to be combined.

What sets the formulations in Covey products apart from other skincare brands? 

It all comes down to dermatologist-backed science and the highest-quality ingredients sourced with ultimate care.

First of All Cleanser uses a natural, plant-based surfactant system instead of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can cause irritation to the skin and eyes, dry skin, or other reactions. Plus, it’s ophthalmologist tested! Here are a few other stars of First of All Cleanser: 

  • 6% BABASSU OIL: A rich source of lauric acid, which is naturally found in our skin’s oil. Babassu oil strengthens and defends skin against free-radicals.
  • 3% GLYCOLIPIDS: Naturally repairs the skin by strengthening the skin barrier and protecting it from damage.
  • ALOE LEAF JUICE: Good for more than sunburns! Aloe soothes, hydrates, and nourishes with antioxidants.

Next Up Vitamin C Serum is unique because it’s equipped with a stronger, more stable form of Vitamin C than L-ascorbic acid, the most commonly used form of Vitamin C in the skincare market. 

Next Up contains 15% tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD), which is the latest and greatest clinically researched form of Vitamin C. Because THD is lipid-soluble, it’s more stable (no oxidizing!) and penetrates the epidermis more deeply. A few other compatible ingredients round out the Covey formula: 

  • VITAMIN E: A powerful antioxidant that, when applied topically, can be effective at reducing UV damage in skin. Vitamin C + E are a soulmate kind of skincare duo.
  • GRAPE SEED EXTRACT: Contains flavonoids and tons of antioxidants, which improve skin’s texture and help reverse or reduce signs of aging.

Finally, squalane and glycerin are superhero hydrators in Covey’s Last But Not Least Moisturizer, providing a perfect balance of water-based and oil-based hydration while locking in the powerful 15% formulation of THD in Next Up Serum. Plus, it’s paired with: 

  • 3% SQUALANE: This powerful moisturizing ingredient softens and smooths skin without irritation, and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.
  • 6% GLYCERIN: Considered a "super hydrator," glycerin moisturizes skin quickly and prevents water loss, so natural oils can nourish and repair.
  • RESVERATROL: A powerful antioxidant that calms skin and minimizes the appearance of redness.
  • SODIUM HYALURONATE: A derivative of hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate penetrates into deeper layers of the skin and binds water, making the skin appear more plump.

No matter your routine, understanding how the ingredients in each product on your bathroom counter is an important first step in understanding what kinds of formulas will work for your skin. 

Compatible skincare is effective, non-irritating, and something you can stick with consistently for months and years to come—especially if you follow the Covey formula for success: 

Soothing SLS-free cleanser + Vitamin C serum + a squalane-packed moisturizer = clean, healthy, cared for skin. 

Don’t take our word for it—here are what others are saying about how the Covey routine works for them: 

“After my AM routine, [my skin] does not feel tight, it does not feel irritated. It feels really hydrated, almost like I have a layer of hydration on my skin.” 

-Christina Yannello (@barefacedfemme)

“First Of All Cleanser is magic! My makeup was completely waterproof, so this was a big test for it! It removed it ALL! I’ve never seen a cleanser like that.” 

- Erin Parsons (@erinparsonsmakeup)

“As someone who has tested hundreds of skincare brands over the last decade, I can tell you that the quality of these 3 products is superior to the majority of popular brands that you may already know. I’ve been testing this for 2 weeks now. It is lightweight, high efficacy (15% Vit C) and beautifully absorbs into the skin.” 

- Adaleta Avdić (@adaatude)

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