Active Ingredient Cheat Sheet


How to Choose Which Active Ingredients to Use In Your Skincare Routine

Active ingredients are the powerhouse components in skincare products that directly address specific skin concerns, such as dryness, breakouts, uneven skin, and signs of ageing. Understanding these ingredients and how they interact with your skin is absolutely key to building an effective routine tailored to your needs. This quick fire guide will demystify the top 9 active ingredients, offering insights into their benefits, best uses, and practical application tips. By the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions and craft your skincare routine to your skin’s needs and goals.

What is an Active vs. Inactive Ingredient in Skincare?

In skincare, active ingredients are the ingredients in your skincare that will deliver the primary benefits and target specific skin issues. These ingredients, such as retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, are responsible for making noticeable changes in your skin’s appearance and health. In contrast, inactive ingredients are the supporting cast in your skincare products. They play essential roles in delivering and preserving the active ingredients but do not have a direct impact on the skin’s condition. Inactive ingredients include things like water, emulsifiers, preservatives, and fragrance, which ensure the product’s stability, texture, and shelf-life.

Hyaluronic Acid ----> hydrates & plumps

What It Does: A hydration powerhouse, hyaluronic acid is well-known for its hydrating & moisturising properties as well as making skin look plumper.

Best For: All skin types, especially dry or dehydrated skin.

Try It In: Hydrating & Healing Serum – with multiple hyaluronic acids for hydration at all levels.

Our Tip: Pair hyaluronic acid with other hydrating ingredients like glycerin and ceramides to boost its moisturising effects and strengthen the skin barrier.

Shop Hydrating & Healing Serum 

Keep reading: All you need to know about The Hydrating and Healing Serum 


Vitamin C ----> brightens & anti ageing

What It Does: This potent antioxidant brightens the skin, evens out skin tone, and protects against environmental damage.

Best For: Dull, uneven skin tone, and those looking to combat signs of ageing.

Try It In: Vitamin C Ultra Serum – a gentle Vitamin C option

Our Tip: Use in the morning under sunscreen for maximum protection against UV damage.

Shop Vitamin C Ultra Serum

Keep reading: Why We Made This: Our 3 Vitamin C Products


Retinol ----> anti ageing, promoting collagen production & cellular turnover

What It Does: Known for its anti-ageing properties, retinol promotes cell turnover and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Best For: Resilient skin, those looking to prevent signs of ageing.

Try It In: Rebalancing Night Cream with both Retinol and Retinal

Our Tip: Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase to avoid irritation.

Shop Rebalancing Night Cream

Keep reading: 6 Essential Things to Know Before Using Retinol 


Salicylic Acid ----> exfoliate & clear clogged pores

What It Does: This beta hydroxy acid (BHA) helps to exfoliate and clear clogged pores, making it a go-to for acne-prone skin.

Best For: Oily and acne-prone skin.

Try It In: Clear Skin Multi Fruit Acid Serum  - 2% Salicylic Acid + fruit extracts 

Our Tip: Use it as a spot treatment on active breakouts for targeted action.

Shop Clear Skin Multi Fruit Acid Serum

Keep reading: A Breakout-Prone Skincare Routine That Works Wonders 


Niacinamide ----> skin barrier function & oil control

What It Does: A versatile ingredient that improves skin barrier function, reduces inflammation, and minimises pores.

Best For: All skin types, particularly sensitive and combination skin.

Try It In: Brightening Serum - with 5% Niacinamide 

Our Tip: Pair with hyaluronic acid for enhanced hydration and calming effects.

Shop Brightening Serum

Keep reading: The 5 Best Skincare Ingredients To Kick Acne’s Butt


Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) ----> exfoliate & improve texture & tone

What It Does: AHAs, such as glycolic and lactic acid, exfoliate the skin, improving texture and promoting a radiant complexion.

Best For: Dull, rough skin, and those looking to address signs of ageing and hyperpigmentation.

Try It In: Resurfacing Active Moisture Cream -  with glycolic, lactobionic and salicylic acids

Our Tip: Use at night and follow with a moisturiser to prevent dryness.

Shop Resurfacing Active Moisture Cream

Keep reading: The benefits of Glycolic, Salicylic & Lactobionic Acids


Peptides ----> firmness, elasticity, & overall skin health

What It Does: Peptides are essential for building proteins in the skin, helping to maintain firmness, elasticity, and overall skin health.

Best For: All skin types, especially those concerned with ageing.

Try It In: Age Reversal Eye Treatment Gel - with copper peptides, a microalgae active and more

Our Tip: Gently pat around the eye area using your ring finger to avoid tugging the delicate skin.

Shop Age Reversal Eye Treatment Gel

Keep reading: A Complete Guide to Using an Eye Product 


Bakuchiol ----> anti ageing (a gentler option)

What It Does: A natural alternative to retinol, bakuchiol provides similar anti-ageing benefits without the irritation, promoting cell turnover and collagen production. 

Best For: Sensitive skin, and those looking to reduce fine lines and improve skin texture. 

Try It In: Rebalancing Facial Oil – a multi-tasking oil for balanced, soothed, youthful complexion

Our Tip: Use twice daily for best results, and layer under moisturiser for added hydration.

Shop Rebalancing Facial Oil

Keep reading: 5 Reasons You Should Try Bakuchiol - A Gentle Alternative to Retinol 


Similar Articles: How to Find the Best Serum for Your Skin

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