One of the most important tools I was taught during my time in working for a retail skincare and beauty company was the ability to help a customer figure out their skin type. I think that, a lot of the time, we assume we know our skin type based on how it usually feels or what products we use- but in my case and the cases of many others, it’s easy to be pretty off. Try this little trick tonight and see if you’ve been properly diagnosed.
-Before you go to bed, wash your face with a gentle soap, nothing special. Skip whatever normal regimen of products you use at night and go to bed.
-In the morning observe how your face feels. Is it oily all over, or only in certain areas? Do certain areas feel dry or rough?
-Take note of these areas. It might even be helpful to draw out a diagram of your face to help you map out what is oily and what is dry!
-You may want to repeat this test for several nights, giving your skin a rest from whatever products you normally use to see how it behaves normally. Compare your skin maps from each day and you’ll get a more accurate result!
Now, let’s take a look at those maps and see what we can do to support your skin in it’s normal state. The following are the three most common skin types:
OILY– almost completely oily when you wake. Maybe a few areas that might qualify as “dry”, but probably just “less oily” instead.
COMBO (also known as T-ZONE). Forehead, nose, and possibly chin are oily, but cheeks are dry. Dryness may extend to sides of nostrils or chin.
DRY (sometimes described as MATURE)- almost completely dry. Skin will likely feel tight, flaky, possibly itchy upon waking.
If you’re like me, your skin might behave differently during the various seasons- summer makes me a combo, but winter makes me flaky and dry! If this is you, fear not: just make some simple adjustments as the seasons change. Knowing these things is essential to treating your skin with the proper products.
Here’s a few tips for each skin type:
OILY– Make sure that you are using ingredients that aren’t completely drying your face out. When this happens, your skin overcompensates and produces more oil, which has you worse off than when you started. Instead, skip moisturizer (or use a very very light one-coconut oil can be a great choice) and look for healing ingredients- tea tree oil being one of the most effective. It is a blemish fighter and a natural antiseptic and antifungal, and it’s going to clear your face up in no time! Worst enemy of this skin type: butter-based moisturizers, or anything with “alcohol” in it: acetyl alcohol, ceteryl alcohol, etc.
COMBO– My favorite. Who the heck knows how your skin might react? The best thing that I have ever come across for combo skin is LAVENDER OIL. The stuff is magic. See, something about the chemical compounds in lavender oil make it almost identical to your skin’s sebum (which manages oil production), which allows your skin to properly balance out oil production on your face. It’s pretty incredible, and I don’t totally understand how it works, but it does- so look for moisturizers that highlight this ingredient (LUSH’s Imperialis moisturizer is a favorite of mine, but it is a bit pricey). Also, focus on getting the right moisturizers- not too heavy, not too light, but effective. In the summer, you may not need a moisturizer on your face- maybe just a wash with coconut oil every few days. In the winter, you may find you need something heavier.
DRY– use moisturizers- yes, you probably knew this. But are you using the right ones? Many commercial moisturizers are full of ingredients that your skin can’t actually absorb. One of the most common, mineral oil, actually sits on top of your skin instead of sinking into your pores! Butters, like shea, cocoa, or mango, are a better alternative, but can sometimes be too heavy to use under makeup or may even clog pores making matters worse. The best alternative is actually to use natural oils, like coconut, grape seed, olive, or even castor oil. These oils mimic the oils that your skin naturally produces, as well as creating an environment that is difficult for bacteria to flourish. Try washing and moisturizing your face with coconut oil, and see what a difference it makes!
One final tip that goes for all of these skin types- don’t forget to exfoliate! Moisturizers and corrective ingredients can’t work properly if there is a layer of dead skin on top of your living layers. Aim to give your skin a good exfoliation AT LEAST once a week- maybe more, if your skin isn’t too sensitive. You don’t need any fancy products either- try baking soda, or even cornmeal, for a simple but effective scrub. If you need some inspiration, here’s our guide to the full at-home facial 🙂
Do you have a miracle product that you swear by for your skin type? Share it in the comments!