What is skincare cocktailing?

Questions and Answers

skincare cocktailing


There are so many incredible skincare ingredients on the market, all with their own unique benefits... but all the options can lead to confusion. Do you sometimes feel like you're missing out because you don't know how build a complete regime? Well, do not fear; I've got you covered with this week's blog on ‘skincare cocktailing’, a trend you might have come across on your social media channels. 

I’m going to show you how to play to your product's strengths and mix a tailor-made regime specific to your skincare needs.



What is 'skincare cocktailing'?

When I use the phrase 'skincare cocktailing', I want to start by saying that I don't mean grab your shaker and mix up a concoction as you would a delicious drink! Essentially, skincare cocktailing refers to any kind of mixing and matching ingredients or products to enhance a specific result of your routine. For example, you may cocktail an array of ingredients targeted to brighten your skin. The success of a skincare cocktail is as much about the order in which you add the ingredients as the ingredients themselves!  Layering your products in the correct order can not only make your regime more effective, but make your products work harder! 

Although there are so many beneficial active ingredients, it’s still important not to go overboard with ‘cocktailing’ and overwhelm your routine. A cocktail doesn’t need many ingredients to taste great, or in this case, work effectively for your skin. What is important is that all the ingredients work together in harmony! As we’re a fan of a ‘less is more’ approach to skincare, we like to keep our cocktails simple. 


How to prep the skin for 'cocktailing'?

You always want to start with fresh, clean skin as a base for any skincare application. Cleansing, followed by gentle exfoliation is an excellent way to prep the skin before beginning to layer up your products. By doing so, you’re able to wash away any impurities and lift dead skin cells that could prevent optimum absorption of the skincare that follows. The Apple AHA Exfoliating Gel is a great choice if you're looking for a gentle solution.



What order should I apply my 'skincare cocktail'?

As a rule of thumb, you always want to start with the products thinnest in consistency and work your way up to the thickest (for most cases, anyway). More water-based products tend to be thinner, so you want to apply these first. For each layer of skincare applied, you are locking in the skin benefits of the previous product for maximum effect. For example, our Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum has amazing hydrating benefits, so when following with products that are thicker in consistency, like creams, you are creating a moisture seal. Moisture seal equals skin that appears plump and healthy! 

Oils are the skincare rebels when it comes to 'cocktailing'. Although they're sometimes thinner than creams, the general rule is to end your routine with them. They act as a protective barrier to lock in the active ingredient benefits: the perfect addition to your evening routine. 

Timing is also important when it comes to layering skincare. Suppose you don't give each product a chance to absorb. In that case, it can lead to product pilling, and you may miss out on the benefits of each active ingredient (for more information on pilling, click here). 



Are there any ingredients I shouldn't mix?

There are a few ingredients that you should avoid ‘cocktailing’ to make sure you're protecting your skin. Over to Faye our Development Chemist for this one…

“Firstly, you want to avoid including too many chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs (such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid) in your regime. This can lead to over-exfoliation (read more about this here) of the skin and damage your skin barrier.”

“You also want to avoid using any products that include retinol after using AHAs or BHAs in your routine as this can lead to skin irritation. SPF should be worn daily to protect your skin, but its use is crucial the day after using retinols and acids.”

Cocktailing Top Tip: For maximum protection, use Vitamin C alongside your SPF in the morning to protect your skin from environmental stressors!



Skincare Cocktail Recipes:

Now that I’ve given you the rundown on ‘skincare cocktailing’, it’s time to get to work on your own perfect recipe. I’ve put together a few examples of Q+A cocktails you could try if you need some inspiration on how to find the perfect blend: 


Our Brightening AM Skincare Cocktail Recipe ⏰ :     

  🍵 3 drops of Green Tea Daily Toner       

  💧 A spritz of Hyaluronic Acid Face Mist      

  ☀️ 1 pump of Vitamin C Brightening Serum     

  ☕️ 2 swipes of Caffeine Eye Serum


Our Brightening PM Skincare Cocktail Recipe 💤:

  💡 3 drops of Glycolic Toner

  🧬 2 drops of Zinc PCA Facial Serum

  🌼 A small amount of Chamomile Night Cream 

  🍃 2 dabs of Seaweed Peptide Eye Gel

  🌼 1-2 drops of Super Food Facial Oil


A good way to build the perfect cocktail is to use our skincare checklist – look for products that share the same benefits for a complementary regime!  And don’t forget to prep your skin for a cocktail by starting off with your favourite cleanser.

We also have our own skincare cocktail hour running – pick up 3 for 2 across the full Q+A range until Thursday 2nd of June.

If you have any topics you'd like to be discussed in future posts, please don't hesitate to get in touch! You can leave us a comment below or send us a message on Instagram.


Charlee @ Team Q+A

Charlee Grimson
Marketing and E-commerce Administrator | Current favourite: Hyaluronic Acid Face Mist

Faye Purcell
Development Chemist | Current favourite: Snow Algae Intensive Face Cream