How To Introduce New Skincare Products Into Your Routine

How To Introduce New Skincare Products Into Your Routine

Having a perfect, glowing complexion isn’t about whether or not you’re naturally blessed in the genetics department, although that is a part of it. It’s also the result of a lot of hard work regarding how to treat your skin! So designing a skincare routine that nourishes your skin as it is and delivers essential ingredients that can help address any concerns you have about your complexion is crucial.

“When adding new products to your routine, start gradually and work your way up.”

Shani Darden, Esthetician

But designing a skincare routine isn’t as simple as just deciding to do it — there are a lot of aspects to consider when choosing each individual product. It’s not just about having a cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and SPF. It’s about how each product works with one another, determining which ingredients are more effective when paired together, and ensuring that your skin stays happy, hydrated, and non-reactive throughout. This brings us to our main topic: how to introduce new skincare products into your routine.

Much like designing your skincare regimen to begin with, adding skincare products into your routine isn’t as simple as just doing it. So let’s talk about what you need to consider when adding new products to your routine and how to do so safely.

What Do You Need to Think About When Introducing New Products?

Introducing new skincare products can be a bit of a minefield. This is largely because everybody’s skin is individual. While something may get amazing reviews online and have had amazing results on your friend’s skin, or even the skin of a relative, it may not work in the same way with your own complexion.

Due to the risk of potential side effects of breakouts, you’ll want to be mindful when introducing new skincare products. So let’s talk about some of the main things to consider when choosing a new skincare product to add to your lineup.

Your Skin Type

This should always be your number one priority when choosing a skincare product. Different skin types have different needs, so while there’s always a bit of a question mark in terms of how your unique skin will react to certain products, making sure the items you’re adding to your routine work well with your skin type can help you avoid the worst case scenarios.

If you have dry skin, for instance, you’ll want to prioritize products that can help improve your skin’s hydration levels and steer clear of products that tend to be drying. Or, at the very least, you’ll want to be mindful of whether or not your products balance one another. Using a potentially drying AHA or retinol on its own may be disastrous — but if you’re pairing your routine with an ultra-hydratingmoisturizer and protecting your skin with SPF, it can work perfectly well.

Likewise, if you have mature skin or aging is a major concern, it’s likely your skin errs on the dry side. Knowing that can help you make more informed decisions when choosing new products for your routine.

This logic goes, of course, for all skin types but goes double if you have sensitive skin. If your skin tends to be reactive or breakout-prone, you’ll want to be especially strict with introducing new products to your skincare regimen. It may take longer to fully work a new item into your lineup, but it’ll be worth it to keep your skin clear and your skin barrier healthy throughout the process.

Incompatible Products

The other major consideration when adding a new product to your routine is how it will work with your existing skincare products. This comes down to the ingredients involved.

For instance, on its own, Retinol is an amazing anti-aging ingredient. It has the properties of a chemical exfoliant to help refresh and rejuvenate your skin and address acne and breakouts. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, which means it can penetrate your skin to help support healthy skin cells.

However, when combined directly with other strong, active ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, it’s easy to damage your skin barrier because both can be harsh and drying on your skin, and the combined result is intense. On the flip side, the efficacy of many skincare ingredients has to do with your skin’s pH level. Each ingredient is most effective at a certain pH — so when you combine retinol with something like a beta hydroxy acid that affects your skin’s pH differently, you can render both ingredients ineffective and defeat the purpose entirely.

So when introducing a new skincare product to your routine, look into the ingredients! And if they don’t play well together, it doesn’t mean you can’t use both products. It just means that you should use one as part of your morning skincare regimen and the other in the evening — or else space out applications on alternating days to prevent the issues that come with layering them.

Maintaining Consistency

The other thing to bear in mind is less to do with specific products and more to do with being realistic about your expectations. I always recommend a less is more approach to skincare. It’s not about using the most products, but instead, it’s about using the right products for your skin type. This allows for an easier-to-follow skincare routine that you can be consistent with. 

