The first rule of skincare? Know your own skin. This could mean a ton of things—like knowing what ingredients you’re allergic to or how your skin absorbs to different consistencies. But at the most basic level, it simply means familiarizing yourself with your specific skin type.
Skincare isn’t all about slathering product after product and hoping for good results! Unless you know how to choose formulas based on your skin’s natural characteristics, you’re simply relying on pure luck. If this is the case for you, then here’s exactly where to start! Below, find a quick guide on the most common skin types and how to find yours.
HOW TO FIND YOUR SKIN TYPE
First thing’s first: prep. In order to accurately determine what skin type you have, you need to see your skin in its most natural and bare state.
Simply start by removing all your makeup. You can either wash your face with a gentle cleanser or thoroughly wipe down with a micellar water. Pat dry. Wait 1-2 hours to allow your skin to settle. (Make sure not to apply any product during this time!) Then, observe your skin and see which characteristics below most resemble yours!
Your skin type is OILY if:
1. Your skin is greasy or shiny in most areas, especially around the nose and cheeks.
2. You have large pores that tend to clog.
- products with lightweight consistencies
- oil control formulas
- anti-inflammatory and anti-acne ingredients, such as salicylic acid
- detoxifying treatments or clay masks
TRY: Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask, It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VB Effector, COSRX BHA Skin Returning Emulsion
Your skin type is DRY if:
1. Your skin feels tight or taught, especially when you smile or move your face.
2. You experience dry or flakey patches.
- moisturizing emollients
- intensively hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid
- gentle daily exfoliants to buff away dry, dead skin
- fast-absorbing facial oils
TRY: Dewytree Ultra Vitalizing Snail Cream, OIle & Co. 100% Organic Marula Oil, Esfolio Snail Peeing Gel
Your skin type is COMBINATION if:
1. You have an oily T-zone (forehead and nose).
2. Your skin is dry or normal on your U-zone (cheeks, jawline, and chin).
- moisturizers with gel-like textures, which benefit both oily and dry areas
- gentle exfoliants to buff away dry, dead skin
- low pH formulas to bring balance back to your complexion
TRY: Baroness Aloe Vera Gel, Pixi by Petra Glow Peel Pads, COSRX Good Morning Low pH Gel Cleanser
Your skin type is NORMAL if:
1. Your skin is balanced—not too dry and not too oily. Congratulations!
- gels or light cream moisturizers (nothing too thick or heavy)
- bi-weekly exfoliant to promote glow and regular cell renewal
- supplementary hydrating serums or treatments to maintain your skin’s moisture balance
TRY: Banila Co. Balancing Moisturizer, Beauty Bakery Charcoal & Clay Scrub Mask, Dear Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum
A SPECIAL NOTE ON SENSITIVE SKIN
You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t listed sensitive skin as one of the common types above. Why? Because sensitive skin usually occurs within a main skin type. You’re either sensitive and oily, sensitive and dry, and so forth—you get the gist! In that sense, sensitive skin is more of a sub-category of the main skin types group. If your face is easily irritated (usually in the form of redness, breakouts, or rashes), then chances are, you have sensitive skin.
Photos by Kat Echon.
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