Because skincare is all about consistency, and you’re not likely to see major changes to your skin without consistent application, if you’re already struggling to keep up with a basic routine, it’s probably best not to add a bunch of new steps.

Instead, if you prefer a more minimalist approach or have trouble remembering to use products daily, look for multi-tasking products that address multiple issues. Serums have a stronger concentration of active ingredients, so this is where you want to focus your time and energy, outside of the basics such as a gentle cleanser, an SPF, and a great moisturizer for your skin type. 

How Should You Introduce New Skincare Products?

Now that you know what to consider when deciding which products to add to your routine, let’s talk about the best practices to use when introducing them. Again, it’s all about minimizing risk and giving your skin the best chance to thrive!

1. Patch TestNew Products

This should always, always be the first step when introducing new products, whether you have an established regimen or not. Even if you’ve taken every precaution when choosing new skincare products, sometimes certain products just won’t work with your unique skin type. It’s also possible to have an allergy you weren’t aware of.

It is generally best to try a patch test when trying new products. To do this, apply a product to a small area of skin, like the inside of your wrist, and leave it for about twenty-four hours to ensure you don’t react to it. Once you’re sure it doesn’t have a negative impact on your skin, you can apply it as intended.

2. Introduce Active Ingredients Gradually

After you’ve patch-tested your product, the next step is to introduce it gradually to your skincare routine, especially when it comes to active ingredients that your skin isn’t accustomed to. You don’t want to shock your system and damage your skin barrier by suddenly using a strong, active product daily when you’ve never used those ingredients before. When it comes to retinol and AHAs or other chemical exfoliants, start by using your new product once or twice a week, then gradually increase your usage to the desired amount.

Retinol, in particular, can be tricky, especially with sensitive skin. My Intro to Retinol Set is a great introduction to retinol for beginners and includes everything you need to keep your skin happy, healthy, and balanced as you get used to retinol!

3. Think About Timing

If you’re introducing a new product, consider what’s going on in your life first! It’s probably not the best time to start with a new AHA serum the night before prom — sometimes, new products can cause irritation or breakouts even when you do everything right. 

This is often temporary but either way, you don’t want to be dealing with a negative product reaction the day of a special event, interview, or worse — a photo opp.

4. One Product at a Time

This is crucial if you’re just getting started with your skincare routine. You may have done all your research and identified the products you’re excited to create your skincare regimen from, but it’s important not to dive in head first. 

Start with a simple, barebones routine like a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a protective SPF. Once you’re certain all of your products are working and none of them are causing irritation, you can gradually add additional products to your lineup.

5. Trust the Process

Give your skincare time to work! Products like my Lactic Acid Serum can sometimes show some minor, instant improvements to your complexion, but the real magic will happen long-term. When introducing a new skincare product to your regimen, you’ll need to have some patience — don’t expect all of your skincare concerns to vanish instantly. 

Most products or ingredients take at least weeks, if not months, to show visible improvements to your skin. Given time and consistent application, you’ll likely see results!

The Takeaway

When it comes to taking care of your skin, introducing new products properly is super important. While it’s tempting to immediately slather on a new serum or treatment to see if it works as well as you hoped, taking your time and allowing your skin to adjust will give you the best results over time with the lowest likelihood of reactivity. 

After all, it’s going to be hard to determine whether or not a serum works if you’re dealing with redness or breakouts after overwhelming your skin with a new product.

Instant gratification is great, but the name of the game in skincare is long-term results. It’s a commitment to consistency, and while that may not be as exciting as seeing an instant change in your skin, you’ll thank yourself in the long run for doing things right.


Skin Care and Aging | National Institute on Aging

The Sensitive Skin Syndrome | National Library of Medicine

Alpha Hydroxy Acids | Food & Drug Administration

Beta Hydroxy Acids | Food & Drug Administration


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